WITH the inter-monsoon season coming to an end within a week or so, anglers can now look forward to fishing on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia.
However, unlike fishing on the east coast, which is now into the north-east monsoon season, the activities on the opposite side of the peninsula are much tougher as anglers have to use bigger sinkers and heavier poundage rods to carry out the task in the open sea of the Straits of Malacca.
The advantage of fishing here during this period, until mid-February, is that the sea is much calmer and the catch, such as the golden snapper, giant grouper and Spanish mackerel, can be a real rewarding outing. But before heading out to sea, be sure to look at the tide and moon charts to ensure the best fishing time.
Here are some locations to consider if you are looking to fish in the northern states and southern Thailand over the next three months.
Pak Bara, Satun
This is one of the most popular fishing spots for Malaysian anglers in southern Thailand and there are plenty of fishing boats at Pak Bara Pier to take you out.
Fishing is mainly done around Ko Adang, Ko Ra Wi and the Tarutao islands.
But unlike fishing along the Straits of Malacca, anglers can use smaller sinkers and lighter rods as the currents here are much slower.
In general, fishing here can be a three- to four-day affair on board.
The catch here can also be exciting and plentiful.
Southern Thailand fishing charter trips are also accessible from the Kuala Perlis ferry terminals where there are plenty of chartered boats offering similar services.
Generally, the charters here are managed by local operators using Thai-owned vessels. But the advantage of hiring a boat from here is that many of its crew can speak and understand Bahasa Malaysia, making communication much easier between anglers and the boatmen.
Chartered fishing operators are available near the Kuah jetty and anglers can book them for a day trip or a two- or three-day live-aboard outing.
The price of these boats varies, depending on the location and areas one is heading. But basically, it costs between RM500 and RM1,500 per day.
Anglers should take the opportunity to explore the many islands and islets around Langkawi. The species that can be found here are generally groupers, golden snapper and giant squid.
Because of the many islands surrounding the area, the current of the sea surrounding Langkawi is also much slower.
This is an interesting fishing village located near Alor Setar that caters to all type of anglers.
Generally, fishing here is carried out near the tuas or unjam, a man-made fish-aggregating device where artificial reefs have been sunk and coconut leaves tied to bamboo poles to attract smaller fish that play and hide in the fronds.
These unjam, which are normally located about an hour away from the coast, invite predator fish such as tenggiri to hunt kembong, selar and tamban or sardines that make the artificial reefs their home.
One can also do bottom fishing, drifting or jigging at Yan.
Aside from tenggiri, anglers can also look forward to catching pelagic species using Apollo jigs.
There are boat operators who can take anglers around Penang or as far as Pulau Perak from Teluk Bahang, Penang.
Fishing at the shipwrecks around Penang island can also be fun and rewarding. There are more than a dozen of such wrecks offering species such as grouper and golden snapper. One can also find schools of trevally near these wrecks.
Live mantis prawn, fish and octopus are the most effective bait for fishing around the wrecks, especially when on the hunt for golden snapper.
Chartering a boat, which can normally accommodate a maximum of 10 people, can cost anything between RM800 and RM1,500 per day from this location.