Recently the slow pitch jigging craze hit Malaysia hard. With great fishing grounds like Pulau Jarak, it is no wonder that even newbies like me would give this style of fishing a shot. This time round, I joined a group of experienced slow pitch jiggers to conquer the waters surrounding the infamous Jarak Island.
The trip was set to take place from 17-19 November on the renowned GT Chaser guided by skipper Ah Ho. This trip had been planned since early march of 2015, giving us more than enough time to prepare our gears before the November deadline, but also left a lot of room for anticipation that would make sleeping a great difficulty.
Time seemed to fly and before we knew it, November 17 had arrived.
Benny Chong [ Photographer, Trip organizer]
Bernard Ngian [Driver, Tour guide]
Kenny Ho [ Avid jigger}
Michael Ho [ Gracious host, Avid jigger]
Isaac aka budgie guy [Newbie]
Feature reels: Feature rods:
Omoto Talos 10N Abu Garcia Salty Stage KRX pe2-4
Daiwa Catalina Bay Jigging Abu Garcia Jiggernaut pe2-4
Abu Toro beast Eupro Shogun pe 1-3
Expert Graphite Long Fall pe2-4
The trip started early in the morning as we gathered at Michael’s house at 5am on the 17th of November before we headed down to the Bagan Dato Jetty. We stopped by Tanjung Karang town to have a quick breakfast and to pick up live mantis prawn as bait for bottom fishing at night.
We arrived at the jetty around 9.15 am, and proceeded to load our gears into the boat. First impression was that the boat was very clean, and even came with a proper toilet and a fully functioning kitchen. GT Chaser comes with a restroom.
Gt Chaser which was going to be our home for the next two days
Some of the facilities and Our bed for the next 2 days ( Bernard already testing the ‘bed’)
After the boat began to head for open waters, we had our first lunch filled with seafood aboard the Gt Chaser courtesy of the deckhand/chef.
After 4 hours, we reached our Apollo spot to stock up on bait fish both for our dinner and for bait. The boat drifted close to the “Unjam” and soon all of us were bringing up fish after fish (Kembung, Selar, Mabung, and even small Sagai)
After we had gotten enough baitfish, we headed to another spot to begin slow jigging. We were jigging in a depth about 80-100m, knocking the seabed in hopes of fooling Golden Snappers and huge Groupers to have a go at our jigs. After jigging for an hour with still no bites and the wind picking up, we decided to head to Jarak Island for lure and popper casting.
Bernard trying to pop for GT’s at Jarak Island.
Michael manage to land a Spanish Mackerel (Tenggiri) by casting pintail lures. Things went quiet after that but the silence was broken when Benny landed a big Long Tom on a large stickbait. Alas, in the moment of excitement, we did not manage to get a photo of both fishes.
As dusk approached, the skipper decided to anchor up as we had our dinner. Once we finished our dinner, the second session of fishing began as baits were dropped to the seabed and the waiting game began. Me, being the lazy angler, decided to leave bottom fishing to the pros while I called it a night. The night passed by uneventfully with only Benny landing a golden snapper.
I woke up quite late around 7 am, and the others had already began casting lures and poppers. Bernard had managed to hook up a Dolphin fish aka Mahi-Mahi, but lost the fish as it dived under the boat.
We proceeded to have breakfast before heading out to the first jigging spot of day 2. When we reached the spot, Benny had almost immediately hooked up a monster sized fish, the fish took out line mercilessly before freeing itself from the hook. Next it was Michael’s turn to hook up, but alas he too lost his fish. After that short burst of activity, everything went quiet with only the occasional hookup of small bottom dwellers like lizard fish. We moved on to our next jigging ground, and it was utter mayhem as we had simultaneous hits from the school of Cobia underneath the boat.
Michael also managed to land his cobia, while the rest of us lost our fish. As we entered for another drift, me and Bernard had our jigs cut off by a toothy species. While I was busy tying on a new jig, Kenny had hooked up another cobia. After a 15 minute fight, the broke the surface, allowing us to catch a glimpse of its humungous size estimated to be around 18kg. as the fish neared the boat, it earned its freedom by chewing through the assist cord. Michael also managed to hookup and land a decent sized Golden snapper.
We then headed to our third jigging spot of the day which was about one hour away. As soon as we reached the new spot, I had a hit on my jig. I set the hook and it was fish on! Unfortunately luck and skill was not on my side, and after a few seconds I had my 60lb fluorocarbon leader sliced through cleanly. Bernard was next to hookup, and managed to land a decent size Golden Snapper.
Kenny was on a roll as he hooked up another fish. After a brief fight, he managed to land the first and last GT for our trip on the GT Chaser.
As the light began to fade, we headed to our last jigging spot in hopes of snagging a few more fish. Finally after jigging for a while, I managed to tempt another fish into slamming the Risky Jig I was using. This time luck was on my side as I managed to land a decent size Golden snapper.
As night fell, we headed toward Pulau 9 to anchor down for another night of bottom fishing. Not long after Benny had sent his bait to the seabed, we were greeted by the ringing of bells which indicated a bite.
Benny set the hook and began a long and gruelling fight to pump the fish of the sea bed. When the fish reached the surface, everyone was ecstatic to see a large stingray at the end of his line. The fish was landed quickly and then dumped into the icebox before a picture could be taken.
The light of the boat drew squid near to the boat, and soon Kenny, Benny and Michael were landing squids on the Yamashita Squid jigs.
Towards midnight, a fish took my bait and a short fight ensued before I manage to land the fish. The night passed on rather uneventfully with only another Golden snapper and Coral shark landed. We then called it a night, hoping for better results tomorrow.
Special thanks to driver Bernard!
Special thanks to out photographer Benny!
When we awoke, our hopes for better fishing were completely dashed as storm clouds gathered. Thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance, and the skipper suggested that we head back to shore as the storm was expected to be very violent. Not wanting to put our lives at risk, we complied and proceeded to head back to shore.
This concludes the end of our 3D2N trip. In short, it was a wonderful experience with lots of fun and laughter but also heart ache as we had lost many jigs to snags, toothy fish, and terminal tackle failure. Looks like even nature has GST!! We will definitely be back next year to have revenge for our lost jigs!
A big shout out to the Risky Jig which can be purchased from Bernard Ngian thorugh Fb. Truly a must to have in your jig bag if you plan to attempt the water of Jarak Island and Port Klang.
Until the next time, tight lines.
Isaac Kuek aka Budgie Guy