Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kayak Fishing Merchong River 25 October 2009

Kayak Fishing Merchong River 25 October 2009

24 October to 26 October Travel from Kuala Lumpur to the other side of Malaysia some 4-5 hours away in our trusty nice fishing wagon the ISUZU pickup.

Day 2 Kayak the Merchong River fishing and nature photography trip. The Merchong river west of Kg Merchong is all mangrove swamp and hence packed with mosquito's sand flies and other human biting insects.

We get up late again and have breakfast in Kuala Rompin before driving the 30+k up to Merchong so we eventually arrive about 11.00am and packed with supplies all from 7-11 (oreo biscuit grapes etc) including that invaluable item ICE which it today going in my live bait box as I am only lure fishing today. Mainly we are out for a paddle and a nature trip.

By 11.30am we have the kayaks in the water and are finally ready to go. The river is slightly silty and flowing slowly we are planning to paddle up with the incoming tide and them back down with the outgoing tide. Yoke has the Malibu Mini-X a 9ft fishing KAYAK and I have the 14ft S14. Dam it's hot as we head out as we are almost 3 hours late. High tide is at 1.00pm I have the all important cooler full of cold drinks and the ever refreshing cold grapes.

Scenic is all I can say and relaxing we paddle up river slowly sticking to the shade.

We cannot ascertain if the tide is coming in or out. We pass a very small fishing village and then all sign of human habitation disappears. We see a boat coming drifting and being paddled (16+foot wooden boat) downstream.

They have load of ferns stems for making roll your own cigarettes and a fishing net.

Soon we start to see birds such as this flight of white egrets

Then this bird the name of which suddenly escapes me.

and then the sounds of a troop of monkey's soon we are quiet enough to get so close to take a couple of pictures and see the baby monkeys running through the trees within 20 meters of us. All the while I cast into places I hope/think there is Mangrove Jacks or Barramundi but nothing. Soon we spy kingfishers which is a good sign of an abundance of baitfish.

A howling noise suddenly starts and I realise military JETS low and fast. Looking up and behind and trying to get the camera out we are rewarded with the sight of a very very low flying military camoflagoued Mikoyan MiG-29 and it goes vertical just after passing us at what seems to be around 800k awesome - hot on its tail and doing the same manoeuvre is a new Sukhoi Su-30. Man I snap of the camera but later I am only rewarded with sky shots. Back to the real peaceful world and a kingfisher is next in the camera lens in fact we managed to also capture tow of them together but the image is blurred.

Then another boat slips downstream carrying a similar load. They are very friendly and asking where we were going and we were very surprised to see us there. Another boat goes past and they are tourists and camera's go off everywhere. This time its us being snapped.

I watch seeing what he is catching in the net - very very small fish noting large but then the net is very fine.

The I spy a water monitor on mangrove but Yoke paddles in front at the wrong point leaving me with only a blurred shot.

Then suddenly I am peckish and its hungry time. We pull under a large mangrove tree and in the shade have a meal of grapes and cold 100+, oreo's what else could a pair of adventurers want to eat. So far we have hardly been touched by the man eating insects. During lunch a kingfisher sits in a tree near us but I cannot get a clear shot through the mangrove roots. Time to continue the journey upstream so far we have travelled about 4kilometers and we decide at 5.00pm we would head back using he outgoing tide. The wind was everywhere and totally unpredictable each turn of the river has the wind changing direction. we come to a small side river and the sounds of crashing fish and rises indicates maybe toman but definitely Seberau. I fish and fish slowly working my way in but nothing not bites. Bitten alive we decide to head out and its time for home. The tide is with us but the wind against us to its a slow slog keeping to the sheltered side. Since its 4pm the birds are starting to head to their nests

We come across a egret roost and I spend an age here and manage to capture a few good clean shots with the 400mm lens as you can see the with this sequence of a egret landing.

Transparent wings on a egret looks cool.

But the then the sight of the afternoon a pair of otters which makes my day. It the first time Yoke has ever seen an otter in the wild its chewing on a freshly caught fish.

Finally its the last 500 meter haul to the jetty but its a in your face wind. Yoke is struggling along so I head off and paddle up to 9kph for the last 500 meters into the wind just to prove I’m not too old still.

Food and rest were exhausted after paddling only 11k. Want to go back sure I do early next year after the monsoon season is over for a longer paddle and with different bait there is so much to see on this river either side of Kg Merchong is very different.

Regards GeckoAdventure

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kayak Fishing for SailFISH Malaysia Pahang

24 October to 26 October Travel from Kuala Lumpur to the other side of Malaysia some 4-5 hours away in our trusty nice fishing wagon the ISUZU pickup.

3 day trip 1st day Kayaking on Rompin Dam buit we called that of when a thunderstorm struck on our way top the dam and we took the ISUZU offroad instead with the kayaks on top looking for other entrances to the dam.

Day 2 Kayak the Merchong River fishing and nature photography trip.

Day 3 Kayak Fishing for sailfish in the south china sea.

What could be more scary meeting my x-wife or being tossed into the ocean 20k offshore in a 3.5meter Kayak and going ocean fishing for the worlds fastest fish the Indo-pacific Sailfish (68mph or 120kph). Read on to find out what happened.

We meet the boat man (Zul) at the jetty at Merchong in Pahang Malaysia at 7.00am on a hazy misty East coast morning.

after preparing all the kit a little earlier myself and Loban are ready. Loban was taking the Mini-x a 2.9M Kayak and I am paddling the S14 a 3.5M Kayak purely designed for fishing with a live bait well and a very stable piece of kit and supposedley well able to handle the pulling power of a Sailfish.

We loaded the 2 kayaks onto the front

of the boat leaving damn little room for the 3 of us to sit anywhere. Yoke was the offical camera person. One of the boats at the dock refuses to start and some 30 minutes are lost while they have covers off and tools out. I'm glad were not in that boat. malaysia adventure geckoadventure kayak fishing sailfish blue water

7.25am we are off for what I thought was a short ride down the river well smooth water 18minutes later we reach the river mouth which has a notorious reputation for being dangerous to cross. The kayaks behave themselves on the boat in the nice chop in the South China Sea. Soon we are at the first bait stop and its out with the appollo rigs and see who can haul up 6 bait fish in a go. No one does. The closest we get is 4 yellow tails and the apollo rig is rubbish after they wind them selves round it. With 10 bait fish we are good to go. While we are hauling in the baitfish a fisherman in a 16ft dinghy is circling hunting for Tengirri (mackeral to you westerners) he hooks a couple on the rod and then hauls them in by hand and gaff then starts hollering -

however he dumps them on the floor of the boat without any ice. Shock horror then he is going to sell them later! A 10 minute trip further out and we are supposedly in the sailfish lane so Loban and myself unload the KAYAKS into the ocean. Apprehension nah cannot be any worse than going face first down a set of whitewater rapids on the riverboard. The boat leaves us and anchors a couple of hundred meters away while we settle down and get bait fish out and hook them up to a balloon and start fishing for sail and also commence the never ending task of bait fishing with the other rod. Our kit consists of baitfish in my live baitfish well one rod drifing a live yellow tail and a box of hooks and balloons, spare shock leader, spare apollo rigs and a few weights, pliers, knife, drinks and snacks. My sailfish rig is a Shimano Type J rod and a Okuma Titus BC 10S reel.

and suddenly we are fishing alone in the big wide ocean with shore barely visible way to the east.

and its only 9.30am sureal! 10.20 Loban has a hookup and it takes boat forever to come over.

The sight of the sailfish jumping out of the water lets us know its a successful day already. 10 minues later LOban hauls the sailfish out of the water onto out two Kayaks for the picture then we release it.

I have hauled sailfish out of the water before but never as close as this only a plastic boat and the sailfish. It is slow to recover but soon its swimming away to fight another day. Soon Loban is hooked up again but looses it. There is no more action but the boatman decides we have drifted too far so tows us back into the sailfish zone and then tells us to follow him he drives of we paddle slowly after him

The swell is pleasant. Soon its lunchtime and we decide to head back to the boat for the lunch. We tie the kayaks up and haul ourselves into the motherboat. Yoke is up fishing and she gets a bite bigger than the ordinary baitfish. Wow she hauls in a trigger fish.

We also bait up the rods and leave them in the water and are rewarded with the magnificent sight of a school of todak leaping in uniform chasing a school of baitfish - awesome. I am just about to jump back in the kayak when my line went mad. Jump into the kayak and Loban hands me the rod. Wahoo i'm off we have no idea what it is but we know its not a sailfish. Then it starts leaping out of the water 'todak' after a few minutes the todak is tired enough to be hauled in as it is definately no match for the sailfish rig. However it dies in my hands as it has swallowed the hook.

It's time to go hunting sailfish again and we paddle off and our escort boat dissappears amongst the other boat about a kilometer away. However, the baitfish have gone off the bite I catch a yellow tail by hooking fish pieces onto the hook then its quiet. However soon my line runs out and I strike only to pull in a empty hook. Was it a sailfish I will never know. Undaunted I rehook and drop the bait in the water and still have the balloon in my mouth when the line runs out yet again dam I think its a sail but i never saw the dark flash under the kayak and the strike brings back an empty hook. Damn now I am out of baitfish one of our friends turns up in a mother boat they are having same problem (no baitfish) and very few sailfish have been landed with a lot of hookups lost. Anyway I scrounge one live bait fish from them and hook it up but being a pink snapper it will not last as long as a yellow tail which are just awesome swimmers with a hook in them. Soon its very boring no bites and the wind gets up heaving us around a little but nothing compared to the acute v-hull narrow fishing boats. Its sureal being out here I am quite comfortable on the big S14 and it is easy to paddle in any conditions and very stable even beam on. No more fish and by 5pm we decide to call it a day we haul ourselves out of the kayaks and onto the mother boat and pull in and tie down the kayaks. Man it's rough ride for the 20kilometers back in we are soaked as we bounce literallly into and out of troughs then we run out of fuel twice the 85hp two-stroke appears to eat fuel. The waves are that bad I cannot even get the camera out as we are all holding on for dear life. Worse when we reach the river bar the fuel is changed then as we just finish crossing the boatman realises there is no fuel and he has not done the line up right :( yikes man it could have been dangerous. Soon we are back in smooth water and I am told the water is teeming with Baramundi and other fish however we caught nothing yesterday - then they tell me I used lures not live bait. Soon our trip is over and we unload and wash the kayaks down. One of the other boats comes in late under tow - its the one that did not want to start in the morning!.

Dinner is a feast of crab and prawns at the resort all fresh from the river. Then its time for the long drive home and its way after 1.30am when we crawl into our beds for a well earned sleep.

Am I going back out - try and stop me but it will not be next season as the monsoon winds and rain have started making the east coat out of bounds for ocean fishing until March 2010.