We learnt a few lessons from the mistakes we made on our last jigging trip to Port Dickson (read about it here ). If there was a significant change, more than our gears, it was our expectations of this trip. Instead of a 10lbs Queenfish, some of us were aiming for a 200lbs Grouper, the Goliath… A species never before found in these waters! Indeed, our confidence was not only apparent but magnified, and it is that spirit that allows us to enjoy our deep sea trips as a family regardless of the outcome.
Experience paired with common sense led us to the understanding that we needed a much lighter yet reliable gear to avoid exhaustion and strain from the jigging momentum. Though jigging rods are available throughout Malaysia and Singapore, some with barely any weight on them, we find transitioning to these brands a bit of a challenge. Our rod of choice for deep sea has always been the Shakespeare Ugly Stik range and our reel of choice being Penn. Lightweight jigging rods similar to the Storm Gomoku, a brand widely favored for jigging locally, is not something they currently have.
For this trip, we took our Ugly Stik Lite rod paired with our Penn 940 levelmatic, an oldie but a definite goodie. Alongside that, we had with us a spinning outfit consisting of a Penn Slammer for my husband and a Penn Fierce for myself paired with our Ugly Stik rods. There was significant weight on our gear however given that it was a brand we trusted and rely on, weight becomes secondary with the awareness that doubling our effort is in the equation for our choices to work.
We were told to bring along a few Apollo or Sabiki rigs alongside specific deep sea weights as it was Scad season. Scads of 10 to 12 inches in Port Dickson, known locally as Ikan Selar, don’t come by often on our dinner table in those sizes. The possibility of catching a few at once on Apollo was most definitely a welcomed experience to add on.
Our day began at four in the morning in Kuala Lumpur, arising to ensure our gears were in order and all that we needed were packed. For this trip, we have chosen to stay a night after fishing to take advantage of the long weekend in Malaysia. We were off to Port Dickson early before sunrise, it was raining heavily in K.L, we could only hope the weather in PD would be better… by that we mean suitable to fish of course.
We arrived at the Teluk Kemang jetty to strong winds, a slight drizzle and the sight of rough seas, enough to know that we would not be heading out on time as planned. Safety comes first and is essential for a trip we can enjoy productively. We headed out for breakfast instead, passing time, allowing the weather to calm down, or so we hoped. Nothing beats Nasi Lemak (rice cooked in Coconut milk) on a rainy day and a nice hot cup of tea, comfort food resulting in heavy eyelids. We returned back to the jetty and the weather, though better than it was earlier, was still not suitable to fish.
We waited it out, preparing our gears, gathering tips and catching up with our boatman Apek and getting acquainted with new anglers joining the trip on a few other boats (shoutout to Caesar and Henry!).
When the time finally arrived to head out into the deep sea, we were quick and ever ready, Apek sped through the rocky waters and after a few hits to the bum on a James Bond speedboat-like ride, we arrived at our first jigging spot.
We were much better at jigging this time around, momentum was good, and we kept changing spots to maximize the chance of landing a fish. Finally, we heard the scream we were waiting for, Irfan’s Penn Reel echoed through the atmosphere and our excited cheers followed. The strain on his arms was evident as he released the drag on the reel to allow a decent fight, we see colour, and there it was, a beautiful Spanish Mackerel, landed!
Fish curry. That was all we could think of despite Nasi Lemak for breakfast. What a fish to send our adrenaline sky rocketing resulting in the inspiration for our arms to jig like they were on steroids!
Not long after, Riz’s reel started warming up to a nice fish fight, his excited giggles masking the powerful pulls of the unknown fish, bringing him around the boat and finally revealing itself … another Spanish Mackerel, a bigger one! The relief of landing it after a strong fight was evident, the imagination of fish curry took another level, now we could feed the whole family!
As we got back to casting our jigs, Riz got lucky once more, this time, the take was almost burning his reel, the famous Penn scream was music to our ears and the strain of the fight was of another level. This time, it was a much heavier, stronger fish. Riz was reeling in steadily, the lifts were tough and the pulls were swift, we see the line heading underneath the boat and occasionally heading back out… then we saw colour. A large blob of silver, shining in a circular shape, we caught a quick glance before it went back under the boat, this time diving at top speed as Riz struggles to hold on…
…suddenly line slacked, the reel stopped screaming and Riz reeled up an empty jig. The unknown circular silver blob of a fish, was lost. We don’t know what it was, or what it could have been. Our boatman Apek says it was another Spanish Mackerel, but based on the what we saw, we could not help but feel that it could very well have been a regular sized GT.
That is always how the story unfolds, isn’t it? The one lost, is always the biggest, or the best. Evidently, we saw color and that justifies our conclusion that it very well could have been. As my wise husband says positively in times of fishes lost, “if we caught everything now, what do we have to look forward to next time?”.
Riz’s lost fish is that inspiration for “the next time”. After that, we barely had any luck elsewhere. A few takes and misses, none landed. We saw the occasional surface boils of fishes, however they were much lesser than our first trip. Nonetheless, Apek managed to land a Spanish Flag Snapper, known locally as Ikan Timun as well as a small Queenfish, known locally as Talang.
We then headed to try out Apollo jigging for Scads. A technique which requires the weight to be lowered down to the seabed first followed by lifting the rod and releasing it back down, almost like knocking on the seabed, 3 times before reeling it back up, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a few Scad’s, and occasionally other small fishes hooked.
We all caught some Yellowtail Scads and Indian Mackerels on the Apollo Jig, it was a lot of fun. If you are in PD during the Scad season, at the end of your trip, give the Apollo Jig a shot. We had for ourselves more than 30 Scads and Indian Mackerel of 10-12 inches in length. These are tasty fishes deep fried.
All in all, we fished for half a day, and for that duration, our catch report for a second trip alongside Irfan who is with us for the first time and already catching a Spanish Mackerel, this was a very productive and enjoyable trip. The weather was beautiful despite rain in the morning. Calling it a day and spending the night in PD was a brilliant idea. Driving back to K.L was an option we were all too familiar with, especially the level of exhaustion involved and we were glad we stayed the night.
If you’re looking for a cheap and decent location to stay in, try out the RC Cape Nautica. We woke up to a beautiful view of the sea, one without any rain or choppy waters, if only this was the morning we planned to fish on! Nonetheless, PD has become a yearly trip for us as a fishing family, and we will definitely come back to fish with Apek.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave it at the comment box below and I’ll get back to you. For the angler that prefers bite-sized useful fishing information, be sure to visit my Tumblr site for daily updates, did I mention, it’s female-friendly too? Click here to be redirected.
In the meantime, enjoy the video of our jigging trip in PD!