Clarence was back with the group from last season which included Thomas, Russel, Clement, Rainer and two new friends, Daniel Wong of Amberjack Lures and Ray. As usual the guys were very excited to get out, after seeing the pictures of the fish landed the previous weeks and Jason Tan’s great fish. Clarence saw some of our new poppers – the “Kokari” range that we are in final trials of – and immediately decided to try them out. What better way to give them a full test than with 5 days of non-stop fishing.
We were a bit anxious after the last week where the current had been virtually non-existent but you really can’t go wrong with summer solstice and spring tides over new moon. After discussing a plan of action with the guys we decided on a way we could maximize the fishing time and this time we decided to go for quality over quantity in terms of fishing style.
We had some decent fish the first few days, with Clarence losing an estimated 30 kg plus black GT on the Kokari 160 popper on day one, which was a disappointment. Some of the others in the group were getting into the action with a few 20 plus kilo Geet’s but again the fish kept changing their feeding habits and you need to keep up with them. We tried a shallow reef and Thomas got slammed by a big GT he could barely balance as the fish was clearly in control. This is where experience comes into play: a bit of slack line and the fish gets into the reef to bust off. Clarence is on next and we boat nice fish in the 25 kg range. Shortly after, Thomas is again slammed on the last cast of the day by an absolute monster that gives him no chance before busting the 130 lb mainline. Meanwhile, the other boat has done very well putting two 30 plus kilo GTs on the boat as well as a few over 20 kilos,from another new spot which produced some quality fish.
We took a decision to fish a combination of deep and shallow spots with the boats alternating between locations and very soon we were into the action. We had some rain squalls which is always a good thing as you need something to change when the water temperature gets high and the tropical summer comes into play. Fortunately the squalls gave us a bit of chop and wind, a great change from the flat conditions and overcast skies, which were then ideal conditions for GT fishing and did the fishing turn on! The big GT’s came out to play, all spots old and new produced some great sized fish, personal bests were broken by 4 anglers on this trip and there were some hilarious times as well when it seemed more like the fish hooked the angler rather than the other way around: anglers being dragged around the boat, bent over the side and the deckies holding them to prevent someone going over the side – really insane action.
The curse of the “rod bucket” came into play more than once with slack line accounting for lost fish – good ones too. Clarence hooked into a proper monster on the Black Kokari 160 popper and for some reason his 130 lb line bit into the spool and burst as the pressure came on fully leaving him flat on his back on the deck and very disappointed.
Rainer, who had worked out for this trip and really prepared with tackle and lure selection, was using the twisted leader we had shown him how to make; he really got results and ended with a 35 and 30 kilo fish as well 6 GT over the twenty kilo mark.
Daniel Wong who makes the Amberjack Lures in Malaysia came out tops over the week as his lures also worked very well this trip. He had a PB 47 kilo and two over the 30 kilo mark, the 47 kilo was a massive fish with a girth of 108 cm and a fork length of 135 cm
Ray, who is on his first overseas popping trip, also got his personal best – a 40 kilo Geet on the Kokari 130 – plus more than a few over the 20 kilo mark. What a way to start proper popper fishing.
Clement, the entertainer on the boat – as he was last season – used the El Toro to great effect and got two fish over the 30 kilo mark. He lost a really good one in shallow water when he did not listen and used Owner ST 66 hooks which came back straightened as usual.
Thomas, who is on his second popping trip and can cast tirelessly, got some great fish over the 30 kilo mark. Being a small guy he was bullied on more than one occasion by the fish.
Russel we converted to a stick-bait user by day 2 and he has not looked back since he landed a 32 kilo GT on a Patriot Design Fat Pat Stick bait and was then convinced to take his Gamma out of the wrapping and use it, which he did very well by the end of the trip
A great fishing trip with plenty of incredible action and sights, awesome takes and some incredible topwater. Enjoy the pictures.
Till next time,
Popping Rods: Hammer Head Faube, Carpenter, FC Labo, Zenaq
Popping Reels: Shimano Stella, Daiwa Saltiga, Penn Slammer
Poppers and Stickbaits: Kokari 130, Kokari 160, Napalm, Gamma 200, Temple Reef, El Toro, Amberjack, Hammer Head, GT Harrier Patriot Design
Jigging Rods: Synit, Smith, Xzoga
Jigging Reels: Shimano Twin Power, Shimano Ocean Jigger, ATC SW1000, Shinamo Stella, Jigs Hots, Patriot design, Jigging Master
Species Caught: Big Eye Trevally, Dogtooth, Giant Trevally, Bohar Snapper, Tomato Grouper, African Pompano