I had the opportunity to join Fred Goh and gang at the Lure Fishing Seminar @ Kota Kinabalu, Sabah over the weekend organized by KBS Tackle Sdn Bhd (a notable tackle retailer in Sabah). Since we were already at East Malaysia, Mr Kok of KBS Tackle extended the invitation to us to sample the mangrove fishing at Sg Bintuka - a nice river system approximately 1.5 hours away from the city center. How could we say no?
We checked out of the hotel 3.30am in the morning and headed towards the direction of Beaufort. Some good 10-20km before the town, we took a turn down a nicely tarred 'kampung' road which led us up to a little kampung house by the river. There were easily more than 10 boats parked neatly at the jetty. There we were greeted by Din a.k.a Black Bass Hunter. He had been fishing the Sg Bintuka for a while and was very experienced in hunting down Mangrove Jacks and the prized Black Bass, hence his name.
BLACK BASS! Nice! Prior to this, I had only thought Black Bass could only be found in Tawau. What an ignoramus I was! The very friendly Din was to be our guide (guiding 3 boat loads of hopeful anglers!) for the day. Off we went in the early morning at the first streaks of dawn...
Early morning sunset. Special thanks to Sony A33's "Twilight Mode". No tripod needed!
Check out the clouds
The fastest boat and fastest driver
Off we go!
Plenty of herons in the mangrove
After a long boat ride, we reached the spots where Mangrove Jacks & Black Bass were known to hang out. It didn't take too long for Din to help Dominic connect to a nice fish. From the opposite bank, we noticed Dominic's Rapalero rod bounce up and down, signaling a nice fish struggling under the load. After a good 3-4 minutes and no fish boated, we figured we should head over to check out the catch. MJ? MJ?? MJ???
Dominic raised his hands in triumph as Din lipped the fish! The mighty Black Bass fell to a Storm Thundercrank Blue Steel Shad 8cm! Woohoo!
Caught on Storm Thundercrank Madflash TCM08
Check out the muscular structure of the fish... and the teeth!
The little Barracudas were everywhere!
The Black Bass was still elusive to the folks on our boat and after a good hour of solid casting, we decided to explore the main river (with Din's expert guiding of course!). The question was, where do we start? All along the river the terrain was the same. Everywhere looked like a fishy spot. Reluctantly, we trolled with some deep divers such as the Taildancer TDD11. Soon enough, a nice Black Bass grabbed the Taildancer TDD11 Bleeding Tiger.
Our stomachs were growling by noon and in the distance, we noticed some chalet-style huts at the river bank with some tables and chairs. As we came closer, we realized it was a little restaurant!
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!!! Curry Maggi Noodles with Egg never tasted so good!
And while the others relaxed after the wonderful meal. I went around snapping some pictures. There were some kids fishing with a cane rod and some line tied off the tip. No need for expensive rods and reels. At such times, I'm reminded of how simple life is for kids. No need for the complexities of 'modern' fishing tackle.
DAY 2 Field Notes:
We still had not caught fish that were photograph worthy at this point so we had to work extra hard casting on the following day. One observation we noted on Day 2 was that fish were hitting the bright-coloured lures (Fire Tiger / Chartreuse patterns) when the water was a little cloudy on the rising tide. However when the rising tide brought in clearer water, the fish stopped hitting the lures. A quick exchange of notes and we unanimously agreed to change to natural patterns such as Crawdad (CW), Silver or Bone and soon the fish were confidently hitting the lures. Although the MJs remained absent, the Groupers were consolation.
on Minnow Rap FT
Taildancer Deep CLF
Natural colours such as the Crawdad (CW) worked in clearer water
This one was on the new Rapala Crankin' Rap 08
Double hookup on Taildancer Deep
On a natural coloured Storm Thundercrank Madflash
Taildancer CW finds another victim
Sg Bintuka is such a beautiful and almost pristine mangrove system. The sight of many juvenile barracuda and previous captures of MJs, Threadfin, GT and Black Bass can only prove that this is a river system that is a lure angler's haven in the waiting. My only plea to anglers visiting Bintuka is to continue to keep the place as pristine and clean, void of pollution and rubbish. There are not many unspoilt spots like these so lets do our best effort to preserve its beauty.
And of course... where possible, practice catch and release and don't take back anything more than what you can possibly consume.
SOME RANDOM SHOTS (thanks to Sony Alpha A33!):
On our last day at KK, we paid a visit to KBS Tackle Sdn Bhd's retail shop
For folks who wish to drop by, they are at:
KBS Tackle Sdn. Bhd
Lot 10, Tingkat Bawah Millennium Centre,
Jalan Lintas Kepayan,
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Special thanks goes to Mr Kok of KBS Tackle Sdn Bhd for organizing the trip, logistics and extending a very warm East Malaysian hospitality to us. We truly had a wonderful time and hope to visit you again! Thanks also goes to Din (Black Bass Hunter) & Cikgu Karim for being our guides and sharing the local knowledge with us. You guys rock!