Action Zone: Mission Tagging In Kiulu, Sabah – Day 2
By: Altaff Asmar
DAY 2: SEBARAU HUNT
With no rain the previous night, we set out early to catch and tag some Sebaraus. Today will only be a half-day session as we need to drive back to Sandakan in the afternoon. We tried using topwater lures at first but we didn’t get any response, so I changed to a sinking minnow while Eping used a spoon. We reached a mini drop-off where white-water met slower moving water and that’s where Eping caught the first fish of the day. Sadly it was far from being big enough to be tagged and was released immediately.
The first fish of the day. Too small to be tagged.
It was a couple hours and almost a kilometre trek after the first small fish when we reached a stretch of river where the current was a bit slower. I spotted a very nice bend in the bank where a fish might be waiting in ambush. I cast my lure there, and just like with the previous day’s Mahseer, a fish took my lure as soon as it hit the water.
[ Later, Eping caught a Common Snakehead or Haruan, which ironically isn’t very common in the Kiulu rapids…. ]
It put up a very good fight, the fish wasn’t huge but packed quite a punch in a not-so-big package. It was, however, a fish that can be tagged. After the necessary procedures were done, the fish was revived and released back into the river.
A mahseer. We tagged it.
Later, Eping caught a Common Snakehead or Haruan, which ironically isn’t very common in the Kiulu rapids. Unfortunately, for the fish is not protected under the Tagal system and it preys upon the smaller Mahseer. Therefore, we were instructed by our guide that the Haruan be taken and given to the villagers to eat. It was noon by then and sadly we had to head back to Sandakan as it’s quite a long drive to get there.
A snakehead. Unfortunately snakeheads are not protected in this river.
Overall, fishing in Kiulu was an amazing experience. From the cool waters to the clean air and fantastic fishing, Kiulu is definitely a must visit for anglers. The local community works very hard to protect their resources and their efforts are paying off. I really hope the Tagal system can be applied to other places such as in Sarawak, as well as the West Malaysia.
A good size sebarau. Measuring for data collection before tagging.
Special thanks to Eping and our guide, Mr. Rushdi for making this trip happen. Thanks as well to Fish N’ Tag for providing me with the tags and applicator. For any angler who is interested in the conservation of our Malaysian sport-fish, you can apply at www.fishntag.com to join our tagging program. This is me, Altaff, signing off. Tight lines!