Fishing The Peacock Bass of Clear Water Sanctuary
By: Isaac Kuek
The Covid Pandemic has kept us all locked up for quite some time and I have not been fishing for some time too. When the boys suggested a trip up to Perak in search of the famous peacock bass, I was definitely all for it. The plan this time was to checkout one of the lakes near Clear Water Sanctuary that we had never explored before. Without further thought, we loaded up our trusty 12-footer and made the two hour drive down, arriving before dawn.
[ The other upside of using an under-spin is that even if some weed gets caught on the hooks, the lure still swims relatively straight without much effect on the action… ]
One of the fun things about exploring a new spot is the unknown. With no idea how the terrain, vegetation and feeding patterns are, it poses a fun challenge in trying to crack the code within the first few hours. However, this lake was definitely trickier than expected as it was choked full with water weeds, making it a challenging task to even get the boat moving, powered only by our 55lbs thruster.
Through sheer effort we navigated around the edges of the lake whilst casting the traditional early morning topwater lures. After almost an hour of casting, we still had zero bites which could be attributed to the fish being inactive due to heavy rains the night before. With this is mind, we switched over to subsurface jerkbaits and made a slower presentation in hopes of enticing a bite.
However due to the thick hydrilla and duck weeds, our lures would often get caught up in them (vegetation) after just a few cranks or twitches, resulting in the lure moving with little to no action. It was an intensely frustrating morning out on the water. We registered zero bites from the time we set out, all the way until about 10am.
The first part of our fishing day was quite frustrating but soon peacock basses started hitting.
With frustration mounting, we called a buddy of ours who fished this lake a few weeks back for some advice, and he suggested that we try an under-spin as the fishes in this lake seemed to prefer smaller profiled lures. The other upside of using an under-spin is that even if some weed gets caught on the hooks, the lure still swims relatively straight without much effect on the action; unlike jerkbaits.
Switching over to an underspin definitely yielded some bites, although from small fishes. Although the sizes were small, it definitely felt good to be finally getting some strikes after a quiet fishless morning. As the mid-day heat started to kick in and we were about to break for lunch, I felt a decent tug at the end of my line while I slowly retrieved my underpin pass a thick clump of hydrilla.
A fun size peacock bass that our underspin lure rig.
After a brief but satisfying tug of war, we finally landed the first decent sized fish of the day. With the “egg” broken, it definitely made patterning the fish easier. As this fish came from a water outlet with a deep drop-off, we spent the next few hours targeting such spots. Doing so paid off with both Jason and Bernard scoring a couple of peacock basses over the 40cm mark.
A snakehead took the lure too.
With dusk approaching, the bites tapered off quite drastically. We only had the pleasure of a few small but hungry juvenile peacock bass having a go at our lures. With the number of bites dropping, we decided to end our fishing session. We then packed up our tackle and boat, and headed for dinner before the long drive back to KL.
[ an interesting theory that the bigger specimens may hunt when the juveniles are less active… ]
One thing that stood out to me is that most of the bites came during the hottest period of the day. This makes me question the popular belief that predatory fishes tend to be most active at dawn or dusk. Having heard other stories from different anglers about big bites coming when the day is hot poses an interesting theory that the bigger specimens may hunt when the juveniles are less active. This also means less competition from juveniles.
We had more fun when the weather got hotter. The fishes started hitting as the weather got hotter.
Another theory is that with frequent heavy rains, the water only gets warmer during the heat of the day. Perhaps this is the reason for the fishes being more active in the afternoon. Whatever the case is, fishing through the hottest part of the day may prove to be another opportunity that we as anglers should not miss out on. Till next time, tight lines!