5 Friends, 9 Hours and 18 Catches.
2 March 2017
Start time: 10 am / End time: 7 pm
“Fishing is just not a sport; it’s a way of life”
I found this very true, especially after my friends invited me for a road trip on a random Wednesday to visit Senwell Fishing Park in Kamunting, Perak. Amongst the five of us, the three boys have been fishing even before primary school, Deeya has been exposed to fishing since university days, which then leaves me; a newbie compared to the rest.
Nadia, Reza, Eng Hoe, Zaihim & Deeya
We left KL Wednesday night, eager to be the first to reach the pond Thursday morning. We stayed in an Air BnB in Ipoh to make our morning drive to Senwell more convenient. It was an hour’s drive from Ipoh to Senwell. 40 minutes on the highway and the last 20 was through the village roads. Senwell is isolated in an area without any houses or shop lots around, but don’t let that discourage you because they have plenty of signboards in yellow to make sure you find the place without a hassle!
We reached to our destination at 9.45 am, which was slightly early since Senwell Fishing Park only opens at 10 am. As you can see in the photo, our two excited anglers were impatiently waiting for the doors to open so they decided to take a sneak peek at what was behind the closed gates
* On a side note, stay in your car when the gate opens because there will be dogs running out the entrance. They are harmless, but a group of dogs approaching you could be somewhat frightening.
The weather was warm and sunny, seems like the perfect day to fish!
Once we’ve entered the park, we paid RM 43 each for a whole day of fishing. The park is opened at 10 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 9 am to midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In the first three hours, all 5 of us used lures to attract the fishes. It is known that it’s more difficult to catch the fish in this pond with a lure compared to using baits – but we were up for the challenge! Within the first ten minutes, Eng Hoe managed to get a fish on his hook, but after a quick fight, it burst and the fish got away. I on the other hand, fought and lost two lures within the first hour, which frustrated me but I knew fishing required patience, so I kept that in mind as motivation.
It was a slow start, which was expected since we wanted to test our luck with the lures. We all started with soft plastic lures and interchanged them with other lures throughout the 3 hours. It was two hours in when Reza caught the first fish with a soft plastic 4 inch grub. The fight with the Amazon red tail catfish wasn’t a tough one, although it was tiring because it was a light set up. He used an Abu Garcia baitcasting rod that could hold between 10 to 20 lbs along with a 15 lbs mainline and a 20 lbs leader.
Amazon Redtail Catfish (Approx. 4 kgs) This friendly catfish constantly came to the edge of the pond where we were fishing
Within minutes after Reza caught the catfish, another one bit on Deeya’s lure. It started drizzling as she was fighting the fish, but that did not stop her from winning the battle. By then it was 1.30 pm and we were 3 hours in, we could tell the rain was about to get heavier so we grabbed our things and moved back to the covered part of the park. The change in weather did not stop our avid angler, Reza to continue his attempt to catch more fishes. He put on his rain jacket and set out to cast in the middle of the rain. The boys claimed that a little bit of rain can bring a whole lot of luck when it comes to getting these fishes to be hooked on the line.
In the meantime, we decided it was time to resort to ground bait. One of the main reasons we wanted to visit Senwell was for the Chao Phrayas and we weren’t able to attract them with the lures. Every angler is entitled to one free bucket of ground bait and there were various options of scented oil we could purchase to mix with the ground bait. One bottle cost RM 15 and we chose the banana flavour; they also had pandan and strawberry flavours. Less than 10 minutes later, the rain has slowed down and we were eager to test out our banana scented ground bait!
This is how the ground bait looks like and how it should be placed on the hook.
Within the first hour of using ground bait,Eng Hoe and I finally caught our first fish which both happened to be a Baung. I was excited to hold the fish and take a photo but Eng Hoe told me that the Baung can sting and cause harm, therefore I just held it with a lip grip. Zaihim managed to hook and successfully catch an Asian Redtail Catfish with his rod. This fish is similar to the Amazon Catfish, but the Asian catfish has a more slender body.This is how the ground bait looks like and how it should be placed on the hook.
Note the difference between the Asian Redtail Catfish (left photo) and the Amazon Redtail Catfish (right photo)
Total catches by 3.00 pm: 5 fishes. Each of us managed to catch one and that is when the real fun started. Within the next 4 hours, we managed to catch 13 more fishes which included a few Chao Phrayas, a Toman, a Patin and more of those friendly Redtail Catfish!
The star of the day was definitely the 43 cm Redtail Catfish Reza caught with a soft lure. The worker estimated the weight to be approximately 17 kgs. You can see in his facial expression in the photo below, it was not a very light fish to carry. It was a tough fight as Reza maxed out his drag to the highest restraint to be able to keep up with the fish. But all in all, it was worth the fight as he was a happy angler!
Note that the hook is slightly slanted from fighting that monster of a fish!
For those of you anglers who have not been to this park in Kamunting, Perak, I do suggest you pay a visit one day. The workers were helpful, the pond is well kept and the variety of fishes you can catch is exciting! If you do plan a visit to Senwell, you should have a heavy breakfast and pack some food before heading there because there are no food stalls in the area and as I mentioned earlier, the park is quite deep in the forest. If not, there are options of purchasing instant noodles or snacks in Senwell, if that can keep your stomach happy for long hours! Also, if you are up for a challenge, you might want to bring a light to medium set up. But do bring along the heavy set up if you want to aim for the big ones!
On a side note, an observation I made during my time there was that Senwell seems to be more populated by men. Earlier in the day, Deeya and I are the only two ladies there and I guess it made sense since it’s known that fishing is not such a common sport for Malaysian women. This is something I plan to research on and write about it on a separate blog post!
Let’s end this blogpost with a laugh by watching a quick video of our friend, Eng Hoe struggling to hold his Chao Phraya!