At the border we took our time because the Condom Titanic is unregistered and I didn't want to get hit with an import tax bill on return. In the end it wasn't a problem anyway.
The first night we camped on a beach and had a campfire. We both got annihilated by mosquitoes and Squeaker Bugs and so the following day we looked for a nice resort on the beach, where we could launch the boat. The first one was full which turned out to be very fortunate because our next decision was to offload the boat onto the beach, pack lightly and head off to an island resort.
There is an extremely nice resort on Ko Mook so we pitched for there and what a fantastic holiday. It was so nice that we made it our base for the next four nights. Not having taken the boat out to sea before, I was quite cautious in seeing what it could handle. It turns out to be a tremendous boat; the high front cuts into the waves very well, it's extremely stable and when it's not loaded to the gunwales it positively zips along, especially over saltwater.
On Ko Mook there is a narrow tunnel that you can swim through - it's about 80 metres long, some of it in complete darkness, and then once through it opens up into a beach completely surrounded by high cliffs. Ashly is only just learning to swim, so I was her guide! Having taken the boat on a complete tour of Ko Mook, I set my sights on some of the other islands close-by. Ko Krandan we hit the next day and we started to catch some fish on sinking lines and small white and green Clousers. I have no idea what fish they were but it was good to get some! Thailand has been most definitely massively over-fished. It's heavily netted and they eat everything, with no thought for the future. On the last day we circled Ko Ngai and had some good fishing for small fish that were shoaled up and could be seen travelling eating bait fish. That evening we had to make a bit of a dash for it as a thunderstorm closed in - that was a good test for the boat and Ashly's fearlessness!
Incidentally being able to swim I think is very important and I'm pushing Ashly hard here to learn. At one point we were a good 15kms from the mainland, but never more than about 3-4kms from an island. That's not a problem for me if I sink the boat but it's a long way to pull Ashly! If you're not a strong swimmer then get lessons! It's only about technique and practise. Swimming 5kms is no more tiring than briskly walking the same distance. Especially in saltwater which is so buoyant it feels like swimming in neoprene. Age is no excuse; I learned to swim when I was 28 so I could compete in Triathlons. Talking of which, I've started training for my next one!
So back to Temenggor. I'm still not sure exactly what I'm going to do - financially it may make sense to travel, run some casting clinics, sell some rods and escape the wet, maybe NZ or Australia. But tackling the big Jungle Perch is something I haven't done yet and this could be very interesting indeed and I stand to learn very much more fishing here in Malaysia! I'm thinking HT Pro6, DT6 HiD line, 30lb Braid, size 8 long shank streamers with metal guards - or bigger. Now does anyone sell a Tropical DT HiD in 6 I wonder? Time to send some emails...
One final thought, Ronan is setting up a guiding business in New Zealand. He's one of the very best anglers I know and he knows NZ inside-out. If you're heading that way book him for a couple of days. You will learn more about fishing NZ with Ronan than you will in the rest of your trip. Ronan can walk the walk.
Right, must go fishing.