Photo by Captain Mike Tan, Bluesails Sportfishing
It was a great fishing adventure weekend, hunting for juve Black Marlin in Tioman waters. Day 1 produced a decent size Sail with loads of bottom / bait-fishing to keep the kids busy while waiting for a "man - in - black" to show up at one of the local "7 - Eleven stores" (FADs). Day 2 our "MIB" showed up after taking a livie. Battled & chased this feisty Black Marlin for 40 mins with a small TLD15 reel, 30 lbs main line on 80 lb leader on a 10kg Shimano rod before grabbing the leader at boatside for an ‘auto-release’. (The leader broke off while trying to take some pics.) He was a fat guy though for these waters; approximately 60 - 70 kg (132 lbs - 154 lbs).
In Tioman, Marlin & much larger Sails are the main draw as they frequent these waters from June through September with good shots at a couple per day along with Mahi-Mahi & Mack action in-between.
The common misconception among anglers in this region is that you need to trek all the way to remote Pulau Dayang or Pulau Aur for a couple of shots at Marlin, but Tioman waters are as good if not better, and Marlin as a species are highly mobile / migratory, and cover long distances in a day, as shown by research satellite tags from The Billfish Foundation for Blues / Blacks in other parts of the world. In addition, you also get good shots at Sails with Tioman's proximity to hotspots in Rompin waters. It''s basically a 2 for 1 fishing special in Tioman: you get your billifsh fix in a tropical island paradise with the perfect spectacular setting!
Tioman is an island that is volcanic in origin, and I''ve observed that the waters around volcanic islands always attract big fish — think Kona, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands. I guess there's something about the minerals in the water that attracts abundant marine life, and in waters with underlying volcanic rock, the substrate is much harder than the surrounding sedimentary sea floor resulting in different varieties of undersea fauna. In tropical regions, extensive reefs eventually result, supporting suspension feeders like coral, and communities of reef fish that in turn attract bigger pelagic fish stopping off for a bite along their migratory routes. Whatever the reason, big game fishing around volcanic islands is usually excellent.
Tioman is only abt 36 n.m from Dayang/Aur, well-known in the 80s and 90s for Black Marlin before Rompin was made famous in late 90s for Sails. They were traditionally targeted by slow - moving wooden boats from Mersing trekking painfully the long 70n.m to get to Aur for die-hards to have a shot at these Majestic Blacks. Now, you can fish in comfort, using Pulau Tioman as a base camp. It's not just a hopeful quest for Marlin but a real shot at a couple a day so get your cams ready for pics / vids of spectacular jumps!