Malaysia is one of the best hotspots in the world for game fishing, thanks to the endowment of a massive variety of marine and inland angling destinations. The waters in this Southeast Asian paradise also plays host to countless fish species in both environments.
The tropical seas around Malaysia are rich in some of the most sought after species in the world such as Black Marlin, Blue Marlin and the occasional Striped Marlin. For those not quite up the challenge of those but still seek a great fight, there are other challengers such as Yellowfin and Bigeye tuna, as well as the renowned Giant Trevally (GT). Cobia, Mackerel, Dorado, Barracuda, Escolar, Rainbow Runner, Greater Amberjack and big sharks add to the variety.
Given the fact that Malaysia is in the tropics and surrounded by seas, game fishermen are able to catch fish in their natural habitat on nature’s own terms nearly year round. The seas in the region have produced world record catches and the country offers an excellent climate and a wealth of diverse cultures.
From shallow flat shelves to unexplored 2km drop offs
The Spratly Islands are nutrient rich and are a virtual fishing paradise. This pristine deep-water area has coral atolls rising from depths of 1,000 – 2,000 metres and is Malaysia’s premier saltwater game fishing destination.
The number of anglers and boats allowed into this area is strictly controlled and commercial fishing here is strictly prohibited. Each year The annual Rolex-IGFA Labuan International Offshore Qualifying Event is often held here as a part of the International Angling Circuit. Game fishing experts from around the wold have paid tribute numerous times to Malaysia as a world-class game fishing destination.
“I never expected so many species in one place. Great fight, good company and wonderful food. Malaysia is now on the world angling map,” said Jan Ring, captain of the Norwegian Angling Team, IGFA World Champion 1989, four times individual European Champion.
Aside from the Spratleys, another popular destination offshore here are the areas off Rompin, where the Pacific Sailfish is known to abound. These shallower waters allow for a variety of angling techniques and an experienced game fisherman can land up to 20 or more fish a day, with specimens reaching to over 60 kg.
According to Tourism Malaysia, this may be the only place in the world where Sailfish form such massive congregations and can be dubbed the world’s Sailfish capital. The Malaysian Angling Association, in conjunction with the Billfish Foundation, Rod & Line Magazine and McDonald’s Malaysia, has developed its own tag and release programme for Billfish.
Accommodation is easily available and angling aside, temporary residence on remote beautiful islands can add to the spirit of adventure at many angling destinations in Malaysia. For example, Tioman island, a popular resort island is located close to the Malays peninsula’s Black Marlin territory. Although rarely exceeding 100 kilogrammes in this area, they can be great fun on lighter tackle.
Regulations and catch limits
As with any other sports, game fishing is subject to regulations. In fact, regulations are more stringent in this area since the prizes are part of nature. In national parks a permit to fish is required and is obtainable for a fee. A camera fee is also imposed. In marine parks, fishing is not permitted within two nautical miles of the park boundary.
In order to keep the sport sustainable and preserve the quality of angling, catch and release is highly recommended for the majority of species.