Despite drownings, Rompin continues to hook eager Singaporeans

Despite drownings, Rompin continues to hook eager Singaporeans

With gentle waves caressing sandy beaches, the sleepy, idyllic town of Rompin belies its actionpacked promises offshore.

Just three hours' drive from Singapore on the eastern side of peninsular Malaysia, it has gained a reputation as the place to go for big game fishing. Specifically, sailfish.

And for that, Singaporeans have been driving 220km north-east to this town in the state of Pahang. Some even say that Rompin's fishing grounds are among the world's best spots for hooking sailfish. The sailfish season is at its peak from August to November.

The New Paper had wanted to find out what keeps Singaporeans going back, despite the string of accidents in the area in the past few years. Last month, a Singaporean diving instructor and his student, also a Singaporean, drowned in the waters off Pulau Tioman.

In March, a professor was reported missing at sea during his first scuba diving trip at Pulau Dayang, off Mersing. His body was found four days later. TNP followed six ardent fishing adventurers last month from Singapore to the waters off Rompin.

One of them, chef Daniel Xue, 52, had travelled to great fishing spots around the world, including Australia and Hawaii. He proclaimed Rompin to be his favourite and returns as many as seven times a year.

He arranges for his group of anglers the logistics, including boat hires and seasoned boatmen. He has used his regular boatman, who wanted to be known only as Ah Pow, for 17 years.

With Ah Pow's expert advice, the anglers leave only when weather conditions are ideal, and only to spots where there are calmer seas with an abundance of sailfish.

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