Understanding Ultralight Fishing Concept For A Big Fish

Ultralight game has taken up the momentum again now since it was introduced long ago. We can hear almost everywhere anglers are talking about Ultralight fishing regardless they enjoy it or they don’t accepting it.

In Malaysia this phenomenon has now spread throughout the country. It has become one of the sport fishing style that ventured by various ages and gender. What is certain ultralight fishing able to give pure satisfaction regardless the fish. As we all aware the world now has changed. All good fishing spots have been damaged with developments and lots of rivers gone forever. The fish population is decreasing and we can hardly find spots with lots of potential for monsters. So, all that still exist now are small fish and we got to adjust our fishing setup to suit the game.


First you need to get the meaning of ultralight fishing. Ultralight is NOT meant for big fish or area with lots of structures. Use your common sense before taking any risk that can do harm to your fishing. There are few things you need to understand well and all these need time and efforts through on-field experience. These are:

1. Techniques
2. Baits
3. Habitat
4. Experiences
5. Mental Strength
6. Compatibility of Ultralight Setup
7. Understanding Target Fish
8. Knowledge & Science
9. Efforts
10. God’s Doing

Things you need to know…

1. Is it wrong to use your ultralight setup to pull big fish? Not wrong, just not appropriate!
2. Is it appropriate to use ultralight setup in the heavy cover area? No!

You need to discard all the bad impression you have first before trying ultralight game. You need to understand the motives and processes we took to educate and give you knowledge. For me we must try various things because knowledge comes in different ways and forms. Sometimes we need to do something that is not acceptable to educate because that’s the only way we can explain for others to understand.

So, what is the ultralight fishing that you need to know?

1. Choosing Proper Rod, Reel and Main Line Based on Ultralight Classification

First you need to accept 6lbs is the rule of thumb for ultralight. If you can’t accept this then its time for you to spend extra readings and understand it. You may want to spend time reading all the articles in the links below:


2. Adjust Your Setup Based on Affordability

Fishing is fun not to kill your pocket so get something that suits your budget. Don’t spend something that will burden your pocket. What really matters is adjust your setup with proper accessories. Balance it nicely and get the most of it so that its all properly match. By reading all the above links you should be doing fine to balance and matching it.

3. Understand Your Target Fish

The first thing you need to understand is we DON’T have fish like in US, Europe or Japan. So, use your brain and common sense when you want to go fishing. This goes to everyone who read this article. Understand your target fish, common fishing spots and choose your rod (setup) properly including other accessories that required. Locally, we have common targeted fish like Indo-Pacific tarpon, peacock bass, tilapia/ cichlids, Burmese trout, small hampala, small copper mahseer or/and lots of other fish within the same size. So, with these in mind you may want to get trout fishing rod so that you can get the maximum feel when fishing. Normally, a good trout rod will allow you to cast up to 4g of lure weight effortless. They come with fast or moderate fast (preferable) action that will give you extra feel when you having a fight with the fish with length usually 5 feet up to 6’6 feet but today there are lots of trout rod longer than usual. It depend on your fishing area (adjust based on your fishing location) and it depend on your own preferences.

Example: Kanicen Nix – Sengat, Zuna, Trapara, Berkley Cherrywood, Daiwa Presso, Shimano Scimitar and many others. For more info on trout fishing please refer article below:


Why many still having doubts? Let me clear some of your doubts and may these give you some knowledge and ideas that you can use when you want to challenge different game. But if you are aiming fish (example: giant snakehead, snakehead species, barramundi, lady fish, and other type of aggressive fish) at more challenging area like weeds and structure then you may want to use Bass fishing rod because this rod is more solid, have good strength and stiffer than any ultralight rod that will allow/assist you to pull the fish from their spot. Another advantage is it will allow you to cast higher lure weight normally up to 7g.

Example Bass Type Rod: Kanicen Nix – Leebass, Kanicen Nix – Sailang, Abu Garcia – Bass Beat 2, Nemesis, Discovery, Solpara, many others available in the market.

Is it wrong to use other type of rod for all these fish? No it’s not wrong. No one will put you in jail. It’s your choice and decision of course. Just make sure you follow same rule of thumb 6lbs for ultralight.

Personally, I would recommend you to try all these game properly and get the idea behind it. If you look to enjoy more then I would suggest you to balance and match it to get the most out of it because different game give different pleasure.

4. Understand Your Ultralight Setup

Newcomers will never spend time to read. They just whack anything for the sake of trying it. And this group of anglers normally will think that ultralight can do anything like any other games. This is wrong. It can but not everything and it does not have same concept like medium or heavy game. Ultralight is not meant for heavy game because it does not have strength to push/pull big fish out from heavy cover area. You will break your line and worst case break your rod if the setup is not properly balance or handle.

You may want to refer this article for all the world records by others:


5. Own Experience

Here’s some of the catches where I personally tried and managed to land it.

Fish: Layaran / Sailfish 25kg & 35kg

Rod: Kanicen Nix – Sailang Prototype
Main line: Fireline 4lbs
Leader: Burn International 22lbs.
Reel: Quantum Smoke 10
Lure: Bait Fish
Location: Kuala Rompin, Pahang Malaysia
Fighting Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes

Winning Factors: Open sea. Boat following the fish. Water depth not more than 30 feet so fish unable to dive in deeper. Easily tired.

Process: It has taken 2 years for me to get this done. And I took 1 hour 40 minutes to land sail fish on ultralight. Breaking lines is common, reel jammed during the fight and lot other things has happened before managed to land this beautiful sailfish. We released the fish safely.

Video Proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XNoVPRQWKc

Fish: Patin / Pangasius Sutchi 22kg

Patin-22kg on ultralight
Patin-22kg on ultralight

Rod: Daiwa Aird 1-4lbs
Main line: Fireline 4lb
Leader: Berkley Vanish 6lb.
Reel: Pflueger, Patriarch – 9525
Lure: Gardenia Bread – Floating
Location: Breeding Pond, Rantau
Fighting Duration: Hours

Winning Factors: The pond is 20m wide and length is around 60m. Pond fish are not aggressive like wild fish so the fight is not strong since the pond is made to breed the fish and sell. So, this is my major winning factor. Second winning factor is the pond depth is around 5 feet only and the built purpose is to breed the fish. It is not deep and no structure at all. Breeding pond they will  protect the fish from getting injured.

Process: It has taken lot of time and process to land the fish with ultralight. Before I use ultralight I test it with heavy, medium and light game first to get the experience. And I went through lines breaking, reel jammed and lot other things. I seek for all knowledge even small things and proper techniques that I can use to land the fish. I failed many times but each time I got better inputs that allowed me to improve.

Video Proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czxo5mRcZpA

Fish: Barramundi 3.2kg & 5.3kg

Rod: Daiwa Aird 1-4lb
Main Line: Berkley Fireline Crystal 1lb
Leader: Berkley Vanish – 6lb
Reel: Pflueger, Patriarch – 9525
Lure: SP Minnow Berkley Split Tail
Location: Port Dickson
Duration: NA


Rod: Sengat 1-6lbs
Reel: Weebass – Mini
Main Line: 1lb
Leader: 2.5lb
Species: Siakap / Barramundi
Length: NA
Weight: 5.3kg
Lure: Grenti Strike – Curlee
Technique: Jerk & Super Slow Retrieve

Winning Factor: Both spots free from structures. And based on my experience barramundi will never run towards any structure. It will just run straight until it gets tired and then they will push to left and right. Luck on my side able to land it.

Second fish; Muddy area made me won the fight. The depth is not more than 2 feet since this area is a lagoon in housing area. Check link below for proof.

Process: First Photo: I lost many at this spot; some it’s too big and some it just not my day. I’ve lost many types of bait. But I keep trying because I believe the luck will turn and it does.

Second Photo: There are lots of other species here especially lady fish. It cuts my line many times but I keep trying. As usual spent lots of baits, fluorocarbon leader got cut many times and many other things happen that made me spend so much of money. But somehow on this day a small bite (thought a small size) turns out a monster fish. The speed when it pulled my bait really stunned me. Took massive focus and control to land it. The second I land the fish my leader breaks too. Real luck.

Video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7cQlRXK9AE

Video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X4pix-yp-o&t=5s

Fish: Peacock Bass 53cm & 56cm


Rod: Trapara 1-3lb
Main Line: Berkley Fireline Crystal 1lb
Leader: Berkley Vanish – 4lb
Reel: Pflueger, Patriarch – 9525
Lure: Kanicen Nix – Squidoo
Location: Air Kuning, Perak
Fighting Duration: 5 minutes


Winning Factor: Lots of weeds but the area is not too deep around 3-4 feet depth. We are on a boat and the main reason I able to land the fish. Fish running under weeds doesn’t mean you will lose the fight. As an angler you should have plenty of experience and some common sense what to do when the fish goes under the weeds. Be patient and take proper steps to land it. Bring landing net whenever you go fishing because this will be a big help and its how I managed to land the fish. You need to understand you are not playing big game with higher poundage line and heavy rod. You are using ultralight setup so common sense is really important.

Process: I spent lots of money and went 45 trips only for Peacock Bass in a year. The reason is simply to learn and I really enjoy fishing Peacock Bass. Amount of time, efforts and money I spent (trips, baits, rods, all other expenses) is worth the knowledge and experience I gain.  These experiences has thought me “things” that no one can teach.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRqnrnAxjkg

Fish: Toman 4.5kg


Rod: Kanicen Nix – LEEBASS 1-6lbs
Reel: Symetre 500FL
Main Line: Testing 3lbs Fireline Exceed Crystal
Leader: 20lb
Lure: Booyah Buzzbait 7g
Location: Dam
Fighting Duration: Estimation 5-10 minutes

Winning Factor: This giant snakehead is really aggressive. We saw a baby fries and it only took 2 cast to actually catch the fish. The spot free from structure and the process getting lot easier. The minute we land the fish it get unhook by itself meaning the buzz bait actually only got stuck around the mouth. Luck again…

Process: Before this fish I got few strikes but didn’t manage to land it because unable to hook the fish due to the rod strength. Few times break the line and spending lots of time to tie FG-Knot. I already spent more than 20 buzz bait at this spot alone before manage to land one. And more than 10 times I’ve been to this spot just for Giant Snakehead.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-oCLcJqE4c

Fish: Pacu 3.6kg

pacu-3.6kg on ultralight
pacu-3.6kg on ultralight

Rod: Kanicen Nix – LEEBASS 1-6lbs
Reel: Pfleuger 9525
Main Line: Berkley Fireline Crystal 1lbs
Leader: 1.8lb
Lure: Gardenia Bread
Location: Breeding Pond
Fighting Duration: Estimation 15 minutes

Winning Factor: Fishing pond as usual where can it run? The pond is 5m in depth, 20m wide and length is around 60m which the owner use it to breed the fish and sell. So, this is my major winning factors. It is not deep and no structure at all. Breeding pond they will protect the fish from getting injured. The winning factor is always at my side only if I manage to use some common sense and understand the fish before I go after it. What I did was use bigger snap size (size 3) to avoid them biting my leader. Small idea but major winning factor.

Process: As usual breaks my line many times. As everyone knows Pacu is really strong and their teeth is frightening. Almost given up but then some common sense started to kick in and there you go.

Fish: Giant Trevally (GT) 4kg plus


Rod: Kanicen Nix – LEEBASS 1-6lbs
Reel: Pfleuger 9525
Main Line: Berkley Fireline Crystal 1lbs
Leader: 2.5lb
Lure: Grenti Strike – Curlee
Location: Catch and Release Pond at Damai Fishing Village Johor Bahru
Fighting Duration: Estimation 30 minutes

Winning Factor: Tons of anglers been here and these fish definitely gone through trauma and pressure. They are not like wild GT anymore. They are not that strong and aggressive like wild fish. The pond is around 20m wide and 30m in length (estimation) so when can they run? Plus the pond is without any structure so definitely the fish is not like they use to be. From previous experience I adjusted my snap to size 4 to avoid them biting my leader. I won the fight but almost got away. Common sense and ideas is really important when you go fishing.

Process: All my previous experiences has guided me to land it. I got shocked myself but experiences and knowledge always will be a good friend.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwL_xpe9d-w

Fish: Toman 3.2kg & 4.2kg



Rod: Kanicen Nix – Prototype 1 – Model 3
Reel: Symetre 500FL
Main Line: Berkley Fireline 1lb Crystal
Leader: 20lb
Lure: Strike Pro Pencil / Booyah Buzzbait
Location: Mining
Fighting Duration: Estimation 5-10 minutes

Winning Factor: We saw a baby fries and start cast and every cast the “parents” will respond by chasing our lures away. We tried more than 20 minutes until it run further around the weeds area as you can see in the picture. I changed my lure slightly to a heavier one and cast where it drop exactly on top of the baby fries. Few jerks then I got a big solid strike. The timing when it strike and I pull the fish from the weeds area made the whole things on my side. Honestly, I just gamble without thinking too much. I always had this idea cast and get a strike first then only think how to land it.

Process: If you read through all above then you will understand amount of efforts I took, money I spent and on-field-experience and knowledge I had is not something come that easy. The rod strength is an important factor to get the hook and choosing proper lures based on the fishing spots also play a key role into landing the fish. In the end you need to understand your own setup first because then only you will know the amount of drag setting you should apply and amount of force you can use to get a hook. Its experience.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoP54_kkwhc

There are too many factors that help in the process of landing all these giant size fish. It can’t be explained in words. What I can say is experience plays a very important role in everything I did. It’s not one day effort and it’s not only depending on luck. You need to really spend time with your fishing and have courage to try.

Some Friends You Also Managed To Land With Ultralight

We took the hard ways to educate. Sometimes we got to do some crazy stuff in order to proof it. We have shown the ways and then they tried with results.


Are we trying to show-off or trying to challenge other type of fishing style?

Not at all. We are not trying to show-off. It’s just pure fishing and we simply want to educate others that nothing is impossible. Everyone can do it by putting efforts. But do understand this “ultralight is not meant for big fish and it’s not meant for heavy cover area. The reason we are doing this is simply to educate others to try ultralight game and then in the process they will understand where the real ultralight game is. Everything fishing style has pros and cons so adjust smartly to suit the game for greater satisfaction. You can do all these crazy things but make it as a challenge just to try what ultralight can do. But make sure you have the right budget because believe me you will spend lots of money by doing so.

Anglers tend to have different opinions and ideology because lack of knowledge and experience. What I did is simply for satisfaction and then use it as part of education materials for others. I lead by showing it can be done but the motive of doing all these is still long way to go. All these is a process that you must go through in order to understand what ultralight fishing is all about. Without all these experience you will never understand it fully.

How To Fight Big Fish on Ultralight Gears?

If you read all my writings above (I hope) I bet by now you should have some ideas on handling monsters. The main point here is to let you understand be prepared. I mean really well prepared.

Fishing Line

You need to make sure your gears are in good condition. No matter what your line is the key success to this entire process of landing big fish.

Drag Reel Setting

It is important you understand your reel and best reel drag setting. If you don’t then you must learn and I would recommend you try on other fish first before trying something big.

You may want to read this article about setting your reel drag:


Fishing Knot

This is one of the important elements too. Many anglers never bother to spend proper amount of time to study best fishing knots and train tying the fishing knot especially on small poundage lines.

Fishing Hooks

Make sure to check your fishing hooks all the time because this could the factor when your hooks break or rot.

Fighting the Monster

When you hook a monster make sure don’t get too excited or panic. Be calm and handle it with care. Make sure your drag setting all is good and set the hook few times so that the fish won’t be able to throw it. Normally, when you set the hook your line will still come out from the reel as a sign of good drag setting. If it’s too tight then you might breaks the line.

As soon as you set the hook normally the fish will make the first run and first run always the strongest. The fish will force you to make mistakes and here usually most anglers will get panic.

Don’t ever force or trying to stop them. Just hold on until they stop because eventually they will. You need to make sure your fishing line is always tight. Maintain proper tension so that the fish won’t have the chance to spit the bait.

When the fish starts to show sign of tired then you can start to reel in the line. Make sure to maintain the rod position at proper angle because any over lifting you might break the line or worst case break the rod. Don’t put too much force just be patient and enjoy the process of making them weak. This is endurance fighting who can fight till the end. Remember, you are using ultralight gears so there shouldn’t be any element of forcing.

Some fish might have extra energy so be ready for few more run. As mentioned earlier don’t ever using force to stop them. Let the fish run because that’s how they will get tired. Your perfect drag setting and rod momentum will add more pain to the body and make them tired faster. Experience anglers know how to use their ultralight wisely because they understand.

Things You Should Avoid

1. Don’t ever force the fish.
2. Don’t ever adjust your drag while fish are making the runs.
3. Don’t ever lift your rod to the wrong angle.
4. Don’t ever panic.
5. Don’t ever over confident.
6. Don’t ever lose focus.

Final Thoughts

What I did was “INSPIRING”. Failure should be our teacher, not something to take over our life. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by keep doing differently. There are more failures than success in life if you dare to try but one success is enough to make the day. I seek only satisfaction but all with proper knowledge, time and on-field efforts. It is not a one day task and it’s definitely not easy. You need not only brain but also HEART.

The main reason many fails is simply because rushing into it. Chasing something they don’t understand and doing things by ignoring/dumping all the “seeds” that you actually need to grow. Example: Failure to understand why you need to downsizing your setup slowly is the main factor why many failed. When you don’t do this properly, you are lack of imagination because you simply don’t have the idea because no knowledge and no experience.

For me you need the whole package to grow as a good angler especially when it comes to ultralight fishing because ultralight game is an ART. You need to blend the knowledge by reading, apply it on-field and keep working hard in creating variations in your fishing style. Don’t keep doing the same thing as if like its the only way. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure to try differently. Don’t fall into this. Once you fall into this then you life is boring. To achieve you need to invest time, money and efforts to gain success and of course you can have all the things in the world but without HEART you will go nowhere.

So, my final advice is “TRY” first before saying anything. Seek knowledge and experience by putting proper efforts.

And don’t forget with these processes I managed to “INSPIRE” everyone who want to try on ultralight game and it has grown to become everyone’s favorite game. For those who just step into this ultralight fishing world; welcome and keep moving forward with knowledge and on-field experience.

I believe what is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?

All information given is based on a best efforts to express our opinions and knowledge that has been acquired. Paragraph or inappropriate words may have been used and it is out of control because we have tried most wisely. If you have suggestions, please comment. We will make changes.

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