Tried out fishing on his sampan with Nigel after being subtly conned by Nigel. This was nothing out of the ordinary but he was well aware that this type of fishing greatly appealed to me. The main stumbling block was the price.
We met at Yishun before heading out to sea.
His boat is a extremely narrow and semi hard shelled plastic canoe. The material is not dissimilar to the material made out of those big plastic drums that some marinas stock with water.. or fuel. In fact, it was the same colour.
His boat can fit 3 people, himself included but the person in the center needs to sit on foam pads on the soft floor while the person in front sits on a wooden plank. I asked him if we ever considered installing a similar plank in the middle but he dismissed the idea. For this reason, people with back problems like me should avoid sitting in the middle or should bring some back support. I made do with a life vest placed between my back and a metal support separating the center section from the aft section.
His boat is also unstable and will rock with the slightest movement. He often expresses his displeasure at any movements and while I can appreciate his concern, the amount of nagging and complaints he made greatly annoyed even me! When I say that I have fished with many people who have mildly annoyed me by refusing to balance the boat (especially Nigel! yes you! lol), appreciate the sheer amount of noise this guy makes that greatly irritated me. He reduced this noise on our second trip.
He uses a very old Salt Water Minn Kota Transom Mount 45lb electric trolling motor with 2 sets of tiny maintenance free lead-acid batteries.
Gear to bring for this trip is size ~2/0 hooks and split shots and of course the usual leader material with snaps and swivels. The main style of fishing is “prawn spinning” except that we don’t spin the prawn often and simply leave it at the bottom.
You can also bring lures but if you are seated in the middle, you will have great difficulty w0rking the lure in such an awkward position.
If my charts are correct, he does not bring you to places where you might be chased out by the PCG, despite what he may claim.
On this trip, Nigel landed a baby grouper and lost another big fish. I missed only one big take and had no other bites at all. Nigel missed 2 takes, one on a popper and another with the “non-spinning prawn spinning” tackle. The boatman landed the KBL and lost 1 big grouper and 1 kbl(iirc).
The bottomline is that you should try out this guy. He is very open with the details on the spots he brings you to. This includes water depth, structures, seabed landscape and possible theories. I like theories as it allows me to think out of the box. You may be put off by the relatively high price and weird hours of fishing (although you may appreciate the fact that you stop fishing before the sun rises so you you can get home and sleep with less trouble).
Shawn started fishing in 1994. He caught his first fish (an Ah Seng) on that very first trip to Changi Carpark 4 (before it was barricaded). He built up his fishing knowledge and gear over the years but still keeps his old gear, just like the memories.