Monthly Archives: August 2015

Boat Fishing. It’s been a while.

Shawn/ August 18, 2015/ Boating, Bottom Fishing, Changi, Live Baiting (Floating), saltwater/ 4 comments

A friend’s birthday was around the corner so he decided to treat us all to a boat fishing trip. It’s not that unusual. Men have been paying for the pleasure of other people’s company since the dawn of time itself. Lol. Sorry bro. I couldn’t help it.

I was late. It didn’t help that I parked at the opposite end of the carpark and that I had to lug my gear along. It wasn’t that much. Just a small tacklebox, a water bottle, a small ice box and my fishing rod, and some gear that I that I had to pass to some of the guys. But the odd handles didn’t go well together.

I wasn’t the latest to arrive though. Another dude arrived just after me.

In attendance were Along, Fendy, Han, Hendrik, Hermann, Mael, Omar (the birthday boy), Titi, and naturally, myself.

With everyone ready to go and a few people sporting surprisingly heavy gear, we boarded the boat.

The boatman was friendly and assertive, stating that we were going to the South China Sea area and that our sinkers should be no less than size 6. We all looked around at each other as most of us had brought light tackle only. That was the plan after all.

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The boatman looked around at us, gave a wry smile then headed to the wheelhouse and began to move off.

We were barely 6 metres from the docks when the boatman suddenly stopped the boat and began to re-berth.

He struggled to shout out from the wheelhouse as he was laughing, “You guys are on the wrong boat!”.

We disembarked from the boat to an audience of somewhat bewildered fellow anglers, the ones who had chartered this boat.

Just to confuse them, we shouted out loudly about what a great trip we had had.

Eventually, we found our boat, the Ocean Jumanji.

The boatman was more friendly and more accomodating and we were relieved when he confirmed that we were going to Changi, where light tackle works brilliantly.

We made way at a decent speed to our first spot where I very quickly hooked up this snapper.

With the pictures taken, I rebaited and recast out my line, suddenly realising that my little corner of the boat had suddenly become more crowded.

Barely 10 minutes had passed before I caught this guy.

My spot suddenly become much more crowded and in line with protocol, I made way for them although I stuck close by.

We drifted for about an hour before we started getting hits again.

5 minutes later:

10 minutes after Omar caught his flounder, my rod took a sudden dive and my Shimano Twinpower started to scream.

I fought what seemed to be a very strong fish for a few minutes before I brought him close enough for Mael to net him up.

My little corner of the boat was now full, because between the rod holders, there were people holding their rods and gingerly casting between the lines. I was inched out of my spot. I didn’t even have the opportunity to give up my spot.

15 minutes later, while crossing my line (but not tangling it up), Fendy hooked up this little guy with his tiny rod.

There were a few hits and a few misses but nothing that looked substantial and so we shifted spots.

About an hour later, while some were eating their lunch – Spaghetti Bolognese prepared and packaged by Titi, Hendrik hooked up this guy on a maprawn setup.

Barely a minute later, Hermann hooked up this fingermark.

And barely a minute after that, Hendrik caught this small Kaci (Sweetlips) on his other rod.

The fish were coming thick and fast, small though they were.

In the next minute, 3 more people got hookups.

Omar

Me and my little fingermark.

Han and his fish caught via jigging with prawns stuck on his hook.

We continued drifting for about 10 minutes but with no hits, the hardworking boatman moved us to a new drifting line.

Eventually, Hermann caught this pretty coral trout.

Shortly after that, Omar caught this small but pretty Orange Spotted Malabar.

Despite already paying for the boat, Omar had also brought along some snacks. He had also brought along a box of 5 Alpen strawberry bars. I was already hooked on them and since no one was taking any, I may have singlehandedly finished it. Possibly.

Just shy of 1pm, Fendy’s rod suddenly took a nose dive and he struggled a little to pull it out of the holder.

Before the cameras could start rolling, the fish had swum from the back of the boat to somwhere off the port bow.

He skillfully played with his baitcaster and kept tension on the line. I personally find baitcasters hard to use so I don’t really use them. It may be the other way around.

He struggled to reel the fish in as it started to turn around and head straight for him.

After a few muted arobatics, it eventually came close enough for Mael to net the guy and then we could clearly see that it was a Tek Ngor (a.k.a Giant Herring, a.k.a Tenpounder).

Fendy beaming with pride

While fendy was still glowing from the excitement and busy trying to get everything in order, I took the opportunity to slide my rod back in my corner holder.

10 minutes later, and with the boat now drifting to our right, Omar caught this small but feisty Queenfish.

But there were no more hits after that so the boatman brought us further out.

Which is where Along caught this little trout.

Half an hour later, and finding myself out of the corner spot again, I caught this little Kaci.

And a half hour after that, Fendy caught this little guy.

They were a handful of hits and misses after this but nothing was landed.

The wind was picking up and the currents were getting weird as by now we were along the East Coast Area. We tried our luck for the next 3 hours, with the boatman trying his best to put us on the fish but eventually we had to call it a day.

It was a great day of fishing with great company. I found myself reacquainted with the conveniences of fishing on a proper boat but still prefer a kayak, except for the ‘getting to the spot’ part.

The End

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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.

A Tip Off

Shawn/ August 17, 2015/ Bottom Fishing, brackish water, Kayaking, Pasir Ris/ 1 comments

I launched for a quickie and thanks to a tip off from a friend, I had what was advertised to be a sure hit spot.

Unfortunately for me, I got no hits for quite a while but then as advertised, my rod suddenly bent like crazy and my heart went racing.

After some time, I got this guy.

About a half hour later I headed back and came across Hermann and his family returning from a short island BBQ. Evidently, their kids had seen the little adventure we had last week and wanted the same.

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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.

Camping & Fishing @ Mamam

Shawn/ August 15, 2015/ 24 hrs, Bottom Fishing, brackish water, Kayaking, Live Baiting (Floating), Live Baiting (Free Running), Luring, Pulau Ubin, saltwater, Wild Outdoors & Camping/ 1 comments

Almost everyone was late, some more than others. I myself was late by about 5 minutes.

Omar’s caddy couldn’t wait to launch.

Eventually, after some of the shared weight had been distributed somewhat evenly, we gathered for the pre-launch photograph.

Most of us at least.

In attendance were Hermann, Hendrik, Titi, Fendy, Omar, and obviously, your’s truly.

Along and (unconfirmed right up till the moment he reached Mamam) Mael would be joining us later.

Much to Omar’s and Fendy’s annoyance, there was effectively no wind during the launch.

With 2 unhoisted sails, we made our way to the prawn farm to get us some fresh bait and some ice.

The floating restaurant Christina is open again!

Curiously, all 6 of us managed to berth at the kelong. As per normal, I’m the last to get prawns so I took the opportunity to use their facilities.

The tide was high but none of us had bothered to check whether we could cut across Chek Jawa (we’ve been forgetting to check for quite some time now). Despite being the only one in a hand-paddled kayak, Titi decided to join us the long way around for personal safety reasons.

Below is a picture of me standing on my kayak at Chek Jawa. There really was no wind at all!

Around this time, I got a call from a client about an overseas job that was to happen tonight but I had already committed to this adventure so I politely declined.

Some of the guys who you would not expect to be slow were lagging behind so the guys in front slowed their pace. Unfortunately, just like at St John’s, slowing our pace meant the tides and currents caught up with us quickly and for some, they had trouble setting their mind on the goal once they saw the water rushing past them. Later, we found out that one guy who we expected to be miles ahead of us, had actually been on the verge of heat stroke. Fortunately, he set his mind straight and paddled to slower moving waters with the guys in the lead.

Hermann and Titi were doing very well, especially considering Hermann had been towing her for some distance. They were among the first to finish the chek jawa crossing.

Those who arrived first, anchored themselves, and began to fish.

In that brief period of about 10 minutes waiting for those behind to catch up, Titi and Fendy both managed to catch some fish. Titi, with a pretty decent Red Snapper and Fendy with an unfortunate Sembilang (eel tailed Catfish).

Just a little further up, the current changed direction to match the incoming tide and those of us who had peddled ahead found ourselves drifting comfortably towards Mamam.

Then the wind suddenly started. Off in the distance, to our East, we could see storm clouds gathering and lightning thundering across the previously flat waters.

Most of us made a beeline for Mamam Beach. Up till this point, we were undecided on whether to camp at Mamam Beach or Nordin Beach, despite reports of the latter being closed off. The whether made our decision for us as Mamam was closer and fortunately that decision was the right one because as we later found out, Nordin really was closed. It was also the right one because it had started to drizzle.

BOOOOSHcraft style.

Fendy was surprisingly quick to mark his spot and so I followed suit.

Early days.

We beached our kayaks (and later anchored them in the middle of the river) and began to set up the rest of the campsite.

We met a few kayakers who had rented their kayaks from a local guy. That local guy was very helpful in pointing out to us the least slippery way to get up and down the breakwater and pointed out to us a few good fishing spots.

Charging these China clone solar inflatable lanterns. The quality isn’t very good and there have been a number of DOA ones and a number of those that die for no reason. If you want quality, go for the original, Luci Solar Lights, by mpowerd. (Especially avoid the RGB clone ones; they are useless)

In the mean time, Omar and I began to play with our firesteels. He had just bought his but I had bought mine many many years ago. Aside from a single time that I had played with it while outdoors (it was a BBQ and it was from there that this trip was born), I had never really used it before.

We caught on quick but little did I know at the time that there was so much else to learn (and that we were doing it wrongly)!

With our living quarters all set up, we began to settle dinner.

Titi was our main chef today so she settled almost all meals. She steamed her Red Snapper in aluminium foil and threw it in the coals.

It was very tasty and the meat was very tender.

Then she set out to cook the Lamb Chops.

It was very tasty too.

Some of the guys then helped to set up the kettle so that we could have English Breakfast Tea. At night. Culture knows not of time. lmao

With the food mostly settled by now, some of the guys went into the nearby jungle to gather firewood for a campfire. Someone found some cotton wool which made starting the fire that much easier and though the strong wind blew it out once, we were able to get it from embers back to flames by, ironically, blowing air on it.

Fendy had gone to sleep in his hammock by now.

At around 10 to 11pm, and after a few overseas calls (you can’t get local reception here but you can get a Malaysian signal), Along and the unannounced and uncofirmed Mael showed up.

After more food (the 2 late comers had brought snacks and jelly!), the 2 of them and I relaunched to see if we could get anymore fish. We didn’t.

Fendy, having awoken from his slumber, promised to join us but as we later found out, he merely dozed off back to lala land.

So about an hour or two later, we headed back.

As our kayaks were near the middle of the river, I left everything on except the camera. The in hull lights and external lamp were left on their lowest setting.

Then we went to sleep. Or most of us at least. Along and Mael did not plan to sleep and so didn’t bring any gear other than that for fishing.

I lay my weary head to rest on my very comfortable hammock and I began to have one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in a while. Except for the fact that it was cut short.

A few minutes shy of 7am, I felt rain drops falling on my face.

The rain grew very strong for about 5 minutes before calming down and alternating between a moderate strength rain and a strong drizzle.

I wasn’t exactly pleased as I value sleep very highly, and to lose out on very good sleep made it worse.

We made our way to the toilets, which happened to be the nearest shelter we could find.

When it became apparent that the rain wouldn’t let up, the guys began bringing their cooking gear over.

Most of us had brought our own food to cook for dinner/supper last night but as the dinner portions prepared by Titi were quite large, we found ourselves with an abundance of disposable, bulky and heavy items needing to be consumed. A certain special someone wearing a red jacket and going by the name of Omar had also brought a truly surprising amount of shareable snacks and light foods. While a nice surprise, it had also meant that there was a small but not insignificant number of redundancies.

And that is the story of how we ate breakfast next to the toilet.

As you can see, it was a complete protein breakfast though I personally skipped the beans.

The weather kept up for a bit then finally petered out.

More English Breakfast Tea.

With the tide coming up, we were able to pull our yaks (some of us at least) right next to the breakwater to load our stuff up.

When everyone had loaded up, we headed off.

Based on the currents, we decided to head left (West) to make it easier on us.

We passed by Nordin and not only was it fenced up from the inside (we already knew it was fenced up from the outside), the beach was practically gone.

If they had built it higher they could have sold it as a “Small villa over the water”

Everyone except Along, Fendy, and I, had made a beeline for the west edge of Pulau Ubin, eager to avoid the outgoing current which would be against them. They were rattled by the strong currents they had experienced at Chek Jawa yesterday.

They literally sped off with little to no word of caution.

For our determination, I was rewarded with a little catfish, Fendy got a Kaci, and Along got a Red Snapper.

By this time, as predicted, the current had started to shift against us.

Then the currents got a little stronger.

As we were nearing the west edge of Ubin, the wind began picking up and it blew strongly against the 3 of us. The waters became extremely choppy and the skies began to get gray.

The rest of them were still nowhere to be seen.

If we stopped peddling, within a few seconds, we would be drifting backwards at about a knot or 2.

Low on battery power for my phone, and without a spare battery or charger, I headed straight for watercross. Fendy and Along joined me shortly after and the rest soon appeared on the beach too, evidently returning from the Lorong Halus dam.

I forget what this is.

I learnt many lessons that day and I’ve since learnt many more. This trip is officially my first proper step into kayak camping and indeed camping in general.

The End.

PS: Oh… and a little video. Like and subscribe!


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.