Category Archives: Jigging

Kayak Fishing with Nigel and Nick

Shawn/ May 4, 2015/ Bottom Fishing, brackish water, Jigging, Kayaking, Pasir Ris, Pulau Ubin, saltwater/ 0 comments

This was Nick’s 2nd trip and Nigel came along.

The weather was dismal with a cold wind blowing and dark grey clouds threatening to cry, which they later did.

The model soldier showing off his FBO

We took a few pre-launch shots while Nigel did his interview thingy for his own blog.

My fish finder mount was still broken and no replacement had arrived.

We had intended to make a beeline for Ketam but with the late launch and with other delays while peddling, by the time we arrived it was definitely too late. Still, we had a few nibbles but nothing more than that.

While Nick was sulking because neither of us wanted to keep him company at his grunter spot, I noticed a boat that seemed to be parking near to us. When they were near enough for me to make out facial features, I realised that it was Frankie, an old colleague, on his new boat.

 

I was getting some nibbles on my line but didn’t get any solid takes (sulking Nick didn’t have his line in the water).

After about an hour, and noticing that a squid was nibbling on my prawn, I decided to move on.

Sotong (squid) at Ketam (Ketam Island)!

The wind began to pick up and in a very short time, we had drifted out of the ketam channel. We were going to make use of the wind to drift along the outside of ketam but suddenly the wind died down and in that moment we knew the heavens were about to open.

This was Nick’s first time anchoring and so he took a while to get it all done. It didn’t help that Nigel was trying to get him to angle his kayak right over a “fishing spot”.

It took a while but eventually, we all got settled in.

While we were waiting for the skies to clear, Nick managed to land this baby stingray.

Look at the length of that leader!

It was released.

Nigel again showing how NOT to wear a raincoat.

I, on the other hand (pun intended?), decided to take a self portrait to demonstrate how to properly wear a raincoat (I hail from an era where there were no such things as “selfies”).

Assassin’s Creed?

And of course, the customary artistic, half frame.

Myterious Assassin’s Creed?

Just after the skies cleared, Nigel got a double hookup but alas it was nothing but juvenile catfish.

You can see the raw and unadulterated excitement and joy in his face.

When the rain finally cleared, we headed for a short bit of fishing along the Pasir Ris side of the channel but caught absolutely nothing.

To sum up, it was a curiously uneventful but bad day of fishing with some good kaki.


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.

Native League 2014 – Day 1

Shawn/ December 31, 2014/ Bottom Fishing, Jigging, Kayaking, Luring, Native League, Pasir Ris, saltwater/ 0 comments

I remember vividly, all those times that Nigel had me wake up early while he slept in, just so that we could go fishing all the way in the west, to get the ‘first-light-fish’.

Today the tables were turned. Except for the fact that I still had to wake up early. So retribution it was not.

At 5.30am, I was up. At 6.10am, I was out the door and on the way to buy Prawns from Changi. Fortunately, Changi Pro was open.

The inaugural Native League is a multi day kayak fishing competition open only to Native kayaks and related brands. It has a novel point scoring system (including bonus points for Catch and Release) which takes the weight of the fish and multiplies that based on rarity and quality, giving the points for that catch. It also includes a maximum daily quota of submissible fish and includes side games such as Catch of the Day (among others).

Showing what the buttons do on my Kayak.

Most of us (read as ‘I, and some others’) arrived within the registration window, some were late, including one of the organisers.

We set up our gear (and nibbled on snacks and sipped on milkshakes from the McDonald’s drive through) before making the rounds to look at the competition’s kayaks, some socialising, and some occasional comments to try and psych the competition out. Something along the lines of: “Look at this weather! Sure cannot get fish. I think better to fish just in front of watercross.”; then you try to hide your sly grin.

Then someone else would say something like, “I think better not launch today. Risky and not safe.” and you respond with an “Ya. I agree. Come let’s all stay safe here.”, while quietly pulling your kayak closer to the shore.

Those with “initiative” get to hit the water first. They also have the “honour” of leading others to their secret spots. Those who aren’t in the picture were the clever ones.

When the missing organiser finally turned up, we pulled our kayaks to the launch site in front of watercross. A not so small amount of time elapsed before we could get the briefing started.

When it finally did get started, the briefing was peppered with various participants trying to find loopholes in the competition format. It had an interesting scoring format with additional incentives for catch and release.

It also allowed up to 3 members per team, with the stipulation that only 2 were allowed on the water at any one time. Nigel and I made up team Lucky Strike.

The briefing.

As most of us knew each other well, there were flagrant offers of bribery to the organisers. There were also friendly accusations of cheating (Kelong!) to the organisers (as one of them had taken part in the competition). It was all in good fun of course.

I asked the drive through guy if the ice cream machine was ready, then asked for a strawberry smoothie. I wanted a milkshake.

 

Some minor upgrades since this photo was taken…

After the not-exactly-brief briefing, we were all set to launch and the organisers made a final pass around the kayaks to make sure no one was cheating.

One of the “side games”, as they were called, was the Catch of the Day. The first person to catch a specified fish would win an additional prize. Today’s CotD was any grouper. Despite this, no one ran to their kayaks, or pushed their kayaks into the sea before jumping in (like bobsled racing).

It was all very casual with only the slightest hint of urgency. Competitors peddled to their favourite spots or followed those who they thought they could steal fish off, all at a fairly leisurely pace.

 

Mathew’s Grouper; Catch of the Day prize. This single fish also put them in 2nd place, only slightly behind the leaders, team Z Fighters.

Mathew from SGYakAttack caught the CotD barely half an hour into the competition. It was at a location that I was planning to drift by.

Seeing that, I started to expedite my drifting by peddling but it was not fast enough so I pulled my line out of the water and headed straight there.

When I arrived, I was shocked to see, on my fishfinder, so much debris on the floor bed. Dropping my line to the bottom and the subsequent snags as I kept moving around the area confirmed that there were many discarded nets laying around. The last time I had been here, there were only a few structures and no nets.

I did manage to land a small flathead but it was too small to satisfy the minimum length required for submission.

I gave up after my 2nd or 3rd snag and allowed myself to continue drifting west to eventually meet up with Nigel.

When I eventually linked up with Nigel, he had managed to land quite a few fish, but very unusually, there were a lot of small fish, some of which even the most ardent ‘tao-pao afficionado’ would probably not have bagged.

Nigel’s Kaci


As I was about to reach his spot, he also hooked up a 2nd Kaci.

Nigel caught 2 Kaci.

Then came the distant roll of thunder.

Once I saw the rain wall approaching, I immediately pulled my line up and made plans to shelter at the nearby beach. However, Nigel dropped his lunch overboard and I had to go pick it up (it can be a pain to lift up the anchor, even with a small kayak, and especially with strong winds and currents and fast approaching rain – so since I was on the move and Nigel was still anchored, I went to help him out).

Seemingly out of nowhere, a school of students (pun intended) started to kayak their way past us. They were headed to OBS and just before they reached us, the heavens opened. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get the chance to deliver Nigel’s lunch to him before the downpour began.

OBS Kayakers attempting to paddle from Watercross to OBS. They had the wind to their advantage though.  They made it there safely. Also, this is me in the process of delivering Nigel’s rescued lunch back to him.

Started getting heavier

Whiteout…

Throughout all this, Pochong and Omar from team FenOmMan were in the middle of the channel, though as we later found out, it was because they were fighting a big fish. A big fishing boat later went alongside them then went off. Even the Police Coast Guard paid them a visit then went off.

Near the end of the storm, barely visible, Pochong and Omar, with the big fishing boat.

 Luckily it started to clear up. The wind died down and the rain becames ‘finer’.

If you haven’t noticed it yet, Nigel is teaching you how NOT to wear a disposable poncho.

How NOT to wear a poncho.

When the rain finally stopped, Nigel continued on at the same spot while I went in search of fish elsewhere. I headed to a nearby spot where I had seen some underwater structures before. That isn’t completely correct though. At the time, all I saw was one single stick.

I passed by Omar who told me what was happening with Pochong. Omar had stuck with Pochong throughout the fight, acting as lookout and cheerleader. Pochong was still fighting the fish. I wished them luck and continued on my way.

I couldn’t find my spot though so I began to drift back towards watercross. There was a cutoff time for the submission of catches for weighing.

Then I saw a small (height and area) underwater hill and decided to try my luck there.

My grouper, bringing in slightly over 1/3 of the day’s points for our team.

Within 30 seconds of my line touching the water, I caught this guy. He put up a decent fight too, all the way up to the surface.

After putting him on the stringer, I tried my luck around the area but caught nothing else, despite a few bites.

As I was manoeuvring around the area, I began to notice many more underwater sticks. I marked the positions of where the sticks were, creating a perimeter of digital markers on my fish finder.

I suspect it is a sunken kelong, or as some who use the more accurate term call it, a sunken marine farm. On the fishfinder, I also spotted what seemed to be some discarded netting, laying near the seabed.

When my line finally snapped from a snag, I called it a day and began to make my way back to watercross.

The weight of the fish was (suspiciously) exactly the average of Nigel’s 2 kaci (i.e. exactly 1/3 the total weight). Despite being in different categories, the points attributed to our fish were the same. However, because Nigel couldn’t release one of his kaci (due to it being dead), he missed out on the Catch and Release bonus so my fish accounted for 35.6% of the days points for our team.

We made our way back to shore for the weigh in. Each team took their turns to weigh their catch, and yell out their offers of bribery to the weighing officials, while standing right next to their competitors.

There was also a bit of a kerfuffle when I was releasing my grouper after the weigh in. Instead of swimming away, the grouper swam to the seabed, right next to our feet. Nordin tried to encourage it to leave by moving his foot close to it. While it did take the hint, it went in the wrong direction and swam circles around our feet, much to our horror. We had no choice but to dance a little and practise defensive kung fu. One of the officials whose feet were barely in the water also took a few steps back. Fortunately, after about 5 seconds, it got its bearings and swam to deeper waters.

Pictures were taken and the table of standings was updated and disseminated to the rest later that night. Though it was updated a few days after, giving team Z Fighters, already the leaders at the time, an even bigger lead. It was then updated again a few days after that to give them an even bigger advantage. *cough*kelong*cough.


Team Orca

Siti from team Orca with a Red Snapper. She was the only team member on the water this day. They were pushed up to 6th. She also had a massive haul of harvested Mussels but those were not submissible.


Team East Side Anglers

Daryl from East Side Anglers, catching the only fish for his team, with his Chermin, pushing them up to 4th.


Team Sea Assasins

Nordin from team Sea Assasins with the only fish of the day, a Parrot Fish. Because this fish was in it’s own category and had more points attributed to it, despite it’s small size, it pushed them up to 5th.


Team Z Fighters

Andy, from team Z Fighters, with the only fish for their team. This large fish pushed them up to 1st. Their points were modified twice before the next competition day, both times, enlarging their lead.

 

After the fish had been weighed and the day had been officially closed, Nordin relaunched his kayak out for more fishing. Within half an hour, and before we had even finished cleaning up our kayaks, he caught this guy.

Nordin’s ‘after hours’ catch.

The points:

Z Fighters 5.864
SGYakAttack 4.771
Lucky Strike 3.291
East Side Anglers 1.202
Sea Assassins 0.908
Orca 0.303
FenOmMan 0.020
Team Liquid Moly 0.016
Emerge 0.015
The A Team 0.011

 

Check out SGYakAttack’s video of this day here or view it below:

End of Day 1


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.

Tanjung Pinang Expedition (3 days, 2 nights)

Shawn/ September 29, 2012/ 24 hrs, Bottom Fishing, Jigging, Live Baiting (Floating), Live Baiting (Free Running), saltwater, Tanjung Pinang/ 6 comments

[Warning: This post may take a while to load.]

There were countless sea tales told by many-a-scallywag, tales of seas awash with the golden glow of the setting sun reflecting off an orgy of fish. Expectedly, there was immense anticipation for this trip.

Entire companies went on forced leave, old ladies began to report more and more missing jewelry, loved ones near death were told to hang on a little longer, all to make way for this.

Nick started buying gear at the first mention of the possibility of this trip, which was about a year before the date.

Although the trip officially started on the 9th of June, we were already having regular meetings way before that, both virtual and physical to plan for the best possible outcome.

I drove over to pick up Nick and Mark, Kiat picked up Weiyee, Nigel and Cindy took a cab while Pete was chaffuered.

My group was bang on time but Nigel was way early. When everyone had arrived and my group finished our coffees, we bought our internet-booked tickets, took one last look around and headed for the queue.

Thankfully, this queue was a little bit faster than the causeway queue and once we were in, Cindy, Mark and me headed for the duty free store to buy cigarettes, which were much more expensive than those at the airport. They were also lacking my favourite green lucky strikes.

We finally arrived at the Indonesian port about 2 hours later but were less fortunate with the queue over there.

We cleared customs about half an hour later before our driver took us to a local supermarket to stock up on supplies before dropping us off seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We managed to find the boat though and settled down for lunch at the “restaurant” next to the dock.


The food was alright but then again we were quite hungry. The staples in the otak-otaks were a nice touch.

 

Most of us headed for the toilets immediately after though. Perhaps it was in fear of the state of the toilet onboard. Nevertheless, just like my field camp in BMT, I did not take another shit until the very last day.

The accommodations on the boat were quite good, relatively speaking. Prone to getting seasick ever since NS (the massive headache kind, not the hurling kind), I reserved the lowest bed available.

   

There was only one AC socket available which I shared with the others. I didn’t trust anyone else’s chargers.

The deck was also incredibly spacious. My luggage for this trip was a simple waterproof floating backpack, many plastic bags of snacks, one orange Awashima tackle box and my rods.

Within half an hour, everyone was mostly settled in.

All the 4 ceiling mounted rod racks which held 7 rods each were completely full and many were forced to stow their rods randomly on deck or in the fishing rod holders.

 

Mark had neglected to bring proper tackle for the trip though and so spent the remainder of the trip fishing off other’s rods.

For the 2 hours it took to get to the first fishing spot, some slept, others played with their phones and others stayed up on deck and chatted or admired the scenery.

By the time we reached the spot, the captain declared that the wind was too strong and that he was going to shelter behind an island.

 

Nigel was keen to uphold the TP image and so tried jigging for some fish. Then all of a sudden we saw a flash of white in the water and people were shouting “GT! GT”. Alas, it never surfaced again so we spent the remainder of the evening enjoying our dinner.

Most of us went for seconds and a few even went for thirds. The food was that tasty. Naturally, the chicken wings were the first to go.

We were advised to head to bed while the boat trudged along to our next fishing hole. Some of us tried playing cards to pass the time but the wind and waves kept messing up the table so eventually, every one of us was in bed.





At about 12am, I was suddenly thrusted into the conscious world when Nigel ran into the room and exclaimed excitedly that someone had landed a big fish!

Kiat was sleeping as well and we both mumbled incoherently to each other although the message was clear.

“Frack that shit. I’m sleeping.”

I eventually fell asleep for a grand total of 15 minutes before he burst into the room again. I gave in and dragged my dying body to the nearest rod holder and planted my baited rod in.


My line was running all over the place due to strong currents. Eventually though, I managed to land this eel which I took as a clear and present sign to head back to bed, a sign that I heeded.

While I was sleeping, the others managed to land a few fish. I woke for a brief spell when Nigel woke me up to help him video Kiat’s “big stingray” but when it became apparent that the fish was stuck or the line was now snagged, I disappeared back to bed.

     

I woke up at about 8.30am the next day and was greeted by the sight of smiling faces on deck. Apparently the fishing was living up to the tales.

Someone had already landed this chermin.

I wolfed down the prepared breakfast and collected my rod from the deckie (who used it after I went to bed), repositioned a rod that was not in use, and squeezed myself in to where it seemed the fish were.


The moment the weight hit the floor, I had a strong tug and moved to strike.

Nick was already fighting a fish and as I striked, Mark hooked up as well. These “small” bulats only gave us a mild thrill but what really excited us was the apparent abundance of fish.

Pete, who pulled an all nighter, eventually contributed with another bulat before taking a breather.

I, on the otherhand, wasted no time in letting my line down again and  within intervals of mere minutes, I was rewarded with two more fish.

 

The rest of the gang had started to trickle onto deck and were seeing for the first time, what I first saw only a little while ago.

They too wasted little time in getting their gear ready.

Fighting 3 fish in such a short amount of time, I decided I would give up my space for a while and let them experience what I felt.

So everyone except me let their lines down at about the same time and almost instantly, everyone was hooked up!

In the melee that were it in Singapore, could only be called a feeding frenzy, someone was unlucky enough to hook up a catfish, while Pete burst his line.

   

The Tally:

Pete eventually retied his line and casted out just 10 minutes later (as shown in the picture on the left) but this eventually burst as well.
He was determined though and came back fighting (picture on right) with another setup.

I wasted little time with ‘species identification photos’ and rejoined the fight putting the total fighting fit count at 4 (including the skipper and Kiat).

The skipper eventually burst his line to a Barracuda – it hit the fish he hooked up.

The rest of us managed to land our fish.

  

Seeing that the fish were still there, Weiyee and Mark retook their positions on the front line and naturally I let my line down again while Pete headed off to bed.

None of us were disappointed. Unless it turns out that Weiyee was disappointed that his line had burst. Well, 2 out of 3 is still pretty good.

The fishing was still pretty good but had died down from the peak of only a few hours ago so the boatman decided to move elsewhere while the rest of us ate lunch.

Still groggy, one by one, they started to trickle off to bed. Nick, Mark and I were the last three to head to bed and we were lucky enough to watch a slight kerfuffle unfold as the boatman fought a massive fish only to snag it halfway up the water column and end up landing a massive fish trap.

 

Those who had headed to bed first were the first to reawaken (though not by much) and got to enjoy some light jigging while the rest of us stoned the day away.

   

The skipper managed to land two separate fish on his doubled hooked bait while Pete managed to land, among others, a baby Blue Fin Tuna!

     

Weiyee wanted in on the action but only my Freams 4500J paired with a Eupro Exploder was available. Nigel was quick to say that it would never work but Weiyee was having none of it and proceeded to jig with vigour.

When he eventually hooked up on his third cast, I was equally quick to vocally note the occurence!

I was also very vocal in pointing out that that was MY setup which was responded to with much laughter.

Eventually, we settled down and enjoyed another tasty dinner….

… and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

When was the last time you got to see the sun set over the horizon?

I can’t recall who it was but someone managed to land this eleventh hour Orange Spotted Malabar Grouper while the rest of us resigned ourselves to eging and squid scooping.

At about 9pm, we started to trickle off to bed.

I woke up at about 11pm to pull an all nighter with Nigel as if to get my money’s worth of fishing. Kiat joined soon after but kept drifting between the fishing and his bed.

I whiled the time away by playing with the boat’s resident catfishes on light tackle for about an hour.

Soon though, I heard a lot of action on the other side of the boat and watched as Nigel and Kiat landed these big cobias!

I was keen to get in on the action as well and let my line down. Almost instantly, I hooked up with a cobia slightly larger than the one Nigel is holding in the picture above.

Unfortunately, the hook gave way. I was determined though and rebaited and let my line out again.

After about 20 minutes, my reel started to scream! I lifted up my rod with much strength and striked!

I tightened my drag but the line was still running out of my Accurate BX2 500 N like a cheetah, so Nigel moved it close to max drag but the fish was still running!

So it was now on me and not on the gear to manhandle the fish!

I turned him around and quickly reeled in the slack only for him to shoot off in the other direction but I focused on the task and pulled it back towards me. The fish still had a lot of fight left in him and I was getting tired but I managed to coerce it near the boat.

When we looked over the gunwale. we could see how massive it was! It was about 50% longer than Nigel’s and was fat! There was also another cobia slightly smaller than the size of Nigel’s fish, swimming with it.

The fish was nowhere ready to be landed safely but because I managed to bring the fish to the boat, the deckies were ready to land it. Unfortunately, the gaff was passed to a green deckie.

He attempted to gaff it once and missed. He tried again and hit the fish but still failed to hook it up. By now my line had tangled with Nigel’s line which appeared to be snagged on the sea floor. Then the deckie tried again for the third time and hit the fish again but still failed to hook it up! The fish was having none of this and took off at lightning speed, before breaking the hook off.

I was devastated.

As the deckies untangled Nigel’s line from mine, I silently hoped that there was a huge stingray on the end of his line.

How it would console me I did not know.

As it turned out, there really was a stingray on the other end of the line.

The fish was near the boat in about twenty minutes but yet again, that same green deckie kept missing the mark which kept chasing the fish away.

After about 35 minutes of trying to reel him in, it was finally landed by another deckie.

Nigel enjoyed his freshly cooked pot of Maggi Mee with every crustacean we caught plus sotong thrown in, while the deckie skillfully portioned the stingray.

 

 

 

Owing to the method he used, virtually no meat was wasted.

With little bites, weakened flesh, and a dejected heart, I went to bed shortly after.

Whoever it was that woke up at 6am managed to take a photo of a muted sunrise.

I woke up at about 8am to fish strewn all over the deck and bombay toast on the table

   
I took a quick shower and an uneasy shit while the deckies filled up the iceboxes.

Mmm.. Bombay toast.

  

While it is a generally good idea to not fill up your icebox to the brim, this icebox was seriously underfilled!

Gutting the fish also allows you to keep fish longer which means it could have been filled up even more!

There was also a large quantity of “unwanted fish” which was “leftover”.

  

Much to our amusement, when it came time for us to alight, it wasn’t at a jetty or dock.

Instead, the boat stopped near the beach and we had to climb down to a leaking and extremely unstable sampan with a tattered cloth as a roof.


 

Some of the guys went for a massage while the rest of us went for a quick shopping trip and some light makan before we all reconvened for another round of food.

 

The ice cream man is on a sampan… AFTER the custom’s scanning machine.

A man also dropped his dentures on the ferry. I would have handed it to him instead of informing him of the fact but it just felt weird.

 

We reached Singapore about 2 hours later where we took a group photo and went home.

Great experience, good fishing, extremely fun. Looking forward to the next one.


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.