Category Archives: Live Baiting (Free Running)

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.

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.

Sampan fishing with Jeffrey Tsen a.k.a. Dr Rod

Shawn/ June 16, 2012/ brackish water, Live Baiting (Free Running), Night, saltwater, Singapore/ 1 comments

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.