Category Archives: Luring

Back to basics. Ops Sangraal.

Shawn/ February 11, 2016/ freshwater, Luring/ 2 comments

So as you may or may not have noticed I’ve recently taken quite a liking to Kayak Camping. There’s kayaking, there’s fishing, and there’s camping. What’s not to like?!

I haven’t made a post about it (or indeed any other posts yet) because I’ve got it all on youtube. So head on over and subscribe!

Sometime in November Nigel and I finally found the time to go for a short trip to Sangraal.

Unfortunately, we arrived too late and the weather was extremely unfavourable.

Nigel did manage to get this little guy though.

Stay tuned for more!


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.

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.