Category Archives: Singapore

Kayak Fishing with Nordin @ Sentosa

Shawn/ September 30, 2017/ Bottom Fishing, saltwater, Sentosa/ 0 comments

Regular reader(s) will know that it’s been a really long time since I last fished.

In fact, the fishing has been pretty sporadic for the last 2 years or so.

Finally though, I have a blog post with pictures of fish!

After all that time of not fishing, I had a hankering to touch the sea so I asked if anyone in our Native Watercraft WhatsApp group was keen on a trip, and got a reply from Fendy and Nordin.

We left the planning till pretty late and when I started to begin the prep work, I got no reply from Fendy; at all. It was probably something to do with his mantra of “Not wanting to be the bearer of a dissapointing mesage” because I later found out from Nordin that he had to work.

Aside from the initial mumblings of which kayak we were going to use, and where we were going to fish at, the actual finalisation of the trip was done the day before.

At 2.30am both Nordin and I were still awake. 

I don’t really know why Nordin was still awake; I, on the other hand, was still awake due to poor discipline and Facebook’s evil ‘related videos’ algorithm.

Due to my army training (cue the ‘During my time’ jokes) and not being at 100% exhaustion (it was close though), I was awake 1 minute before my 6.15am alarm rang. I waited a little to see if God would bless me with a valid reason to go back to sleep. As usual, I was blessed.

Nordin didn’t reply. I have no idea what was going on there. Maybe he was staring at his screen blankly. So I called him and it took a few rings before he picked up, we were both agreeable to delaying the launch to let the rain pass.

Ashamedly, this time, I woke up 5 minutes after my 9am alarm. Again, it took a direcet phone call to Nordin to get a response.

We set a time to meet, at the location where our kayaks were stored.

While I waited for Nordin to arrive, I ran into Azharita and his friend (whose name I have embarrassingly forgot). I tried to cajole them into joining us but all he could do was lament on his lack of transport options.

The entire kayak fishing scene has been pretty dormant for quite a while as evidenced by this photo of some dude’s Kayak at Watercross.

So it was nice to bump into Azharita again.

Nordin finally arrived and no doubt, we both said a silent prayer to God to give us the strength to lift my heavy-ass but totally worth it Native Slayer 13 Propel; all the way up to the roof of my van.

We headed to Changi Village to stock up on bait and various other bits of tackle that had gone missing since we last fished. Then we headed off to Sentosa. Curiously, I reached the gantry before Nordin but as I later found it, it was actually because he was waiting for me at the last bus stop before the turn into Sentosa. 

That gantry fee though!

We finally arrived at the Tanjong Rhu beach carpark and proceeded to unload. Because we only had one wheel cart between the two of us, and because the beach sand was exceedingly soft, we had to ferry our gear multiple times between our vehicles and the beach. 

It was alright though since it gave us more opportunities to make a show of our immense strength in front of the bikini girl. That wasn’t a typo. There was only one.

After taking a respectable amount of time to get everything set up, and entertaining just 1 guy who came to talk about our kayaks, we set off. We seem to be losing the ability to draw curious onlookers; regardless of whether or not we suck in our tummies.

We were pleasantly surprised to see that they had mostly removed the blue barrel barrier thing that used to grace this beach. We had no trouble exiting the small cove that is Tanjong Rhu and out into open waters.

Although, the further we got from the beach, the stronger the current became. Fortunately, at least at that point in time, the wind was blowing in opposition to the current and was strong enough to allow us to move with a fair amount of ease.

Aware of the fact that our target destination was about 5km away, we stopped to fish at various locations along the way to break up the monotony of non-stop peddling.

Perhaps, it was fortuitous that we did this (time to rest; not that we needed it), or perhaps it was a mistake, but the more time we spent at each location, the stronger the current became, and the more the wind died down.

With our tackle being disturbed by hordes of small fish, the current reaching a point where we could only average 1knot, and hoping to reach our destination and make it back to the beach by 8pm (it was already way past 3pm), we decided to make a beeline to our destination, which was near the Marina Cruise Centre. I say beeline. It was more like a snail trail.

On our way there, we came across a group of fellow anglers in a boat. I noticed it right away but Nordin didn’t quite seem to register what was happening. He asked me, 

“Why that guy’s T-Shirt looks like a bra?”

I say ‘He asked me’ when in truth, he spoke loud enough for the people in neighbouring Batam to hear.

As we neared the boat, his fellow anglers began motioning towards him and yelling “Sexy!”, “Merman!”, “Chio or not?!”.

The poor fellow was wearing not but a bikini top on his upper body. Thankfully, he was wearing normal clothes on the bottom so our eyes, brains, and souls were not damaged irrevocably. He was quite sporting though, giving us a wave, before (significantly) lowering his head and continuing with his fishing. No pictures were taken, because according to SOLAS, a ratified UN treaty, when we are on the sea, we are all Bros and the Bro Code is strictly enforced.

If anything, this was a prime example of why gambling is never a good idea. Although, it also showed that he was a hard core fisho.

We fished once more along the way, near the end of Sentosa, but were stopped shortly after by the always friendly and understanding Police Coast Guard who thought that we were going to be fishing in the channel we were about to cross. Just to be clear, I wasn’t being sarcastic. Those guys are always nice.

We eventually reached our destination. Within seconds of my tackle hitting the bottom, I hooked up this little bugger.

I was about to release the pretty trout but it was already about to die.

For some reason, Nordin was eager to move away from this random spot that seemed promising, to another spot which we both agreed should have housed monster fish.

In what should have been prime ground for said monsters, we found nothing but flat ground, small fish, and sporadic snags.

Slightly before we gave up hope, I did manage to get this small teenager.

We eventually decided to move on while lamenting our results, or lack thereof, at what should have been legendary grounds.

I eventually chanced upon a nice spot that produced 3 smallish medium sized groupers (next picture only shows 1 as I was too busy fishing).

Nordin also found a spot fairly nearby to where I was that produced 2 for him.

As the sun began to hide behind the horizon, we began to make our way back to the beach. True to form, we still stopped to fish along the way, and arrived at the beach way past curfew.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the trip happened when we were nearing the beach. A huge fish suddenly dove back into the water from what we thought was a small swell. It was right between our kayaks and it’s tail drenched us with the sea. I was momentarily blinded as the light from my hand lamp got caught in the splash that engulfed us. I kid you not, all I saw was illuminated water. Maybe it was amplified by a wave that we didn’t see coming but Nordin said he managed to see a huge tail that momentarily blocked out my lamp from his view. 

Shocked and shivering, we briefly considered fishing at that spot but decided against it due to the time and the risks of staying out even later. The currents were only getting stronger, the swells were beginning to pick up and it was seriously dark. Trying to fight a huge fish in these conditions would be a risk best left to when were more prepared.

Total tally for the day was 4 fish for me, 2 for Nordin. A pretty blessed day of fishing but most definitely extremely great fun.

The End.


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.

Ops Enter Exeunt 2017

Shawn/ March 1, 2017/ freshwater, Singapore/ 0 comments

Where do I even begin. It’s been so long since my last luring trip.

Maybe I should begin by saying no fish were landed by Nigel or me. We spent most of the day exploring.

Nigel texted me out of the blue with:


What followed was a long debate about where to go with the usual injections of FUD by a certain famous baktao personality to try to dissuade me from my desire to go Spot Sangraal. That spot had previously been leaked out and ruined by lurers and baiters alike which he was quick to point out. He neglected to point out that that was more than 2 years ago though.

Personally, I felt that at least one trip every year would not be a waste of time but I needed the exercise and we were making slow progress at the diplomacy table and D-Day was fast approaching. So I gave in and let Nigel decide on Spot Enter Exeunt after which he promptly began trying to inject false hope that we would trek all the way to Sangraal. Cheeky arse.

I even agreed to his crazy ass 6.30am call time although I rejected his desire to meet up for breakfast. If I’m to lose sleep, it will not be for food.

At 5.34am, I WhatsApped him. I noticed his WhatsApp read “last seen today at 01:23”.

At 5:39am I called him and in a voice that if any deeper, would not have been picked up by the microphone, I said, “Go ah?”.

He said, “Guess so.”

I said, “Ok, bye.”

I reached his carpark at 6.40am but the twit was still at home eating “something”.

Almost 15 minutes later, we eventually got underway.

A further half an hour elapsed before we finally reached the entrance to the spot.

We found that the once well defined path was now overgrown and unclear. We trundled along before finally coming across the first castable opening about half an hour later.

Neither of us felt that this particular spot held any promise but it was a great place to get reacquainted with our tackle and to see if we still had it. We did.

A couple of casts and some coffee later, we were ready to move on to the real spots.

We turned to look for the path that would lead us deeper in but it was not there. Well, not really. Instead what we saw was what appeared to be a vague semblance of a former path, now covered with fallen saplings and trees.

For reasons that we will never know, instead of trying to walk back where we came to find the original path, we decided to bash through this macro woodland maze. Perhaps it was the sense of adventure we were currently enjoying.

Coffee in one hand and fishing rod in the other, I led us forward. At one point, I had to duck under a fallen tree. I guess I was a bit rusty because I didn’t duck low enough, such that my backpack ended up scraping the underside of the tree trunk.

Nigel asked if some pulpy casings he saw on the tree were snails. I looked up and saw something that looked like worm casings or any hills on the top of the trunk and told him that they weren’t snails.

I tried my best to squat lower and move on. According to Nigel, I did nothing of the sort and merely kept moving forward, scraping the underside of the trunk more and more. As I later found out, the “snails” that Nigel was talking about was also on the underside of the trunk and not on the ones at the top of the trunk that I was looking at, and as Nigel later pointed out, I was totally destroying them.

All of a sudden, I felt a sudden sharp searing pain in my right pinkie and it was raw, intense, and primal enough that the coffee I was holding went flying into the air. As far as I know, I made no conscious decision to do that.

It almost felt like when you forget about your cigarette and it burns down to the filter and burns your finger. Except it felt way more violent and intense and ‘kept burning’.

Imagine a needle so hot that despite it’s small size, when it enters your skin, you feel like an area larger than the injection site is on fire. Now imagine it being violently stabbed into you by a madman.

I was quite confused and so was Nigel. Clearly, neither of us were smoking. I worried that a snake had somehow dropped down from the fallen tree and bit me on the finger. But that didn’t make sense either. I spat on it, just in case, because, as we all know, spit cures everything. Except it didn’t.

While we were standing there like absolute morons, I suddenly got another ‘hit’, this time on my left cheek.

Again, I jumped, but unlike my pinkie, most of the pain was from the hit and not whatever venom was inside. The burning pain was milder. I was about to say let’s get out of here when I suddenly saw Nigel jump too.

We began to make a hasty retreat but while waiting for Nigel to turn and retreat, I was hit again, this time on my hand and it was then I saw it.

It was a wasp. A tiny little black wasp. The kind that seems to be quite common Singapore. Maybe if you know what it is you can comment down below. I would be interested to know.

On discovering who our attacker was, we were simultaneously relieved and then alarmed.

We sprinted (jogged really) back down the trail to what we felt was a safe distance before slowing down to a fast walk. We kept a keen eye on every single tree that we had to pass, climb over, or crawl under. I made use of Nigel’s nervousness to startle him a few times by poking the back of his neck with my still assembled fishing rod.

Unlike my face or the area on my hand that got hit, my pinkie was beginning to swell and felt like it was throbbing. It felt very hot and it hurt when I touched it.

 

I was concerned that I would not be able to drive properly but alas it turned out ok.

While retreating, we made the decision to fish at continue fishing at Pandan Reservoir.

To add to the day’s excitement the fuel cap release lever broke while I was filling up petrol while on the way to Pandan. We also learned that yelling out the word wasp or using it in anything other than extremely calm voice was impossible. It was a tongue twister.

Evidence of the thrown coffee still remained when we reached the reservoir.

Pandan was predictably dull for me. I prefer technical casting such as casting under trees or alongside branches. Pandan doesn’t have that.

I was pleasantly surprised though that the PUB had opened up a very large portion of the reservoir for fishing.

When my pinkie was finally well enough for me to at least begin light fishing, a few hours had passed (the entire wasp attack fracas was over and done by 9am at the latest).

We walked quite a bit and fished for most of the legally fishable stretches of shore but caught nothing.

I met this guy, Faizal, who did manage to catch this pretty decent PB though.

We explored the area a bit more before calling it quits.

We came across a couple of guys fishing just beyond the legal area but we didn’t take pictures. They were only just within the no fishing bounds.

Shortly after running into those guys, my shoe began to give way. I did manage to fix it but because the glue was in my vehicle, and it was quite far away, and the sun was beating down something fierce, we just decided to end our Pandan fishing session.

We again ran into other fishermen but this time, they were foreign workers who were running a net across a small drain near the reservoir. Apparently, when the tide changed, fish would swim in and through the drains.

While hanging around and watching them to see how they did it, we decided to spend the rest of the day exploring and looking for new fishing grounds.

We found quite a number of potential spots and eventually even came across Kranji Marshes (no fishing there though).

Even the canals had fish (again, no fishing there either) and there were signs of humans walking in them.

After scouting out our last spot, we headed over to a popular local fishing pond to check it out (Neither of us are great fans of fishing ponds).

We called it a day soon after. Despite the poor fishing, the excitement from exploring new places more than offset the disappointment we felt.

Hopefully we have better trip next time.


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.

Kayak Camping with Nick – Updated

Shawn/ August 7, 2016/ Kayaking, Pulau Ubin, Wild Outdoors & Camping/ 0 comments

Edit: Post has been updated because I found a few more pictures.

Having seen the potential in the adventure that Hendrik and I had had previously, Nick was keen to experience one himself.

So he and I hatched a plan for another kayak camping trip. Hendrik, unfortunately, was unable to join.

Like my previous camping trip, this one did not involve fishing just yet as it was an experimental trip. Nick did bring his fishing rods and crab traps though.

When we reached the spot, Nick wasted no time in cooking up his dinner.

Those prawns were from his previous netcasting sessions.

That’s still his meal, and his beer. He offered me one though and it was surprisingly nice to have a beer in the wild outdoors.

So one of the reasons I wanted to do this was to test out building a bushcraft chair.

I made this!

Using some old planks I found lying about and some branches that were on the ground, I made the chair. It was fairly stable. It only wobble slightly from left to right because I couldn’t drive the stakes into the ground far enough as it was very rocky. I could have made it perfect by adding a cross brace across the 2 stakes but alas it was very late by the time I got this done.

Somewhere around 8pm-ish, Nick set off again to set up his crab traps.

He only brought 2 along.

He caught nothing that night.

As Nick didn’t bring his hammock and his tarp was way too small, I set up my spare hammock for him and rearranged my tarp.

Another reason for me to launch was to test the usability of more mods I made on my hammock.

I made these hammock pockets. It was good except for the fact that it was too tight to be comfortable, it would occasionally tear at the seams, and tended to collect water. So I later replaced the material with a pair of old jeans.

Nick was having trouble with my spare hammock so he eventually opted to just sleep on the floor.

Morning eventually broke and we had a slow breakfast.

There were many many sandflies that night so when morning came we went straight home.

 


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.