Category Archives: freshwater

From the country that brought us Noodling, there’s Dip Netting.

Shawn/ June 30, 2014/ freshwater, News, Overseas/ 0 comments

From passing references in CSI on fishing in the Florida Keys, Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, and even full blown TV serials (Hillbilly Handfishin’) around a type of hand fishing known as Noodling, almost everyone knows that fishing is popular in the U.S.

Many of us in Singapore have used landing nets at one time or another to land big fish, catch bait fish, and sometimes squid.

But have you ever seen Dip Netting like this?

Moral issues and problems with privacy aside, perhaps it’s time to move.

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 Sangraal. 5 days later.

Shawn/ December 21, 2013/ freshwater, Luring, Singapore/ 1 comments

First, this post is going to be text heavy. The fishing was good enough that we didn’t take photos of many of the fish we caught… and by caught, I mean those we bothered to land and/or not lose.

After Kiat helped me with my dead van battery on our last trip here, we had to expedite this expedition. So we set it for just 5 days later. The weather was the same as the last time we were here.

Rain in the morning. That equated to better fishing for us. We knew where all the fish were when it was raining and the colder the water was, the slower they moved out to hunt.

As usual, Nigel and me stepped back as we let the newbies to the area try their hand at the first lagoon and to get used to the weird casting positions. As expected, they had a few troubles getting used to the terrain but they caught on quick.

They had a few misses and by the time Nigel and I felt that they were ready, the fish had begun to move out.

We made the few customary casts at the usual spots and moved on quickly, eager to get to where we “knew” the fish were. Unfortunately for me, my lure decided to stay in the water at one of these spots and I had to go for a swim… again.

The pace was slow and I was worried we were getting further behind the fish, so Weiyee and I expedited our journey deeper along the path. Kiat was about to join us when Nigel took over his spot. For reasons I still do not understand, the fish that had headed out to hunt, then returned to their homes. On Nigel’s first few casts at the spot that Kiat, Weiyee and I were fishing at only moments before, Nigel connected with a beautiful Temensis.

Fortunately for Kiat, he hadn’t advanced as far as Weiyee and I so he was able to return to where Nigel was. Weiyee and I were already on the opposite bank.

As was the case with last week, getting them to bite took some doing. As soon as they were about to bite, we had run out of space to move the lure. Fortunately for Kiat and Nigel, they were much better positioned and managed to get quite a few fish. Weiyee and I were literally casting between tree trunks and under branches that were about 3 metres in front of us and only half a metre above the water. Weiyee and I did our best but it was not good enough.

They were two distinct schools of Temensis. One small group made regular trips in front of Weiyee and me. One larger and more aggresive group hovered in front of Nigel and Kiat.

Eventually though, I moved on.

Up next was the log spot but it was overgrown so I moved to the right of it. There were at least three Toman schools circling the area but the terrain made it extremely difficult to lure there. Branches sporadically rose and dove above the water line and the only real method to guarantee a hookup, was to change to artificial frogs, but I had none. I did almost get one mid sized Toman but my Yozuri Tobimaru snagged on one of the branches and the fish immediately turned away.

When the rest started catching up, I took the opportunity to skip the next few spots and headed straight to one of my favourite spots. There were always Temensis here.

I casted out the tobimaru, and immediately hooked up a beautiful and fairly large Temensis. Unfortunately, Nigel lost it when trying to land it. I don’t fault him though. He had to do some stunts just to try to land that baby, for which I am grateful.

With my polarised sunglasses, I could see all the fish in the water, and there were many! A number of schools of temensis and tomans were swimming about, some separate, some together. Others were sitting stoicly in the water. When I recovered, I casted out again and hooked up a toman! Unlike last week where a toman was trying to steal the lure out of the PB’s mouth, this time round, a PB was trying to get the lure out the toman’s mouth, all while another temensis kept a close eye on the events proceeding, barely a foot away.

I kept the fish in the water because Nigel had to do a stunt again to land that baby and also because it was keeping the school of tomans and PBs nearby. +1 for polarised glasses.

By the time Nigel had landed my toman, Kiat’s lure was in the water and he was quickly rewarded with yet another temmy.

When my toman had been released I casted out again while weiyee prepared his tackle. The fish were still here and chasing my lure (another toman and a few temmys). When I brought my lure out of the water, I didn’t cast again though to make space for weiyee but then he decided to change his lure. By the time weiyee casted out, the fish were gone.

Often times, in the angling world, there are heavy debates on lure presentation. Most agree that tying a Flurocarbon leader straight to the lure increases bite rate. I agree with it as well but I often favour my quicker method. I pretie leaders about a foot long, with a snap on one end, and a swivel on the other. I then use a simple overhand knot (but go through the loop 8 times) on my main line (braided line) and connect it all together. If it ever snaps, I simply make the overhand knot with what’s left of my main line, and connect another spare leader. It makes dealing with snaps and line cuts much easier and quicker. It also makes changing lures very quick and easy.

If ever the fishing gets so slow as to warrant better lure presentation, I can simply switch over with a simple snip of the scissors.

We eventually moved on to the estuary spot (while fishing on the way) where historically we almost never get any fish. This time though, the fish had apparently swum here. School after school of temensis came in (not unlike a wave defense game) and they bit everythying from lures to jigs, and even flies. They were taking them all but at the same time it wasn’t exactly a frenzy.  I took the opportunity to break in quite a few new lures and was not disappointed.

Everyone was getting hits!



Nigel’s second

Even Weiyee was getting hits but he spent most of the time changing lures.

We couldn’t really be bothered with the camera after the first few fish.

Eventually, after overstaying our time at this place (Nigel had to head home early), we turned back as planned (despite the fish still biting) and we fished our way back.

Weiyee finally did land a Temensis though back at the spot where I caught my toman but he was alone and didn’t have a camera.

All in all, yet another great day of fishing at the aptly named, Sangraal.

CR: Countless!

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 Sangraal. 1 and a half years later.

Shawn/ November 12, 2013/ freshwater, Luring, Singapore/ 1 comments

How long does it take for a reservoir to recover?

The answer is, apparently, “less than 18 months”.

Scheduling mix ups (fishing and work related) and a general preference for getting out on the sea, meant that this trip was a near total fluke.

The planning convo went as follows.
Me: “I’m not working on Tuesday liao. Sangraal?”
Nigel: “Go.”

We woke up at about 6.30, and as has been standard operating protocol since antiquity, we pointed out the bad weather, promised to meet a little bit later instead, then went back to sleep.

This time though, it really was raining. It had been raining heavily since the middle of the night.

When we next woke up, it was 8am. Not too bad considering the weather.

Kiat, who was going kayaking with Alex, was stuck at Changi Village waiting for the rain to subside. He eventually killed some time by shopping before calling it a day at around noon.

We started to walk to the spot at 10 and when we reached it, we started to fish.

Imagine our surprise to find the spot teeming with fish. PB schools of all sizes, Toman fries, complete with mom and dad, and because variety is the spice of life, a few Kaluis. +1 for polarised lenses.

Within 3 casts, Nigel had managed to annoy the Toman mom enough, for her to attack his lure.

After a short fight, the toman managed to snag itself in the weeds on the opposite bank. A few hard tugs on the line later and she was lost forever. The line had snapped.

When it became clear she wasn’t coming out, I casted out a sasuke and had 1 or 2 misses (the fish, not me) and probably a baker’s dozen of chases. I could actually see the fish chasing it all the way to the shore. If anyone has played that horror classic Silent Hill, they behaved exactly like the nurses, with the only difference being they use sight instead of sound.

Before I could change to a tighter swimming lure (or indeed before I could even think of it), Nigel had switched to flies. Now flies have been proven to be a Peacock Bass killer quite a while ago but it was always for small to medium PBs.

Within a cast, Nigel had hooked up a pretty decent sized PB (probably about a KG or slightly more). Unfortunately, it threw the hook while it was being landed.

As I could see into the water, I directed Nigel to where the fish were and once he saw it, he casted.

Then another cast, another fish.

During this time, I was still trying my best to catch the remaining toman parent but it was moving away too fast and was uninterested.

We moved on when we couldn’t see any more fish.

Throughout this time, we had great difficulty getting the fish to bite. They would chase the lure all the way in but then turn away or simply stop when reaching the bank.

Without trying to sound too pompous, I believe that it was only our magic that allowed such a high hit rate despite the fish being so lethargic.

The fish were mostly clustered near the shoreline. With this in mind, you had to move fast to attract them, while not dashing so fast past them that they would not chase, then continue moving fast for long enough that they would have time to bite. Switching to a tighter action lure only helped a little, you still had to physically move through the water quite fast.

Even when they bit, they barely attacked the thing. Some of them hit the lure with their mouths moving as similarly as goldfish when they “breathe”.

Using flies instead of lures helped but it still required some skill and a general adherence to the above principles.

We walked to the next spot which was only a few metres away where I landed this baby.

The picture shown above was my first fish for the day (landed, I had a few hits and drops, and misses earlier). I had massive difficulty landing that thing (and other temensis at this very spot; there was at least 2 schools mixed up with biggies and smallies and another school or babies). I just didn’t have enough room to get them to chase long enough. They would chase it all the way in, then stop just before the shoreline. Then I had to start again and hope the rest of its school was still there. I only landed this after using Nigel’s rod and fly (after he refused to fish himself).

We stayed there for a while more before moving on to one of my favourite spots. This spot was open vertically, horizontally, had underwater structures everywhere. It was also where I caught a “big” temensis on a broken rod.

As expected, we knew where the fish where. They were literally right in front of us. I couldn’t entice a slightly larger (but silver) temensis and toman to bite (they did chase though) but I did get this guy. In fact, a medium sized toman was busy trying to steal the lure from this guy’s mouth (when we hit the spot the week after, it was a temensis trying to steal the lure from a toman).

I called Nigel over to witness the hilarity. Despite Nigel taking ages to saunter over, the toman was still in the water and another temensis had joined the fray. They were just sitting stoicly in the water with no hint of animosity between them. Before I could ask for help with a photo, Nigel had his jig (yes, he was fw jigging as well) in the water and hooked up this guy.

We eventually moved on to the trunk spot but didn’t hook up anything. Being able to see through the water, I actually saw no fish at all. After just a brief stint here, we turned back as planned. We fished the same ole spots, got a few more hits and a few more misses. The sun had come out by now and it was getting harder for us to locate the fish.

We had some fun with temensis babies on flies and jigs, as we were doing throughout the day before finally calling an end to a very successful mission.

Of course as luck would have it, when we reached my vehicle, I found that I had left my lights on and the batteries were now dead. I sought help in the form of a battery jump from a very nice taxi driver uncle but alas I suspect his cables were too thin.

So I gave a call to my dad and my brother but luck intervened again as they were not available at the time.

Eventually, Kiat came down and was able to help, but… luck stepped in again in the form of Kiat being unable to open his bonnet. He did get it open eventually.

Look out for my next post where we revisit the spot about a week later, this time with Weiyee and Kiat (yes, he came down to help for a reason! :D).

Me: Many adults. Tons of babies.
Nigel: Many adults. Tons of babies. 1 Lost Toman (snagged itself on the opposite bank).

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.