Tag Archives: shark

Pulau Semakau

Shawn/ February 11, 2012/ brackish water, saltwater, Singapore/ 0 comments

Semakau was not what I expected.

It was neither as majestic nor as magical as I had expected or had been told to expect. Nevertheless, it was fun and I managed to hook up a few fish.

I arrived about 5 minutes late but nevertheless we hung around the meeting area for another hour for reasons unclear to me. After signing the releases (which conveniently required us to provide our personal details), and waiting another 20 minutes at the jetty for the boat to arrive, we were off.

After the half hour boat ride, we waited another 20 minutes to rent the bicycles. Some of the guys got bored silly so fished straight off the pier while waiting for the bicycle man to arrive. After pumping up the tires and switching some spoilt bikes, which took another half hour, we headed off.

As far as I could tell, none of the gears on the bikes were working so some of us who were stuck in ‘first’ trailed behind while the rest who were stuck in ‘high gear’ were far ahead.

When I finally reached the spot, it was crowded. I gave up after a few casts and moved in deeper by myself, diligently exploring all the possible spots. The most action however seemed to be confined to the small man made inlets that connected the ‘pools’ and the ocean.

With some help from one of the other anglers there, I managed to hook up a malabar grouper just 3 metres in front of me, using a blue tobimaru. This was after he managed to hook up a barracuda and after another guy landed a small golden trevally.

After most of us spent most of the afternoon there, I moved back to the first spot but stopped somewhere in between. I changed to my favourite orange Yozuri Tobimaru.

All of a sudden, I saw a shark about a metre long which looked liked the stereotypical grey shark swimming just about a metre in front of me but a few metres to the left. I was standing in the water so I was making provisions to jump! But the shark swam calmly and slowly by. I was still acting like a boss on the outside so I was still fishing and by the time it swam in front of me, my lure was only about a metre away from it. I reeled in as fast as I could and just before it hit it, I stopped, readied by rod, and striked!

Because of all the time taken to do that and a lack of proper planning, I hit the fucker somewhere near the tail area, near the narrower part of the body between where the anal fin would be, and the tail. Feeling the hook, the shark took off at speeds my reel has never seen before! After a few seconds it slowed down so I tried to reel him in but this only reminded him of the pain and he took off again non stop for the next few minutes. I tried in vain to reel him in but because he was hooked in the tail, there was nothing I could do to turn him around. My 5Kg drag was doing jackshit to stop him. He just kept on going and going without even stopping to breathe.

Upon looking at my rapidly emptying spool, I attempted to palm the spool but it did nothing. On my third attempt, the line finally gave away and the lucky fucker which would have made a helluva catch disappeared into the depths of the ocean… with my favourite lure.

I took out a fag and lit up. Wondering if my lure would magically float up and return to me.

I finally gave up and changed to a tiny lure and I managed to hook up another small malabar with the lure moving at about the speed of a snail. It’s important to reel in slowly when fishing for groupers over rocky areas so that they think that they have enough time to emerge and bite. If you go to fast, the grouper is not likely to chase after the lure. There was a lot of surface action but I did not manage to hook up anything else. The rest of the guys still at the original spot were slowly cycling past and moving to the last spot of the day (or the first spot we passed).

I joined them shortly after.

Here, Neil finally hooked up a Golden Trevally, his first fish of the day. There was a lot of surface about a hundred metres to our left but all of us were too lazy to go there. We finally called it quits about an hour later.

This spot is definitely not a fishing heaven that people seem to make out but it definitely is a spot with a lot of potential. I’ll definitely be going back there if I have the time.

In total, I lost about $45 worth of lures. A deep diver, a tobimaru and blue yozuri tobimaru.


Everything covered up but my hands.

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.

Codename U.S. (17th Dec 2011)

Shawn/ December 18, 2011/ saltwater, Singapore/ 0 comments

After attempts to cancel the trip threatened him with mutiny by his men, the CO eventually handed the reins over to me.

I called the boatman about 4 days before the trip to confirm a change of command but he appeared rather confused and at first suggested that he did not have any trips with Nigel before finally conceeding that he did. We also confirmed that the destination was for mano wreck.

1 day before the trip, I called up the old CO and persuaded him to rejoin the fold which took some convincing but he eventually did.

At 2.30pm, Nick, Nigel and me headed off to Changi Village to stock up on supplies and fill ourselves with sustenance. We were waiting for Malau and Oldman to join us but they eventually informed us that they would meet us directly at the marina.

At about 3.30pm, we headed off to the SAFYC and met Malau and Oldman at the carpark. We reached the boat at about 4pm.

Our spirits were high because we had planned this trip more than 2 months ago and also because this was our first time fishing at a wreck.

Oldman and Malau

I smelt something amiss though when I heard the boatman tell Nigel that we wouldn’t be going to Mano Wreck today due to the strong currents. I mean, we had seen the calendar and were well aware of the currents and we had confirmed the fishing spot with him. Furthermore, when I sneaked a peek at his fuel gauge, it was below the red line. He even told me that the trip had to end at 7am instead of 8am or later because he had another trip after ours.

Nick cutting the ribbon on his new rod

When he brought us to the baitfish spot, he also neglected to drop anchor and he had to repark the boat every minute or so. We caught a total of 5 baitfish all below 6cm, which was something around 20cm smaller than what we were expecting. Within 10 minutes, he decided to start the fishing.



Eupro Hammer Jig with Tiburon

Throughout the first half of the night, he drove us round and round in circles to spots within a 1km radius and all within 2-3km from the SAFYC (based on GPS logs). From around 2am onwards, he stopped changing spots.

I was the first to hook up with an Ang Cho. I looked really bad due to seasickness earlier in the day.

Ang Cho or Russell's Snapper

Followed shortly after by the boatman with another Ang Cho, Nick with a bamboo shark and Nigel with another Ang Cho.

Nick with bamboo shark

Ang Cho or Russell's Snapper

After that the water fell silent for a few hours. And then we started hitting countless Ah Sengs which lasted for the rest of the trip.

It got pretty boring so we took turns sleeping and chit chatting about funny topics. I snapped this picture of Nigel and posted it on facebook.

Nigel sleeping like a girl

But he retaliated by posting this on facebook.

Retaliation by Nigel with me sleeping like a girl

We were getting pretty peeved with the boatman who by now was fast asleep. I think the only thing that kept me from really telling him off was the fact that he cooked some broth for us.

The morning got ever closer and we started talking about politics and how Nigel was going to get home with no MRT service (MRT had announced that they would only start the service at 11am today) and almost towards the end of the trip, Nick broke his brand new rod’s cherry with a tiny baby gelama.

Nick breaking his rod's cherry with a tiny baby gelama

Nick breaking his rod's cherry with a tiny baby gelama

Unlike most other boatmen who would change spots the moment an Ah Seng was lifted from the water, this guy just kept on fishing. It was only because Nick and me were interested in eating the fish (thanks to Nick who made me realise just how nice this fish was to eat a few years earlier) that we did not say much.

When the morning finally came, we packed up our fish and were about to pay the boatman when he declared that his price was now $450 instead of $400. That really really ticked me off and so where I would usually just say a cordial thank you to the boatman, we paid him and just walked off. Not one of us said thank you or goodbye. In hindsight, I should have confirmed with him the pricing over the phone but alas hindsight is always 20/20.

All in all this was a disastrous trip with a not very good boatman who changed the spot at the last minute from mano wreck some distance away to spots just a few clicks away from our launch position.

I don’t really want to diss this boatman in case it was just a one off shitty trip but if there is any hint to give, it’s that the U in U.S. stands for Uncle.

Known Tackle used:
Eupro Hammer Jig PE 3-6 + Tiburon Smart Shift reel (good budget reel) + 50lb Accubraid.
Eupro Exploder PE 3 – 6 + Daiwa Saltist 40H (Nick)

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.