Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Queenies of Port Dickson

Waiting for the wind to die down
It's not everyday that you find top class fishing destinations for Queenfish so close to home and I was pleased that nearby Port Dickson did just that. Located about 3 hours away from Singapore by car, Port Dickson was just in between Kuala Lumpur and Malacca. My expectations weren't great for this fishing trip and I managed to piece together a day light jigging trip to do some field testing for hybrid versions of the Baktao Lollipop Micro Jigs.

The place where we launched from was filled with other fishing charter boats - mostly center consoles and some extra large sampans. It was a rather windy day today so we had to wait for the wind to subside. The people here were adamant it would so I just mucked along and prayed for the best.

Most of the captains looked like they were expert jiggers and as everyone gathered to wait for the wind to die down, you could feel the heartbeat of the community here. It was raining, it was windy, it was a Monday morning and yet men (and women) gathered here, shared coffee and talked about the last big catch. This was very different from some of the other places where competition is really stiff and everyone's all touchy with one another (especially spots). I played the curious reporter a few times and I asked around on whether fishermen here use live prawns. The answer was they never had to because the ocean provided everything. They further explained that during the day, all they use are live bait-fish caught by traditional sabiki and during the night, they would scoop squid. With the advent of metal jigs, it was even easier for them to get the fishes here. Tall stories of huge spanish mackeral, giant groupers and big jenahak (ang chor) were tossed around. It felt real.

It's launch time!
Our boat was launched using the boat captain's vehicle and true enough, the wind was gone! Our first spot was going to be a sunken tanker wreck and the possibilities kept ringing in my head. What were we fishing for?

Rain was clearing. Calm waters ahead!
I probed around as the boat rode the waves and I got some answers and even more questions. Apparently, the tide was suitable for top water fishing and top water column jigging now as the change in tide and water pressure would push fish like the talang (queenfish), spanish macks and GTs up into the surface. My guide explained that this was just how it works near the wreck and bait-fish would be crammed up to the top. He even went on to suggest that top water was the way to go here.

Baktao Lollipop scores the first talang

Took on surfacing skimming!
And the frenzy was on

They hit the micro jigs left right centre!
Got bored and changed to duel hardcore
Double hook ups!
The sharks and barracudas were also up and about...
As we circled the spot in order to find the best drifting location, the captain and guide were rigging up rather interesting lures. On a closer look, they were freshwater rubber frogs with the propeller! Now this was going to be interesting...and I was right. It took only the third cast for me to hook up with a decent sized talang. The take was very interesting because we could see the fish swimming slowly around the top with the fins actually sticking out. These fish weren't sick though and I found much joy in casting the jig behind them and zipping it across at lightning speed. They got very agitated at this method and they would suddenly lunge out at the jigs! And well, they say, the rest is history and we landed more than two dozen queenies before we called in a morning. Popper, minnows, jigs, frogs all worked as they fish were in a frenzy. When the fish are in a frenzy, it's always a good time to do some field test for the jigs and although they were taking almost anything, they did have a slight preference to the rainbow or full coloured lollipop jigs. Single colours like green and silver worked too but to less effect.

As we ended the morning session and had lunch, I was briefed that our next mission was slow pitch fishing for bottom species. This excited me as slow fall fishing was picking up in Singapore. The bottom fishes to expect were namely two kinds - jenahak (ang chor) and groupers. Best colours were said to be pink and green. The waves were picking up again though as we drifted along the channel searching for the elusive bottom species. The terrain was not very rocky but it was had really high drop offs.

Took on slow pitch off the bottom
No luck though and conditions were really getting tough. The rainbow slow fall jig hybrid did catch a good fish close to the end and it was a huge disappointment because it was another queenie! That was really unexpected as it took the jig very close to the bottom. We were all expecting a snapper or a good grouper...

Well, no matter what, good things do have to end and we ended early as the rain started falling down on us...

Beautiful Port Dickson

Baktao Lollipop and Ice Cream Micro Jigs are currently in stock and you can find them at Bakgal's fishing shop.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

3 ways to give a boost to your fishing catches using tenya jigs

How do we effectively use the tenya jig the right way is something many people ask me. Of course, everyone knows that we use a live prawn here and we drop it to the bottom of the seabed. Most fishing folks do that and already catch fish with the tenya jig. So what's really so special about it? Well, in my humble experiences with the tenya jig, I found there are three ways to "accelerate" the bites and get more fish.

Before you go into the the three ways, learn how to hook a live prawn on the tenya by watching this video.

1. Cast and bounce 

A very common way that most people use is using the tenya to cover more ground. This often happens as the boat is drifting. Casting the opposite direction to where the current is heading will give you good ground to cover. As the tenya returns to you, lift and bounce( releasing line after the lift) to try and locate the snags and caves in which the fishes are hiding in. Snag rate is high using this method but if you're on light tackle, you should be able to navigate through the snags well. It's best to do this at the front or back of the boat so that when your tenya returns to under the boat, you can swap over to the other side and continue bouncing. If you're at the middle of the boat, you'll have to recast.

2. Let it drift 
Letting the tenya drift is very versatile and you can do it whether the boat is anchored or drifting. Generally, what it means is that you let the current carry the tenya across the bottom. If you are anchored, simply fish in the direction of the current and drop the tenya. The current will carry your tenya further once it reaches the bottom. Release line occasionally to let the tenya stay at the bottom as it needs to be at the bottom to be effective. If you are drifting, do the same thing but be more mindful of snags as terrain will change much quicker. It's like madai fishing but more sensitive to bites. When you use this method, ensure you're at the back or front of the boat and that you don't cross line with others.

3. The big drop 

I never thought this would be a proven method but I tried it many times and it works wonders. This method is also why most anglers say "goalkeeper" or taken on the drop. What I do is that I crank a few rounds and lift the tenya 15-20ft off the bottom. I then open my bail arm to let the tenya drop onto the seabed. When you do this, you stir up alot of grit and sand on the seabed and this can attract fish since you'll be displacing coral, organisms such as worms and so on. Another reason why this works well is that if the boat is drifting, you'll be "dropping" into potential strike zones such as coral patches, caves, natural rock crevices and drop-offs. This method is more effective when the boat is drifting. If the boat is anchored, you'll be "dropping" on the same area unless you move around the boat. To operationalise this method while drifting, simply crank 5 rounds, then drop it back. Repeat repetition about 5 to 10 times a minute. It's more effective when you alernate between bouncing and dropping.

Need some Tenya jigs that are effective? You can get some from Bakgal's carousell shop.

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