Monday, October 28, 2013

Singapore Changi Offshore/Boat fishing General Guide 2014!

Introduction
This is the very same Changi Offshore/Boat fishing guide that I did last time but it is now revamped with more details and presentation. They are based on my personal experiences with Changi Offshore Fishing since 2008. Please feel free to ask me any questions or details that you need but don't take the guide as foolproof or as a surety!

Schedule
Most Changi day trips would probably follow this schedule although you might want to arrange otherwise with the boatman!

Time (hrs)
 Activity
0800
Departure from jetty or Marina (e.g Changi Point Ferry Terminal)
0800 - 0830
Buying of live prawns from Pulau Ubin fish farm (skip this if you already have prawns)
0830 – 1700
Fishing
1730 – 1800
Back at jetty or Marina (e.g Changi Point Ferry Terminal)

Cost and Accomodation
Depending on the boat you have chartered, there will be limits to how much kakis you can have onboard. Usually, bumboats can fit a maximum of 12 people but ideal comfortable arrangement would be 6 - 8 kakis. Not all bumboats are of the same size but the ideal total pax for below more common Changi boatmen are recommended. These numbers are recommended based on comfort and cost so you can be flexible here!

Boatman
Ideal Number of Kakis (Min/Max)
Ah Chong
4/7
Ah Long
5/8
Ah Fong
5/8
Ah Soon
5/8
Ah Chai
6/9
Jimmy Lim
4/5
Uncle Dave
3/4
James
4/5
Ah Koh
6/10
Raju
5/6
Ah Bee
3/4
Abu Bakar
4/5
Zainol
4/6

Normally a bumboat from Changi can fit at least 8 people and a max of 12 people. However, not all the bumboats are of the same size and it is advisable that you check with your boatman first.

The cost of booking a boat differs from each boatman and you can refer below for price/contact page for Singapore Boatfishing contacts. Please note that prices may not be accurate and you are encouraged to contact the boatman directly for costs.

http://baktao.blogspot.sg/2008/11/other-singapore-fishing-contactsno-pics.html

Food, Drinks, Ice and Toilet
Charter captains/boatman usually do not provide drinks and food for you so you will have to get your own drinks and food for the trip. However, certain friendly boatmen such as Jimmy Lim from Punggol Marina actually provide drinking water so do check with your boatman if he does provide! It is also considered polite to bring some packet coffee/kopi for your boatman as a form of courtesy especially if you are his regular or first time on his boat.

Some boats would provide ice too or the Changi bumboats will go to the Pulau Ubin fish farms to get the ice. Same thing here, do check with your boatman on the ice issues! There will be an icebox provided by the boatman to store your catch so don't worry. If there isn't one, then flame your boatman.

Most of the bumboats that bring you out for fishing now have built in toilets. However they are not really that clean so it's always to leave your shit onshore! Check with your boatman if their boats have toilets. Of course, if you're an all guys team, the toilet is everywhere!

The Fishes
The common fishes of Changi waters are Snappers, Groupers, Stingrays, Barrumandis, Parrots, Grunters, Chermins, Queenfish, Giant Herrings , Sweetlips etc...

You can find out more about the various fishes of Changi waters below (with pictures and methods)
http://baktao.blogspot.sg/2008/11/how-to-fighthookup-common-changi.html

Bear in mind that the type of fishes will somehow coincide with the type of current and season chosen. There is no certain formula for this. As a general guide, I advise my readers that if you want to catch Groupers/Snappers, stick to neap tides (typically chinese calendar 9,10,11 or 23, 24,25 with a mid day low tide). If you want to catch Stingrays and pelagics, stick to spring tides (chinese 1, 2, 3 or 15, 16, 17)

The Spots
Spots are always changing due to land reclamation so there are no hard and fast rules. As a general guide, the boatman using bumboats can fish certain more sensitive areas better as compared to other fibreglass boatman. The key lies in their license differences and of course, bumboats are seen more as "work related" boats.

1. Fishing beside water breakers (Changi CP 7, Airshow breakers, Tekong breakers, Punggol breakers)
2. Fishing around Changi Naval base waters
3. Fishing around Hyundai areas
4. Near tekong sunken kelongs
5. Near ubin sunken kelongs/kelongs

Tackle
Recommended tackles are usually in the PE 1 - 3 range (e.g 10-20lbs, 15-30lbs rating) with recommended mainline of at least 10lbs braided with leaders of at least 20lbs dupont or 20lbs fc or 30lbs nylon with hook size 1/0.

In general your tackle should look like this:

Rod: Fast Action 5ft-6ft PE 1-3
Reel:Minimum 2500 Shimano sized reel
Main Line:12-20lbs
Leader:20-30lbs Dupont +10lbs for FC/Nylon
Sinker sizes: Mostly will use sizes 2-5 but bring along some big ones too just in case.


A fast action rod is very important as there will be ALOT of drifting in Changi boat fishing. If you have a slow action rod and react slow... You might find yourself cursing and swearing when you drift pass a coral/rocky area. This is because a slow action rod will not detect the "bounce" of rocks and hence, you can't lift up your sinker in time... As a result, your sinker will get stuck on the rocks/coral...

This is of course not a must do setup. I have seen before setups of 6-14lbs rod with 10lbs line landing Chermins! This is because sometimes, there might be no current at all and using a light rod will be sufficient as you do not need to use big sinkers.

But be advised though! Sometimes if you encounter strong currents, your small rod might not be able to take the load. I have used up to size 10 in Changi waters so far. Also, if you're using braided line instead of mono line, expect to use a sinker size of +2 compared to your peers who use mono line. This is because braided lines tends to "float" and drift out more easily as it is lighter.

Equipment Management
As this is an offshore trip, ALWAYS remember to wash your reel with warm tap water after the trip. During offshore trips, your reel will be more prone to the elements as the saltwater(on your reel) will be dried by the strong sun. This will cause the salt to form on your reel more quickly... So it is important that you wash your reel and oil if after a few trips.

If you are using mono lines for your trips, be sure to CHANGE the line every 2-3 trips as the strong sunlight and saltwater will damage your line and make it brittle. Your line may also suffer nicks and weak spots due to stretching or fishing at pillars.

If you are using braided line, wash the line and check for nicks(abrasion) in the line. Nicks at the mid part of your line are very common when fishing at pillars. If there are nicks, cut off your line until there is no more nicks.

All these steps are very important if you want to avoid losing the "big" one when fishing offshore...

Rigs
The usual apollo/paternoster rig or single hooked apollo with a longer snood should suffice. You can even try ranggongs/running sinker rigs if you wish. The normal practice is that the anglers use 1 hook per rig. This is so that the live prawns can last throughout the day. MOST IMPORTANT HINT here is to make sure your rig is at the bottom...And not dangling around the mid waters.

For brand/type of leader used... FC Leader is good for targetting shy fish like Chermin/Queenie/Threadfin Salmon. A good 30-40lbs would suffice. For Dupont line, get 20-30lbs will do. Its up to individual on what type to get. For Rang-Gongs, get Gu Gak or just the straw tubing type. Metal type not advisable. Rang-Gongs as a whole are not advisable to be used as alot of drifting will be done and boat will be moving alot. Chances are that your rang-gong will get messed up alot.

Baits
Normally, the boatman will bring you to the Pulau Ubin fish farm which is around 20 - 30minutes away from Changi Jetty to get live prawns which is $50 per 1.5kg. It is highly advisable you buy the prawns from the farm as they are of uniform size and you can choose what sizes you want(Small, Medium, Big). This is unlike tackle shops in which you might find tiny or huge prawns in your bait well. However, please request not to be given SOFT SHELLED PRAWNS a.k.a Ruan Ke Xia. These prawns die very fast...

You can also bring other bait such as dead prawn meat, sotong or fish meat if you want but to me, the most effective bait for day fishing is still live prawn because it can virtually catch ANYTHING under the sun.

Note that you can buy SALTWATER Ice at the fish farm for a good price of $2.50 a huge block.

Parking and Drifting
For me, very simple... For Parking(Anchor), If current is strong and consistent, i will probably use rang-gong with longer leader. If you are fishing at back of boat, how long also can. But front of boat remember to use shorter leader and bigger sinkers. Bait presentation will be excellent with a rangong and long leader.

For drifting, i avoid rang-gongs and go for the conventional apollo. The shorter snood length means less tangling of the lines. Drifting wise, its always good for you to hold on to the rod as you never know when you guys might drift over a rocky area. If you encounter some rocks, try to "bounce" on the rocks and lift your rod immediatley if you feel its dangerous(I.E alot of rocks). Look out for fish too!

Going Artificial
Want to lure? Jig? Good news there will be many spots that you can try out in Changi Offshore trips but these will be determined by the current because only certain spots can be visited with respect to the current. Sometimes you will be visiting metal structures/buoys(Jigging/Deep Diver), Tekong breakwaters(Luring) or deep blue waters like Changi Naval Base area(Jigging) and Sandy lagoon area(Luring) with corals/rocky outcrops.

If you are a luring fanatic, try madai/tai kabura jigs and micro jigs! They work!

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