Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to Fight/Hookup Common Changi Offshore Fishes

These are the common fishes of Changi that i encounter on my trips. You will encounter most of them too. Please take the guides as a GENERAL GUIDE only. The writeups are based on my PERSONAL EXPERIENCES ONLY and if you have any amendments/improvements, do let me know =D

Chermin a.k.a Zhao Min a.k.a Diamond Trevally
Bottom: Sandy with a little coral. Steady current flow preferred.
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns, Light Poundage/FC Leader/ Rang-gongs/ Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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Normally, when a Chermin hits... It is always auto hooked because of the ferocity of the Chermin. You will hear your drag go out and your rod bend viciously. The Chermin is a good runner so because of this, make sure your drag is suitable and that you allow the Chermin some time to run before it is tired...

When it is tired, pumping it in should not be a problem. You'll encounter some resistance but the battle is half over... Net the Chermin properly as they can struggle alot.

When you encounter a Chermin, it might not be the only Chermin of the day. There will be groups of Chermin hanging around together so do stay on alert!

Also note that when a kaki hooks on to a suspected Chermin, the surrounding kakis should reel in their line to avoid entanglement

Fighter rating: 8/10


Golden Pompret a.k.a Jin Chang a.k.a Kim Chio a.k.a Permit
Bottom: Good condition water with food source such as oysters, mussels nearby
Best Bait and Rig: Live Small Prawns/Peeled Prawn Meat, Light Poundage/FC Leader/ Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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The GP is a beautiful fish which is often found in good condition water with structures and food sources such as oyster/mussles(their main source of food) around. They feed on crustaceans like crab and prawn. They also normally come in schools so when you hit one, it is likely that there are many around! Their first burst is very powerful and a common tactic of the fish is to swim up straight. This will cause you to think you have lost the fish but in fact the fish is still there! Many fish have been lost by throwing of the hook in this way. Remember to use small hooks because these fiesty fishes have small mouths!
Fighter rating: 8/10


Giant Herring a.k.a Tek Ngor a.k.a Tenpounder a.k.a Ladyfish a.k.a Kurau Tebu
Bottom: Sandy, Sometimes Shallow Water
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/Live Baitfish/Dead Baitfish/Dead Prawn, Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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Same as the Chermin, the Giant Herring will normally auto hook itself because it takes the bait extremely fast. There can be two scenarios. One is that your drag goes out and your rod bends and one is that the Herring is swimming up to jump.

If it swims to jump, make sure you keep your rod down so that the herring will not throw hook.

The second scenario is that the herring will keep taking out line from your rod and you will be in for the ride of your life. Play a cool game, keep your tension good and tire the fish out...

When you encounter a Giant Herring, it might not be the only Herring of the day. There will be groups of Herring hanging around together so do stay on alert!

When encountering a Giant Herring school, all hell will break loose so best of luck. You will not be able to reel up your line to avoid entanglement with your kaki's line because most probably all rods will go down if encountering a herring school. This means, everyone is fighting a fish at the same time... And believe me... The Herrings will take you for a ride... Those who encounter Giant Herring schools should know what i mean.

Also note that when a kaki hooks on to a suspected Giant Herring, the surrounding kakis should reel in their line to avoid entanglement

Fighter rating: 9.9/10


Grouper a.k.a Gao Heur a.k.a Kerapu
Bottom: Deep Rocky, Coral, Wreck waters.
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/Baitfish Whole or Cut, Running Sinkers/HK Hook for bouncing off snaggy areas/ Paternoster


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One of the most boring fishes of the sea... The grouper will feel heavy and you will encounter some light resistance. You will feel something big struggling at the end of the line.

Groupers will sometimes dive into rocks and if you do not get the fish out of deep water as soon as possible, you might find your line sangoat... In this case, you either use brute force to get the grouper out or you bide your time...

Therefore it is highly advisable you reel the fish out of deep water as soon as possible to avoid this scenario...

Fighter rating: 3/10


Snappers a.k.a Ungah
Bottom: Can be snaggy/sandy with uneven bottom and deep dropoffs
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/Peeled Prawn Meat, Running Sinkers/ Paternoster, Light Sinkers preferred. Slight bouncing and fancy beads/red line tubes work wonders


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One of the most common fishes of Changi, the snapper will prove great fun for first time anglers. It gives a reasonable fight and can be easily found. Small snappers can be hard to hook up... This means changing to a smaller hook or striking quickly...

Signs of snapper eating are prawns with missing heads/tails... Half eaten prawns... etc...

Snappers also come in schools but the schools are becoming increasingly rare these days...

Fighter rating: 7/10


Guhood a.k.a Grunter a.k.a Gerut Gerut
Deep open waters with sandy bottom
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/Worms(Sarong, Wat Wat etc...), Running Sinkers for drifting/ Paternoster


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Also a very common fish, the Grunter feeds very silently and is elusive... But it is fairly easy to hook up. You might feel a small fish nibbly at your bait and you strike but sometimes up comes a big Grunter!

Gives a good account of itself and makes good eating...

Recommended that you use long snoods to target them...Somehow they prefer that....

Fighter rating: 6/10


Queenfish a.k.a Ikan Talang a.k.a San Bao Gong
Bottom: Deep blue open waters with baitfish
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/Live or Dead baitfish, Floater/CableCar(not recommended offshore) Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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Good fighter... But not as good as Chermins or Giant Herrings. Often will feel just a small nibble on your bait but the fish will take off once the hook is set.

Similarly, remember to reel up all lines if encountering a Queenfish as it can run all over the place and you might entangle your friend's line.

Also note that you do not need to use floaters or mid water rigs to target them. They are commonly taken on bottom rigs like Apollo or Running sinker...

Be careful of the spines on the fish.

Fighter rating: 7.9/10


Parrotfish a.k.a Eng Ko
Bottom: Coral, rocky areas
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/Peeled Prawn Meat, Running Sinkers/ Paternoster- Small hooks


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Very elusive fish found near coral beds. If you feel one of it, relax and have patience as they have small mouths. Wait for thr right moment to strike...

The Parrotfish makes nice eating but not alot of big specimens can be found at Changi waters...

One of my favourite fishes

Fighter Rating: 6.5/10


Barramundi a.k.a KBL a.k.a Siakap a.k.a Sea Bass
Bottom: Shallow, Chestnut coloured waters often near breakwaters or structures
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns or live/dead baitfish, Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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This infamous fish is commonly taken offshore but can only be found near the shore and near breakwaters. If a Barrumandi is in the water, it will probably mean a near instant hookup once you lower your prawn.

When fighting this fish keep tension loose as the gill plates and rough mouth can rub against your leader and burst it. Play with the drag and the fish will soon be up..

Sea Barras are excellent eating...

Fighter Rating: 8.5/10


Stingray a.k.a Hang Heur a.k.a Pari
Bottom: Sandy/Muddy large open areas in deep water
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/Kelong Sotong/Worms/Peeled Prawn Meat, Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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A common encounter in Changi waters, the stingray will often dash out in a straight line once hooked. The fish may run from the back of the boat to the front non stop so make sure your drag is suitable...

Then it is a tug of war... Well this tug of war hard to describe but you must remember to water your reel. Someboat mans attach sinkers to your line to persuade the stingray to come off the bottom if it is stuck... Or they "twang" the line. In my opinion, these two do not work...

The best qualities you must have when fighting a ray... is a calm brain, a strong body and a patient heart...

Note that stingrays do take live prawns too... So you do not need to use fish/sotong/worms to particularly target them...

Fighter rating: 7/10


Cuttlefish a.k.a Bak Tao
Bottom: Slow currents, fairly deep water
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns, Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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Have decided to post a writeup about this commonly encountered creature of Changi waters. The cuttlefish is commonly caught as a bycatch by anglers using live prawns for bait.

Often, they normally take the bait silently. If the rod is put in the rod holder, one can see the rod taking steady but slow "nibbles". This is because the cuttlefish is grabbing on to the prawn and trying to make off with it.

If you rod is in your hand, you might feel a slight tugging and something heavy at the end of your line.

Either way, the correct way to effectively fish a cuttle fish up is to slowly reel up your line once you have confirmed it is a cuttle fish at the end of the line. Standby the net once the cuttle fish surfaces and net it!

The reason for doing this is because most cuttle fish are not hooked and if you do not use a net, it will drop into the water. If it is dropped though, do not panick but instead lower your prawn down again. You will notice that the dumb creature will attempt to steal your prawn again!

Fighter rating: 1/10


Kaci and Ang Go Li
Bottom:Coral/Rocky Outcrops and sheltered areas
Best Bait and Rig: Peeled Prawn/Live prawns, Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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I noticed these two fish often are caught together as in they hang around the same area. Ang Go Li s are often caught off fishermen's bank @ Changi and their nibbling of bait is a sign of the big bite to come. They will nibble first but the trick is to stay patient and wait for them to gobble up the prawn. Then you will be amazed at how such a small fish can pull your line. Same goes for the Kaci.

When all else fails when targetting this species, change to SMALL live prawns or peeled prawn meat.

Both are good fighters and make excellent eating although the kaci tends to get "lor kor" meat when it is bigger around 3-4kg...

Note that the Ang Go Lis will come in schools and will feed around the same area. Often caught when drifting.


Threadfin Salmon a.k.a Ngor Heur a.k.a Kurau a.k.a Senagin etc

Bottom:Coral/Rocky Outcrops, Breakwaters with baitfish/structures and Metal pillars/structures etc and deep blue waters with fairly strong current
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/kelong Sotong/baitfish, Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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Schools of Senagin have been seen cruising the waters of Changi and CRs have appeared with Senagins caught by the lots. Dont be fooled by this fish. It MIGHT take the bait lightly and just nibbling...A strike will send it sprinting. This fish is said to let to the bait when it encounters any weight resistance so a light wait will help...If not, let go some slack and wait for the right moment to strike. A hell lot of anglers have been fooled..Thinking just a small fish is nibbling...

Triple Tail aka Pah Tee Po
Bottom: Breakwaters with baitfish/structures and Metal pillars/structures etc and floating debris/rubbish
Best Bait and Rig: Live prawns/Baitfish, Unweighted Rig/ Running Sinkers/ Paternoster


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Note that Tripletails are RARELY if ever caught in open blue waters. They will always prefer sheltered areas with snags/debris

The tripletail is a strange fish. When it is small, it will live in estruarys and it will come out into the open sea when it is large enough. It survives by floating pass like a dead leaf by using its body. In this way is camoflages itself and stalks prey. It also enables it to hide from predators. Normally, once these fish have found a home to settle down, they willl remain there for long. Where do they live?

Tripletails LOVE places with alot of snags/structures and even floating rubbish! Many a tripletail have been caught casting near rubbish or snags.

Most of the times, it will not be one or two in a structure/rubbish but a school as most of them congregrate around a good spot. Normally, the bait is taken when the fish sees it. This means, sometimes the bait need not even reach the bottom. Once the fish takes the bait, a violent tug of war ensues. Make sure you keep the line taut and do not let the fish run into the snags..

The Tripletail is a fish valued for its eating value too. It fetches exorbitant prices in Taiwan etc. Very amusing to me as its a fish which lives near rubbish most of the time.

Note that Tripletails arent shy and it will take the bait a second time even if it is hooked before and burst line. I caught a tripletail once with 3 hooks inside the mouth burst off from my friends. Ha ha ha.

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