Saturday, July 4, 2009

Basic Introduction To Prawning

Foreword and Disclaimer
My first encounter with prawning dated back in 2002. Back then, i hooked up my first prawns at Pasir Ris... There is one chalet(Isit downtown east?) and they are one of the first prawning ponds around. I think back then it was beginners luck. It was so easy i thought. I knew i was wrong when i revisted prawning again!

But slowly, through hardwork and observation, i began to hone my prawning tactics and after today's session of almost 70-80% hookup rate, i proclaim myself graduated from newbie stage to amatuer stage. Therefore, i would like to share with the others here my prawning tactics and experiences.

But a fair warning though... Prawning is addictive and it can only get worst. When you are a newbie, you want to hook your first prawn... You want to get your first 10pcs... When you graduate you want to hit 30 in an hour... Next is 50 in an hour... Im now stuck at the "Beat The Timer" stage. Trying to get around 40 prawns an hour which means 3 prawns per 5mins.

Prawning Equipment
Basically you need a prawn rod, floaters and hooks. Do not get those short rods as you are not able to reach a greater area, there is also less leverage when striking the prawns. Get the hooks with long gape. Those are prawning hooks and they make it easier to hook the prawn.

If you do not have the equipment, do not fret... Most prawning locations provide rod and bait FOC to you so there is no need to worry.

Baits UsedCommon baits used in prawning will be cockles(hum), chicken liver, mollies and so on. I have heard of earthworms being used too. Bait will be provided if you go to the prawn ponds but best to check with them what they are providing as it might not be up to standard. Common baits provided are hum and chicken liver. You will need a pen knife for slicing the baits into nice sizes.

How to Hook Up A Prawn- STEP BY STEP

First StepHere is the most important part of my sticky. Hooking up the prawn. The first and most important step is to make sure your bait touches the bottom of the pond because thats where the prawn is! This is very easy to accomplish. Use your prawn rod and insert it into the pond tip first all the way down. Once you hit the bottom, make a mental mark on your rod on where the water level is. This means the pond is that deep. Using that mark, adjust your float accordingly so that you have a suitable length of leader for reaching the bottom.

Second StepThe second but often neglected step is to hook the bait properly using the prawning hooks. Cut a piece of bait up. Make sure its not too big and hook it on the tip of the prawning hook. Don't worry about the exposed shank. The trick here is to hook the bait until a little tip is exposed. It is more efficient this way when you set the hook. Too big a bait or if the bait or wrongly hooked, hook ups will be less better.

Third Step
Now you are all ready to put your bait into the water. Your float should be floating like a float and not sideways or sinking. Once you feel your float bobbing up and down or something is pulling it, this is the time to get ready. A big prawn will take the bait and it will feel very heavy(Big prawns are like this. They will be very heavy and will not move much). Slowly lift the line and make sure your line is directly below your rod tip. Which means you position your rod on top of the prawn. Once you feel all this is done, raise the end of your rod and the tip should bend lower. Make sure line is still tight and strike upwards deftly with a flick of your wrist. The prawn should be hooked up now.

You lift the line and feel little resistance or the prawn is running with your bait, do not worry. It is likely a small prawn. Small prawns are very hard to hookup as they are spooked easily and normally run with your bait like a fish. In this case, let your line go and offer no resistance to the prawn. Once it has stopped running, lift it up slowly. It should now feel the same as a big prawn but less heavier. Repeat the same steps. Note that small prawns will be harder to hook up and there will be alot of frustration.

For small prawns, it is possible to use another technique which is less successful but also workable. When the small prawn takes off with your bait, strike immediatley. Make sure you do this fast and swiftly. The small prawn may get hooked up at the tip of the Prawn's head area.

If you are fighting a big prawn, always remember to not be so forceful and try to lift the prawn up immediatley. Let it struggle and slowly lift it up. When bringing prawns up of the water, always note, there will be a change in resistance. NO MORE water resistance means the smaller the prawn is when it comes up, the more chance you will have of your rod shooting up to the roof. Ha Ha Ha.

Finding Prawns
Now that you know how to hookup a prawn, the next is finding a prawn. Prawns do not always come to you just like that and most of the time, one must be hardworking. A good way to do this is to drag your float and bait around the pond especially around corners, pumps, deeper regions of the pond. If you encounter a prawn, your float will submerge. Do not continue dragging your float. Instead, let go and try to hook the prawn. Make sure your rod is always directly above your line. Now, prawns stick together and if you encounter one, there is a good chance that many will be around the same area. So try the same area! I noticed big blue mountains love deep regions and the center of the pond. They tend to congregate around each other.

Handling PrawnsYou finally have your prawn. How to dehook a prawn??!?!??!! Easiest way is to get a cloth and wrap the prawn while dehooking it. If the prawn has long pincers, one way is to break them off first and dehook. At first, it can be pretty squeamish but you'll get used to it. Note that pincers of the blue mountain prawns can prick! If you are pricked or the pincers are clamped onto your fingers, do not force them by pulling at them! It will tear your skin off! Instead, you can try breaking the claws off and removing them or you can also tap at the pincer and the prawn will loosen it's grip.

Prawning EthicsPrawning ethics are important in prawning especially in a crowded pond. Dont leave your bait lying around. Dont discard broken pincers all over the place and most importantly, stick to your area. When someone is fighting a big prawn, you might want to shift your line away from that guy as big prawns can run around the pond alot.

When to Prawn?
When to prawn is also a very good question in prawning. In general, prawns tend to bite less when the water is not clean or they are not used to it(e.g cleaning of pond, new chemicals introduced into pond).

If they are just released into the pond, it will take some time for them to adapt to the pond and start biting. There are also timings when the prawns do not even bite. For me, i use a timing scale. If people near me and me do not hook a prawn up within 5-10minutes, i will leave and come again another day. Certain prawn ponds like Bishan Haibin Prawning allow you to leave and come again another day to claim your remaining time. Better to come at a time when the prawns are biting then to prawn there like an idiot.

That's all folks! This is almost all i've got to share and although the tips here may not prove useful to a pro, i am sure it will be informative for the newbies. Having said this, always try out your own techniques and use my guide only as a reference. Different folks, different strokes!

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Anonymous said...

Was an interesting article, thank you..

Anonymous said...

Hey man! thanks!

Anonymous said...

Good and interesting information.. Now prawning is clearer for me.. Thanks!..

Anonymous said...

Having read your post sort of made me addicted & try again. Was so frustrated when i could only hook up 1 in an hour.

Nigel said...

Good luck on your prawning!!!

Anonymous said...

small hook better or big hook ? please advice thanks

Anonymous said...

small hook better or big hook ? please advice thanks

Nigel said...

big hook

rose said...

hi, i am a newbie at prawning (done it 3x so far and my catch rates have been pathetic!)

was wondering if you still go prawning and if you go to bishan! would like to learn from you in person! haha

Nigel said...

sure ;) u can add me at facebook and just let me know when you are going and we'll see how then ;)


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