Saturday, January 24, 2009

Succesful Eging Trip at Punggol Jetty

Hello baktaos!

Haven't been updating for quite some time as i have been busy...

Went squidding last night but the catch wasn't good. It was with luck that i managed to hit the last of the 20 squids that my mum wants for the steamboat. Here's the story...

I was still missing a few squits to complete the 20 that i told my mum i would get and decided tonight would be a good night. Tide would be moderate flow and i hoped to catch the early morning upcoming drift. It was a very suay start for me. The first thing i forgot was my jacket when i reached the bus stop. I left it at home. Well... I had no choice but to go home to grab it as it will be suicide without a jacket with the monsoon winds blowing in the night at the spot.

After grabbing my jacket, i miss my bus. And not only that... I missed my second bus and my train as well!

I was wondering if it is a sign telling me i should not go eging tonight... But i went anyway!

There were not alot of people fishing at the jetty but many lovers there. The first people i saw were an ah lau squidder and the famous cuda uncle. The ah lau squidder really put on a show when he saw me. Loading his blank like mad and the mono line fluttering in the wind. Ahhh~ Music to the ears. My ass.

After eging for 40mins i stopped and rest. Apparently the squits were not here. I changed my jig to my exori green which has never failed me before. Bottom wrecking time!

After a few strokes... I reeled my jig back to find a school of medium sized green eyes tailing the jig. Wow! But they were just following and did not want to take the jig. Then, i believed my Yamashita purple warrior would do it for me. Quickly brought up the exori and clipped on a Yamashita. I casted a few meters from the squids and did some walk the dog. Bam! The squid take was ferocious. I have never encountered such a fierce take... Perhaps these are horny squids?

The fierce take was followed by a extremely large cloud of ink. The squid was hauled up and the process repeated. Another squid was hauled up from the school before it swam off.

After this... It was DEAD SILENT as the tide ebbed away.

Then i saw a COUPLE doing some hanky panky...or so i thought. The "guy" in the couple actually was a girl... WTH? Lesbian party? Then their guy friend started joining in and touching them. It was no couple but a triple! I felt damn digusted and ate my peanuts...

5am...

The sound of the incoming waves crashed and my purple warrior was ready for the game. Explored everywhere and cast almost at all possible squid hideouts. Only managed to get one squid. But during the squidding i saw a big shadow behind my jig following. Everytime i reeled my jig up, it would swim away... But then when i was stroking it would follow again. On the next cast, i let my jig hang below me and i saw that it was a huge fish hiding behind the cover. WTFISH MAN!

Tried all methods to attract the fish to my jig but it simply followed and did not take. Sigh...

The next moment was a priceless one...

A big mud crab swimming near the shore was approaching and the fish swam behind it. With the fish swimming near the shore, i could finally determine what fish it was. A beautiful MJ...At least 4lbs in weight and a deep intense red. What a beauty... From the water, one can see the muscular back that the MJ had. This is totally different from when you bring the MJ up on land. When i saw the fish swimming in the water in its natural environment... It simply amazed me. It did not swim gracefully like the KBL... It was a stalker.

The mud crab instantly picked up pace and literally swam away. But the fish went in from the side and slammed into the crab. Some sand was thrown up but the crab got away from the fish. The fish went in for another take but this time the crab stood still with claws outstretched. The fish circled the crab and then swam off.

Crab VS MJ! Who would guess the unlikely victor was the crab!

Anyway, enough of crab vs mj... Here's my pic for the night!

Only 3 squits which were medium in size... Going into the pot this coming Sunday.

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Have a good CNY everyone! May this year be a good one!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

CNY Reunion Dinner Squid Harvest at Punggol Jetty

Still sore from a sucky Sunday trip, i planned to go eging tonight as i was damn itchy and i wanted to get more squids to add on from my previous trip for my CNY Reunion Dinner steamboat. This time, i was going to some secret spot that i believe have some squits.

Momok decided to join me i and i met him at the spot. I was there for around 5 minutes before momok came and he started setting up.

As he was setting up, i received an SMS from ^fishy^(the pro) saying he wants the Yamashit squit jigs im selling. Wow the moment i got the SMS, i hit a squid by the side... Kekeke! Thanks ^fishy^. I love you deep deep lah.

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Anyway, by this time momok damn poisoned liao faster setup and cast out. Kekeke... We casted around but nothing much then i saw this cute baktao floating by and cast out to it. It just grab the jig and won't let go. Kekeke...

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We tried awhile more and we hit some squids here and there but they are not in full force. Momok caught something interesting.

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We keep trying but seems like the squids are hanging around in the structures more so i worked my jig around the structures with slow crank and got a few here and there. Seems like today the squids not responding to stroking but slow crank is good for them. But like i said in my egi tip, slow crank is not easy especially for me as i have fast reflexes. In slow crank, you must detect the squid grabbing your jig. Today the squids grabbed the jig lightly and sometimes i could not feel the them. After they grab, you must wait awhile before you strike if you reel in or strike too early, the squid will let go.

I even managed to get one squid on my trademark sit down eging style. Wahaha!

End of the day, not so bad for some quick itch.

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Southern Island Fishing with Ah Eng (launch from Jalan Buroh)

Well this boat trip came about because me and Weiyee wanted to try Ricky a.k.a Ah Eng again so we finally got a sunday booking with him with the help of one of our kaki. This trip i had many old friends on the trip. It was nice to see them again after such a long time.

The place for boarding was at Buroh Lane near the Pig Slaugther house. The first joke of the day came when we told Sim that the place was near the slaughther house. When we reach we cannot find him and ask where he was. He said he was inside the slaughther house!!! Hahahaha!

Anyway, we went to board the boat by the small boat and wow it was a damn big boat. There was only 7 of us and we had lots of room to fish. Boatman warn us if the wind keep up there will be a bad catch but no choice we are already here so just chiong ah...

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When we emerge from the river, wow the wind was really super strong here and we can see white caps. It was a bumpy ride man.

Rest of the day was spent drifting but not a single fish as i believe the water was very cold even my sinker came up it was warm. But then i got my first ever cloudy grouper but too bad i could not release it. The fella went inside the rocks and i pumped it up too fast that when it came up it was already dead. Wakakkaaka!

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Although there is no fish, at least i saw some very old friends again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Evergreen Egi Bancho

Lure Haven has brought in the Evergreen Egi Bancho Squid Jigs. My dear friend Sticko has already grabbed a few. They're on sale at Lure Haven a $16 a piece. Go grab them now!

More information on the Evergreen Egi Bancho at Evergreen
http://www.evergreen-fishing.com/salt_lure/egi/html/egibanchou.html

Sadly... Couldn't find crucial information like sinking rate etc...

Some pictures




Monday, January 12, 2009

Taufik's Eging Writeup

In a part 2 to my basic eging techniques, Taufik has written an eging writeup which has extra information and crucial writeups on understanding eging rods and uses. Here's the writeup which i copied and pasted. His full writeup can be found here.

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I had earlier wanted to write a little something about eging techniques and the fundalmentals behind having such a long rod just to egi but after seeing such a detailed report on Nigel's blog, I've decided against it and in turn will be writing some additional informations and insights that were not touched on in his post.

Equipment requirement

I guess most of you guys would still be wondering why exactly are eging rods built so long and whippy. And one of the very 1st questions that would pop up in your head would be, "Do I really need such a long rod?".

Basically, the answer can be either yes and no. No you don't really need such a long rod for eging, but that depends on your preferred method of eging... be it vertical jigging or shoreline jigging. It all depends on your own preferences, terrains and situations. Lets touch on the different jigging methods that are often used for eging and the prefferred rod lenghts.

Vertical Jigging

Vertical jigging is best used in deep waters. Places where you don't need to cast out that far to target the squids at certain water levels and especially so, when the squids are just lingering around the area near the bottom directly beneath you. These places are usually on top of kelongs, water breakers, jettys, boats etc... basically any structures or platforms that are erected by the sea or above it. Usually, these structures are built at the shores or in the middle of the sea in deeper waters. And more often than none, the squids are just metres away from the vacinity, near the bottom. One good reason why the squids would choose to stick close by to these structures would be, for protection against strong currents, larger predators, natural covers and also as an effective source for food.

For these situations, a normal 6'0" rod would suffice. Cos a normal 7'9" eging rod would lack the maneuvaribility and finess needed for small enclosed spaces... a much better choice when the squids are directly below you.

Shoreline Jigging

Shoreline jigging on the other hand is best used in shallower waters. Along the beaches, breakwaters, or basically any structures or platforms thats erected by the sea. The main focal point of doing this is to "search" for the squids which may be lurking around the vacinity. Rocky clustered areas are usually the best places to look for squids. But, since these rocky clusters can stretch out for quite a distance along our shores, the need for a "search and destroy" tactic is required. For this, we need a longer rod for distance to cover as much ground as possible... while making use of the rod's height clearance as a leverage to minimise snagging.

For these situations, a 7'9" and above eging rod is much needed... where its considerable difference in height can be made used as an important leverage, increasing your chances for hookups while decreasing your chances of snags.

So its safe to say, that even though it is still quite ok not to own an eging rod but its also not a bad thing to have... depending on the situation. Next I will be touching on the blank characteristics of eging rods and its reasons for being so.

Eging rod characteristics

I bet a lot of you will find that eging rods tend to be whippy and somewhat flimsy. But given their considerable height, most of the eging rods in the market are quite light. Eging rods, given their height, are usually 2 pieced rods, with each pieces of equal lenghts. Their ferrules, or joints, are usually located in the mid sections... but there are some cases where the rod is designed with a butt joint, like jigging rods. The placements of these ferrules will ultimately affect the rod's action and characteristics but I won't be touching on that. I will however touch on their basic characteristics like blanks, handles and lenght.

Blanks

As many of you would have noticed, eging rods tend to be quite whippy and somewhat flimsy. Especially so for their tips, all the way down to the mid section. The top half of the rod is designed to be a "flicker" while the other half is its backbone which also aids in casting. The flicker half is designed as so, so as to aid in the jigging action... too stiff and it'll affect the squid jig's action... too flimsy and you'll need a more powerful stroke to get the desired "darting" effect. It also acts as a cushioning buffer against hard knocks and snags that the squid jig might encounter. The whippy characteristics of the blank softens the "blows" which in turn causes less damage due to hard knocks and prevents the squid jig from snagging hard onto something, be it corals, rock formations etc... prolonging your squid jig's active life. Not only that, it also softens the sudden jerk from having a squid taking your jigs while on the upward swing... dampening just enough pressure to prevent the barbs from ripping apart its delicate tentacles yet, giving a sound grip on them resulting in firm hookups, everytime.

Once the hookup is sound and firm, the lower part of the blank will take over the fight... while the top half absorbs any sudden jerks from the squid, preventing it from freeing itself from the barbs.

Handles

The handles are usually crafted out with EVA grips and are often just slightly shorter than the normal jigging rod handles to aid in the jigging motion while acting as a balancer. The EVA grips are usually thicker near the front end of the rod, when in some situations, the angler would prefer gripping the front end and not the reel seat to better balance out the weight of his setup which in turn minimizes his effort. A long and slightly heavy handle also helps to balance out the weight evenly, which is quite important when handling long rods... where comfort, weight distribution and lightness plays an important role.

Length

The usual lenghts for eging rods ranges from between 7'9" to even 10'0". The usual choices for our asian counterparts, ranges between 7'9" to 8'6". Any shorter will make it redundant, and longer will make it too much of a hassle to use. The usual guidelines for lenghts is "shorter rods; stiffer blanks and longer rods; softer blanks"... given that the line and lure rating stays the same. But the calculations and end results are always dependant on the end user... us.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Yozuri, Yamashita and Exori Squid Jigs Comparison

Flipping on the bed with many thoughts in the head yesterday night... So what the heck... Grabbed my tackle and soon walking to the bus stop. Mission was stress relief eging at old haunt... What to do. Nobody bring me fishing.

Reached the spot before 12am and what the heck. The water was very clear and bright due to full moon but it was helluva wind out there. Made a few casts but the wind made it difficult to control and the egi jig was being swept to shore. Gave up and sat down eating my potato chips. 30mins later i opened another pack of potato chips...

Finally the time came when it was downgoing tide. Water started moving and i tried my best to get the first squid of my night. It is not easy to get squids here anymore. One must know where they are and get the right technique to hunt them down. In the past it was lo jiak! !@#$%%#@!

Casted towards shore with the jetty stuctures being a main focus point. Technique used was stroking slowly. A hit was soon registered and i followed up with a strike... Eh... NOTHING?1?! Then i reeled up to find this beauty... Already dead when it came up. I guess the strike KO-ed it. Hahahaha!

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The squid was given to an Ah Lao for baiting...since he so desperately wanted it.

Casted at that area but no more takes. So i walked some distance away and tried the same area from a different angle point. This time from the rocky area. Clipped on a size 3.0 because rocky area will require a jig which can hold well if not it will get snagged easily if the current pushes it into the rocks. STroke and stroke... banging the rocks like searching for gaos... On the 4th cast halfway thru my stroking... Bam! And SQUID ON!

This Unknown Jig FINALLY PROVEN!
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Worked the rocky area a few more times before putting on my thinking cap and wondering where are they?!?! Hmmm...

Casted again and again... Slow crank fast crank whatever crank... NOTHING. Water stopped moving and i sat down to eat a packet of prawn crackers. Next target time was incoming tide at 4am. I couldnt sleep though and drifted in and out of reality.

4am... Wind stopped, tide halfway there, water calm. PERFECT.

i stepped up... Confident with my song and dance...

Stroke after stroke... I still continued casting, shifting angles and covering the stuctures and rocks. And still my song continued playing but without reward. Until i decided to do my legendary move... The sitting down eging stance with leg sprawled forwad. The ah lau fishing look at me one kind... With the out of this world face but i continue my stance...

First cast, 3rd stroke upwards... Rod bending! Wahahaha! It worked! But up came a... Baktao?!?!

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After that i tried one of my squid attracting techniques at this ground. I casted far out towards the rocky outcrops and did fast jerky retrieves with pauses. This retrieve is meant to attract all nearby squids with the movement. The squids will not take because it is too fast but they will chase. I looked out for any movement behind my jig and i saw a small squid chasing after the jig. Once i paused my retrieve, it swam back to its cover under the jetty. Looks like i must use a more kelong jig.

So they're hiding below the jetty? I thought to myself... Clipped on the Yamashita Egi Oh and did a sun wukong cast which landed just beside pillar 2 at the jetty. Wa piang... Goalkeeper...

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A total of 3 Goalkeeper squids more i managed to hook up and after that the school disappeared or all fished up.

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A few more minutes when i thought the action died down... All hell broke loose. Many squids seen darting on the water surface... Baktaos surfacing... I noticed the one thing that was changed. Tide was on the move, wind was zero and the current was towards shore.

Casted to a floating baktao and it grabbed the jig asap.

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But then, the wind started again and the perfect timing of the upcoming tide waves crashed against my fishing area. Clouds of sand and rubbish floated around leaving me shocked. No more squids!

Disappointed, i went to the shallows and played swirly twirly with my jig. Twirling it around the water surface and just day dreaming... Then BzzZzzzt... My rod gave a good bend and the "thing" went below the jetty before i could do anything. Thinking it was a fish, i locked my spool with my finger and gave a good strike... Which resulted in my jig flying out from below the jetty. Nabeh!

So next few seconds was curse and swear wondering whether that thing was a squid or fish. The following few seconds, i got back to reality and accepted what happened happened...

Then the "thing" darted out again... It was a big squid lah! This time, it did not grab my jig immediatley so i played a little twirly wirly and gave a mini twitch or two. It closed in... I moved my jig to its left and teased the giant... Thinking the prey was going to escape, the squid acted without pause. A second later, my whole jig was in its jaw area.

Knowing that the next few seconds will be priceless, i braced myself and gave a good set that the squid would feel deep deep... As drag was pretty high, the squid could only move backwards... Trying to get away but after pulling and struggling for awhile, it was soon brought me. And boy, i guess its my biggest local squid to date!

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A line up of the squids... Landed 11, given away 2. The remaining 9 is destined for reunion dinner with yours truly!

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Hope you enjoyed the writeup. I have no talent for this but i try.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Eging Techniques

Hi Baktao-rians

I have decided to write an egnig technique used by me so that people who want to take up eging can have a good start. I'm not any Japanese pro angler who uses eging rod and i don't really take note of the egi descent or rate of descent but i do all these just roughly and so far they are working for me...

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Let me explain how to get a squid first.

To get a squid, one must let the squid chase the jig and finally grab hold of it with its tentacles.

The second part is to set the hook into the squid. Sometimes, the squid auto strikes itself when it moves backwards but it is always best to set the squid.

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With these two parts fufilled, you will get your squid.

So how to we con the squid into taking the jig? Many factors like colour and action play a part but i will only elaborate about action.

In Singapore, there are 4 methods you can try in getting the squid. They are...

Slow Crank
This slow crank is what i believe tha Japanese call "zuru-biki". It is basically slow cranking the squid jig on the bottom of the seabed. The jig is slow cranked until the squid takes it and you can set the hooks in. It is an effective method for some and it is good if you want a slower pace of fishing.

Stroking
This is one of the most fundamental and important area of eging. I believe the Japanese call this method "Syakluri" To do stroking, it will be best to get an Eging rod as the rod will be able to let you work the squid jig better and also provide better sensitivity. Many people disregard this area but let me explain why it is the most important. You can cover...

*Different depths of the area which will result in higher chance as squids do not always stay at the same depth

*It is possible to work in a snaggy or rocky area and less likely to get stuck in rocks.

*By studying the action, sinking rate and having a good eging rod, one can work wonders with the jig and hit the correct depth where the squid are residing.

Stroking is the heart and soul of eging and even more important than the squid jig being luminous or top grade. But of course, we will need a high quality squid jig so that stroking produces a good action and sinking. The squid jig should always sink nose first and stand upright in a quality jig.

Vertical Jigging
There is another method you can try and it is called Vertical Jigging. The most commmon application of this method is boat jigging or pier/jetty. This is because the squid might be just below you beside the jetty pillars or even below the boat! In this method, one lets the squid jig sink to the bottom and slowly jigs it up. When the squid takes, one will note the depth and later on concentrate on that depth. Sometimes, the squid might be on the surface of the water!

Combination of the 3
This is a combination method of all slow crank/stroking methods i have explained. For example you can do slow crank for 10 cranks and in between those cranks you can have some stroking.

Action will OUTDO Colour Anytime

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How to Hook a Squid?
This is a question many newbies will ask. I myself wonder how to hook the squid when i first started eging. That is because i have many squids that take the jig and instead of doing a strike, i just reel it in. In the end, the squid falls off!

In most cases during stroking, the squid will take the jig on the pause and if this is the case, you will auto strike the squid during your next stroke. If you can feel the squid take on the pause, you can tighten your line and prepare yourself.

If the squid takes at the end of the stroke, what one can do is quickly lower the rod, reel in slack line and do another stroke immediatley. That will get the squid on the hooks.

In slow crank, it will be more tricky as one must feel the squid run off with the jig before striking. Reel in slack line and strike using the stroke. The tricky part is that some squids tap the jig so lightly that you will not even know that its a take! Newbies like me faced this problem last time as during slow crank, we just felt a "heavy" thing at the end of our lines and we reeled it in. We thought by doing this we can get the squid!

For newbies, stroking will be a good way to start as i believe the striking will be done automatically.

Be sure to try all methods as all of them cover different depths/areas/squid behaviour! Below is a good illustration of the stroking methods i found in the web. Go see!

Syakluri Single Stroke and Syakluri Double Stroke!

The single stroke will cover the bottom the midwater will a double stroke will cover the bottom, midwater and above the midwater! That is because of the higher stroke in the second stroke. This is where your egi sinking rate comes into the picture.

The animations DO NOT play forever so if you want to see the stroke again, please refresh the page!

Single Stroke
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Double Stroke with second stroke being higher
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Monday, January 5, 2009

Eging Techniques - Hand Placements

Below are handle designs taken off from [Majorcraft Japan] from their complete range of eging specific rods.

TripleCross
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Exizaust
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Crosstage
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Zalts
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Pandra
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Raycal
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The common features on most eging rods... Padded reel seats and EVA handles with EVA butt ends. Many would understand the comfort of having an EVA handle and butt end, but why the padded reel seat design? For every design there is always a reason and the reason is so...

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The standard hand placement. It provides a good and secure grip so each and every knock, snag, take etc can be transferred directly onto your hands, giving as much feedback as possible. Egi rods however are built differently... The handles are far too short to balance out the rod's lenght. Even with the reel attached, the setup is still top heavy. The solution?

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By shifting the hand forward, the fulcrum point will also shift and the rod's weight can be balanced out more evenly by using the weight of the reel as a counterweight. With the weight of the reel supporting the back end, it minimizes the effort to flick the rod. And stretching out the index finger across the unpadded blank will also increase the feedback intensity that travels through the rod to your hand... directly increasing the total overall sensitivity. The padded reel seat design was made solely for this purpose... to minimise abrasions from rubbing the bare reel seat.

Credited and written to Taufik
The link can be found [here]

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Disastrous Southern Island Trip

Its a disaster yesterday at Southern Islands. The wind was howling the moment we drop our lines to the morning. It reminded me of my last Changi trip but with even stronger wind!

First spot at Mano Wreck and i was quite optimistic having had some power takes at this wreck. There was one boat which fought a ray for around 2 hours before calling over on the radio to tell us it was 40kg. I wonder how they weigh the ray... Haha

The wreck failed to produce and we went to Bukom during midnight... Same thing here. The whole night we only managed to catch one squid due to strong winds and murky water.

Anyway, it was a bad catch for the whole night and i suspect many boats had zeros too. The fishes simply weren't biting due to the cold water. We only managed to get one belt fish, one small grouper and a deep sea Kim. Looks like im going to boycott local night trips for awhile!

Oh yes, i saw the Born To Fish Kelong Sotong when i opened it up yesterday. It is super fresh and worth every penny for its price! The greenish tinge is seen in every squid. Sizes are very good too... From 2 inches to 5 inches!

My next trip to Southern's is on 18 Jan with Ah Eng. Hopefully... We get something!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kelong Sotong Lobang

Hi friends out there, this is just a small lobang for baktao-rians. Now is the monsoon season and Kelong Sotong is not easy to get. All 5 of my best supplier are down as most of them get their squid from overseas.

So i found out BornToFish has good stock of fresh Kelong Sotong because their squids come from Tekong so its not affected by monsoon. They are selling it at $32/kg. It's abit expensive but it is quite fresh and there is still a tint of green on the squids eyes. I myself had bought 1.5kg for my offshore trip. Anyway, they are selling it in plastic containers of 500g each.

Go get yours now!

P.S If you dont know where BornToFish is, find the address in the Tackle Listings on the left of my blog.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Squid Jigs and Froggies

Hmmm today Weiyee gave me a call and told me he wanted to go down Sea Tackle today to see their Yozuri lures. He's looking for some old Yozuris so i met him up at Kallang and we went to look see look see.

Hmmm Sea Tackle is stocking up on the so called new generation of egi by Yozuri. I saw a few pcs Yozuri Aurie Q and Pheromone change colour squid jig. Anyways, i bought some cute cute squid jig that i want to add to my squid jig collection... Its my new hobby. Kekeke...

Cute Squid Jig
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Anyway, i saw some froggie and that reminded me of the Snakehead video i saw at Alan's place the other day... I chose some and grabbed 2 pcs to test it out next time. I actually have a funny idea i am going to try it at FW3 at the "pacu" spot and test out whether anything will hit the frog. That will be fun.

Froggie Mania
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Chose this two
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Weiyee bought some old crystal minnow and a tobimaru i think... Me i bought the below... Kekeke...

Oh ya Joe just brought in some Seahawk Pop Froggies. Its a popper with froggie shape and even the frog legs. Hmmm im going to buy some and try too... Kekeke...

Pop Froggie


P.S Alan i saw a few pcs of your favourite Yozuri green arrow head with pink body squid jig at Sea Tackle. I think size 3.0 and 3.5...Hmmm...

Deep Sea Offshore Information by NITEANGLER

Hi baktao-rians

I found this somewhere in the net and i think it is a good read so i have copied it here for you guys to read. Of course, credits to Yew Seng a.k.a Niteangler for writing this out.

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The following info should help anglers understand more about offshore fishing in local waters & adapt to it to appreciate what local waters can offer. Some anglers probably wonder why the same few anglers catch good fishes regularly. It’s a well known fact that 10% of the anglers catch 90% of the fishes. By knowing more about the fishing terrain/characteristics, any angler who invests in proper tackle set/appropriate time/efforts can achieve better consistency/success rate in the very tough local offshore fishing arena.

Feel free to add on any other information which I'd left out.

Geographical location
Singapore lies within a strong current channel with main current stream from South China Sea flowing towards Straits of Malacca & vice versa during tide change.

Besides inshore waters like Changi/Lim Chu Kang, encountering strong current for major periods is inevitable. Moreover, depth >30M is common for areas stretching from Johor Shoal, East Coast up to Southern Islands/Sultan Shoal.

Southern Islands is a bottleneck within Singapore Straits & along with its vast depth variation from 10-100M, stronger current is expected. However, due to its very good natural seabed terrain with lots of coral/rocks/steep drop off/deep trenches, it’s also a place that holds fishes. Most of the islands(besides P Hantu) are restricted areas & is a blessing in disguise as they continue to be breeding grounds & also for juvenile to grow.

Current/Depth relation
Typical local tidal streams forces (current force) ranges up to 3.3 knots (spring tides).
Estimated sinker weights required for bait to hold near bottom
0.5 knots – 500g (30M) 600g (40M) 800g (60M)
1.0 knots – 700g (30M) 1Kg (40M) 1.3Kg (60M)

Many anglers may wonder how to fish with such heavy sinkers. With proper tackle set having decent cranking/lifting power, it’s actually not that much a hassle after getting used to it for a while. Afterall, we do not crank up that often till checking of bait. In the event that bite rate is hot, the excitement naturally numbs the pain of cranking heavy sinkers.

Fishes do bite on all kind of current force though strike rate is usually higher during window period of current changeover. As no angler can be exactly sure when fishes will start biting, one will have to fish with heavy sinkers till current starts to slack/pick up. For anglers who start nagging on having to use heavy sinkers, boatmen will have no choice but to shift to shallower waters or area sheltered from main current stream. It doesn’t mean that shallow waters do not hold big fishes but probability is much lesser unless that ground had been proven to be a gathering point for big fishes during certain period of strong current or due to seasonal factors.

Patience for whole tide
Many anglers lose patience/confidence with the fishing spot/boatman when fishes do not bite for just 2-3 hrs or so. From my personal experience/past records, good catches (including best) are usually from just 1 or 2 spots for the whole trip.

It’s very common that fishes do not bite for certain tide but starts taking anything presented prior to or immediately after tide change (current changeover).

Boatman who makes regular trips is usually aware of what’s in season & also which ground is firing.

Have faith in whichever boatman that you had booked & let him decide on how the trip should proceed. Besides unethical boatman, no boatman will like to see the trip ending with disappointing strike rate.

Choosing the right skipper/boatman
Every angler has their own preference when fishing is concerned. It’s always good to discuss with the skipper/boatman for better mutual understanding.

Common mistake here will be requesting for good strike rate & also big fishes. If indeed such ground exists, one should ponder why such boatman doesn’t convert to be a commercial fisherman given the very attractive prices for freshly caught fishes.

Having said that, bonus trip with good strike rate as well as good sizes do occur but still a minor portion of total trips. The better boatmen/skipper will have higher consistency/probability in producing more bonus trips within the season. It’s always worth every dollar paying a premium to engage such boatmen & placing a deposit to secure an advance booking.

Every skipper/boatman has their own strength/weakness. Some are good for inshore shallow waters while some are better for deeper waters & some for drift fishing. Also be aware that some boatmen are only good for night trips & vice versa.

Ask around for boatman which is more likely to cater to your own angling preference. For deep waters, boatman knowledge on fishing ground & anchoring skills plays an important part. Upon anchored, good boatmen/skipper who is technically competent with their electronics should be able to provide info like depth/distance away from prospective strike zone. With such info, anglers should use appropriate sinker weights so that bait is presented within targeted zone. On the same note, avoid gathering a group onboard the same trip whereby anglers have drastic difference in angling preference & hence improper tackle sets. Generally, it’ll be better strike rate for smaller fishes (0.5 – 1.5 Kg) & less strike for bigger fishes (>4 Kg)

Quick estimate of suitable sinker size (ref. to mainline angle)
Depth – 50M
Strike zone – 50M downstream from anchored position
When mainline angle is at 45 deg – bait is abt 50M away from boat

Bait selection/presentation/hook size
Boatman is the best person to ask when he’s one who fishes himself. Having said that, anglers shouldn’t hesitate to use whatever proven bait from their own experience & switch tactic accordingly when proven otherwise.

For deep waters, long leader usually has better strike rate. 6-10M leader length is common during moving current.

When using big baits, use big hooks for better hook setting gap so that setting point has less chance of being embedded into the bait during a strike whereby fish swallow whole in one gulp. Personally, I’d landed many 1 Kg or smaller fishes with size 5/0 & 6/0 hooks.

Seasonal factors
As in any fishing ground in any part of the world, there will be seasonal factors. Consult your own boatman on good period to wet some lines. It needs time & frequent booking with the same boatman to build up mutual understanding & rapport. It’s not abnormal for boatman to provide trade sensitive info more willingly to their regulars than “once a blue moon” or “walk-in” booking. It’s also common for boatman to inform their regulars so that they get booking with good tides upon sensing season is on fire.

Observation
Last but not least, the best fishing mentor is observation. Observe & try to analyze as much from successful anglers onboard a trip. It may be bait selection/presentation/leader length/line angle (indirectly sinker wt). Continuous learning from other anglers should be an integral part for better consistency & success rate.

Good luck & tight lines for your next trip
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