Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mini Ebek (Chermin) fun at Changi Offshore Fishing with Ah Long!

I have not fished with Ah Long for months already due to this erratic schedule. It was tough to book his boat as he occasionally engages in shipping work sometimes. But somehow, the card of fate was played again as I signed up for an Ah Long trip with Ah Biao! The last time I met Ah Long, was when he towed Boatman Shawn's boat as he had a stalled engine. It seems just fate-ish that a few weeks later, I was to meet Long again.

Baktao with Ah Long
Word was around that the Chermins were back at their usuall hunting ground after a few years of recovery. Changi Naval Base fishing area used to be a heaven for Chermins until they dredged the entire area, presumably for the Naval ships to pass by. This uprooted many of the soft corals - I call them penis corals because they are so soft and looks like a penis! These are corals that Chermins and Big Snappers love to hang around! The Chermins were not in their abundant schools and we had to drift in order to make the most of the time and terrain.



As we travelled to the spot, I could see almost all kakis are regulars of Ah Longs and we had no problem getting Ah Long into the groove. Ah Long was a little sick today but he was around familiar faces! Everyone was baiting when we finally dropped lines... well except me! I was putting on a brave front by doing micro jigging to prove the theory that Chermins do take jigs except that they prefer smaller jigs! Add that to the fact that we were drifting, micro jigging has the advantage as I was able to horizontal comb the terrain across all water columns while the baiters had no choice but to rely on the boat's drifting movement. True enough, after a few casts combing the bottom and middle columns, I had a take on the drop! Takes on the drop were always fun as you suddenly panic, reel fast and set the hook!

Next few seconds were the beautiful screaming of my Daiwa Legalis 1500SH (my now trusty cheap reel!) and I screamed "Dio Liao" or in layman's anglers terms, "Fish ON!". The baiters were in shock as their baiting senses told them that 7 baiters to 1 jigger made it impossible that the jigger should get the fish. They all said... must be foul hook lah... and it was here Ah Long took the chance to take a dig at the baiters... "I told you all don't laugh at metal jigs, you see... you all buy prawns for what? Cook Maggi?"... That bitchy Long!!! When I took out my jigs, he dismissed them but now he was totally with me?!?!

I fought the fish carefully as I was only using 6lbs tuffline with 4.9lbs frog hair FC line.... every run, I prayed that the fish wouldn't bust the line... everytime the fish went under the boat, I prayed the thin FC wouldn't get cut off by the boat's bottom! The fish finally surface and Ah Long took his time to net the fish! The baiters crowded around and when they saw the jig on the fish's mouth, they dismissed it again and went back to their baffling baiting! I decided to up the ante then... after a few photos and fish into icebox, I casted out again....

Oh yea, finally something decent on micro after so long


Don't let it cut me off on the boat!


Oh shit it's going below!

Ah Long with the customary pose
Sink.... Sink.... One whip, two whips, sink again.... another five whips later and another sink, BOOOM! Freight train take on the drop! I didn't even dare to set the hook on this one, the take was so strong that the fish self hooked itself! Next 10 seconds were epic as the baiters cursed and swear wondering what was wrong! Fight was over soon though as the fish tired out and it was a bigger Chermin! It's 2 in a row now, and the jiggers cum baiters like Biao and Chu Ge were tempted to try jigging too! They casted out and followed the same workings for their micro jig and all of us had hits! But only Chu Ge managed to connect with his and he fought a good fighting Chermin up with Crippled Herring!

Chu Ge hits one! Casting micro with BC and hitting one!
Ah Biao with 2 mirrors!
The baiters now were asking us... "How to use jig ah? Got spare jig?".... Wahahaha! But it was not to be as current changed fast and I knew jigs were not going to be effective now because the fishes would be actively looking for the baits. True enough, baiters started getting hits and even I converted to baits lol.... It was after I converted to bait that I got a crazy hit! My rod was at the front of the boat and by the time I got to it, the fish was already far out at the back of the boat! It took out another 50-100m on lightning speed before busting my 4.9lbs FC..... with everyone looking stunned.... and me regretting using 4.9lbs FC thinking there were only smallies here. The usual GT, Cobia, super sized chermin suggestions were brought up, but we will never know!

Baiters start hitting fish!
The rest of the trip was bogus though when the winds started blowing, water turning into teh tarik, only Ah Biao (yes only him!) managed to bring up a solitary 4lbs grouper and 2lbs ang kuey during the afternoon........

Biao and gao

Ang kuey on madai!
But we were still contented with the catch and having met up with Ah Long who will be embarking on a new shipping job for a few months.... Will see him then again!

Mirror mirror on the wall....
 

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!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Soon Hock and Peacock Bass at Pandan Reservoir

After a long layoff from night luring, the fish pack were poking at the idea of a night luring adventure at Pandan Reservoir (legal area of course). When the reservoir was first opened for fishing (in the past), the catches were of the very highest standards. Many species and records were broken there. I personally landed some of my biggest Belidas, Oxeye Tarpon and Peacock Bass there. Sadly, after the legal areas were opened, inconsiderate anglers filled the area and did not practise sustainable fishing which led to the demise of many fishes there.

Ok screw all that! The feeling of the cold wind, silent waters still tempted us and we met up at the carpark at the wee hours of the morning. We proceeded to fish around the legal area and the rocks near it. We had not done this in many months but all of us still looked "initiated" in the sense that we went about our business professionally. I wasn't prepared to lose any lures this time and restricted myself to the humble White Rabbit lure! After a few casts and bouncing on the rocks, I had a good sized Peacock Bass take my rubber!

After a long hiatus from luring, ample rewards!
The next catch was not surprising, mainly because I was itching for some Soon Hock! The feeling was simply there because of the amount of rocks I was brushing against. Almost 1 in 3 casts led me to perform "guitar method" when trying to get out the lure from the snags and I even lost one rubber to the infamous neh neh rock!

After a few tries doing parallel casting to the shore from the legal area, I got my wish! A good sized 2lbs Soon Hock landed on white rabbit rubber! Great fight on my 4-8lbs Bassrise, Legalis 1500SH with 6lbs tuffline and 8lbs FC!

Good fight on light tackle!
The groundshots of the fishes!

fatty soon hock!

beautiful colour which is rare from Pandan PBs
I guess the night luring poison is back... We're all back where it started. Like Coldplay once said in "The Scientist", "Oh take me back to the start..." 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Giggling Trip on IT'S Gr-R-Reat with Jimmy Lim

Ladies have their ladies night out where they go wild and crazy in the clubs but hey did you know that guys have their day outs too? In the typical guys day out for fishing, we just cast our baits, take out a book to read and just pass our time. But with Jimmy Lim, we do all of that except we mix it with a new way of attracting the fish - "giggling". What was somehow started by me was soon caught on by the others and as we fished, we were giggling our way along... especially if one of us hit a snag!

Having got used to Jimmy's style, we were better prepared this time having raided Sabre Tackle for Halco Sorcerors and RMG Scorpions. They were to be used during slow shallow trolling which was probably the highlight and forte of Jimmy's. It may seem easy to do, but when you see the way he gets out of sticky situations during trolling (lure stuck reverse to get it out, boat going to hit the shore etc), you know that he has done this for years (must rub Jimmy abit so that he bring me to secret spot!).

Today's plan was to do some Madai fishing (Tai Kabura) while following up with our favourite trolling later on. Madai fishing at Punggol/Changi/Tekong waters are relatively "untried" and although they work too (as proven with Jimmy), it is less effective as compared to Southern Islands probably because the coral/rocks here are more spread out and the water visibility is not as good as Southern Islands. Species are also limited to Groupers and Snappers mostly at Changi. Although not as effective, the fishes still need to eat right and since the Madai Jig (coined by Singapore Jiggers) imitates a wide array of edibles for the fish (Octopus, Squid, Crab, Prawns), the fishes couldn't resist hitting the jigs in the morning! After hitting some not so decent fish on my new CTS Custom EB664 Madai Rod + Shimano Trinidad 12A, I finally managed to hit a decent Grouper on 100% Madai (nope, no Maprawn here!). It was surprising as we were drifting very fast and I was trying to get my Madai to have more time on the bottom (for strong current and drifts, I let my Madai literally comb the seabed and pray hard that it won't snag) so that the fish could "catch up" to my jig.

Matching clothing and jigs - the Gao just couldn't resist it!

DIY Madai rubber squid hook presentation

Finally, a good hit
The fish were hitting hard in the short window and I missed another one while Kiat had a good hit on 100% Madai too. Up came a huge Grunter (Guhood) at 4.5lbs. I have heard they take jigs but here it is proven that hey Guhoods definitely take jigs too!

4.5lbs Guhood on his favourite red Madai
Everyone was excited now since it was a great start to the day and we worked hard with our jigs. Jimmy even took out his new toy - a drift sock for easier drift fishing. We drifted, we jigged and we all worked hard but after the frenzy, the fish wouldn't even come close to our jigs! And that's when probably Maprawn and running sinkers came out... but that didn't help either.


Released to fight another day

Released into Icebox
Trolling wasn't good either with the Groupers and Barracudas not biting at all even though we had the killer weapons - Halcos! We gave up soon enough and head back to Punggol Marina.

To be honest with you, the catch wasn't ideal but it was still the usual fun giggling trip out with Jimmy. Endless fun cracking butt tingling jokes and having a good time (this time with some Bacardi Breezer and Baileys) with like minded easy going folks. Good catch and fresh fishes, one can always have but when all is pass, we remember the friendship made, the stories shared and the good times keep rolling on! That said, we can see Jimmy is not satisfied with the catch and although we consoled him, we know that if the fish are biting hard next time, we will seize the chance like we always do! Hee Hee Hee....

Can't complain though no fish!

Fish was shared with family and enjoyed by all
You can drop me a mail for Jimmy's contact or check out his hiao hiao Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/ItsGrRReat?fref=ts

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sure Heng (Ah Heng) Gao Tun Madai / Maprawn Trip from RSYC 29 September 2013

Catch report courtesy of Kiato (famous Kayak angler).

_____________________________________________________________________________

Baktao Whatsapp me : " Are you interested in 29th Sept, Sure Heng, possible booking slot to take over?" Me : "OK!"

I have been on Sure Heng twice, and on the first trip, i got bullied by a biggie, as we were not able to move the boat to my favour, due to the passing tankers/ship. Second trip, i had my reel de-spooled in a couple of seconds (about 140m), it was  a freight train, and all i could do was hold on, jaw dropped.
When taking over a booking within 1.5 weeks, and scrambling to find enough kakis, there is a certain mixture of excitement. Alas, not until the last 2 days, we were able to fill the last 1-2 slots, kudos to the kakis for looking/asking around. Group chat formed on Whatsapp, questions and answers, sometimes being asked the same questions, strengthens the believe and knowledge one has, patience/ fish comes as a bonus.

With a good mix of kakis, almost everyone is familiar with bottom fishing, but on Sure Heng, Madai technique is the choice ammo. Though, the correct lingo should be "Tai Kabura" or "Tai Rubber" , as Madai is actually the name of the snapper/fish the japanese target. Vertical jigging , to mimic an octopus/squid, and this movement of colourful rubber skirt tend to draw fish to "inspect". With the local modification, to add a live prawn, "Maprawn" , they call it. The results can be surprising, and the live prawn could be the strike factor. Though i had some good results with Tai Rubber alone, effectiveness of having a live prawn cannot be ignored.

What was the rig of choice? A rod of PE2-4 (100-150gram jig wt), with a soft/ sensitive tip, but strong back bone (Long fall rods can be considered), pair it with a lefty BC reel (if you are right handed), with a button for line release. This will allow you to constantly find the bottom and "bounce" the Madai jig just above the structure/bottom, and be quick enough to address any possible snags.

What to do with a Madai snag? Release the line, let the weight of the jig drop, to help de-set the hooks, and then give it a small pull, this works for me 80% of the time. Other times, be quick to either pull out and hope you don't lose your leader, and re-tie direct to a new Madai jig. If you strike when having a snag, most likely you cannot use the first method, and just pull your line out quickly, as the boat will be drifting. Try to save your leader, and you get to fish more.

What Madai jig to use? Most Madai jigs come with nice colourful rubber skirts but their stock hooks and kelvar are below par, and should be changed. I use SJ-41 jigging hooks with 50 pound kelvar, tie a butterfly or double assist. Get it as close to the Madai jig as possible, with 1 hook longer than the other. Colours that i have most effective for me, is red or pink.

So with that, we all went on board Sure Heng, some eagerly with Madai, some skeptical. But at the end of the trip, everyone was on a Madai jig and became a believer. Unfortunately, Baktao was not available to join us, but thanks to him we practically had a trip to remember for the longest time. Now let the pictures do the talking, and i hope when you get a chance to do Madai, give it a shot! Till the next fishing adventure.....


A 30lb boga was not able to scale this monster, the first fish up, and the biggest.


Weiyee showing us how its done, table size grouper.


The boga struggling to hold on to this monster.


The 17ln GAO, had my madai deep in this mouth.
 
 It was getting crowded at the back of the boat.


The Line up, from left to right, 17lb 19lb and 30++lb Groupers
 
The Team and our catch.
My 17lb grouper, what an experience

Sure Heng contact can be found on his Facebook, do a search and he does regularly update his catches, so you will know what is biting and what to target.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sibu Kelongs are really closing down

It's now official... Sibu Kelongs will be officially closed this 6 October 2013 as Ah Fatt Kelong has posted on their Facebook that kelong will be closed this 6 October and torn down 7 October.... A kaki of mine called the other kelongs and it was the same for Ah Ngan (Wing Sing) kelong and Hotboys Kelong as well. The whole kelong saga has come to a sad ending and all of us will miss the fishing action and relaxation on the kelong.

The days of eging, selar jigging and saitoh jigging will be over. It was there that I caught my record size baktao and my record squid haul. It was also there that many strangers became my friends as we shared our fishing knowledge, tips and tricks.

And... the days of people searching Google for sibu kelong fishing will be over.... less traffic for my blog :(

Some of my memories at the kelong..... sigh.... it was probably the place where I pick up much interest in eging which led to my blog's name anyway. Guess next time have to go penyabong or aceh kelong or go chia soon kelong to bluff ourselves that we are in sibu. Anyone volunteer to bring the dinner bell?
 
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Easy cleaning of catches at the sink area and of course the mandatory "how lian" hahahahah
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Brought NS friends there. Their first time they caught alot of fish including Saitoh
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Can wake up to this everyday
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Squids squids everywhere
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Record catch 83 squids...
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Shy shy
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Squid thumbs up
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Another baktao
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Squid gaff and squids
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Day time baktao was very common
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My partner in crime, momok
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Baktao head design
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The alien spaceship
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Happy times...3kg
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Every angler will recognise the "selar tangle" hahahahaha
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