Monday, May 11, 2020

Fishing at Barelang Fishing Pond, Batam

It's never easy for angler-couples with kids to go fishing. You bring the kid along, it doesn't really feel like quality fishing together. You leave the kid at home, you're basically confined to one day trips which can only mean fishing in Singapore.

But... there's Batam too! At the now very famous Barelang Fishing Pond. It's a fairly inexpensive fishing venue, surrounded with nice restaurants, massage parlours, shopping malls and you bring rupiah. It's definitely easy to arrange too. I detail below three steps on how to arrange an affordable one day trip to Barelang Fishing Pond.

1. Pre-book a trusted driver with car for your one day trip

There are many operators and drivers around. Just search around in Facebook and you'll find plenty. It is always a good idea to pre-book one as you'll be assured you have transport on that day! My driver was Aan +6281268187673 and he has WhatsApp. The fee to book Aan is $60 per day. Note that there are cheaper options around.

2. Book your ferry tickets online

Many, many promotions for Batam ferry tickets. The usual would be Harbourfront Centre, Singapore to Batam Centre Batam. There is a one hour time difference. There is a 7.40am ferry and we took that one so we can have as time in Batam as possible.

3. Have a schedule in mind

After booking a driver and ferry tickets, just do some research and plan your day. If you're lazy, you can ask the driver to do so for you.

My plan was
  • Barelang fishing Pond 9am to 12pm (40 minutes from Batam Centre)
  • Seafood lunch at kelong 12pm to 2pm (two popular ones, Citra Utama and 007).
  • Massage 2pm to 4pm
  • Shopping for kueh lapis, shopping mall till 6pm
  • Ferry from Batam at 7pm.
Anyway, generally follow the above steps will do. Google if you need any more information. Fishing rates are found at https://www.barelangfishing.com/

As for the fishing, it was generally boring for me as the pond was just full of hybrid groupers and they were very easy to hook up with bait. We got ourselves the tuna bait which was literally cut tongkol. The guide will cast it out, you wait for 5 seconds to 5 minutes and you will almost likely get a hook up. Remember to use big hooks at least 7/0 and set the fish well. The other way to get fish was to spin lures. I brought some rubber lures and it definitely worked. Gave up after a few fish as it was quite boring to be catching the same species of fish. Probably won't ever visit this place again except for experiments or if the variety of fishes improve.

Fatty Hybrid!
Getting boring...

Line wrapped around torzite guides...
Again...
Rubber...

Some fishes went bust. Well that's life.


Food and massage was good though. We went to a massage place that just opened. See Kamaya Spa.

Below pictures for food.



Thursday, April 2, 2020

Batu Pahat Threadfin Salmon (Kurau and Senangin) Jigging trip with David Ho

Catching the elusive Threadfin Salmon in Singapore has always been a challenge here. They used to be more common but are now scarce due to habitat destruction. This graceful fighter also tastes heavenly and has quite a few species. The more prized species is the Kurau (Orh Ngor or Black Threadfin) and is commonly served to new Mothers as it is nutritious and believed to boost breast milk supply. There is also the Senangin (Pek Ngor or Ngor Soon) though. During this Batu Pahat trip with David Ho, we caught both of them! In the below write-up, I detail my experience during this trip and what to look out for if you're going to Batu Pahat for the first time to jig for threadfin.

What tackle to use?
Micro Jigging tackle that can comfortably jig 20g to 40g jigs will be suitable. However, try to go a little on the heavier side as the captain does mention that sometimes they can get huge kuraus on the micro jigs. Micro is fun but surely you want to have more firepower against a 20kg kurau? Thinner leaders are also suggested with #6, #7, #8 FC leaders (or 16lbs) being recommended. On this trip, I used a Shimano Vanquish C3000 paired with a St Croix 8-14lbs rod and #7 Seaguar FC.

What jigs to use?
You can use 7g all the way to 40g or 60g as long as you can touch the bottom. However, bite rates seemed better if you use 40g and below. Of course, since the Dactylus Kurau Jigs were built for this purpose, it is almost the best jig to use for this application. However, it can get boring because the kurau jigs may make it too easy to secure hook ups. In that case, you can go with any micro jig that has good flutter, moderate sinking features. Good fall action is important here as it is a crucial aspect of how the fish feed. e.g. imitating injured baitfish falling to the bottom water column.

What is the jigging stroke, style or method to use?
Most of the action is centred on the bottom water of column so let your jigs "hug" the bottom. You can present it fast or slowly pitch it or simply lift up a stroke or two and drop it back to the bottom. It's kind of like eging but on a faster stroke. It is essential to keep your line fairly straight down when drift fishing (and not let it fly) as this affects the action of the jig. During the stroking, it is highly possible that the fish may "tap" your jig as it is known that threadfin can feed very lightly. A sensitive rod and an angler mind in tune with your jig's action can increase your chances of hook up. In fact, I find that being sensitive and in tune is the most important thing to do here as jig presentation won't differ much since everyone will be doing the same thing. Do note that there are other fish like golden snappers, grunters, flatheads etc. that may also take your jig. The same jigging method can be used.

Once a threadfin is hooked up, the fight also can be pretty tricky since this fish can quickly swim up to reduce line tension and will thrash on the surface. The mouth of the fish means that it also can dislodge hooks very easily. Hence, the advice is to not rush the fight and to aggravate the fish when it is at the surface (and waiting to be scooped). "Follow" the fish when it swims around in circles and if it swims under the boat, dip your rod into the water and "guide" it back. It takes some getting used to but catch a few and you will get the hang of it. Sometimes, they do get away even if you put in your best shift. It is just the name of the game.

How to book such a trip?
Contact David at +65 90154088, he will be more than willing to advise you.

What is the difference between Kurau and Senangin?
Put up a separate post at https://baktao.blogspot.com/2020/04/what-is-difference-between-kurau-senangin.html

Catch Reports
Below pictures taken by David. Can you spot the kurau and senangin?

Decent Batu Pahat Ang Chor on Kurau Jig!
The Senangin can be schooling so hook ups are fast and furious.
Surprise grunter came along! 
Another grunter!
Melvin scored premium species. Kurau!
Another kurau!
Good size Chor by Nolric
Vince with another Senangin. Can you tell the difference between Senangin and Kurau?