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?

What is the difference between the Kurau (Indian Threadfin) and Senangin (Blue Threadfin Salmon)?

This post is meant as a supplement to this Batu Pahat catch report. Information and pictures taken from #fishidlessonsbydavidho.

Did you know that the Kurau and Senangin are totally different? This post aims to enable you to know the difference.

Name and Terminology
  • Kurau is known as Indian Giant Threadfin salmon/Kurau/黑午鱼/Orh Ngor
  • Senangin is known as Blue Threadfin salmon/Senangin/白午鱼/Pek Ngor/Ngor Soon
Eating Quality
  • Kurau is known the more premium species and is a popular fish for maternity purposes as it is believed to boost milk supply for new mothers. It is rare and big sized fish are hard to come by these days. Generally costs more than Senangin.
  • Senangin is less premium and is readily available in the market in various sizes. I have also seen that farming for it can be quite successful. 
Size Differences
If you do a Google search, you will realise that both can grow quite big. However, this is not a good comparison as geographically, there are differences in species size due to unique habitat and waters. e.g. the Australian Blue Salmon is able to grow to quite a huge size (as evidenced by their reports). Generally though, for the purpose of local waters (in Singapore), Kurau is the one that can grow to huge sizes (15-30kg) whereas we usually encounter the Senangin at sizes from 200g to 3kg. Any Senangin bigger than that is considered huge for our local waters. Therefore, most of the time, if you see a small threadfin, almost always likely to be Senangin and if you see a big threadfin, probably the Kurau. However, during a fishing trip, we fished up both small Senangin and Kurau! Then how to tell the difference? Scroll down...

How to tell the difference?
Picture edited and reproduced by permission.
According to David, Senangin has only 4 pectoral filaments on each side as opposed to 5 of a Kurau and Senangin also has relatively larger eyes than Kurau.

Another key difference is the dorsal fin alignment (see above picture for visual representation).
  • Kurau has an anterior aligned second dorsal fin to it's anal fin.
  • Senangin has a straight vertically aligned second dorsal to anal fin. 
Credits and more pictures:
https://www.facebook.com/tunafish.ho/posts/1677705522250468
https://www.facebook.com/tunafish.ho/posts/1553695517984803