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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.


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.

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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