Thursday, December 26, 2013

Baktao Tackle

In this page, I will post some of the things that I have to clear from time to time. These are my excess fishing stuff.

The reason I am doing this is that I usually build up a lot of excess tackle from time to time and it is tough to pack them and resell again after years! By streamlining my collection, it will help me save time and money.


To view Baktao Tackle, click below or follow the link on the top navigation bar!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kranji Reservoir Legal Fishing Area

Fishing alone has been therapeutic for me and I have often done it solo just to have a feel of the wind on my face. It's much more relaxing than having to arrange with fellow kakis and then have to compete with other expectations. When you're alone, it's simply you and your funny nuances.

Having some good ole alone fishing time
But I have since stopped fishing more "hardcore" areas alone after having close encounters with monster wild boars, snakes and crocodiles... hence, I returned to my favourite legal freshwater spot in Singapore. It was reasonable fishing here since the spot is legal and one can expect certain surprises once in awhile if you are hardworking and lucky. I have personally landed good sized Tomans, Soon Hocks and Peacock Bass here.

I have since acquired a very special tool that would make fishing solo a more memorable experience! No longer are videos or pictures limited to a first person experience, my GoPro camera means that I am able to take more selfies, videos of me and the catches/techniques!

When I reached the spot, I was in two minds on whether to set up my cameras ASAP or whether to quickly cast out to the Toman fry school that was right in front of me! Quickly, I decide to position the camera in case some footage was to be had... Alas that was the wrong decision was the Toman fry school with it's parents quickly swam out to non casting distance even with my Genesis Assasini 7'6!

I tried out frogging at the legal areas and shifted between Areas A and B before having some good Peacock Bass fun in Area A! That's a good way to end the day... and of course, a little CNR to pave the way...

Taken on saltwater squid rig!

Here's the good ol solo video showing my experience and hope I can transmit to you the awesomeness of solo fishing ;)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Temensis Peacock Bass Catch and a look into their behaviour

With the good ole spot producing a good bed of fish recently, some good ole kakis were invited to explore the urban legend of "Amazon" style luring. They were new to this and very soon the usual urban complains snickered into our lives of that day.

"Why so far one...."

"Reach already or not...."

These were the usual hot words on that day but once we reached the sweet spot, the air just simply stood still with a calm excitement - experienced kakis like Weiyee taking out lures from his lure box in a slow relaxing manner which made it seem that this was his 1000th cast.

But the first cast didn't produce much fish.... only Nigel landing a couple of Temensis with his good ole home made no frills flys.... and the gang trudged along, this time Shawn with Weiyee and me with Kiat (who wore crocs!). The usual schools were not around the same areas as the previous trip and we were hard pressed to land some good fish. Weiyee and Shawn soon gave up and crossed over to the other bank while Kiat and me were still hopeful....

As Kiat made his last cast at the current river and turned his back, I lobbed a Storm Super Skarp just under some sunken banana tree leaves. Playing with micro and small jigs in the amazon setting was now a favourite past time of mine - the good casting distance meant I could work a further stretch of water while the versatile action allowed me to employ several modes of retrieve or jigging. Lo and Behold.... as I vertically jigged the fluttering Super Skarp below the leaves, a HUGE school of big Temensis Peacock Bass in the range of 1 - 5kg suddenly ambushed my jig and circled it! It seemed as though there was some agreement on which fish should take the jig first and as they dallied, I shouted over to Kiat to RUSH OVER and cast out with smallest minnow! And the next few moments were shouts of joy and ecstasy as we hit loads of fish from the school. They ranged from 2 kg - 5kg and were great to fight on my light tackle! Shawn and Weiyee looked over in sadness from the other bank as me and Kiat hit our quotas for the day!

Kiat's first Temmy! A good sized one!

Oh yeah, another capture on the super skarp!

More hits on the lure
After we hit more than half a dozen fishes, the fishes disappeared and it was soon a good half an hour of trekking to the next river... halfway though, Shawn managed to get a Toman by sheer persistence of casting his Yozuri Tobimaru and reeling in while the rest of us lazed around near a steep opening....
Landing fish from a steep angle. I had to go down head first to boga the fish while Kiat held my feet! Just for the sake of Shawn's tiny Toman!

Shawn's tiny Toman
Alas when we reached the next river, the usual fishes were missing again or so we thought..... all of us sat down to much on our lunch while we made lazy casts when an even larger school of Temensis easily hundreds of them slowly sneaked up on our lures and began to hit them! These fish were swimming deep but just beside us from where we sat! We could see them take the lures and jigs..... casting out spin flies resulted in goalkeeper hook ups! All of us were smiling and laughing like small kids... landing multiple fishes....

They were all around us...

And they took flies readily...

Lo jiak lo jiak!

Oops what happened here?
We were absolutely satisfied and delighted with the fishing today.... it was top notch.... and we bashed back to civilization, hoping that somehow, someway.... that spot won't be "chui" the next time we head there.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2D1N Batam City Tour and Stay

This post about my experiences with Batam won't be entirely fishing related but all fishing kakis need somewhere cheap and good to bring their FWAGs (Fishermen Wives and Girlfriends) during peaceful non fishing times. Batam is a great place for this and may include some fishing too (If you are heading to KTM Resort, Shalom Kelong, Batam View Beach Resort or Harris Hotel (think they have their own fishing pond) ) But most of the time, the fishing isn't anything to shout about and us tired fishos would rather laze around and enjoy massage/food. Below are some experiences with and without tours.

2D1N Batam Trips usually come in the form of tour packages these days with Groupon and Big deals offering great deals to hotels like Novotel, Mecure, Harris, Pacific Palace, Harmoni One, Nagoya etc. The tour usually throws in the ferry (so far we've taken only Sindo Ferry), a complimentary tour (Best 933) and the hotel stay with breakfast for a crazy price for as long as $29 SGD per pax! Well, it's not a scam for sure and I've been on a few trips to tell you that I still don't know how they earn money.

Voucher/Booking Issues
As with vouchers, a good deal must have a catch right? The catch is that simply don't book impulsively. There are many vouchers available with different hotels and different cut off dates (for example travel from XXX to XXX). Some deals do not include travelling on Public Holidays or having surcharges on weekends. I always contact the respective tour agent/booking party and ask if my preferred dates are available before quickly buying the Groupon and reserving the dates. Never buy vouchers and then later on find out that you can't go on the dates you want!

Ferry/Accommodation Issues
The ferry to Batam is most likely to be at Harbourfront Centre. When you claim your voucher or book your tour through the agency, the next thing they will need is your passport details so they can book the ferry tickets for you. If you are going yourself, you will have to send these details to your ferry operator by yourself. If you are going on weekends, I recommend to be at Harbourfront Centre 1.5 hours before the ferry departure time because in that way, you can collect your tickets early and head for a quick breakfast before embarking on the ferry.

Agents/Groupons usually have a fixed timing for all customers to board the ferry but I've found out that this can be flexible upon request. For example, I recently changed my 12.00pm return ferry timing to 17.00pm so that I can spend more time in Batam. But you have to be flexible as you are to arrange your own transport to the ferry terminal. There are also taxes to be paid when you depart Harbourfront Centre $20 SGD - 17/12/2013 and 65000 rupiah - 17/12/2013 so do bring extra cash!

As for accommodation, one should not be too fussy or demanding when you check in (for Groupons usually in evening) as the hotels are usually fully booked and there MAY be occasions you do not get what you want (for example, king sized bed not available only two single beds). We faced the situation of not having adjacent rooms at Novotel during our previous trip but they made up for this by offering us complimentary room upgrades so it was great service!

Money Changing
Never change all your money in Singapore. I stand by this because the exchange rates in Batam are so much better than probably all money changers in Singapore. The usual walk in rate for any store at Batam is 1 sgd : 9500 rp... and best of all? You can HAGGLE especially if you change more. So I'd suggest change a little in Singapore for emergency/misc use and change the rest of your SGD when you arrive at the ferry terminal or shopping malls.

Tour Highlights
When you arrive at Batam, the Tour guide will be awaiting for u and will bring you to a variety of places in Batam. It's worth it because you get to cover the tour plus the tour guides usually have a 20% discount when you visit most stores so aunties get crazy over this especially in the dried goods area!

Brief Details
Polo Outlet - Polo fans will love the place as it is cheaper by 50% or more than compared to Singapore but do check with the tour guide on genuineness of the shirts.

First Factory Outlet and Batik Factory Outlet - I usually skip these places and cross the road over to Astro food court penuin for some cheap and good curry puffs ($0.30 SGD) and delicious Bak Ku Teh with pigs blood! ($3.50 SGD).

Swee's curry puff at Astro has curry chicken flavor, yam and sardines. The curry chicken and yam is delicious! We were so impressed that we wanted to buy non cooked ones and bring back to Singapore but the owner only allows us to buy half cooked ones! :(

Swee's Currypuff. A MUST have!

Old Chang Kee size?

Egg included!

Bak Ku The Mee Sua
Batam Chocolate House - Very crowded place where you sample chocolate

Bengkong Dried Goods - My mum went crazy over here. Good for buying atachi, dried food such as dried fish and prawn crackers etc. Highly recommend the Avocado juice at the café beside the dried goods stall as they use milk chocolate for the sweetener instead of brown sugar

Golden Prawn 933 (Golden Tourist shop and Bird nest) - The included meals aren't always that good as its a set lunch. They have live Seafood though and if you fancy some, just let your tour guide know but you'll have to bear the cost! Very nice ambience with fat milkfish in big schools looking at you as you dine.

BCS Mall - Singaporeans come here for the usual A & W but we found out a relatively quiet but great massage place with good ambience. $10 SGD / hour top level of BCS Mall.

Nagoya Hill Mall - Top level has Sawasdee Massage which is always fully booked and good for massage too.

Go Kart, Mini House Golden Beach - Have not tried before but beach looks dirty. Go Kart at $15 SGD/15mins is not that attractive.
Ice Kacang and Chendol near the Go Kart area at the shopping area is not too bad

Batam Layer Cake -  Don't think the layer cakes are awesome but they are freshly baked and delivered to you.

Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple - Awesome temple with 3 large shrines for Buddha, Guanyin and Guan Gong. Very under-rated temple and highly recommended to visit.

Severely under rated temple!
captured outside the temple!
Note: There is a tour guide tip of $2 SGD per pax at the end of the trip

Harbourbay Seafood
If you want a cheap Seafood feast and good ambience, Harbourbay is the place for you. It's located right beside the sea and there are rows of Seafood restuarants including a secondary area where there are rows of al fresco chill out restaurants/dining places which show live big screen soccer. I'd been to Harbourbay twice and firmly recommend Wei Wei (Wey Wey) Seafood restaurant. The price for a plate of gong gong should be around 5 SGD so that's the going rate!

They have everything there from live mud crabs, live flower crabs, live lobsters, tiger groupers, seabass, snapper, pomfret, crayfish, mantis prawns... you name it!

Harbour Bay seafood delights!
Harbourbay is accessible via Taxi - if you're heading from Pacific Palace, Grand Mecure, BCC, Novotel, the taxi fare should be around $5 SGD.

KTM Resort Eging and Guanyin Statue
Fishos check out KTM resort where you can do some fishing and Eging. Click here for my reports...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Barracuda Saves Face!

In yet another whacky fishing episode with Jimmy Lim, we are put to the test of keeping our stomach's sane with all that cheeky laughing and ass poking! The fish were few today though and although we shifted many times, we just could not get the fishes to bite.

But there were still some smallies playing around and they entertained us until we went for the most fun part of the trip... The trolling! It was during trolling that one would feel there was bound to be something at the end of the line as you search out the fishes with that heat seeking trolling lure!

Ang ko li on jig!

Biao with a chor on bait
Well.... until it rained cats and dogs and we had to take cover.... But we still went trolling in the end...

There were a number of shocks during this trolling trip though as Biao got himself bullied by a suspected big Mangrove Jack above 5kg.... It even broke his lure's bib after it got itself unhooked!

But Biao redeemed himself with a whopper of a Barracuda at 15lbs taking his lure. It tried to get away but was no match for his Calstar 10-25! It was promptly released after photo taking to let other anglers have a chance at hooking this beauty up!

Biao with his aunty baiter look and his big barracuda which we safely released!

Here's a short video so you can visualize the epic fight!

Nothing much to write about on this trip but next trip there will be! Here's a consolation video of Jimmy using his "top secret" technique of getting your hook out of the snag if that happens!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Kayak Fishing with Chef Bob

I've only just seen this so I'm sharing this with my readers! I think sometime back, some producer for Suria contacted me about a fishing show with the famous Chef Bob and one thing led to another, Mathew brought Chef Bob and Hotspot Wenlong out for some Kayak fishing and outback cooking! Glad to have played a part in their adventures!

Video part 1

Video part 2

Friday, November 29, 2013

Just like Old Times

It was back in the heydays of 2012 that we even managed to bowl ourselves out of bed. The heydays of 2012 were a boil of excitement but it was something that didn't boil over nor reach fruition before we simply gave up. But then again, we are Boatman Shawn and the famous Baktao, our passion for fishing was limitless and our hearts, as always, were full of good confidence.

So we slugged our way there...

Such was the rustiness of the anglers that we found accommodating to the humid tropical weather tough. Every uphill was a battle and every downhill was like the tender bottom of a newborn. No matter though because once Shawn and me started luring properly (without catching tree fishes and stuff), we got it going again! I had my tricks up my arsenal this time including the Storm Super Skarp which produced excellent results on the drop. I managed to hit good distances on the jig and let the jig's sexy curving falls tempt the fishes into taking them!

Temensis schools were crazy about anything!

Oh yeah good fight on the Shimano Bassrise!

Shawn as usual with his Tobimaru...

Storm Super Skarp being a new must have in my tackle box...

The largest of the trip! A 7lb-er!

Picture that speaks volumes eh?

Giant took the fly infront of me!

Flies working always!

This place is due a visit again...


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Sibu Kelong? How about Ah Fatt Inu Penyabong and Hotboys Aceh Kelong!

I've yet to visit the new "Sibu" Kelongs at Mersing but Ah Fatt Kelong is now operational and back in business! Their new location is at Penyabong Jetty! Also heard that Hotboys Kelong is taking over Aceh Kelong and will be back in business too!

How to get to New Ah Fatt Kelong: GPS Coordinates: N 02 38 907 E 103 44 94

Ah Fatt Kelong has taken over Mersing Inu Kelong and will start operations in December 2013. The new Ah Fatt Kelong will be upgraded and revamped. Looks like Ah Fatt is starting afresh!

Information from their official Facebook!

2 days 1 night RM 130 (adult),RM 70 (child below 12yrs old),
3 days 2 nights RM 200 (adult), RM110 (child below 12yrs old)
4 days 3 nights RM 270 (adult), RM150 (child below 12yrs old)
* Includes accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, BBQ, water, coffee, tea, biscuit, squid bait, two way boat transfer fee.
* Extra charges : car park fee RM 5 per day
* From Penyabong Jetty to our kelong within 15 mins by boat.

Activities and Information
 1.) We sell live prawn bait RM1.00 per pc.
 2.) We sell beers and drinks.
 3.) Mahjong set are available. ( free of charge)
 4.) Seaside swimming at Island can be arranged upon special request.( free of charge)-
 5.) You may enjoy free WiFi internet access at our Kelong.
 6.) Colour TV with Astro channels are available.
Contact number
+6014-9881988 and +6019-7120333 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

100% Madai Jigs and Slow Fall/Pitch fishing with Ricky Ah Eng at Southern Islands

The Madai (or Tai Rubber/Tai Kabura) jigs fishing scene has been on a boil for now. After a few pioneers started it from RSYC (Fishing Buddy/Anglers Outfitters etc), it has become a "go to" method for most fishing boatman and charters in Singapore. That isn't surprising because the method has seen huge success especially with Grouper fishing as anglers are able to accurately pinpoint key hit success areas at drop offs or reefs. The Madai jig presents itself right into the fishes hiding place and predatory ambush predators like the Grouper cannot resist the Octopus-like presentation. Actually, to conclude, the Madai jig would probably be "just another very flashy Hong Kong hook" except that it comes in 150g and 200g!

Why the title 100%? It came about as many charters and anglers started using baits on their madai jigs to improve strike rates. I always believed that fishes take notice of a madai or inchiku jig very quickly as it is highly striking and visible. The fishes then observe the jigs movement and follow the jigs for quite awhile. During this time, the fish may attack the jig resulting in "nibbles". Parrot fish, snappers, coral trouts often do this as they are highly curious. I found out that getting the fish to notice your jig is one thing, if your presentation or method fails to get the fish to bite (and instead swim away), you spook the fish! These sentiments were echoed by a very certain and famous Ah Ho a.k.a Henry Ho as well! Both of us agreed the coral trout was the more tougher fish to "bluff" or "trick" into committing itself! Therefore, if you are using baits, you skip all the goosechase and fishes immediately respond to your madai since it is "confirmed edible!"

Although madai with baits or maprawn or masotong or matopus is a method that boat charters like Sure Heng aggressively promote, it is NOT a good practice if you are learning the real way of madai fishing. If you are tired or simply need the fish for dinner, by all means, use the "sure win" method but... expert Madai fishos put in a lot of hard work, patience and skill into using 100% Madai without baits... and that is the fun of using artificials! By using baits, you are depriving yourself of the challenge and real intention of madai...

And during this very trip, I had the privilege of fishing with one of the pioneers of Madai jigs fishing - Dave Peh. He's one of the very first that tried this method and his group of kakis are just so good at what they do, that they give you confidence... Their tackle specialized (Dave customs madai rods, just do a google for Dave Peh creations), jigs are refined to their utmost effectiveness....

Ah Eng was not in a very good mood today and the first few hours were not impressive due to the slack tide. Only one grouper at 3lbs was landed during the morning but as the tide turned, a good 2 - 3 hours was spent hauling up groupers and snappers with a few one way tickets as our line got cut! I even managed to continue my 100% record of landing coral trouts whenever fishing with Dave and Roger! Mugan, who slept most of the trip managed to land some good sized Groupers after his sleep! And the baktao managed to land a beautiful Coral Trout on Custom Anglers 150g Madai!

First few hours were bad...

Until it was frenzy time!

First gao by orange orange!

Sweet ang gao on 150g madai!

Good work out on light tackle - Ripple Fisher

Double hook up!

Look at that fish! Weighed around 15lbs!

Kiat's 12lbs gao!

Small fish takes too!

Double hook up! Oh yeah!

Last one of the day!

Great haul on 100% jigs
Ah Eng's boat is big, cheap and comfortable.... will try to go up again soon....

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....