Sunday, March 31, 2013

Malaysia Pekan Fishing March 2013 Preview!

I'm back from my short trip to Pekan guys... brought Weiyee and Kiat who were first time jiggers and all managed to score good first time fishes! Awesome experience for the guys for their first time jigging in malaysia Pekan!

Check out this hot preview video!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Prawning at Haibin Bishan [CLOSED]

It's another prawning outing at Bishan Hai Bin Prawning and I was super surprised this time... because I was out prawned!
Short rods mean less prawns actually as most prawns are at the middle of the pond!
Another amusing thing during the prawning session was that there were people that brought scissors to snip off the prawn pincers before putting it into the net... I felt that this wasn't really requried because you can hold the prawn pincers together with one hand and take out the hook with the other. The prawn pincers are often neglected but big prawn pincers can really yield a tasty treat. We had a total of around 40 prawn.

Hold the prawn pincers with one hand and impress your date!
Needless to say, the prawns were bbq with salt...though I contemplated bringing some herbs. Lemon pepper and some oregano or dill should work wonders with the blue mountain prawns. After prawning and eating the prawns, I went with R to the nearby Beer Garden and we had a few beers/photos...

Can u believe it? R caught the biggest prawn!

Slow fire locks in prawn juiciness...

Graveyard of Prawns!
There seems to also be a new "yabby" or freshwater lobster pond at Haibin Bishan. The pond is small perhaps 10ft by 5ft and there are only yabbies inside. From initial look, this looks a really smart idea as they only provide extremely short rods. Most prawners here also strike instantly when the yabby still has the bait in the claws... tip here: wait for awhile to strike and strike hard! Always point your rod down while striking to get a little more setting power as the concept of providing short rods lower your chance of a good set!!!

Flaunt your male ego and power

Show off your macho side. Act that it's not pain even though it might for you! prawns pincers are not pain actually... as long as you don't pull out with force after they have hooked onto you!!!
Anyyway, as you can see from the photos, prawning can be a relaxing idea for a date! The ambience at Haibin Bishan Prawning also contributes to the fun factor of prawning. Add the beers, BBQ Chicken wing/Stingray and you have a winning formula for a good date! In fact, you can act the ever macho guy (like me) and help your fair lady unhook her prawns or bbq her prawns! They'll be so touched because girls treat moving prawns like cockroaches!

Oh yes we saw carpark gantry being built at the Bishan Prawning Carpark so it seems parking there may not be free soon!

Hai Bin Bishan Address:
603 Sin Min Avenue Singapore 575735
Tel: +65 6554 1986

How to get there by bus:
Bus: 52, 74, 88, 130, 410G, 410W

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Correct Fighting Positions/Techniques For Boat Fishing

I actually came across these thoughts while I was looking at one of my Youtube videos. The correct fighting positions especially when fighting fast swimming fish like Mackerals are extremely important in boat fishing. I lost one of my record sized mackerals because of this and it was been a painful but useful lesson. I know of many an angler still making the same mistakes today due to ignorance or sometimes they forget...

Whenever you see a friend hookup a good fish, don't just wait... get out the camera for a video or help get him into position plus at the same time look out for obstacles that lie ahead. The usual obstacles are lines that are still in the water. These are common habits that seasoned anglers usually do in these situations and they can be useful too! Also, your buddy will be forever greatful to you when that record fish is landed. Like they say... fishing is a team effort!

Common Problem 1: Fish changes direction and swims at lightning speed towards the back of the boat.

In this situation, anglers usually hook up a fish at the front of the boat while popping or jigging. Many anglers (even seasoned ones) usually lose themselves in the initial run of the fish and do not make preparations for plan B. Plan B is usually when the fish decides to run in the above direction. Usually, this means the fish uses the current and goes for it! Anglers should prepare to move themselves towards the back of the boat. While moving, reel in slack line and try to continue fighting the fish normally. Don't jerk too much or the hooks may get loose! Look out for obstacles like strewn tackle boxes or even strewn anglers! You should react fast especially if the fish runs towards the boat propellors! The boat propellors can mean an instant sliced line... Anglers should also note that if the fish suddenly changes direction, there will be slack line. Reel in this slack line and load the rod fast to avoid the fish jumping the hooks! Look out for the anchor and anchor line too!

Common Problem 2: Fish runs under the boat

This situation usually happens so fast and can result in broken rods as rods are high sticked. A fish that runs below the boat should be countered by immediatley sticking your rod into the water and adopting a low fighting position. During this time, fishes that take to aerial combat (Queenfish, Herring) may sometimes leap into the air (often at the opposite side). Depending on the situation, anglers opposite may reel in their lines fast to avoid entanglement or they can release line (if the lines are already badly entangled). The angler who is fighting should continue dipping the rod as the fish runs. When the fish stops running, the angler should attempt to turn the fish back to front of him. In some situations, it may be more advisable to actually wait for a good time (when the fish stops runing violently) and go to the back of the boat to switch sides. This will be an instant fix to the fish running below the boat! Take care to avoid the propellors though!

Note that for both common problems, if the situation is deemed to be delicate or happening too fast, boat skippers can often turn round the boats and position the lines in an ideal position. Note that the most comfortable position in fighting fishes will probably be the fish just being infront of you and you can then take advantage of proper leverage.

Below's the video that reminded me of such techniques and in the video, both common problems are eliminated as the angler reacts to the problem. In the first part, the angler adjusts his position to the Rainbow Runner as the fish quickly takes off to the back of the boat. Slack line is reeled in as fish swims in. In the second part, the fish tries to dive under the boat and the angler reacts to dip his rod to avoid high stick of rod. Effort is then taken to turn the fish away from the propellors. During the fight, fellow anglers not only take a video but clear their lines as the angler fights the fish.

All these can break or make a record catch!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One person dead following collision between two vessels in Sinki Fairways

At 1200 hrs (Singapore time) on 13 March 2013, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) received a report of a collision between an Antigua and Barbuda-registered container ship “BOSUN” and a harbourcraft SC3566E in Sinki Fairway about 7km southwest of Pasir Panjang Terminal.


Dear readers,

There is another vessel collision in our waters. Whether you are doing Kayak Fishing in Singapore, Taking your own Kairos Inflatable, taking your own pleasure craft, hiring a fishing captain for charter in Singapore or even doing a Kayaking Star Course, do make sure that you ensure that your safety is the no.1 priority.

I know many fishing kakis go to great lengths to access good productive spots such as shipping lanes or restricted areas even though it may be dangerous because of issues like boat traffic, strong currents and so on... but it is definitely not worth it if you lose your life!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Manila Part 2: Intramuros and Pan de Amerikana Restaurant

After a night at Manila, I realised Filipinos tend to wake up very early by default. My Nanay and her daughter were up by 0730hrs while I found myself still making a muah chee out of myself on the bed. We ourselves on the way to Intramuros with Levis being the lead guide cum driver... but not before stopping by to have a good hearty traditional filipino breakfast! It cost around 200 pesos which was less than 10 SGD.

I didn't get the address of this roadside eating place place so it was a real pity. Filipino chicken adobo is a a popular must try dish in Phillipines. It is a style of cooking involving vinegar, ginger and very rich sauce. It is probably the equilavent of the Singapore Chicken Curry or Braised Pork Trotters or Babi Pongteh (if you come from a baba/nyonya family like me). I tried many an adobo dish during my trip and there seems to be no distinct fixed taste. EVERY adobe dish be it chicken or pork has a unique taste that is special only to that stall or cooking method.

A lousy picture of the spread!
Another dish that I tried was pork intestines with pork blood. My Nanay proudly proclaimed this her late husband's favourite dish so I had to try this! Surprisingly, it was quite good and there was no
strong or awful taste.

The dish that I personally enjoyed most was a pumpkin potato dish that came with long beans and ikan bilis. This dish was awesome because the potato was soft and sweet while the long beans added some bounce into the dish. To top it up, the flavour was further enhanced by Ikan Bilis! Pity I didn't get the name though!

Last to arrive was fried milkfish with coconut. It was clear to see why this fish was a staple of the normal filipino diet. The flesh was rich and the slight hint of coconut gave the fried fish a delicate but sweet taste. You could say that the coconut taste caressed the slightly fried taste of the fish!

I never had a friendly face and the public probably viewed me with reserve but there was a contained surprise on the stall chef and owner's eyes as he saw how I feasted on his offerings! After seeing how I loved having Chilli Padis with my meal, he also personally brought over a jar of Chilli Padis marinated in brine and offered me some Chilli. He even exclaimed that the next time I come, he would prepare for me an entire jar! We would later take a picture together and go on to exchange a hug. This was something that I called - "bonding with the locals." I fully appreciated the good spread of traditional filipino dishes and I enjoyed what I would describe as "zing" in the taste of the food. There was a certain taste to filipino dishes that I couldn't find back home. They were somewhat rich with taste - perhaps from the natural goodness of land since alot of their food is home grown.

Pity I closed my eyes! A picture with the stall owner!

After a dessert of fresh mangoes (the crew convinced me that this was also a must try - and it was!), we were soon on the way to Intramuros. It would be a 40 minutes Journey and these are some interesting sights I saw while travelling...

This is actually a post office!

Power to the lord

The way of life

Yep, save the world!
As we drove into Intramuros, I could see the Spanish origins of this famous walled city of Manila. In fact, there was a great battle between the Japanese Army in 1951 at Fort Santiago which I would later visit! More information on Intramuros can be found in Wikipedia!

This was exciting actually

Monday, March 4, 2013

Part 1: Short Holiday to Manila

Travel and lifestyle posts will now be an occasional feature in my blog... So start things off, I am going to be blogging about my short 4 days Free and Easy Holiday to The Phillipines, Manila. I managed to visit a number of attractions there were close to metro Manila in the short time I was there. The aim of these posts will be to hopefully to help travellers and fellow Singaporeans to have some picture of what's going on in these places and how I conquered these places the "Baktao" style!... These posts will be personal, non commercial and "home-made" in the sense that it will probably mean loads of bias posts and thoughts on certain issues but the beauty is that it comes straight from my very heart.... Awwww

After some basic online and library research on "What to do in in Manila", "Things to do in Manila", "Attractions to visit in Manila" and so on... I finally had a list of potential places to visit. It's good to note that travel books like lonely planet were now sort of defunct although maps are still very useful. A good way to plan your travel would be to use Google Maps to estimate the distance from point to point.

Attractions like food, cultural/historical landmarks and volcanoes, lakes etc were top of my list.

The list was something like that...

1) Taal Volcano
2) Fort Santiago and Intramuros
3) Manila Seafood Dampa
4) Balut
5) Corregidor Island
6) Rizal Shrine
7) Manila Cathedral

I briefly had these places in mind and my plan was to head down to Manila first before seeing how I could make my list a reality. After all, what's the point of planned traveling? Ever since my last Bangkok trip, last minute stop dash travel planning on the go seemed to agree with me. So I started my Manila trip without booking any sort of accomodation and left it to my imagination on how my trip would pan out...

Back to the reason why I was actually going to Manila... My purpose of travelling to unconventional Manila (for a Singaporean)  was actually last minute. I wanted to visit my ex domestic helper or maid from Phillipines at her home town. She has since retired from being a maid at Singapore after looking after me for 22 years. I had purchased a ticket for her to visit Singapore too so my motive was actually to fetch her to Singapore for a holiday as well. Travelling solo to the Phillipines, making new friends and not knowing each day held was a humbling experience I would never regret as I experienced the Pinoy way of life, culture, food and living. I felt tiny there as I shared food, shared a slum couch, drank beer with the locals, squat by a roadside stall eating some fried roadside food... Amazing time there.

At Singapore Airlines Departure Hall
The first interesting bit of my solo travel actually started at the Singapore Airlines departure gates as I found out from the Filipino Immigration declaration card that you could only take 10,000 pesos into Phillipines and that was strange as this was only about $320 SGD. I am pretty sure many travellers including Singaporeans would actually change foreign currency at their own country before heading for a holiday. There were no checks when I cleared Filipino customs though and I realised that the exchange rates at Manila were better than those back in Singapore (37 pesos to 1 SGD compared to 31 pesos to 1 SGD at home). Conclusion? Dear travellers, just change your currency in the Phillipines or get your pesos from the ATMs! Additional Tip? Change at money changers further away from the Airport to get generally better rates!

Meeting Levis
I was greeted by my ex maid (with a good portion of white hair and walking with a permanent limp now) with a hug at the arrival hall at night time together with her extended family. This was extremely emotional for me as standing here was someone that looked after me for 20 odd years. They were here with a taxi which belonged to my maid's brother in law. He would go on to be my driver cum tour guide during certain days. He had an interesting name... "Levis Babacho"... Yup you got it. He was named after the legendary Levis Jeans! We had a great introduction and had immediate rapport with each other. Apparently, their idea of Singaporeans (employer's of their sister in law) were that we were snobbish people who had loads of money who didn't know how to slug it the tough way!) and I had to agree with them actually... Well, they were pleasantly surprised when I began to do lots of 'Filipino' things with a very 'Kampong' style! I ate the chilli padis with them, ate and enjoyed the balut, ate the dried mangos like a bird, sang filipino songs with them, got down and dirty in the slums... You could say I was one of them! And this was really my objective of the trip... To experience.

The Introduction to Culture
Anyway, the first thing I picked up from their culture was money. Money was an important part of their life here. In fact, my nanay - means mother in Tagalog (figured I should call my maid that since well she wasn't my maid anymore) and her sister were not happy as they had forgotten to take the change while paying for parking. It was not suprising that they were not living well and that the going was tough for them. In fact to put it bluntly, my nanay's family probably thought I was some walking ATM. I was not invisible to this fact though and I brought extra SGD and of course I had my ATM card with me... It was only polite that I probably should pay any extra costs like petrol that was incurred by me. And of course, I made Levis happy for his few days of driving me around and losing his working income for those few days. These costs were evident during my trip as I paid for the meals (they couldn't afford a normal meal at a decent restaurant), attractions tickets and so on... Halfway through my trip though, I had somehow "won" over their hearts and souls. And whatever these humble people could offer me, they offered me willingly and we would share what we had. That was the single best experience of my life so far - to blend in and be accepted into a difficult culture.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ah Ngan Kelong: Yet Another Sibu Kelong Trip On 7 - 9 Jan 2013

Yes yes.... I usually start with "Every year, I make a trip to Sibu Kelong in Malaysia for my yearly squid, selar, cobia trip bla bla bla..." or I will start with "It's been a long long time I been to Sibu Kelong, and we decided to make a trip there finally!".... Ok I guess I'll skip the introductions!

Last trip to Sibu Kelong was in 2011 and I've really had some good fishing and variety during the past two years. I have been more into Deep Sea Jigging, Light Jigging, Micro Jigging etc... But we all got to go back to the basics of fishing some day. Back to jigging for baitfish at sibu, watching the sunset as you cast your live bait out and also simply enjoying the ring of the dinner meal bell at Sibu Kelong. It's much different ball game compared to the resorts at Pulau Sibu like the Sibu Coconut Resort etc... you live rugged, you eat rugged, you fish rugged at a kelong! And you can also take the boats out to Pulau Sibu Or Tingi for some island hopping luring/fishing!

On this trip were a group of newbies and old birds as usual. I seem to favour this combination as a good hand of old hands can really complement the newbies with their experience, know how and fishing techniques. It makes organizing the trip easier as you have some kakis that understand difficult situations and how the flow really works in such trips. I was lucky to have Sim, Kiat, Fengshan and Tian on their x Sibu trip with me. Joining me was Tian's brother and of course the ever affable Nick. Both of them are first timers to the famous Ah Ngan Kelong at Sibu.

The driver picked up the first bunch of kakis at Sim's place at Bedok followed by Commonwealth and then my place at Bukit Panjang. Kiat and gang were to drive to Malaysia in their own vehicle and meet us at Tanjung Leman Jetty.

I was mildly surprised at the Tanjung Leman Jetty though when our kelong was not really crowded...It seems Ah Fatt Kelong was most popular and the other crowds were equally distributed to Hotboys Kelong, Ah Yew Kelong and Ah Ngan (Wing Sing) Kelong. I was shocked though when a large "commercial" ferry came to ferry us from the jetty to the kelong! It picked EVERYONE up and dropped the fishing kakis at Ah Fatt followed by Ah Ngan, Ah Yew and Hotboys! Amazing! Are the authorities really taking safety seriously after the drowning incident at Sibu Kelong that tragic year?! Only time will tell...

Boat ride from Tanjung Leman to Sibu kelong
Arriving at the kelong!

Usually, this time of the year would see crazy monsoon rain and wind which would in turn help the Selar frenzy which was probably what most people go to Sibu Kelong for... but it was a little early in January and the monsoon was not blowing hard yet. Nevertheless, we were extremely surprised with the good patch of Selar Papan schools. They came thick and fast but only bite when you put some bait like prawn meat. That's probably why it's a good idea to bring some prawn meat to Sibu Kelong even though Selars can be caught with Sabikis without the prawn meat! The normal selars though were not really into the frenzy and this might be explained by the freshwater runoff from the nearby "sungei" or river. On a sidenote, Size 3 - 4 white feather sabikis will be good for Tamban but big  Selars would snap the rig while size 6 - 8 Sabikis are good for any baitfish in general. If you are going for Giant Selars, go for sizes above 8.
Line entaglement is common when jigging for selar... when the selar runs into other kaki's rigs!

The kelong lifestyle
During this trip, I had a different aim though and it was to catch my first "Big Fish" preferably a Cobia during Sibu Kelong trips! I had tough luck at Sibu and my biggest fish till date were only fishes like a 1kg Cobia, 1kg Leng Chiam, 1kg Barracuda etc... And I almost got off to a good start when my live Seklar on Cable Car Rig produced a bite! But up came a 1kg Barracuda again!!! And well, it was really silent for the whole 3 days although I kept changing rigs and baits. Maybe it really is the luck here... because I really tried hard here compared to previous Sibu Kelong trips in which I would be jigging for squid, baitfish, light jigging, fishing for todak with noodle rods and doing everything and anything!

The initial showers were refreshing in the morning and rain really gets me up going at a kelong as rain sometimes ignites feeding frenzys and cuttlefish are more active after rain! A very big change from usual sunny day fishing mindset!

wet is good!
malaysia boleh?
more evening scenery at the kelong

Come afternoon as the tide picked up and the current came in, the Selar Papans came in and everyone had fun jigging for them at the side that was against the current.

Before night time, I settled into my usual fishing and relaxation mode... a crucial part of holidaying and relaxing.

Another suprising observation during this trip were the squids... There were actually surplus green eye squid aka chebak or reef squid from the squid season which was extremely surprising since they usually are not around during this period. The familiar tugging of squid felt.... good. I also had a good take on my squid jig from a huge suspected baktao aka cuttlefish... the fight was pretty long but eventually the cuttlefish let go off the jig at midwater... damn?!

A good sized reef squid on yamashita egi oh
Supper being served... quality of food is not as good as last time... Perhaps because Ah Ngan kelong chef has changed?

Introducing Ah Ngan Kelong's new addition to facilities! In house live bait well!!! We caught lots of baitfish and put it in the well... great stuff...

Didn't think there would be monitor lizards on kelong though!!

This is one of the best part of kelong.... breakfast during sunrise!
Food during one of the days...

Sunset during the last day...
Eventually though our trip had to end with not much big catches though I helped someone fight a Queenfish and eventually gaffed it for him... Here's nick with a Todak though

It was 3/4 full of selar and selar papan for me in my 62qt coleman extreme icebox though!!!