Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My First Tapah Catfish at Pasir Ris Farmway 3 Iwarna

I haven't been fishing actively but here's a short but simple report from Pasir Ris Farmway 3. I'm sure many of you know that the time for fishing at this pond which has given us such a good time is now very limited because of some some lease issues which you can check out here.

I have been a staunch supporter of the pond and have been actively fishing there since it was created. Although the fishing has is now more of fun and relaxing for me nowadays, the pond always takes me back to my roots both as an angler and a moderator of the now defunct fishingnewsroom.com.

The key concept of the pond is not to make money (unlike Fishing Paradise) but to actually promote catch and release via the concept of doing just that but with a huge twist since the fishes in the pond could be said to be exotic - you get the huge Chao Phrya Catfishes, the Alligator Gar, Patins, Pacus and so on. When they first started out, I even saw excited owner Vincent having a blast when lorries came and stocked the pond with massive sized barras and MJs! Many anglers speculate that the pond earns good money because its catch and release but I beg to differ - the owners of the pond constantly stock up the pond with fish, do regular maintenance/feeding. At $30/12hrs, what profit can there be but probably some small change? Big kudos to the management for not even increasing the fishing price since it was opened!

And yet this small paradise tucked away in the east would somehow cease to exist soon...

Anyway, some updates into the current situation at the pond - The tilapias in the the pond have reached crazy proportions and sizes. Chicken liver or meaty bait doesn't last long - it's instant tilapia bite if you're fishing in the day thus I suggest if you're aiming for the biggies, try other tactics other than chicken liver. You may want to cast out cut mango, live tilapia or even float a bread! Of course, you can keep rebaiting with chicken liver too! If all these are not your thing, go fish at night where the tilapias are less active.

Rebaiting every 5 minutes was what I did though and that resulted in my very first Tapah - pardon the video, I made a mistake and kept on exclaiming Kelah hahahaha... Suprisingly for a "Tor Sat", this fella was extremely strong and resorted to dirty fighting by taking me to the structures. No worries though because the calm baktao was always going to win the battle. If you keep your line high and the fish's head up, it's going to be real hard for the fish to snag you. Busting off/getting snagged only happens when you get nervous and lose your cool. Follow the video closely, if the fish veers off to the structures, keep line taut and high - in the way, the fish has no chance to snag onto anything unless it really is sneaky and takes the line around some planks!

First Tapah on drugs!
and as usual, me and the never look at camera pose

Not very professional photos though hahahaha
Good fight on Shimano Bass Rise 5-10lbs and Daiwa Legalis 1500SH (6lbs tuffline, 12lbs dupont leader)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Short Visit to TCE Tackles

I had some time to visit TCE Tackle the other day and I found some pretty good cheap jigs that are worth a try. To find out how to get to TCE Tackles, visit my other post here. Address and guide to TCE Tackles can be found there.

With tackle shops like Hock Ann sports, Five Dots closing down, it is graet that we have TCE Tackles and the recently rebranded Surecatch's Catchbay at 30 Ubi Road.

I've always been a fan of affordable and effective goods. When I saw some of the Bakau range of jigs, I had no doubt that these will likely have a high chance to be effective especially at some of our light jigging areas like Pekan and Rompin. Here's some pictures of the jigs that I found interesting.

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This jig was a little similar to the Ima gune. Flat profile!
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Does this remind you of the sevenseas hooker anathan?
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reminds me of technic GT jack
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Another interesting profile design
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Baku range of jigs
Other than that, TCE Tackles sell a range of other brands like Ajiking, Tomman, Banax, Xpuyu etc. Seasoned anglers will remember the Lemax and St Croix brand as well. It's one of the tackle shops that are located in the west so if any west side anglers need a quick shop for essential items like sinkers, this is the place to go to!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Manila Finale: Slum Visit and Mabini Shrine

The last leg of my free and easy Manila trip was probably the best one as I enjoyed the simple home cooked food and light hearted company. I had the experience of living life the humble filipino way and found out that no matter how bad times were, there was always hot delicious food going round everyone's tables (or rather houses)! But put your typical Singaporean here and I swear they would run far far away. A slum is a slum afterall and the living conditions were not what normal Singaporeans would be used to. Toilets were considered holes in the ground, shelters were built right beside smelly drains and roofs were just zinc plates joined together.

the slum living room where all families from different houses would come together and share a common TV!
Into slums we go

We had a short visit to Mabini shrine after Taal Volcano and the ladies picked some wild cranberries... I had fun writing my name and website on the Mabini shrine guest list!
Free entry!

raw cranberries are sour but refreshing
This particular slum had a slipper "Factory" which was a low tech slipper production line. I had some good educational insights on how the business was run and this was extremely interesting for me.
They worked hard here which was a good thing!

Levis showing me around the production line
The next morning was a different story as we visited the markets along the slum area for some supplies. We got ourselves some eggs, chicken wing wings (yes the wing wing's!), fish and some noodles. We were going to have a home cooked meal that day and everyone was invited! I also got a chance to try a favourite pinoy snack - Hot Pandesals! They were around $0.10 SGD and looked awfully plain but tasted like pinoy heaven! I couldn't believe that after filling myself with at least 10 buns, it was a mere $1 SGD. It costs much more in Singapore to be satisfyingly full!

a sweet potato snack!

Get your hot pandesals!
the pandesal up close!
talk about bird flu man...

dried mango, beef ribs stew and fried fish! not forgetting my favourite chilli padi!

fried chicken wings wings and necks! extremely tasty!
awesome decent bee hoon!
When we got to the slums, I was a little shocked that drinking water had to be bought in the form of jerry cans! Apparently, these were considered luxury and my nanay's family had invested in the water and a fridge. The business? Chilled water sold by 1.5 litre bottles and ice cubes in plastic bags! Dozens of houses and neighbours all relied on this little fridge for this privelege often taken for granted back in Singapore. This put humble thoughts in my big head and Singaporeans have to see the world before we complain about trivial things.

little girl knows her job. of course i helped her too later on.

wire drums as seats?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Casting and Jigging for Mackerals at Desaru On Malaysia Polling Day!

I realised it's been awhile since I had put up an instant fishing catch report in which CRs were posted the following day after the catch... so here's one! We had a reasonable trip with Boatman Shawn! (oops!) at Desaru that could have been excellent if not for the weather that hit us in the morning when the current was excellent for fishing. Fishing at Desaru is definitely convenient now that there is the new senai expressway... in fact for someone that lives in the west like me, it's almost the same travelling time to fish in Desaru and to fish in Changi offshore!!! I'm pretty sure many kakis will make the switch from fishing in singapore to fishing in desaru because of this... hahaha...

We started the day early at 7am at the Desaru coffee shop meeting place with our usual meal of mee goreng... the ayam goreng has improved and they added some herbs to it! Simply delicious!

Decent plate of mee!
To fire up ourselves!
The cat and mr chong
 We gathered our drinking supplies, ice, snacks and lunch before heading to the beach to meet our boatman.

Kapitan Boatman Shawn
No matter though because Boatman Shawn hit a good 15lbs Tengeri Batang (Spanish Mackeral) on his favourite Jackson pintail 40g! It was a good start for him... though he later resorted to bait (frowns).
The only fish before the storm!
When the storm stopped, we finally could head to another location where there were healthy amounts of baitfish... but alas, the current was starting to die down. Before it completely died down though, we hit a school of Tengeri Papans aka Ma Jiao or King Mackeral... but it was after awhile did we realise they were extremely shy and finicky. They did not respond at all to fast jigging but preferred long stroke jigging with jerk stops / long flutters in between! Best of all, they hit the jigs lightly on the mouths and we had to strike before they took off! This resulted in alot of hookups outside the mouth area and less bust lines!

Storm super skarp and super gomoku were excellent jigs to use for this application... they outfished other jigs as well and all of us switched to the super gomoku lol...

the ball starting rolling
and rolling...
king macks were in
how come got bonito? Bonito on micro jig

I got my king mac too on storm super skarp

fish small also must act cute right? but thats a good close up of the storm super skarp!
Tying the FG knot when you bust your line simply sucks when the action is good but it is a good way of training to tie the FG knot well! Hahaha!

After the short fun, it was dead current and we slowly packed up to make our way back to shore... and also to avoid any voting drama that could take place...
reasonable ok catch for stormy first half and end early
fun kakis always good to have while jigging!
We drove to the customs straight without stopping and surprisingly, no jam on both sides resulted in me getting back at 630pm!~ Got home, cut up the fishes, washed up 163 Kimly Seafood to have Yao Zham Beh Kah and Batang Bittergourd soup!!!

feel like eating it raw...

yao zham time!
Excellent but tiring day...

I'll try to compile a short video on this CR soon...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Casting Sinking Minnows (Jackson Pintails) for Mackerals (or Pelagics)

Casting sinking minnows for spanish mackerals (batang, tengerri, beh kah, ma jiao) or even pelagics has been a recent trend in jigging/luring that has been picking up in Malaysia fishing such as Rompin, Pekan and even Desaru. I remember the introduction of Jackson Pintail by lure haven some years back and now this trend is so popular that there are so many similar lures out there in the market like the Asari Pinktail, Senses Spymission, Duel Hardcore 110S and even the D Lures Submariner!

In this baktao gold article, I hope to roughly illustrate the basics of successfull execution of this rather new technique so that newbies can have an understanding of how it works. If one fishes with this method correctly, it is extremely effective on the fishes!

Anglers should take note that the application of this particular illustration is narrowed to mostly offshore boat fishing in which there is deep enough water, fish attracting devices (FADs) such as Unjams, ships or structures. Although application of such a sinking minnow can be adapted to freshwater environment (see my Soon Hock landed on Asari Pinktail) and even deep luring for Coral Trout (ang gao, hong shi ban) at the reefs, I shall generally talk about how to get the mackeral with this technique.

To understand how this technique works is actually very simple. Anglers just need to imagine fleeing baitfishes zipping about in the ocean - be it alone or cutting through confused schools of baitfish. For this to happen, it is best to have an FAD like an unjam in which you can cast your lure parallel to it and draw the predator fishes that are lurking below. This forms a very horizontal form of retrieving and this means the anglers NEEDS to get distance on the casting in order to be effective. Such sinking minnows are often in the range of 40g for Malaysia waters and 40g is considered the "De Facto" weight when casting for mackerals.

Method Part 1

The green stuff is the lure!
In this part, the lure is cast out from the boat and hits the water. The angler may want to apply a quick tightening of the line by reeling in some slack line and keeping line taut just when the lure falls. This is to straighten the lure head before it sinks. This works well with certain lures such as the Asari Pinktail because the lure tends to sink erratically and will result in snagged lines around the treble hooks! It is also interesting to note that the Duel Hardcore 110S sinks in a spiral motion while the Jackson pintial sinks on the tail. During the sinking, there is a VERY high chance that mackerals will take the lure. The angler should maintain a taut line by opening bail arm and using the fingers to manually release line if possible. If a twitch, tug or extremely loose line is felt, close the bail arm and strike immediatley! Failure to do so usually results in lost lures... it is tough to maintain this manual release of line for many casts and many anglers usually give up.... until murphy's law strikes!

Method Part 2
let it sink!
During this part, one must take note if the lure is being carried away by the current or the current is helping to push the lure in. If the lure is being pushed out, great! it means you will get more distance... but if it is pushing the lure in, you have minimal distance after waiting. Anglers usually wait around 10 - 20 seconds for the sinking and target only the middle to top water columns for mackerals. Those more adventurous can try to target the reef species such as grouper by letting it sink to just above the corals. Take note though, don't let it sink to the bottom as you may snag onto coral! The sinking depth differs from each spot and it is best to check with experienced anglers or the captain on the depth.

Method Part 3

In the final part, retrieving is usually done in a fast or extra fast manner which is certainly more effective for mackerals. However, this is limited to the quality of the lure which is namely the resistance of the lure and the diving action of the lure. Quality lures like the Jackson pintail face little resistance but great action in the water meaning you can zip it fast or slow! Certain cheaper lures like the Asari Pinktail tend to flip on its sides often and resistance in water is bad. This is a major concern for your reel as constant casting and retrieving against heavy resistance can wear out your reel fast! I have also noticed that Duel Hardcore 110S is extremely good when it comes to fast retrieve but if you change the stock hooks, the action diminishes.... I shall briefly comment on the different types of common sinking lures in the market later on in this post... The angler can also choose to complement the fast retrieve with erratic jerks or even letting it sink for a few seconds more and jerking it up like how you work a squid jig! It is really up to the angler to rely on his experience on how best to make the fishes go crazy. Generally, just retrieve at a fast speed will do the trick for most mackerals!

Well, after you got the fish to bite, you know the rest... hook up, fight and land it! If you are unsure, you can check out my post on correct fighting position techniques for boat fishing!

Types of sinking minnows out in the singapore fishing market

Jackson pintail($25 - $30) - One of the best go to lures and a lure that is well known for its application in mackeral casting! If you're a beginner and you know nuts, you should just get this and start casting them!

D Lures Submariner ($10) - A recent sinking lure to have entered the market, the lure seems to be very similar to the Jackson pintail but it differs in the weight balance system. The lure also tends to have good fast erratic action when cranked fast but poor action when reeled slowly. Value for money if you need a fast action presentation (more comparisons with jackson pintail below)

Senses Spymission ($16) - More similar to the Asari Pinktail then the Jackson Pintail. No comments as of yet

Asari Pinktail ($12) - One of the earlier sinking lures that are similar to the Jackson Pintail. It follows a sea bass lure design and it has been proven to work on several occasions! Quality control is not good though and every lures feels different. Possible turning is needed!

Rapala Xrap Sinking (unknown price) - No comments still in testing.

Duel Hardcore 110S ($17) - Also another famous pioneer mackeral casting lure, this baby has three hooks which makes for bad action if you change them to bigger hooks. Casting is great on this lure and retrieves are resistance free.

From top, Jackson pintail, D lures Submariner, Senses Spymission, Asari Pinktail, Rapala xrap sinking, duel hardcore 110s 
Can you spot the difference?
I won't be going through the terminals and hooks because there are many school of thoughts on certain combinations and beliefs. Just stick to the same principal - always change hooks/split rings if you think they are of sub standard quality and always note that using wire tracers will decrease lure movement and that will mean shy fish! For colours, go for blue, green or silver... anything that resembles saltwater baitfish!

Below are some catches on sinking minnow to end this article!
Asari Pinktail on slow erratic pauses!

Good size bonito on Duel hardcore 110s!

Chencaru on a Jackson Pintail 50g!!!
***Please note that lure prices are just an estimate and may change!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Manila Part 3: Taal Volcano Finally!

It has been quite some time since I blogged about my adventures at Manila. I last stopped here and talked about my time at Intramuros but in this post I would finally get a proper "roadtrip" by visiting the famous Taal Volcano and Crater Lake. The Taal Volcano is supposedley one of the smallest active Volcanoes in the world so I had a chance of being turned into some Nando's creation during my time there! Today was also the last day staying at Marikina hotel as I surpised everyone by insisting that we stay in the slums tonight!

Levi's and his safe no frills driving got us safetly to small little town of Barangay Buco which was famous for the Buco pies! Buco pies are delicious coconut pies which I last tasted when my nanay visited us in 2009! Unfortunately, I was on tight spending as I didn't know what the day's spending would amount to and we didn't have time to visit the money changer! It was good that we scrimped though as I realised that I would have to pay for all of us on the Journey to the Volcano town!

The town of Barangay Buco!
Custard Apple breakfast along the way...

The view from the drive through the steep roads

stopped for a pee