Sampan fishing trips with Jeff Tsen in Sembawang, Singapore (2017 update)

"Huh, you mean on sampan fishing trips, we can spin live prawns like how we do in fishing pay ponds in Singapore?"

That was the pivotal question that we asked ourselves before we went to board the sampan. I've went for sampan fishing with Jeff before and it was quite a good experience in urban Singapore (where every sort of lobang and fishing spot is now fenced up...). The instructions were simple: Light rod 5ft, size 1000 sized reel. Leader line of 30lbs, hooks size 1/0. No need for split shots.

One might expect pay pond sized fishes when looking at the tackle requirement but no… after a few trips, we had a few decent sized fish. We met with the wild magnificent mangrove jack (ang ka tia), wild barramundis, wild groupers, some tarpon and even herring.

What are some tips if you are going sampan fishing with Jeff?

The one tip that I know will work is hard work. Some nights, the fishes are just elusive and don’t want to move their mouth. You have to keep searching, keep knocking on their homes. Don’t give up! The more rocks you snag, the more chances you have in “the zone”.

Bonus tip? Don’t rush into the hook up and fight. Big fish may take very slowly at night and a small nibble doesn’t always mean a small one at the other end. As the tackle used is very light, we want a secure hook up so we can tire the fish out. Get a firm hook set, play the fish right (listen to the captain) and keep the rod down when the fish dives under the boat.

That’s really all you need to know…

Here’s a few catches over a trip or two…

 Looking forward to the next one!  

* Note that some of the smaller groupers were released…


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