Thursday, December 5, 2019

Informal Fishing Session at Pasir Ris Farmway 3 CNR Pond

I am already bringing some kids that I know for an informal fishing trip. If you are a parent and want to join us with your kids then you are welcomed to do so. I won't be providing bait or guiding as I am focused on the kids that I am bringing. But of course, we can fish together and share stories together lah. Or if you and your kid are total newbies, I can help you get started. Fishing isn't meant to be difficult! Please note that this is only meant for SINCERE parents or folks with kids that just want to hang out together.

Let me know at nigel.lian@gmail.com if you're keen or post here https://www.facebook.com/events/651416922065739/

Friday, November 8, 2019

Join Singapore Fishing Telegram Group!


In case you don't know, some of us started a no frills Singapore Fishing Telegram group. Download Telegram and go to https://t.me/singaporefishing to join!

Participate in discussions that relate to fishing spots, fishing tackle, general fishing advice, fishing classifieds and many more. It really is just a free place to come connect with anglers and fishing kakis in Singapore. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

7 Recommended Fishing Charters in Singapore


Yes yes, I know there are so many articles and posts now recommending you places to go fishing in Singapore. However, when you go read them, most of them are just fairly descriptive and is probably adapted from somewhere else. No personal snippets, no personal tips and are just plain click bait-ish. So, I thought why not just write about recommended fishing charters that I have personally went on before. That makes things a little more personal and it’s these nuggets that really do help people make decisions.

Below recommended fishing charters/boatman in Singapore are not ranked by order of preference but alphabetical.

Abang (Southern Islands Area)

Abang is one of the most experienced and cheerful skippers operating in southern Singapore. He specialises in night fishing for golden snappers. If you want to try night fishing in Singapore, you have a pretty good chance with him. Optimal for 4 pax. Departs from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club.

Fishing styles: Bottom fishing for night, anchored fishing
Catch Reports: Snapper fishing with abang, Southern Treasures of Singapore
Contact: Facebook

Ah Fong (Changi/Pulau Ubin Waters)

I have fished with Ah Fong since I was in secondary school! That’s easily close to 20 years ago. He is simply a legend in Changi/Pulau Ubin waters and a very experienced fisherman. He’s the go to person if you want to try Changi offshore but his weekend slots are always almost fully booked. Optimal for 4 to 8 pax. Departs from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

Fishing styles: Bottom fishing, jigging (possible), drift fishing
Catch Reports: Fishing with Ah Fong (Pong), one of the best Changi fishing bumboat captain, Tips for light jigging at Changi waters: Golden Snapper frenzy with Changi Ah Fong
Contact: Tel: +65 9784 7166, Facebook

Fish Stalker (Marina South, Southern Islands)

Fish Stalker that operates out of Marina South Pier is a charter that I have went on recently. It is probably one of the largest charters there is in Singapore and catches are really quite consistent. It’s very suitable for newbies since the drift fishing terrain is very kind (mostly patchy rocks, coral, not very big sinkers required). Up to 10 pax. One deckie and one captain is included in the charter. Good if you have newbies.

Fishing styles: Bottom fishing, jigging (possible), drift fishing
Catch Reports: Fishing with Dad on Fish Stalker Fishing Charter Services (Marina South Pier)
Contact: Tel: +65 9750 8666, Facebook


Jimmy Lim (Changi/Pulau Ubin/Punggol/Sembawang Waters)

I’ve been fishing with Jimmy Lim for years, did some fishing videos for him and we regularly go for supper together. Jimmy is more of a friend rather than a boatman now. Jimmy’s strengths lie in non-conventional new age fishing methods such as ajing, micro-jigging, luring and trolling. His boat is optimal for 4 pax and departs from Marina Country Club.

Fishing styles: Bottom fishing, micro jigging, jigging, trolling, luring, drift and anchored fishing Catch Reports: Trolling and luring in Singapore with Fishing Captain Jimmy Lim from Marina Country Club, Another Giggling Trip on IT'S Gr-R-Reat with Jimmy Lim

Contact: Tel: +65 8157 8990, Facebook

Jeff Tsen aka Prince of Peace fishing charters (Changi/Pulau Ubin/Punggol/Sembawang Waters)

Jeff is one of the most hardworking, skilful and serious charter captains I know. If you believe in maximising your fishing trip time, he’s someone that more than often is able to secure a harvest. Also, he loves kids and teaching them how to fish. Optimal for 5 to 6 pax. Operates out of Sembawang SAF Yacht Club.

Fishing styles: Bottom fishing, drift and anchored fishing
Catch Reports: Fishing with the Prince of Peace (Jeff Tsen), Sembawang SAF Yacht Club, Singapore, Bring Kids Fishing: 8 Useful Tips if you’re bringing them offshore fishing
Contact: Tel: +65 9742 8579, Facebook

Sam Law (Southern Islands, Jurong Islands, Tuas)

Sam Law is one of the most results driven and serious charter captains that I know! He has a penchant and obsession with finding premium and solid bottom fishes. If you’re looking to fish hard, he is the person to go with. Sam is proficient with bringing customers out for jigging, luring, popping and baiting. Optimal for 5 to 6 pax. Operates out of Jalan Buroh.

Fishing styles: Bottom fishing, micro jigging, jigging, luring, drift and anchored fishing
Catch Reports: Southern Island Bottom and Pelagic Fishing in Singapore with Sam Law, Luring, jigging and baiting with Sam Law
Contact: Tel: +65 9127 0087, Facebook 

Sea Charter (Southern Islands, Jurong Islands, Tuas)

Sea Charter is also a charter that I have went on recently. The fishing spots are mostly around Tuas area and is very consistent. Seems like many groupers during most of my trips. It is also possible to cast deep diver lures when fishing near breakers. Daniel is also a very easy going and chillax charter captain. Optimal for 6 pax. Operates out of Jalan Raffles Marina.

Fishing styles: Bottom fishing, micro jigging, jigging, luring, drift fishing.
Catch Reports: Fishing with Seacharter (Daniel) around Tuas waters, Singapore
Contact: Tel: +65 9232 1688, Facebook 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The five love languages for fishing

Have you ever thought of using the five love languages when it comes to fishing? Well, I had some time the other day and put together the below...

Just for fun.

Fishing at Desaru Fish Farm, Malaysia

Picture taken from Facepalmfishing video (below)
So quite some time back, we made the trip down to Desaru to fish at one of the fishing ponds. I'm not really sure it's called Brother pond now since there are other Brother ponds in Malaysia. No idea why that is a popular name.

This time, brought Shawn Xue from singaporefishing.org and also Joshua, who hasn't gotten a fish on lure for ages. Guess what? Yes, kims again although the groupers weren't biting that day... we had loads of fun on light gear, visited some tackle shops in Malaysia later on and had a serving of cheap durian.

Also, we got to fish with the awesome young blokes from Facepalmfishing. Check out their video coerage ;)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Sibu Light Jigging Fishing Trip with Ray Tan

Getting the kakis onboard a fishing trip that revolves around pure light jigging and casting was always going to be a far stretch. Getting good fish around our local and nearby waters takes a good amount of skill and luck. Weather conditions usually compound that problem further. So it was not without trepidation and skepticism that I put together this bait-less Pulau Sibu fishing trip. I was also mindful that my last trip there was two years ago so things may have changed dramatically. To make things worse, I loosely and blatantly promised Boon that he would be able to get his coral trout (ang gao) on jig during this trip. No matter though. With opposition political parties in Singapore promising the moon during every election, I figured that it was quite safe to do so since we can always blame luck in fishing. Very convenient.

So I blamed luck as much as I could before, during and after this trip. The common keywords were "Wind", "Choppy", "Fish not eating" and "Tide not good". Before set off, I would point to the sky and say strong wind, during fishing I would say strong wind so jig flying and during fishing, I would reiterate strong wind (just to cement the point) when Reon was having a bout of seasick. This really helped set expectations low and when we finally had some "much needed luck", things looked very rosy for us. And of course, Boon also got his ang gao (finally) after a day of hard work and persistence (because of strong wind, his ang gao is at least 3X the size). Ok Ok, jokes aside... I personally can vouch for the shift that Boon put in. He caught grouper after grouper on the jig before the intended species came along. Sometimes, it's not about luck or skill and Boon showed it here. Hats off to hard work always.

Ok, common keywords and running away from responsibilities aside, the wind was really indeed not in our favour. We headed very far out to try to get some pelagics but it was too choppy. Wind was blowing at 20 to 25 knots and this made it really difficult to jig as we found it hard to keep our lines vertical. I was using mostly 80g to 150g! Shall not go too much into the conditions but we found the below techniques/application very useful for the reef jigging scenarios that we were in. Do try them and let us know if it works.

Application/technique

1. Vertical jigging combinations and colours for coral trout

The usual vertical jigging standards came true during this trip. Takes were harder and more frequent if you could maintain jig and line as vertical as possible. Certain spots yielded better results when pitched at bottom only while some were pitched to mid water. The coral trouts mainly took the jig from bottom to about 5 to 8 pitches off bottom. Popular colours were the usual green, blue and silver.  I was very "kiasu" and kept following the jig colours that Ray used. Shhh...

Jig presentation was the standard flutter and light jigging moderate strokes. Since it was very windy, we were casting our jigs in the opposite direction of the drift so that we could maintain vertical presentation for at least a dozen or two pitches. This was extremely vital.

2. Drastic changes in application and technique

Smaller jigs worked at the start as the wind wasn't too strong but as the wind picked up, I went for the opposite of small. I pitched 80g to 150g jigs to get more "hang time" on the drop (before the jig got blown away). I also tried varying methods of jigging here from slow strokes to very fast strokes across the water column. A small 250g coral trout took my 100g Kurau jig which I found cute. A Cobia later took my 150g Williamson jig around mid water. The fishes didn't really mind the bigger jigs it seems. The general thing to keep in mind is to make drastic changes to what isn't working at the present situation. A conscious decision must be taken all the time on whether to switch it or to keep it. Sometimes, keeping it works better. How and when to switch or keep is something that is personal.

3. The viability of tungsten in tough conditions

Yes, tungsten works. Not because it makes jigs more attractive but simply because it takes less time to get your line and jig settled. The rest that were using tungsten (I cannot afford) were able to put in more pitches before the jigs went north. However, tungsten was useless once we were in the 25 knot wind zone. Putting a 150g jig to hit those cobia was far better than waiting for a 28g tungsten to reach bottom.

4. Drift bouncing was effective even when line was not vertical

What was very interesting for me during this trip was that during our time fishing the Sibu sunken kelongs, the fishes were hitting jigs that were bounced just one or two pitches off the bottom even though the line was not vertical. Our lines were drifting very very very far and we would simply just release more line to hit bottom again. In fact, the fishes were taking the "drift far far" bottom bouncing jigs rather than the beautifully presented jigs (not drifting far, very delicate expert pitches). After awhile of presenting the jigs nicely, we were all simply releasing line and letting the jig drift very far. Not a very good thing to do since you would tend to lose the jig more easily if snagged but it was getting the fish!

Catch Report

Beautiful specimen!
Boon's dream finally fulfilled!
Pesky Cobia. Ray lost a sailfish on jig after this. Haha!
Pig toh!
Retrieved one teng before going back to hide
Landed a tiny one. Tried to revive it but failed so put in icebox without guilt.
We released many undersized gaos and miss wongs. Tapao-ed the nicer size ones.
Have to pose a wet wet picture. Yes it rained later on.

Contact
Car rental: We rented a vehicle from Tribecar.
Fishing Charter Hire: You can contact Ray at +6593228816 or +60195120963

Photo credit: Some of the above photos were taken by Ray

Monday, July 29, 2019

Tips for light jigging at Changi waters: Golden Snapper frenzy with Changi Ah Fong

Very contented with nice size snappers! We released 3 to 4 pieces of smaller snapper and groupers. We also lost quite a few!
Jigging for golden snapper in a frenzy was always the stuff of dreams for me. I watched too many Australian fishing shows where they jig the snappers just use soft plastics and it was always awesome. I was very blessed to experience this (locally some more!) recently although we were using light jigs (kurau jigs). Changi Ah Fong simply knows how to target them and he was top notch.

The snappers were feeding aggressively that morning taking our jigs at the bottom and even all the way up to mid water! The takes were very hard, fight was tough and we even lost a few of them. Heck, David even managed a good 8lb barramundi in the morning!

Some photos from our catches:

David was the first to score a good snapper!
Before that, he did this barramundi on kurau jig thing.
Ah Fong teaching us how its done on bait
Greedy gao on red mouse madai.
Guhood came in!
Looks like leatherjackets also love the kurau jig. We caught two of these!
And one on the candy kurau jig!
Many are doubtful of jigging at Changi waters simply because the catches there are generally smaller (in-shore species) and the water visibility isn’t that great. Don’t let that deter you from jigging! 

Some tips on light jigging at Changi waters: 
  1. Since visibility is bad, colour and presentation matters much. David was getting more hits with his chrome coloured jig on a bright day compared to my candy coloured jig. The tinsel threads on his assist hooks also made full use of the sun. When margins are very tight, it is important to be fussy about colours.
  2. Employ a variety of jigging methods from bottom bouncing, mid water zipping and even long falling your light jig. When something works, stick to it. Alternate if not sure.
  3. Explore different depths! During our trip, the snappers were feeding at bottom and at mid water. Always explore the whole water column especially since there are various species of fishes that hang around different depths. 
  4. Try to jig with some buddies for better effectiveness. More jigs down, more fish! Fishes tend to get more aggressive and you can cover larger areas together.
  5. Jig at the correct timing. Tidal flows, mid-day lull means that jigging won’t be effective the whole day. Mornings and late afternoons are usually better. It is also better to jig when the tides are in full swing (few hours before and after incoming/outgoing). Rest or bait during lull times.
  6. If light jigs are not working, change to bigger jigs or madai jigs. Sometimes, fishes don’t attack jigs for a meal but they attack out of territorial instincts. If the fish aren’t feeding, then irritate them! Similarly, downsize your jigs to micro jigs to see if it triggers the fishes. 
Ah Fong’s contact: +65 9784 7166

Also, a very simple overvideo video taken from video footage from everyone.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Fishing for Tarpon and Giant Herring in Singapore

We don’t usually deliberately go fishing for tarpon and giant herring in Singapore because they are so rare and dispersed. So I suppose we were fairly shocked when we were sight casting for them during a recent quickie Prince of Peace trip. In fact, they were in such huge numbers that hook ups were easy and they were responding to almost any sort of presentation (bait, jigs and even sinking minnows!).

They were taking anything. Even a 40g jig!
And lures...
Acrobatics!
Double hookup!
Both tarpon and giant herring (ladyfish) tend to be in schools and rise to the surface of the water column quite regularly. Hence, any lure or jig presentation that is top water often works well. Lures like small poppers, surface cruisers, pencils and jigs/minnows work across the top water column are great. However, I was always told that we should be cautious when luring these supposedly shy fish as they may be extremely finicky. NOPE! They hit whatever was thrown at them (even apollo with prawn meat!) and they were in frenzy mode.

Quickie tapao, don't blame me because I'm practicising responsible catch and keep with variety
In fact, we didn’t take pictures for many of the fish we landed. We bought home around 10 giant herring (released all tarpons – probably about half a dozen pcs) for the dinner table and lost/released easily 20pcs. I wonder if these smaller herring will be better than bigger sized ones. Herrings this size can be fried crispy for the whole fish so something to think about! Some juvenile snappers were also brought back (palm sized at least with many smaller than that being released) with the assurance that these would not be wasted. In fact, my mother prefers fishes of this size rather than the big ones. 

Keen for a tarpon and/or giant herring fishing trip? Contact Jeff from Prince of Peace fishing charters.

Note to flyfishing or expert tarpon/giant herring anglers. This is a ripe chance for an industry/fishing style that is highly underfished. There is huge potential...

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Again having super meaty flower crabs from B&B Fishery Services!

Why are crabs so tasty and delicious?
Why are flower crabs so delicious? I had another go at B&B Fishery Service's extra large and meaty flower crabs and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, this round was even better as ALL the crabs were meaty and of consistent quality. Remember I told them that were was one slightly water crab? Seems like they took my feedback seriously and made sure quality was 100% good.

The current batch of crabs (I'm told) are live crabs and delivered fresh right after harvest so there's no soaking in ice or transferring to markets to try and get them sold. This ensures that the crabs are as fresh as they can be and anyone who knows their crabs know that the meat quality deteriorates very quickly. In fact, once the crabs die, the deterioration process begins! Kudos to B&B for taking care of this very delicate but important challenge.

Okay I talk too much. Here are the photos that I took! Recipe was just simple hua tiao wine, salt and light soy sauce. Steam for around 15 minutes to 20 minutes will do.

Crabs came packed in a nice foam box with adequate ice. How sweet of them to remember my blog too.
Great storage!
Good sized females!
To illustrate how meaty the crab was, I simply removed all the meat and put it down on the board. See? No watery parts.

No "watery" crab 
Full with roe!
Male crab heads were also very full of good tasty stuff.

Full carapace
Super full head!


I even took a quick video of me smashing the body with a nutcracker to show the firm meat underneath (sorry poor the poor video, low budget blog is like that).


There were female crabs in this bunch so roe is present!

More meaty pictures...

Seafood mooncake? 
Simply squish the body and the meat all comes out
Full, thick meat
Even the leg meat is full!
Full claw...
Contact:

You can view their products at https://www.facebook.com/BBFisheryServices/ or you can call/WhatsApp them at 8833 8913.

Note by author: This is not a paid post in any way. I may have helped B&B Fishery Services share a few posts but my crabs are paid for and the tasting is in no way exaggerated (I take pride in my reviews). Also take note that the prices of the crabs do change according to supply and demand.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Fishing with Ah Fong (Pong), one of the best Changi fishing bumboat captain

Dad caught the first fish. Quite a huge kaci!
Remember my article on how the Changi “bumboat fishing boatmen” are the last of their kind? I had a request from my dad the other day that he would like to try fishing on the bumboat again and I knew I just had to book a trip with Ah Fong, who is considered one of the best in the businesses. I fished with Ah Fong many years ago and he rarely disappointed. My dad’s friends wanted to join in too and it was a good reunion of sorts for my dad and his friends (they are all army regulars who have now retired).

It was really cool that Ah Fong now accepts booking through WhatsApp and it was rather shocking that the price for booking the boat is still a very modest $450. I remember it being $450 years ago!

Ah Fong’s contact: +65 9784 7166

Anyway, back to the fishing catch report. It was an extremely windy day so conditions were very challenging. In fact it was so rocky that I had to sit throughout the trip! Thankfully, nobody got seasick and we pulled in some decent fishes (although we lost quite a fair bit of good fishes which bullied us – everyone including Ah Fong was guilty).

A small window period of half an hour led to what was a great session of jigging – Kurau Jigs, Slow Fall Jigs scoring a few good groupers (including a brute of a Hybrid Grouper which smashed the madai jig) for me. Very contented with the bite rate!

Good sized grouper on one of the slow fall jigs from bakgalfishing.
 

Whopper of a hybrid take took a madai jig. Didn't weigh this but definitely more than 10lbs...

Will we go again? Yeah definitely now that my dad is retired and able to spend more time fishing! Seems like dad certainly likes the old school fishing more than offshore fishing on the fiberglass boat. Nostalgia and old school goes a long way in the experience.

Not bad considering we lost many fishes!
Priceless memories!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

How much does it cost to go fishing in Singapore?

The simplest questions asked are often the ones people ask all the time. Throughout my life, questions such as “where do you go fishing” or “Singapore got fish meh?” are often very common conversation starters. So I wondered out of curiosity how much really do we anglers or fishermen spend on our hobby.

The result? I put together a very simple list below that doesn’t really conclude anything but if you have friends asking you about fishing costs (because they really don’t know or because they want to pick up fishing) then please show them this blog post.

Fishing cost in Singapore is generally split up into equipment and trip cost since there are no local licenses that we need to purchase.

Note that costs are in SGD and these costs are written from a Singaporean slant.

Equipment cost

Equipment cost refers to the fishing rods, reels, lines, hooks, sinkers, lures and accessories that one will need to buy when fishing. Costs are also very subjective here since there is a wide range of equipment that we can choose from.
  • A fishing rod can cost between $5 (cheap China-made ones) to thousands of dollars. Typical entry level but decent ones would cost from $50 to $100. Higher quality ones and Japan designed ones would cost from $100. Custom fishing rods on average would cost between $300 to $500 (inclusive of rod blanks, materials and workmanship).
  • A fishing reel can cost between $5 (cheap China-made ones) to a thousand dollars (check out the Shimano Stella) Typical entry level but decent ones would cost from $50 to $100. Higher quality ones and Japan designed ones would cost from $100. $300 would fetch you mid-range ones such as the Shimano Twinpower while $800 onwards will get you the Shimano Stella.
  • Fishing lines (for reels) is a contentious one since there are so many types and ranges of fishing lines! Monofilament line would cost anything from $5 for a spool while braided line can cost $15 for a spool (excluding cheap China-made braids). Spools are also sold in 100m, 300m, 500m rolls. Some braid and PE line though, can cost you $200. In general, Japanese PE line would be pricier than American braid (i.e. Varivas PE line vs Tuffline)
  • Lures can generally cost from $1 to $50. Like lines, lures can be very contentious in terms of pricing. In general though, non-Japanese usually cost from $5 to $15 and Japanese lures often are priced above $15. If you’re doing big game fishing and require heavier lures such as Poppers, these can also bring up the cost since some Poppers do cost a few hundred dollars. Prices of lures are pegged to technology/design and application.
  • Jigs can cost from a dollar or two to $100. Same thing with lures, if you’re going for bigger jigs for big game fishing, then expect higher costs. The price of jigs though seem pegged more to weight and material (i.e. tungsten) than technology/design.
  • Sinkers generally cost from a few cents (split shots) to a few dollars (large ones from size 8 to 32) and are one of the items that generally have quite a sensible price range since it’s just lead.
  • Leader lines (used to connect your mainline to lure or for tying rigs) are monofilament lines and cost anything from a dollar or two (starfish brand), $5 and under (dupont brand) to $30 and above. Generally, fluorocarbon monofilament lines are pricier and heavier poundage will mean more cost.
  • Terminal tackle accessories such as hooks, swivel, snaps, and so on are usually quite low on cost and can cost from $1 per pack. However, these days there are many variations, models and designs that are in the market. In general, an acceptable pack of hooks/swivels/snaps will cost you $1 to $2. Better ones will cost from $2 to $5. Big game fishing terminal tackle accessories are usually costlier especially if you get the Japanese ones. You should also note that assist hooks (for jigs) with kevlar are also pricier.
  • The other fishing accessories such as boga grip (fish gripper), pliers and so on are too varied so I’ve excluded these costs.
  • Note that I’ve excluded maintenance costs here but generally it should cost anything from $30 to $70 to service a fishing reel and $5 to $20 to fix a fishing rod guide.
Fishing trip cost
  • A pond fishing trip to a local catch and keep paypond will generally cost you $30 to $100 depending on the location chosen, hours spent fishing and also packages utilised. In general, $50 will set you off for a whole day’s fishing at Pasir Ris main pond while $50/3hrs will also get you a ticket at most “pro-ponds” which are basically smaller, more private ponds.
  • A pond fishing trip to a catch and release paypond will cost you $30 to $100 (Pasir Ris Farmway 3 costs $30/12 hrs while Orto is pricier with more complex packages). Increasingly, there are also more trips to catch and release payponds which focus on bigger sportfish and these will cost from $50 to $100 (i.e. Barelang fishing pond).
  • A simple offshore fishing trip around Changi waters will cost you $50 to $120 (depending on type of boat i.e. bumboat or fiberglass and number of people sharing the cost).
  • A simple offshore fishing trip around Southern Island/Sentosa/Tuas waters will cost you $80 to $150 (depending on type of boat i.e. bumboat or fiberglass and number of people sharing the cost). In general, the fishing spots here tend to be further.
  • There are also free fishing locations in our Singapore freshwater and saltwater waterways. Legal fishing areas in reservoirs, public beaches, jetties and piers are all free of charge. These though are often not very productive.
  • A simple 2D2N trip to East Malaysia i.e. Rompin, Pekan, Desaru, Merchong, Sedili will cost you $300 to $500 in general. These include lodging, charter costs and food. 
  • A simple day fishing to East or West Malaysia should cost around $100. These include charter costs, food and general costs. 
  • Fishing trips to further locations do commensurate with location, professional costs and currency. I.e. Kuching, Sarawak, Miri, Maldives, Australia and so on. 
Now, I hope these costs do help you. To admit, I put together the list because I was trying to kill some time. If you have anything to add on though, do email me or comment so that I can add them in! Hopefully this is useful for those picking up fishing or asking about fishing costs.
 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Bring Kids Fishing: 8 Useful Tips if you’re bringing them offshore fishing


A happy bunch enjoying their day
What is the best way to introduce fishing to kids in Singapore? Well, you simply bring them fishing! You can teach them the basic fishing lessons and beginniner fishing lessons by simply bringing them fishing.

This June School Holiday I brought some kids out for fishing with Prince of Peace fishing charters in Singapore (Jeff Tsen) which departs from SAF Yacht Club at Sembawang and although it was massively tiring, the trip went really well and everyone had some fun but also picked up some basic light offshore fishing around Pulau Ubin, Seletar and Changi waters. The kids did well!

Contact for the Prince of Peace fishing charters:
+65 9742 8579, Facebook

I won’t be sharing on the narrative of the trip but rather here are some tips that can guide you if you’re planning such trips (if not you can sign them up for some basic fishing courses in Singapore).

1. Seasick

The most important thing to take into consideration for offshore fishing is seasick. Seasick can really take the joy out of a good day’s fishing. Prepare some pills and practical advice (e.g. I brought novomin for the kids and we had “light” breakfast like bread). Remember to also take the monsoon and terrain into consideration. Bringing kids out into a “hardcore” southern island trip isn’t really going to do them favours. Rather, start out with a light offshore fishing trip in sheltered waters like Pulau Ubin, Sembawang, Seletar, Changi etc.

2. Start off with baits and a simple first spot

Kids aren’t going to start off with state of the art fishing techniques and they certainly won’t be “on the ball” when fishing difficult terrain. Whether a spot looks promising won’t matter to them and you want the most effective no brainer methods to get fish on the boat. To do this would be to do some good old baiting. Baiting will enable a larger variety of fish to get hooked and also get them acquainted with fishing in a fun way since bait handling often produces much excitement. Also, work with the captain to establish a few “tester” or check out spots so that the kids get a hang of it before you bring them to the more promising spots.

3. Simple rigs, simple gear, simple instructions

Go simple! Use simple single hooked apollo/paternoster rigs, running sinkers and even sabiki rigs. There is no need to use fancy madai jigs, tenyas and all sorts of complicated rigs. This applies to gears as well – a spinning tackle setup often is the norm here and avoid overhead setups. Instructions should also be very simple and easy language will help kids remember. Use terms like “do you feel the bottom?”, “Is there still bait on the hook?”, “lower down the line”, “strike the rod”… instead of terms like “open the bail arm.”

4. Establish basic safety and ground rules

Basic safety rules are very important when bringing kids out because they will base safety gauges from their first trip. Start them off well! Simple things like sitting down when the boat is moving, bracing for a wave when anchoring and so on must be repeated. Teach them to also identify venomous fish if you catch any and how to remove the hook from fishes. Things like etiquette also apply.

5. Have patience, low expectations and much praises

Kids will be kids so be patient! Keep low expectations too. They may squirm when hooking a bait, they may lose good fish during the fight and maybe even break your gear. As the adult, keep calm, keep the mood up. They won’t instantly fish on the same level as you. Instead, praise them regularly for small things (like hooking a bait, catching a small fish etc.) that may seem very mundane to you.

6. Take many pictures

Memories are priceless. In the past we didn’t have phone cameras but it is different now and you can snap many pictures easily. A kid posing with their first fish is always one that brings back sweet memories.  You get the idea.

7. Have a buddy onboard and a good adult to kid ratio

Don’t think you can do it alone and always bring a buddy with you if you’re bringing a large group of kids. 2 to 3 kids per adult is a good ratio to work with. Also communicate well with your buddy and be good examples to the kids. How fellow fishermen treat each other is something that kids pick up. You should also check if the boatman or charter has experience with bringing kids out. Most should be fine but there are some that only bring experienced fishermen out and may be less suitable.

8. Be adequately equipped

You’ll be surprised at what kids may need (that you don’t). Bring some basic necessities. Plastic bags for keeping fish, rain coats in case of rainy weather, caps for sunny weather and so on. Ensure there is enough water, food on board as well. Kids usually don’t have these things on their minds as the excitement is more on the fishing trip so take note!

Sharing some pictures of our catches below:

 


Nigel started a Bring Kids Fishing initiative years ago. At Bring Kids Fishing, we believe that parents should be equipped with basic fishing knowledge (so that they can bring their kids fishing!). Currently, the initiatives are being kept to small groups for friends and family as Nigel is busy with family and married life. He hopes that the community as a whole invests more time into bringing kids fishing. That, in his opinion, will be much more powerful than a single person trying.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fishing with Dad on Fish Stalker Fishing Charter Services (Marina South Pier)

It is always a good feeling to go fishing with the family (dad and brother) as we got to spend precious time together. This precious time seems little now that I have a family of my own. The quaint thing about fishing is that we usually don’t need to talk much during the trip but somehow that long pauses of silence and solace would often be peaceful. Much like how most guys spend time together. Just a no frills, no drama day out at sea and being able to soak in all of that is priceless.

In fact, I found out during this trip that this priceless time together did not even need to involve dad catching fish. It seemed that he was contented enough to sit around and spend time with his sons just by being around. Additionally, he was also super proud and happy when both I and my brother caught some good fishes.

Fishing wise wasn’t so good for the baiting folks during this trip. It seemed like the fish avoided live prawns at all cost! In fact, the fishes seemed to like artificial baits during this trip. Light jigs, slow fall jigs and even non-baited madai jigs worked wonders. In fact, there were a few occasions when big groupers took the non-baited madai jig that was at the bottom of the sea (but my rod was in the rod holder and I wasn’t doing anything!).

Contact for the fishing boat:
Fish Stalker Fishing Charter Services
+65 9750 8666, Facebook

Dad was beaming!
6.8kg on the scale
Biao nabbed one on slow fall jigging
The brother caught one too
Taken on 100g kurau jig!
Total catch was decent but full of groupers.

Boring groupers!
Fish stalker's electric cooler was very nice in preserving our catch. No blood or slime soaked icebox!

Video by the captain and put together by me in a quick montage.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Extra-large flower crabs from B&B Fishery Services

It’s been five years since I last blogged about the flower crabs I got from NTUC. I got them at $12/kg then but when I visited NTUC again, this has now went up to $18/kg so that’s $1/kg increase every year.

Not to fret though, I’ve recently found a new “lobang” or source for extra-large flower crabs (400g average per piece) which are fresh and meaty. They even clean the crabs and deliver them to you. Contact and cost is shared below at the end. I detail below on how I received them, how I cooked them and how meaty they were.

Crab check out

Good colour, no pincers dropping off!
Great brain juice retention. Not watery or milky.
Biggest was 473g a pop
The first thing I did when I received the individually packed flower crabs was to check for freshness and meatiness. All the crabs passed this test. To do this, you don’t have to press the crabs and all. That is what crude aunties do and this actually spoils (bruises) a fair bit of crab in the market.

The best way (in my opinion) to check crab is to do so by sight. Some tips below.
  • Crabs exposed to heat and that are not chilled appropriately will have very reddened shell hues. A little bit is fine.
  • Is the crab a bright blue or purple? Depending on where the crabs are caught, the colours will be a very deep blue or purple. If colour is faded, don’t buy.
  • When you pick up the crab, do the pincers and legs fall off immediately? If so, you can forget about those crabs. Likely been soaking in ice a long time. 
  • Does the crab smell bad? Fresh crabs still have a little smell but it would be light and pleasant. Crabs which smell really pungent is a no go.
  • When you pick up the crab and look at its body, do you see firm white flesh and a solid white colour or do you see slightly opaque shells with water collected on the inside? If you see the latter, don’t pick that crab.
  • Similarly, pick crabs which look meaty and are full. Some crabs are obviously very skinny and shells are pretty hollow. 
Anyway back to the flower crabs that I ordered. A cleaning service was also provided and I opted for just basic scrubbing since I wanted to preserve the head juice as much as I could. The weights of the crab were from 400g to 500g. That’s crazy right?

Cook out!

As B&B Fishery Services only does seafood on a demand basis, I got the flower crabs pretty last minute and couldn’t stock up on basic ingredients. Not to fret though because if the crabs were fresh and meaty, salt is really the only thing you need. I really respect that on demand basis model because it’s hard work to confirm/inspect supply before you deliver to customers. Compared to the many online fishmonger delivery services out there (that get the seafood stock and then sell), this was much harder to do.

So for the cook out, I tried two styles – steam with salt and salt baked. Very basic methods and I wasn’t disappointed at all. The crabs were so meaty that I couldn’t stop eating. Note that the crabs I ordered were all male but they had adequate “head juice” that flavoured the flesh. Very good and fresh head juice as well.

Of the four crabs for this test, one of them was slightly watery and I gave B&B Fishery Services some feedback on that. They mentioned they will do something about it so that’s something that is being taken care of. I was pretty impressed with the way they went about this because flower crabs being watery is something pretty common – a crab can be fresh but might be moulting/having water fresh just because of the moon phase and seasons.

Ok less text, more photos (and videos):


Salt baked! 200 degrees for 15 minutes.
Very juicy and firm!
Meat is full!
Steamed with salt only.
Best! Full claws!
I tried to take photos at first but soon I was just busy having my crabs with both hands.

Contact:

You can view their products at https://www.facebook.com/BBFisheryServices/ or you can call/WhatsApp them at 8833 8913.

Note by author: This is not a paid post in any way. I may have helped B&B Fishery Services share a few posts but my crabs are paid for and the tasting is in no way exaggerated (I take pride in my reviews). Also take note that the prices of the crabs do change according to supply and demand. I bought my crabs at $19/kg including delivery and cleaning service.