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.