Changi Offshore Fishing with Ah Fong: Using Octopus Big Bait for Grouper

In the past, we would always use live prawns for Changi Offshore Fishing as table sized fish like groupers and snappers were abundant. It was the "default bait". But things are different now as the fish stocks have went down and you can't get the quantity that you used to. However, you may still get quality or size if you persist and that is what we tried during this trip – by using big octopus baits! Live octopus were used by old timers in the past for big fish but was not so readily available then. With social media and the live bait delivery network, things are different now and you are usually able to get octopus baits easily.

The octopus baits we used today are not that big but are around medium size with length around 5 to 7 inch size. There are smaller ones below 5 inch and bigger ones above 8 inches too. 

This greedy red snapper took octopus bait!


Some notes...

  1. Octopus baits are CHEAP because they last very long. You can land multiple fish with it and still continue using it. Smaller fish also find it hard to dislodge or finish the bait. I use about 5 octopus baits in half day.
  2. Octopus baits does help a little bit with the snags. This is because the surface area of the bait is large and there is less contact for the hook with bottom or debris.
  3. Octopus baits also catch smaller fish. It is not true that it is only for grouper.
In this trip, I was trying octopus the whole morning and managed to land some decent fishes. In total, I landed 1 red snapper, 1 hybrid grouper, 2 orange spotted groupers. I also lost 2 fish (one due to hook drop and one due to abrasion on leader). 

A day for big boys toys...
Tranx 500HG

What tackle to use:
  1. Your tackle need not be heavy but make sure your setup has good setting power. Bigger fishes take the baits strong and there is a certain amount of torque and crushing factor so get good leaders, good hooks and terminals. I was using about 80% of my Shimano Ocea Jigger 2000NRHG drag and the biggest fish could only take out maximum 5 metre line. Fish below 3kg do not take out line.
  2. As a gauge, I use a minimum of 50lbs FC leader (you can up it to 80lbs too), and two 4/0 regular octopus or beak hooks. 
  3. You can use rangong, apollo or running sinker. A minimum of two hooks per rig applies. For giant octopus, use at least two hooks.
  4. Circle hooks will not work well as you need to set the hook and get the fish away from rocks as soon as possible.
How to hook octopus?


I personally think I am not an expert in this as I am fairly lazy and just rig it up simply. The most important thing to take note whether you're rigging for madai, hong kong hook or tied rigs is that the octopus must fall nicely and not have much resistance in the water. it should be floating around like a live octopus as you work your rod. So always head up, tentacles down. I usually embed one hook right on the head and one in the body. 

Grateful to have some bigger fishes visit us that day to get a bite at our octopus!
Estimated to be about 12lbs
Decent Red Snapper

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