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Thursday, January 25, 2001

TUTORIAL[A1]: Kelong fishing

Fishing in the kelong (in Sibu) is a different ball game from fishing around Singapore. For one, it is very easy to catch fish. In the kelongs, there are plenty of fishes around, as Kelong itself is what you can term as a Ujam or in English, FAD (fish attracting device). Fishes like to gather around structures, as it gives them a sense of safety, protecting them from the elements like strong current, and from other predators. Kelong is also seen as a constant food source, as the kitchen helpers would regulary drop left overs into the water.

And it is also precisely for the reason that the small fishes are gathered there, that the big fishes would be around. Every once a while, big fishes can be seen patrolling the kelong to pick out any wounded or weak fishes from the crowd. It is easy to sense their presence as when they are around, all the fishes would suddenly dart away from the water here and there.

Bait fishes

In the kelong, a must-have rig is the tamban jig. Also known as Sabiki jig, as it was popularized by some Japanese products. This consist of a long think transparent line with about 6 short extension to some feathered hooks in combination of lumi green or white. The way to use this is to drop it right to the bottom, and slowly crank up the rig. Most people would jerk it up and down (jigging action) but I personally don't find that necessary. All you need to do is to slowly reel the lines in at varied speed. If the fishes are around, they will "attack" the feathers and get hooked themselves. In the event when no fishes can be caught after a few attempts, it is wise to move around to another location to "hunt" out where the small fishes are. Fishes that can be gotten from this are Selar, Tambans, Kunings, Kembong, Pony fishes etc. This is a truely versatile tool and you should have a few packs of these for any visits.


The other rig that would work very well is the apollo rig. Bait it with some sotong bait, and it is very likely you would be able to catch Snappers, Emperors and bottom feeding fishes.


For surface fishes, there are plentiful of todaks (gar fish) patrolling around the kelong. To get them, a float is necessary. Tie up a long leader (3ft) with a hook. Fish up a bait fish and clip it onto the upper part of the body. Cast out the float and wait. However, the bail has to be opened to allow the line to freely run out. The moment that you detect that the float has sunk under, count 10 secs. After that, close the bail and strike (strong jerk to pull back the rod). If a todak is hooked, it would attempt to do some acrobatic jumps to throw your hook. Keep the line taut and never loosen it. Else, losing the fish is a sure thing. They are great escape artiste.

Big fishes

To target big fishes, use of a live bait is most productive. Rig a LSBF (long snood bottom feeder rig) and clip on a live bait on the bottom part of the body. Cast out and wait. Big fishes are a hit and run affair. There is no guarantee that they can be gotten. Some possible fishes that visit the Kelongs are Cobia, Queenfish, Tenggerri and Barracuddas.


Kelong is also a natural hiding place for squids. Surprisingly, getting a sotong in a kelong is more effective on an artificial squid jig. Some recommended ones are Yozuri Shrimp hunters, and Yamashita squid jigs. Those cheap ones are usually not effective. Sotongs are usually targetted at night, however, it is still possible to get squids in the day. It is recommended to use pink for nighttime and orange for daytime.

Parangs/Saitoh/Wolf herrings/Ribbons
Wolf herrings are around the kelong in the night. They would use the cover of darkness to feed. To get them, tie a rig with a 2 ft leader to a small hook. Clip this small hook on the upper and lower mouth of the baitfish. Tamban is best bait fish. Weigh the line with a small split shot for easy casting. Cast out and retreive back slowly. Parangs can also be gotten by lures, and are great fun. Use surface lures with shiny bodies.

Luring rig (simple)

Luring rig (advanced)

This rig is better as it allows the line to run all the way into the rod till the tip of the lure. This allows a longer leader, and gives better casting accuracy.


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