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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ubin Half Beaks

I had been returning empty handed for the past 2 sessions, and vowed to at least get something today. Andrew asked where to fish, and I suggested Ubin. The last trip there, was a luring cum recce one. Though it was a zero trip, nevertheless, I spied many spots that was promising for regular fishing.

We took the boat over after a hearty meal at CV hawker center. Being Sunday, it was alot more people going to and fro. With us on the boat, were a big bunch of serious cyclist going over to Ubin for some x-country adventure.

D bicycle. Chain kept slipping out.

Coming out from the Jetty, we walked to the left side of Ubin where the four poles are. Someone in the forum said that casting near the poles was a good spot. I got a bicycle for D, in case she gets tired walking.

Weather at that time was rather hot. Reaching there, we saw a malay family camping there, obviously since last night. They even got their laundry laid out across a line on a tree. We moved a little further down, and starting rigging up.

But 30 minutes into the fishing. No bites at all, even though we were throwing juicy live prawns. I downgraded to a smaller hook and used prawn meat. And still nothing at all. Looked like even small fishes not around to at least gobble it up.

I told Andrew then to change spot. I had a vow to keep, and this wasn't helping.

I led them to the bridge area, where PT once had a close shave with a todak after a whole morning of luring. From what I could see then, fishes were plenty here. Just whether we could get them.

Brisk business

Settling down on the tables and bench at the shelter, we prepared our rods to start fishing. The little hut was opened for business selling drinks and coconuts, and lots of people were coming and going. The auntie was nice enough not to shoo us away and instead left us to our doings.

Nice Orh herr

Andrew, as usual, was first to land a fish. And amazing, a mullet on prawn meat. Even Auntie was surprised. It was a nice specimen, and spelled good times ahead. That was to be the only Mullet to be landed.

Double hookup of Glassfish

Andrew's special hook with magical prowess

My first fish was a Glass fish. Not great, but at least I kept my vow. However, fish was released. Andrew was next on a roll with half beaks. He had this special niffy hook that was superb for small fishes. He had introduced it before, and I had many times witness the power of this special hook. Again today, my bite rate was alot worse than his. He gamely rigged one up for me, and thereafter, I was hitting half beaks one after the other.

How's this for adaptability?

Puff puff

It rained a little. This kept it away

D fishing for half beaks

I got it!

Even A and D got into the fishing with just holding out the leader (minus rod). Earlier on, they fashioned a net out of a plastic bag and a twig. But that didn't work very well. From our left over rigs, they took it to play fishing, and even managed to catch some funny gobies. Even D managed to land something. I later pass my rod to her to try catch some half beaks. And succeed she did.

Andrew with a todak

Scrawny fellow

We caught some other assortment of fishes like todaks, mudskipper, gobies, puffer etc.

Selecting the strong ones to keep alive

Andrew caught a beautiful specimen of an Archer fish. We decided to try keep it alive to see if I could rear it in my aquarium. After that, all fishes went into our "live" bait well.

It rained cats and dogs

About 2pm, we decided we had enough. We already had an icebox full of around 30 half beaks and others. From the shelter, we called for an Ubin taxi. Charge was a fiver. But weather started to rain, and it was necessary. Van came in 5 mintues time and we pointed it to bring us to the seafood garden. From there, we had lunch and waited out the heavy rain.

Tough fishes

Around 4pm, we touched down on Changi and concluded an eventful and fruitful day. This was the first time I had landed so many half beaks, and rather effortlessly. Reaching home, I "tuned" my salt water tank to make it less saline as first half beak I dropped in, turned topsy turvey. After some water changes, fishes were more comfortable. However, some of the half beaks wasn't looking too good. I went for dinner and returned, only to find all the half beaks had died. But the archers were still going strong.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Yishun Dam

Traffic jam of another kind

I had passed this place a dozen times, but never fished here seriously before. Daytime, this place would be burning hot with no shelter. But night time here, just occurred to me that it would be quite possible.

My famous lure

But just a short session, casting lure type. We found a place near the opening of the dam on the left side. A and D laid out the mat, and was actually quite comfortable. Even got ice cream man around. Yishun Dam at this time, full of gangster cars, and F1 championship wannabe.

Since the car was just a short distance away, it was quite convenient. After rigging up, I walked down to the wall beside the dam. There was already a guy there baiting. I chatted with him briefy to find out where he was casting, just so that I wouldn't cross his lines. Few cast later, nothing. I moved then to the rocky side and cast into the restricted area. There was some kind of barbed wire fence. However, it could be passed over by going around the rocks. In fact, 2 guys came later with headlights and pail with nets. I asked what they catching and they replied fish and crab. Hmm.

Interestingly, a coast guard patrol boat came by. They probably hurriedly turn off their lights to avoid getting caught.

Standing at the rocks, I cast relentlessly. The area was very rocky and I would snag if I retreived less than moderate speed. But otherwise, not that bad. I thot I got a good bite but later figured that it might be due to the rocks. After an hour, the only bites that I was getting was from the Mozzies. Went back to the car, applied some axe oil. But I think bad idea. After that, I smelled of axe oil, and probably got some of it on my reel. Perhaps due to this, no fish for me tonight.

At 11pm, Andrew asked to fish tomorrow. I said set and decided to pack and go. No fish, but good try for a new location.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tanjong Berlayer Park - Lab Park extension

I got to know about the opening of the new Lab Park that had been under construction for quite some time. Finally, the area was opened and accessible to the public. I thot of trying it out tonight with PT, after a fruitful session the day before.

Reaching there, I was surprised that it was so big. Of cos with everything new, it was comfortable and well lighted. However, all other fishing folks in the world also got to know about it, and there was a long line of rods at the area just in front of the shelter.

We first tried around the area, but nothing at all. We explored a little further down near the jetty, and found it quieter and maybe a better spot. So we shifted all our barangs and moved it to the end. Opposite was some kind of club house, with some Karaoke going on.

But the fishing was totally bad, and nothing was biting. Not even baiting with live juicy prawns was getting anything. However, a bunch of students who were doing luring did get a flat head on a deep diver. Well, that was really something, and put us all to shame.

Around 12.30am, PT had already given up mentally about this place. He had earlier lost his newly acquired "got that barra" lure, and had to lose it in a day. I too lost my beloved pinny on a rope tied to a barge. After some tiring number of cast, we decided that it was rather hopeless, even though the feel of the location was good. Maybe it was just too new, and all the fishes had been scared away from all the construction.

Time will tell.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Under the Boardwalk

After last week positive outing, Patrick wanted to try out the area again. This time, he was prepared, as he brought along his icebox. That definitely said something about his confidence :). We met at Changi V where he grabbed his dinner. We started chatting about KBLs. It would really make my day if I were to get a KBL there. From CRs in the forum, not an impossible task, as there were some that did manage to land KBLs in that area.

The "never heard before" lure

We reached the place at around 9pm. By that time, water was upcoming and rather high. After setting up the rods, we started casting. PT was trying out a new lure, a Owners brand "never hear before" one. I continued with my experimentation with my white grubs. But strangely, cast and cast, nothing at all for an hour. By that time, confidence started to wane. I myself had snagged 2 grubs, losing 2 jig hooks and 2 soft plastic and was on my third set.

At the end of the walkway, there was this opening in between the rocks and the coastline. I cast my SP there just to try out the little pool of water. But grub got stuck in some rocks and couldn't be unsnagged. Not wanting to lose this grub and to have to retie again, in my desperation, I climbed over the railings and walk a narrow dangerous path to the untrodden side of the beach. On my right, the seawall was like a metre high and a slip would surely mean some injury.

Reaching there, I managed to loosen the snag and retrieve my lure. But behold, that area opened up to the other side of the big rock. From there, on my left was some low hanging branches, very potential for KBl, and on my right, the other side of the giant rock. Hey, this looked like quite a good spot. I decided to try out this area and told PT that if I got anything, we could bring our stuff over and fish from there.

First grouper

And true enough, after some 10-20 cast or so, I got a hit. Although it was so light that fish and lure flew out of the water when I struck. I took a closer look and yelped in delight that it was a grouper. PT was all excited and took some shots. Seeing that that place was good, PT climbed over and we moved some things over to fish that area.

I had an accident with my icebox while tossing it over the railings on the grass slope. It tilted over, and the contents all spilled into the 1 metre drop of water below. Darn, but luckily my scissors and pliers didn't dropped into the sea.

2nd Grouper

3rd grouper

PT was next to hit another grouper, and wonderously, on his "never hear before" lure. Wow, I myself had not even got a grouper on lure before. Again rounds of pictures. So then, at that time, score was 1:1. The next one was his again. Another grouper on lure. I came next to hit another grouper and this time a little bigger. It gave a good fight and I could see it swimming left and right while I reeled it in. So score was 2:2.

However, that place was quite snaggy and we many times almost lose our lures. But we were quite lucky that day and always managed to shake it loose. PT decided to change to try out the small L-minnow.

4th Grouper

Glass fish

Last Grouper

While he was busy tying the rig, I got another hit. This time, although a small grouper, but it was very fierce. It almost swallowed the whole lure despite its size. PT trying out the L-minnow got a take of a glass fish. Quite amazing. Final score was 3:3.

The water started to retreat and we soon got bored with the place, seeing that it yield only small groupers. Nevertheless, it did give us some enjoyment and we had fun and definitely not a go back empty handed trip.

We moved back to the boardwalk area and tried luring around. I changed to my newly acquired small Yamashita to see if there was any squids around. So it was that I was trying out at the right end, when I saw Patrick was a very serious bend near the big rock. He was shouting "big one big one". At first, I thot he was just playing the fool but second look concluded tha he was really on something huge.

Magnified view of the Barra that I captured in our haste. Can imagine the size as compared to the lure. I doubt it is more than 5kg as we hung it up with a 10lbs line. But it looked quite close to 4kg

I ran over and tried to locate his camera in his many pouches. I hurriedly tried to figure out the controls and took some pics. The fish was a big one seeing how his lines were like ziiping out. PT was guessing big KBL, I couldn't see anyting in the dark waters. When it finally surfaced, I saw it immediately to be a Barra, and a huge one at that, possibly in the 3-4kg region.

But in all the pandemonium, PT decided to try lift the fellow up on his puny 10lbs mainline, and a 25lbs leader. I said don't, but it was already up halfway. The line was too thin to hold with my hands and I grabbed a rubbish plastic bag to try to managed to hold on to one side. But the height of the railings to the sea level was too high and 2 hands were needed in tandem to pull the line in. I was trying to find some other material for my other hand, but alas too late. Line broke and we all saw in dismay the prized catch falling back to the sea. Argh! we all cried out in unison. PT immediately ran over to the railings and down under the boardwalk. I stared in disbelief that he was willing to risk his life to get the fish. Hey, that a 3-4kg Barra that we were talking about. Kind of like running into the jungle to confront a tiger. But from my top side, I saw that the fish was like concussed and was floating around the water. But I didn't think that it was injured, probably just tired out. I shone my touch and managed to see it a little while more, until it sanked into the deep water. Patrick by that time was in the water below the boardwalk, and it was up to his chest level. Goodness!

I could share his anguish at losing such a prized catch. And on lure somemore. But in restropect, we should have tried to guide the fish over to some rocks that was like just a little out of the water. That would have minimized the risk of losing that fish. But in all the excitement, it was hard to think straight. PT decided that his next project was to make a portable gaff. :)

Last fish, a Kuku

After that intense episode, I too changed to a lure. But cast here and there, nothing. PT was just lucky to have hit the Barra while it was swimming by. It was already 2am by then, and we all had enough and called it a day. Over some midnight food at the coffee shop, PT was still sighing over the lost fish. Well, life is like that. You win some, you lose some.

Total haul

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tanjong Rhu - Short SP session

It was a rather hot day, but I felt like doing some simple fishing. Following my success with SP, I was game to further experiment with it. It so happened that I was near east coast. I decided then to pay Tanjong Rhu a visit, even though the fishing wouldn't be good due to all the construction of the dam at the Marina South side.

We parked along a double yellow line. Problem with this place, legal parking was non-existent. Otherwise, it would indeed be a nice picnic spot for easy fishing. The sun was hot, and we needed a shade to hide in. A and D set up the mat under a tree. Although there was a little shade, the air was still rather warm.

Here fishy fishy..

I fished around the area for a while, but nothing was biting. Just in front of me, were dragon boats doing their practices. I decided to walk further down behind the condo, hoping for a better catch.

There was some kind of floating cordon around the bank, possibly for some dragon boat activity. I walked right up to the edge where they blocked off the rest of the park for construction. Over there, the bank was the rocky type, just suitable for SP fishing.

Green Chromide

And true enough, I didn't have to wait long after my cast. I felt a slight nibble and struck. I didn't feel anything, but when I reeled up, there was indeed a fish. It was foul hooked by my grub. I hurriedly took some pics with my phone cam, and released the fellow.

Next cast, I snagged the rig, and had to walk the 250m back to where the car (and all my barangs were) to retie the rig again. And again walked all the way back. It was rather difficult.

Threespine toadfish (aka Kuku)

I cast it out, and within 5 minutes another strike. This was much stronger and I thot I had a grouper. But out came the fish, and it was a kuku. I snapped some pics with my phone cam again, but this time my phone hung. I had forgotten and left my min SD card at home. Poor phone was running low on memory and misbehaving. I had wanted to call D to come take a photo, but phone wasn't working. Too bad. And I didn't have any pliers to take our the grub. Kuku are chompers, and I wouldn't want my fingers getting chomped by this bugger. I snipped off the line with my swiss knife and released it. Hopefully the hook will rust off in a short while.

I think I could have gotten more as the fishing here was quite good. And on SP too. But with the logistic and hot weather and my phone not working properly, I decided to pack and go.

Not bad at all. My 2nd and 3rd fish on SP grub.

Juicy grub. Fishes can't resist

Scary scarecrow

Future rod builder

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Recce - JB Tackle shops (Perling area)

I had to go into JB for the day for some car servicing. After that, I thought of just driving around JB, Perling side to look around, as I wasn't too familiar with the place. I had read that there was this JD ARTAC tackle shop somewhere in the area of Perling. I was hoping to be able to find it.

And found it I did. The place was on an upper story. The place was rigged with a security camera, and someone had to activate the door before you are able to enter. However, the folks inside (an old lady and a 30 odd man were quite friendly). They left me to do my browsing without asking nagging questions.

The stall itself, was quite big and complete. Only thing is that the lure selections were mainly strike pro, rapalas type. Nothing of the fancy japanese lures to be found here. Squid jigs also very limited to low end stuff. But rods and reels were quite plentiful. However when I asked about Torium, they didn't have.

I ended up getting some jig heads, and some SP meant for drop shotting. I had read about this technique and was quite eager to try it.

I drove around somemore and chanced upon another branch of fisherman, somewhere in Taman Sutera. The shop seemed quite new, and wasn't quite well stocked yet. But in the fisherman style, they do have some selections of japanese lures, but not very complete.

Thereafter was just random exploration of the place. I came upon this village beside the river, and there were signs for fishing baits all over. It looked like this place was quite popular with fishing folks. However, the terrain was quite rough, and I didn't try it out as A and D were with me. The road ended at some restaurant which might be popular with the locals here.

Another possible fishing place when I was looking at GPS was this body of water. It was a reservoir and somewhere up in the hilly area on the way to Kukup. I drove up the hill to try to locate this. Midway, there was a temple with hell lots of monkeys. Reaching the road end, we were blocked off by a fenced up area. Looked like the resevoir was out of bounds, not like the ones in singapore. Darn, no choice but to reverse. But road was very narrow and the left side was a sharp drop down the hill. Luckily the car was small as I inched it slowly to swing it around.

Places I explored (blue line)


Skudai Parade