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Sunday, March 29, 2009

KFC - Trip to St John

Many of us in the group haven't had the chance to visit St John island, despite having stayed in Singapore for years. Actually, there wasn't much to do there as well, except to fish. As I expected, fishing wasn't a very comfortable as there were not many shelters around, and the promising area was to do the fishing at the so called "causeway". This is the dam like area cutting across the island channel of water. The current there would be quite strong during the changing of tides.

Disembarking from the Jetty

So it was that a trip was planned to visit this island. In terms of logistics, it was easier as the ferry terminal have regular runs of ferry to St John, then to Kusu and back to Singapore every 2 hours or so during Sun. I was pleasantly surprised to see the famous Des T from fishingkaki forum leading a group to St John to catch his favourite fish ie Todak.

The "Causeway"

Our group met quite punctually and we were soon on the ferry to St John. The trip there wasn't long and we were there in like 15 minutes. From there, we headed for the "causeway". But the place was hot and burning, and we walked further down to park ourselves on the road under a shady rock. We were all impressed with the clarity of the water, and Tambans were immediately sighted when we disembarked form the Jetty.

My aim for this trip was to experiment on my flies to see if they would indeed catch anything. We did have some bites from todaks on the surface of the water, but other than that, hardly anything else. I skirted it around the rocks but no groupers were interested in it. What did work was sending out live prawns on float and some of us managed to catch some todaks. It was however not easy to get them.

First Todak!

Pat was first to draw first blood and get a small todak to his credit. Todaks were definitely around although not in large numbers. After that opening number, we got more confident to proceed on.

White St John Island Ninja

Ooh...this is how it feels to get big fish

Landed and approved by master fisherman

ZW the todak master as usual had all the todak luck and he was soon fighting a big one a the other end of the line. IZ had a chance to play with it for a while to refresh his memory of how fighting a todak was like. WL (IZ's friend) also experienced a bit of the excitement of having a big todak on the line. ZW got the todak up and after a few fotos, we released it back to the water.

St John got no fish, only Hermie the Hermit crab

Lunch time. Eating like construction workers

I also Got!!

Wah, my fish so big wor!

All fueled up by the refresher course, IZ quickly rigged up a live prawn and targetted the general area. And indeed his curse was broken this time, and he hooked on a todak that was larger than all that he ever caught. As he was using my light rod, the fight was pretty intense. When the todak was landed, he was all smiles after having a dry spell of going todakless for 6 months already.


I didn't have much luck in luring/flying and even though I tried here and there, no monster came to bite my offerings. The sun was indeed getting to my head, and fishing was tough work here. I also had an accident while flinging out my lure and it caught a branch and broke my green arrow into two. Boo I can buy a new rod. :P

Toot toot....walk somemore

So, despite an eventful day of big todaks, there were nothing much else from the clear blue sea. It was just such a waste as the water was ready good, something that cannot be seen in Singapore. Only other interesting fishes that I saw were a large group of half beaks, and a small group of mullets swimming around here. Our kaya bread didn't work as it wasn't branded one like Ya Kun. Haz. Strangely, all of us didn't even try bottom fishing.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

So Many Fishes, So Little Time

My smallest PB ever

As planned, I met ZW for a short PB session. Pat had to work and couldn't join us. Objective was to help them get their very first PB in Singapore. A came along with his Dr Ng and a few other children. Naturally, the children all had great fun playing with each other.

His catches got bigger and bigger

Peering into the water, I was wondering if the small PBs were still around. After a few casts, my doubts disappered and we confirmed that they were still there in numbers. ZW soon landed his first ever PB, breaking the curse of the zero for Singapore fishing. Although small, it was already an achievement. We started counting the score but when I got to 4:3 or something, we totally lost count. There were too many catches, but small ones. A also managed to land one or two. heavy

I gave my Papa power one to catch this

At the end of the session, I was a little disappointed that we didn't hit any large ones, as those would really put up a good fight. But given the effectiveness of the technique, it was only a matter of time.

The mischiveous Dr Ng

A beautiful fly that I need to learn how to make. It was very effective

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fly by Night

My first attempt in the proper tying of flies using the correct techniques, after spending an obscene amount of tuition fee. However my skills are still far off. Hopefully, it will improve with time. I am seriously lacking a proper pair of good scissors. Couldn't snip off the tiny strands of streamers at the joint. >:(

Work in progress

Accident! The vise "kelp" me. Don't play play. Fly tying is dangerous

My Fly tying bible (by Peter Gathercole). Look like the picture?

A charlie using pink mono scrape lines

Sunday, March 15, 2009

KFC - Trip To Sister Island

Once a upon a time, there were two sisters (dunno pretty or not). One day, pirates came and wanted to marry one (the prettier one, I suppose). They all not happy and fell into the sea and died. Then 2 islands sprung up and became Sister Island. This is a brief agak agak history of how Sister island came about from what I read from the internet.

Marina South Ferry Pier

Being quite an unknown island of Singapore, my first thought was that there must have lots of fish. So when we were unsuccessful in getting our bums to Sibu Kelong due to "everyone wants to go Sibu Kelong at the start of school holiday syndrome", I was hoping that this would be a good alternative. Being in Singapore, it would be easier to get to. However, there are no operating ferry to bring people there. From what I gathered, a private boat needed to be chartered.

We brought so many things, that even need trolley

While waiting, let's play badminton

Dog goes a riding on a bumboat

Karen forgot to take passport

This little girl was so quiet, I didn't even hear her speak after telling me her name

Ini mini miney mo, which island shall we go?

Going fishing makes me happy

It was rather challenging to fill up the boat space to spread the cost so that it would be cheap. Information was also not easy to find. However, all things worked out at the last minute and I managed to find 24 fishing siao people, and 2 boats that were surprisingly cheaper than the fare to St island. This time round, even a "cute cute little" dog came to join us.

The bigger island jetty already got people there!

We went to the smaller one instead loh

Wah, water was SO clear

Walking nearer to the toilet

We managed to meet up by 9am like clockwork, and were soon loading up to the bumboat to get to Sister Island. Actually it wasnt very far from Singapore, and we reached it in no time. But boatman said that the bigger sister island was quite filled with people and we decided to go to the smaller island island. At first glance I was immediately excited about the potential of the fishing here. Water was as clear as a screen protector, we could even see the little fishes swimming around. Tambans were sighted and that meant that the fishing couldn't be that bad and I had wasted my money getting live prawns.

Beautiful beach here. We were the only ones

Let's setup command post here

Rare sight of nice water

Breakwater from one of the two lagoons

Stand here fish also shiok

Nice fine sand

Shall we look for treasure?

We moved deeper into the island and parked ourselves near to the toilet. However, that was quite bad for the fishing as we fished mostly at the Jetty. So, I was quite away from the non fishing group and didn't get much pictures of the "dunno what activity" they were doing. But we had the whole island to ourselves and it felt like we own the island. The only trouble wa an old monkey that wasn't happy that "cute cute doggie" was here.

Alan's family discover fishing!

We quickly setup and moved to the Jetty to fish. Alan, after some fishing tips from me, managed his first Tamban with his family. They were all shouting "big fish big fish". Luckily no people on the island otherwise they sure to laugh until drop into the sea. Current got very strong around the mid day and our lines were all drifting out fast and couldn't hit the bottom. Bottom fishing wasn't good as our sinkers kept getting snagged on the rocks.

Nice beach. No need to go phuket already. Even doggie also having good time

ZW, the todak master

The todak loving gang quickly sent out their offerings to the todak gods here. IZ was especially stressed to get a todak as he was todakless for a very long time already. But todak fishing here wasn't that great and there were only a few hits. IZ lost 2, especially one that J was fighting for a while and lost it when the rod was passed to him. Tomorrow, his ears sue become swollen.The "todak king" aka ZW nevertheless was able to get 2 todaks despite the "advanced" level todak fishing.

Little children fishing

Our cooks conjuring up good food



Patrick & fam fishing under the coconut tree. Ros with a Sergent fish

A tuskfish (kind of a parrot)

Other than Tambans, we managed to get some small fishes with small hooks and prawn meat. I was using too big a hook and didn't fare very well. They will mostly snatch my bait away and left me with an empty hook. Small specimens from the bottom were quite commonly Parrot fishes.

Strange looking "holy" tree

Group 1 leaving the island

Group 2 got stranded by doggie who doesn't want to go home

Next time, we take this boat (it's raining in Singapore)

Time passed very fast and very soon, it was time to leave. We definitely didnt' get enough of the fishing, but had to leave due to our cars coupon expiring. In fact, Marcus was to get a little fine for exceeding his coupons by 10 mins. There was a small incident when our "cute cute dog" refused to board the ferry. When TC wanted to carry him, he turned around and chomped off a little part of TC for him to remember this Sister island trip. He wanted to run away to stay with the pretty monkey. But after we reminded him of his favourite dog food, he decided to get on the ferry to return home.

All in all, it was a nice day for just relaxation and camping. Weather man bluffed us said rain...but the weather there was bright and sunny. However in terms of fishing, I was greatly disappointed. The water looked so good but was devoid of big fishes. Another example of how bad fishing in Singapre had gotten in recent times.*sigh*

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Return to LSR

Of late, I hadn't been productive in LSR ever since the construction started. Thinking that the construction had affected the water, I didn't try very hard in PB fishing. The few times that I brought ZW for fresh water fishing, we didn't get anything.

But just last week when the sun was shining brightly, I discovered to my utmost surprise that there were indeed plently of baby PBs around. From the clear water, I could see them zooming into my lure. But since the lure was much bigger than them, there wasn't any hookup. Intrigued, I decided to come back this morning to try again.

Knowing that PBs are best gotten on flies, I decided to swap my lures for flies. Since they are small, the hookup chances might be better. Indeed in a 40 minutes session, I got quite a number of bites, and even gotten a small PB. Later, the fly got stuck onto a rock and I burst my line.

I returned home and decided to put my long acquired fly tying vise to use. It had been sitting in my cupboard for the longest time since I bought it last year. Following some instruction from the internet, I tied 2 poorly done charlie. One even was not knotted properly and the lines came loose. Nevertheless, I was eager to put them to the water to test test. Wife was displeased and give me just a window of half an hour or else.

It was raining earlier on, but when I reached LSR, the rain had stopped. But the seats were rather wet. I hastily setup my rod (and I even missed one guide). Water was not as clear as before in the morning. Out when my fly #1 and in 10 minutes, I had a hookup. However on the way up, I dropped it. Guy fishing next to me gave me a smile. I noted that he was doing bottom as well as doing some casting with a yellow fly once a while.

I tried again and in yet another 10 minutes, I had an electrifying hit. WHAM! Something that I hadn't experienced for a long time. The hookup was solid as the fish was big. Enjoying the fight, I eventually subdued it on my 6lb line/8lb leader and brought it up to the grass patch for some photo taking. All these within the allocated wife allowed time. The rest of the folks fishing were so stunned to see this guy coming, and leaving with a catch in 20 minutes flat, while they were still tossing out their lures. Above fishes all returned back to the water to fight another day.

My girl was so impressed and asked me to tie more flies to sell on the internet. haha.

Monday, March 09, 2009

KFC - Inu Kelong

We had originally planned this to be a small group recce trip to Inu Kelong. But a last minute chit chat with IZ over MSN saw him interested to come along with Jean. That sat saw us heading up to Penyabong in a group of five. TC came slightly late from the planned meet up time and we only left the popular SHELL station at around 7am. The distance was slightly longer than going to Sibu, and my estimate was that we would reach there in about 3 hours. We had a quick simple breakfast at around 9.15 at the Mersing bridge. From there,we finally reached the Penyabong jetty slightly before 10am.

Countryside road

At the road end

The Jetty was the same one for going to Acheh Kelong, so I was already familiar with it. As expected, the scenary was beautiful and clean and well maintained. During the drive in the long curvy country side road towards the Jetty, we saw plentiful of cows and sheeps and also alot of cow dung on the road. Some places are out-right postcard beautiful and quite a surprise that we can see such places in Malaysia other than going to expensive island resorts.

A simple coffee shop here

..and a fish loading bay

Walking to the Jetty end

IZ, better get me this size of stingray or I don't friend you

Someone's queen

Going up the boat

Simon, the kelong owner, met us at the Jetty. Simon was a chatty and friendly person and really put us at ease and made the trip as enjoyable as possible for us. We were pleasantly surprised to find that we were the only group on the Kelong. Another group had cancelled the trip leaving us to the entire kelong. We loaded up and was soon on the boat heading to the Kelong. The boat ride to the Kelong was only about 15 minutes.

View of the Kelong

Our spacious hall for the night

Looking towards the kitchen and dining room

Nice island backdrop

Wah! So many todaks here

Making salted fish

Jean drew first blood

Nice fusilier (Yellow tail) from IZ

Getting lunch ready

Reaching there, we unpacked leisurely with no stress whatsoever. It was so nice to be fishing at a spot where there was no one else.The peace and quiet was definitely worth the long trip up here and better than any expensive resort. As the Kelong was near to the island, we could also hear birds chirping. However, the water depth was quite alright and not too shallow. The height of the Kelong from the water was very high for some reason even when the tide came up.

Todaks waiting for lunch too

We saw lots of todaks around the kelong. But the todaks there were very smart, the type that go to university. It wasn't easy to trick them to take our bait. Even a sprightly kicking tamban was eyed with caution. It was only once a while that they would go for it, and we mostly ended up with the todak throwing off the hook and escaping with our baits. But the good thng was that it was easy to get Tambans here and we quickly filled up our DIY bait well and had ample baits throughout the stay. Only problem was that our air pump ran out of battery and the fishes died from lack of air. Jean was our faithful bait supplier and made sure that we were always loaded up with our ammunitions for todak hunting.

My only catch of a blur todak on lure

ZW and I did some luring as well. Despite the todaks taking an interest in my lure, they would turn away at the last moment due to the very clear water. But during one of the "last moment" turning away, I managed to latch on a todak at the tail end. Shook and jumped all it could, the hook up was strong. I landed it and took some pictures and then released it back to the water to grow bigger.

On the boat ride to the Kelong, Simon was asking if we would like to do boat fishing. As a value added service, he only charged us RM100 for the boat. That would work out to be RM20 per pax, very cheap indeed. As the others had not yet been on boat fishing before, it was good opportunity to try it out.

Four amigos going boat fishing

Gentlemen, drop your lines

Therefore at around 3.30pm, we boarded the boat setting out for most of our first boat fishing. Since we didn't have live baits, we were only armed with simple apollo rigs with dead sotong and prawn meat. The boatman was just glad to be out with us, away from his boss. Despite his boss telling him not to go too far, he actually brought us to various spots for fishing. On the way, it rained a little, but nothing heavy to dampen our spirit.

TC flying grouper. It got angry and bit my rod as revenge

After photo shot, was let off with a warning

I got another fish. Fishing so easy

I also have. Mine bigger

So cute. Can we bring it back? first catch of the smallest grouper in the world

Beautiful island backdrop

Finally caught a grouper too

Only expert can get this

ZW got a bite!

Nice ACK

We had so much fun!

TC was first to draw first blood with a "flying" grouper. He was reeling in so hard that we all thought that he had landed a monster.But out came a tiny grouper that flew out of the water with such a force that it jettison into the sky and almost landed on our heads.Luckily the boat had a sun cover else it would knock me on the head as I was standing next to him. He again took the second and thirdfish and was sniggering at us lousy fisherman. But after that, we all started to have some catches of mostly small groupers and breams. Jean was last to get her first catch of a tiny baby grouper. The prize catch of the trip was a respectable ACK (John snapper) by ZW. TC too landed his favourite fish, a decent Leng Chiam (Emperor).

Group photo of first boat fishing

The fishes that didn't get away

Dinner time

We went back around 6.30pm just in time to rest before going for dinner. At that time, it started to rain. Dinner was a unusual spread of steamboat, first ever I had on a Kelong. It was nice and we were all well serviced by the staff there seeing if the food was alright; if we had enough rice and so on. Another group of 12 had joined usbut they were just staying over at the kelong from another boat fishing trip, It was just a rest and sleeping stop for them. As it was raining, and we mainly just took our time to eat, rest and relax.

Nice kelong view. Over here, the stars were extra bright

Rain stopped at around 10-11pm, and we continued to fish. We saw lots of small fish activity but was unable to interest them withanything. Casting out dead Tambans also didn't get us anything. Luring was a complete non action. During all out attempts, we sangkot quite a few lures on the Kelong stilts. Next morning, Simon was so kind to climb down the stilts to retrieve it for us. And there were like 6-7 lures that he had to take! Really excellent service.

The woman that caught the most fish!

Early next morning, ZW and I woke up at around 5am to see if we can get some catches on our lure. Again nothing. But I tossed out my tamban rig with some sotong and prawn meat. Suddenly my little tamban rod took a very strong bend. Up came 2 big Selars, one of which was two palms long. The commotion also woke up the rest. It was quite effective to use sotong meat and catching small fishes from then on. Tambans that morning was also plentiful. Jean was jokingly complaining that she "catch until sianz"...haha. At the end of the trip, she caught 3 bags full of tambans.

I finally got you!

Had to net it

As long as a rifle

Kelong cook can make the todak taste good

That morning, again the todaks came out in force. Even though most were not too big, there were the occasional large sized on circling the kelong. As luck would have it, ZW little tamban rod got a very strong hit. The todak scooted out far from the kelong and I got worried if he had enough lines for it. It went to the left of the kelong and then to the right, just like fighting a marlin. hehe. When it finally tire out, we saw it to be a very large one and was wondering how to bring it up. Kelong helper wanted to net it but it was too long for th net. I thot of the good idea to use my luring rod to assist to distribute the weight for lifting it up. With my lure, i hooked itand managed to lift it such that it was able to bend into a u-shape to get into the net. ZW was beaming cheek to cheek and it was definitely an impressive record breaking catch. We asked the kelong to cook it for us for our tea break later. The way it was prepared turned out quite tasty, although they used liberal amount of salt to mask the fishy smell.

Why the todak so smart?

My consolation prize. A Selar

I got it! (but it escaped shortly after)

Only poor IZ was unable to land any todak despite many strikes. I attributed it to his poor equipment. He missed a very good strike of what must have been a large todak. But he wasn't able to adjust the drag properly and there was too much resistance and todak did a flip and he lost it. We had to stop him from jumping into water to wrestle it with his bare hands.

We left the Kelong at about 12pm. Despite my many reminders to pack, most of them still continued to fish and fish until the last minute. :). It was certainly a rare occasion to be enjoying the fishing so much. From the Jetty, we headed out to Mersing for lunch. We first visited the Mersing tackle shop where we replenished our dwindling stock of weights and hooks. After that, TC took us to a good and cheap restaurant. Although we ordered quite a number of dishes, the amount per pax was only RM16. So cheap!

From there, we headed straight home and I decided to go back via the Tuas 2nd link. Traffic was smooth and we reached back around 6pm concluding our fruitful recce trip. This time round, ZW would bring back some better catches for his wife and not just another round of more todaks. :)

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