23 December 2011

My journey with Noodle Rod

Me with Silstar Teal 10ft
When I first start out with this form of fishing I uses an very old Silstar Teal 10ft, which is brought 2nd hand from an angler. He gave up using the rod because he have no idea how to use it. Then when Nimo found a huge stash of these rods at Siow Chiang, he organize a mass-order which clear out all their dead stock. Now there are at least a couple hundred of the Silstar Teal on our sunny island, but I seldom seen them in action when I goes fishing.

I still remember then first time I uses the Silstar Teal, it is on a kelong in Sibu Malaysia. The targeted species? Todak of course. With the lack of expert guidance, even with the correct rig, I have a high percentage of miss. Doubts start to creep into my mind, what an I doing wrong? When I get to know DesT, he gave me a lot of feedback and shared his own experience for catching todak, my rate for landing those todaks increase and give me more confidence to use this rod / form of fishing to target other species such as half beaks.

Wolf Herring On Silstar Teal
The next obvious target is the queenie, however queenie and my noodle rods doesn't seems to like one another, try as I might but that elusive queenie just wouldn't take my baits when I uses the Silstar Teal. However, I have much better luck with other species, it is during one of the nights at the kelong that I try to use the rod while hunting for ikan parang (wolf herring). It is not the most ideal rod for the job on actual fact, as when the fish is near, you have a hard time trying to steer it clear of those boats. However, it is damn bloody fun to catch them on these long soft rods. The rod did just what it's labels says 'Designed to put the fun into light line fishing'. It is quite possible that during these period that invoke my interest to pursue into light lines and tackles.

While I am very happy using this rod, I did notice that DesT is still having a higher landing rate then me. So what's the difference? Apparently it is the rod, while most of us would happily call the Silstar Teal as a noodle rod, it appears more like a float rod to me. Nothing wrong with using it with light lines, however I really wanted to feel the difference between the GLoomis and Silstar Teal. But by the time I intent to purchase the GLoomis factory noodle rod, then I learn that GLoomis no longer produces the factory noodle, but only the blanks. It is quite a heavy investment really when you are looking at around SGD400 to get one done. It took me a while to finally lay my hands on a custom built with GLoomis NR1382 blank. (How the rod finally landed on my hand is another interesting story by itself.)

The first time I fished with GLoomis
Once I have the GLoomis there is no turning back for me, I love the feel of the rod and fighting fishes on the other end of the line. It is more difficult to cast then the Silstar Teal for sure, but the feel and the way the rod feels is different. Hard to really put it in words, but heck there is a difference.

Again, todaks are my choice of target species and maybe because that's the de facto species whenever I uses the noodle rod. As times goes by, I wanted to try out how it will feel to have some other species on the other end of the line other then todaks. Luckily for me, the GLoomis and Queenie are not in conflict, i have hook up 2 or 3 queenies so far with the rod, but alas yet to land one yet. Twice the leader rub against some underwater structure and 8lb mono leader is no much for such obstacles.

DesT with his BarracudaI am drooling when DesT had this barracuda on his noodle rod at a kelong. I too wanted some other species, my guess is that I will need to work hard and go on trying out and experiment with different rig setup to target some other species.

My noodle rod journey have started for a few years already but by no means that it will end anything soon. It alreadys have been a trill whenever I have something on noodle rod, I don't think I will get tired of this form of fishing. While those species I mentioned can be landed with any regular fast action rod, it is simply more fun using a long soft flexible with that distinctive slow action with light lines.

Next on my wish list in a 15ft noodle with North Fork Composites blanks, no idea when they will be pushing out this product, will just keep my finger crossed.

A little private island in SG..... well almost

PS - This article is written specially for SureCatch (Siow Chiang) website on the 'Catch Experience', certain portions and pictures are a repetition of my earlier posts.
No payment or in kind are receive from SureCatch (Siow Chiang) or Sentosa Corporation for this article. All expenses and tackle equipment used are out of my own pocket.

Sister islands, a pair of small island on the southern part of our small country. Many will not find these pair of island a familiar place as there is no regular ferry trip to these island unlike St John and Kusu islands. So would one expect a run down, ill maintained island then? Far from it, both small it might be, but both are nicely maintained with proper restroom facilities, thanks to Sentosa Corporation. To get to these island, one would have to charter a ferry service at Marina South Ferry terminal which cost less then SGD200 for a two way trip with a 12 seater ferry.

Once at the island, most likely you will notice the lack of crowd, on most weekdays, almost a total lack of human presence, saved for a couple of workers which tidy up the entire island. Isn't this like having your own little private island in the concrete jungle you are in right now?

Sister Island tripWell manicured grass, resting huts,foot path, the smell of sea and a great view of the vast open sea. You can walk around the island in less then 10 minutes, so why not spend some time to explore the place while you are there.

Sister Island tripSister Island tripAnglers have longed been accused of ditching their other half while they pursuit the trill of having a fish at the end of their line. This is one place that anglers could bring their families along to have a picnic while they can wet their lines too.

On top of having proper restroom facilities, there are swimming lagoons on the islands.

Adults will appreciate the break from routine life while this is one good way to tear the kids away from their computers and LAN games.

Sister Island trip

This is obviously not a travelogue and let's turn our attention back to the angling, with nice pristine water all around you, an decent angler will be keen to wet their lines. So bring along your favorite rod and reels and cast away! While you are doing that, you might be keen to introduce your love ones to the joy of fishing, get them some light lines and small hooks, and have them wet their lines too. Small fishes are almost always in abundance at where you alight from the ferry, who knows they might be hooked onto the hobby as you are.

Lure Anglers will like the contrasting landscape available to them to try out different lures.
Fly fishing anglers will like the space available to them to cast their flies.
Bait anglers, well..... they can do whatever to target the species that catches their fancy.

When it's time to leave you little 'private' island, it is sure to leave an impression on you. With the ferry moving further and further away from the islands, with the sun setting in the horizon, when you cast your eyes back onto the ever diminishing island, all the earlier frustration you have trying to impart the artistry of fishing to your family, all the frustration your have from your work will simply melt away and replace with a smile on your face. Cause you know that the quality time you have just spend with your family would be priceless and bring the family closer and more tightly knitted.

If you are a first time visitors to the island, some info for you.
There is NO food or Drinks stall there, do bring your own.
There is a proper toilet facilities, showers included, BUT no power supply at all, so No lights at night should you plan to spend the night there.
Do contact Sentosa if you plan to stay overnight there, it is FOC but you will need to inform them though.
There are monkeys on the island, so take care of your belongings and especially your food. And do NOT feed them please.
Important - Current outside the swimming lagoon is Very Strong, do NOT venture beyond the swimming lagoon if you are having a dip in it.

Here some sneak preview of just some of the species that's available at the island, other species spotted are parrot fish, groupers, coral trouts, bait fishes like tamban, kunning, selar, etc. Hopefully, you will pick the correct tackles, baits, lures, flies, etc for a fruitful trip.

PhotobucketSister Island tripBig Rabbit at Sister Island, Big Rabbit fish caught at Sister Island on 22 Oct 11

10 December 2011

Sister Island once again

Sister Island - 03 Dec 2011I almost didn't make it for this trip, needed some last minute juggling with my schedule to make it happen. Boy am I glad I did the switch. Trips to this island have been a contrast of luck for me, due to the different species that is being targeted, it is usually been good for others while I will have a lower yield then others. On this trip, it is the opposite, the yellow tails and kunnings are just not around for the entire day, thus I am able to fish at the particular 'hot spot' to target for the silver moony.

Will the usual bait of gargo and prawns available, I decided to take just some bread as bait. With the tips from a regular angler there, breads must be fluffy when targeting silver moony, I decided to cut them into cubes instead of the usual practice of pinching the bread on to the hooks.  Also modify my rigging method so that I could drift the baits into the strike zone.

I am not keen to do the usually method of berley to entice to come out of the hiding, thus instead I let the water current to do the job of pushing my baits to them. Also upon the regular angler's advice, I need to pull the fish out fast else I could easily spooked the rest of the fishes.  With all these valuable advices, I manage to land 10 pieces of silver moony at around noon time, but not without landing my now customary remora twice. Almost all are on bread with just a piece of 2 on prawns or gargo.

27 November 2011

Non-Stop Action at Sister Island

PhotobucketI have make 2 more trips to Sister island since my last post here, after my last trip I learn more about the fishing method more on the pontoon and the species to target, so between trips different methods / rigs are thought through, and I am much more ready for these 2 trips then ever before.

More or less, I have decided to target Yellow tail Fusilier and Silver Moony (Sea Promfret in Hokkien), to a lesser extent rabbit fishes. Of course the conventional method to catch fusilier is to use prawn meat or tiny shrimps as bait, but at times when they come in a school, you might be hard press for time to bait up. So decided to use feather jig to go for them once they are within the vicinity, the by-catch of kunnings are wanted by other anglers, so I prepare a few set of feather jigs for the trips.

First Trip
I prepared White / Green / Conbi of both for the first trip, however it is not a good indication if it work well or not as on this trip, we are damn lucky to be hit by school after school of yellowtail fusilier, the lull period is very short, during the feeding frenzy, they will practically whack any colored jig, so I can't tell it my rig is good or they are damn hungry.

When the bite rate on jigs slow down, gargo (tiny shrimps) are used either as berley or as baits. As one of the angler helped the entire group to buy the gargo, we have a case of fish till you are drop dead tired.

As the picture shows, these are part of the catch from two every hard working angler, and most of the anglers on this trip have their cooler box filled up to the top, towards the end of the day, when they landed the smaller sized fishes, they decided to release them back, keeping the big big ones only.

The catch rate is so good that the next trip is already planned on the way from the island, smiles is all around, however, I have hatched some ideas to target for Silver Moony as after tasting one, it is pretty good fare.

Second Trip
On the way to the island, everyone is chatting about how good the last trip was, those who didn't manage to make it for the last trip listened intently about the almost non-stop action during the last trip. Hopes are high and everyone are in battle-mode. However, I felt that last trip is a freakish trip, it is just too good to be true, so on top of the White / Green / Combi rig, I also prepared a couple feather rig with added reflective strips. No idea why I did that but prepared something different just in case the usual stuff doesn't work too well.

And that's how it turn our, the fishing is terrible for most of us, the strip of channel between the 2 Sister island have the most unpredictable current flow, as the day wear on, most of us start to get the picture that it is not going to an easy day to get the fishes, the schools of fishes comes and goes really fast, BIG catches for 3 minutes or so and then it becomes a ghost town for a long long time. Fishing get so slow at times that most anglers decided to take shelter from the sun rather then to fish. Which is good for me as now I have the chance to try out my method for the Silver Moony, but with fishing that bad, they might not be around in the first place. After trying out many spot and many hours, I did get a very decent sized one, but another angler had already 5 or 6 before I get mine.

Though fishing is bad on this trip, it is pretty decent for me, had enough yellow tail fusilier to make fish balls, before I forget those feather jigs with the reflective strips works, and Silver Moony for dinner. They are arranging for a final trip before CNY, but unlikely I can make it due to other commitments. But that will give me sometime to think thru some of the rigs that didn't perform too well and what when wrong and how to rectify the issues. Finally, will need to prepare more variety of feather jigs, as what attracts the fishes seems to change so often.

26 October 2011

Giant Rabbits at Sister Island

These are my catch on my recent trip to Sister island, big nice juicy rabbit fishes. I am so pleased with the catch not because of the sizes but they are an unexpected catch for me as in the first place my target are not them.

The invite to visit the island came from the Labrador regulars via DesT, the intention is to go for the todaks / halfbeaks which DesT spotted in massive numbers during his last trip. However, we couldn't get any tamban at various wet markets prior to the trip, so a change of plan is required, that is me to fish for bait fishes while at the island so that we can move to the todak location and have fun.  Thus the night before the trip, I prepare 2 set of rig with the intention to go for bait fish only. And I have to prepare 2 set of fishing gear, one for bait fish and another is the noodle rod.

The trip to the island is uneventful, due to the fact that we move off very early, I am yet to be fully awake even when I get to the island. Instead of rigging up my gear, I take it easy and check out what the guys are getting. Kunnings are the catch of the entire day, with feather hooks, baited with gargo, it seems that the kunnings are what they are getting and the odd rabbit fish. Thus instead of joining them, I make myself as comfortable as I can in one empty spot with my setup for bait fish, cut up some sotong, hooked them up and off I go hunting for my bait fishes. At that time I dun even care what bait fishes I get, Ms Wong, Kunning, Tamban, Reebok, whatever also can as long as it is small enough to be a bait for those greedy todaks.

Before long, I got bites, bloody hell, can't get any hook ups, I keep missing them, reel back a few times to check the hooks, yeah it is still sharp, something is not right. After a few more misses, I finally got something at the end of my line, it fought hard but after a short moment, a rabbit fish emerges from the water and it is HUGE! Yeah man, I am happy. A good sized rabbit for my first catch of the day, not bad at all. Needless to say, I try for it again, but instead of rabbits, I got some really tiny groupers and an assortment of coral fishes, then I reminded myself, that rabbit I caught must be an accidental catch, trying to target rabbits with sotong as bait, I must be raving mad! Let's focus what I am trying to do in the first place, catch some bait fish.

Before long, I got myself a 2nd HUGE rabbit fish within the first hour, so then if the rabbit fishes are that huge over here, and if they take sotong as bait, why not try to catch a few more before I move to catching todak. So I continue to enjoy myself and trying to refine my technique of catching them, DesT is breathing down my neck to catching bait fishes. Oddly, it is not for the lack of effort, but what can I do when all traditional bait fishes take no interest in my sotong bait, instead I can catching an assortment of coral fishes and of course rabbits.

By the time I caught my 3rd rabbit, the 2 set of rig I prepared is destroyed as well, the cheapo 4lb line is no match for the corals and these huge rabbits, I have at least 2 burst off and lost hooks to the corals below. One of the chap is nice enough to give me one of his rig, I used it even though I noticed that the hooks are a tad too big and too thick. However, those hooks are sharp like hell and tied with 10lbs dupont, so I reckon no more escapees should I managed to hook up one.

By then, DesT have sort of gotten the message that I have switched my target to rabbits, and I told him in the late morning that I think I can do this (rabbit fishing hunting) for the entire day. It is pretty comfy for me actually, with a space to sit and sheltered from the sun, at least till close to noon. Of course my bite rate decrease with the new heavier rig setup, but I felt too comfortable to move my arse to tie a new rig, so I kept on using it. After numerous try, I managed to hook up another rabbit, this time the fight is much stronger, and needless to say much longer as well. When I landed it, it is a very large rabbit, the largest of my entire day. My forth rabbit and I am pleased with the day's catch so far. Not long after catching it, I lost the entire rig to the corals below, damn need to tie a new rig afterall.

By then I am feeling hungry not to mentioned tired, so decided to take a break to take my lunch and have a good break to recoup my spent energy. It took me a while before I return to fishing action as it is tough to tie small hooks rig in the open with strong winds. By the time I am ready, the bite rate is terrible, the kunnings are not around, rabbits no where to be found, no yellow tails, in fact nothing at all. It is close to evening before I get the fifth rabbit, and the bait rate is really bad by then. Then someone suggested that I should try to go for the stripped rabbits (all earlier catch are of the spotted species), and they are huge too, of course I will want to try for them too. However, they are more difficult then I expected, with them swarming all around at times, I can only managed to catch just one.

Although I have fished on Sister island on 3 occasion, this one is one that I enjoyed most, the light tackle I brought is great for such fishing, the bite rate is good, and more importantly I learned a lot of new things too. One interesting point for me is that the sizes of the rabbits caught (think the rabbits caught by all anglers are huge) is enough to entice DesT to try for them the next time he visit the island. And on the way back, we talk about the rig he planned to use to target them in future. However for me, I have already some pointers to take note of for my next visit to the island.

Shimano Convergence IM6 6'6"
Shimano Slade 1000 (Unmodified)
Unknown strength braided line (Est 15lbs), with 20lbs leader.
Various rigs

Noodle rod is left unused, too much fun trying to catch rabbits

23 September 2011

Rabbit Rabbit Everywhere - But Caught None

Today I embark my continued education on fishing, this time round I am back to Labrador park again to see if other then 5+M pole rods, if the traditional rod and reel can be used.  Reason for trying this theory is very simple, I do not have a 5M carbon pole rod, and it is can be a very expensive piece of equipment to own if you go for a lightweight ones, can't really understand why they cost some much give the lack of technology into it other then blanks.

My last few trip have been terrible in my quest to catch rabbit fishes here, I have zero problem catching them on kelongs, it is so damn easy on kelongs that all along I have been thinking 'How hard can it be?'. And boy oh boy, it is damn hard. (Pics are Rabbits from Kelong not from Labrador park)

First and foremost, rabbits on kelongs feeds on rice, veggie, bread, etc, and given the high vantage it is easy to spot that the baits have been taken and strike! However this is totally different from fishing for them at Labrador park, first of all, they are damn bloody picky about the baits, they are not interested in anything except for 2 items, balacan mixed with floor and the infamous algae. And even at a higher ground, it is tough to see your baits being taken, so the time to set the hook for me is more in hope rather than anticipation.

Before I go on, I will appreciate any tips from other anglers to catch this so far elusive fish for me from shoreline fishing.

05 September 2011

Reward finally! Sort of have a long dry spell (Labrador Park & St John)

St John 30 Aug 11
Recently, I have sort of fishing curse set upon me. I seems to be having terrible luck whenever I goes fishing, not having any bites and worse of all, busted lines when I least expect it to happen.

Well please allow me to forget about my fishing trips for the last couple of months, it is really really bad, so bad that I wanted to take a long long break away from fishing. However, as the fishing itch comes, damn you just forget about those horrible past trips and hope that you will get some decent hook up at your next trip.

For the past week, I made 3 fishing trip, one familiar place for me, St John island, and twice at an long time fisho haunt, Labrador park.

06 April 2011

St John Island - Another Queenie miss

A St John island todak hunting trip is planned as we didn't fish there for a while already, all in all there is 6 of us making the trip for todak hunting.  Initially I thought that there is just 3 or 4 of us, on the morning of the trip itself, I learn that there are 6 anglers, fearing that there is a very strong chance of have lines tangled up, i quickly packed an extra rod and reel for some light bottom fishing.

After a mad mad dash to the Marina South Ferry terminal, we make it on the first ferry to the St John island, look like we are in for a good time cause one of us bought small tambans, anchovies and gargo (those some tiny shrimps).  I am particular please about the gargo as during the trip to Sister island, I see how effective it is when you are targetting some fishes.  What pleased me even more is that one of them told me that what I see that are caught on Sister islands are also available on St John, similar area and environment. Thus the list of lightly species are, most likely Ms. Wong, Yellow tails are available, sometimes a 'Lai Mun' (those bigger stripped rabbit fish) and once a blue moon a 'Hai Ciong' (direct translation from Hokkien is Sea Pomfret). So while on the ferry, I make my plan, from the moment I reached till tide change, I will be doing light bottom for those assorted fishes, as the current will be flowing at the 'wrong' direction for good todak hunting.

Once we arrived at St John Island, my heart sank, alas there are already a few people fishing at the spot where I knew that is good for light bottom fun, have to look for a new spot. Set up my light bottom gear and started trying at a few spot, before long, I gave up fishing along the 'causeway' because the blazing hot sun plus I didn't have much sleep the night before, I feel damn tired.  However, I did managed to find a semi-shaded place to spend an hour or so and hooked up a lot of Ms.Wong and a few yellow tails, though catch rate is not fantastic, I could now identify how the yellow-tail attack the bait, will modify my fishing method in future.

When it is close to noon, that goes my shade as well, so make my way back to the 'causeway' and setup my noodle setup, not keen to go for todak as the strike rate isn't good and still feeling lazy, decided to try and target for Queenie instead. Many many moons ago, I hook up a nice sized Queenie and fought for more then 1/2 hrs on my noodle rod setup before I lost it, so hope I can hook one again. Soon, I am told that a Queenie is spot by the other anglers earlier, so I am hopeful I can get one. I check out my bait often, a small dead tamban, which I set it just 5 meters out. Finally, I spotted it! rather it's tail, it check out my bait but refused to take it, instead show me it's arse and swim off. Damn!!!

Immediately, I realized the fact I need a live bait to get that teasing bugger. Luckily, someone is using my bottom setup for halfbeaks, so I sort of hijack the setup and get myself a nice halfbeak. Hookup and the waiting game begins again. Another who witness my earlier near miss also got himself a halfbeak and also playing the same waiting game.  Finally a Huge take, rod bending and reel screaming, but alas not mine but the Queenie decided that my halfbeak doesn't look tasty enough and decided to take the other. But a short fight later, the angler lost the Queenie.

When the current changes direction, it's back to todak hunting again.  I have a couple of takes but didn't landed any, it is not turning out to be my day at all. Feeling tired and seeing twice anglers having their lines tangled by, I decided to take it easy for the rest of the day, which of course didn't yield anything.

A bad day of fishing for me, but a good day overall as fishing for me isn't just about getting fishes, it always have been the company and it have been good today. Yeah, still yet to get that elusive queenie today, but one day, just one day I will be back and get you.

GLoomis NR1382
Modified Alivio 2500
4, 5, 6 lbs braided line, joined, with 8lbs leader.
Running float rig.
Genesis Assasini 7'2
Unmodified Shimano Slade 1000
Unknown strength braided line, with 8lbs leader.
Running float rig.

31 March 2011

Shimano Fun Fishing Day 2010

Shimano Fun Fishing 2010This Blog entry is way way way long overdue, I thought I have put it up before but then my memory must be failing me because it is not.

This event is held at Bedok Jetty in I believe in July 2010, it have been postponed from the original date as you might recall we are hit by an oil slick during the period when it is supposed to be held originally. Of course we all know that fishing along BJT is FOC, thus questions are raised when there is a $20 (if I remember correctly), to register yourself for the event, unlike in paypond where the organizer need to book the entire pond for competitions. Frankly, I am not too sure why is there a need to collect money for what to me should be part of Shimano Fishing marketing campaign, maybe to deter folks who come for a free ride.

06 February 2011

Half Beaks Hunting

It has been a while since I last fish for half beaks, almost a full year ago. As they comes near to our mainland shoreline in huge numbers for a short 3 months period or so, it is usually a case of catching them when they are around. Myself and DesT decided to hunt them before they are gone from our shore line.
Half BeakArrangement are made the day before the trip, my hands are itching for some action as we noticed that the half beaks are still around just a couple of days ago.  However, this trip almost didn't happen as while we are having breakfast on the day of this trip, we notice the weather isn't too good, slight overcast with a chance of raining.  With a heavy heart, we gave up the thought of going fishing and started to have a chat and have more kopi and teh.  I think mother nature took pity on us, as the sun came out blazing in the late morning, with hunting season coming to a close and with itchy hands, common sense are thrown out of the window and we decided to go half beak hunting.
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