Q&A on Beach and Jetty fishing

Note: *All answers are based on my own experiences and opinions from fishing in Singapore waters

Qn 1: What is surf fishing?
SA: Surf fishing is activity that involves an angler using long rod (>10 feet) to cast his/her baits out into the sea from the shoreline.

Qn 2: What is the best tide to go surf fishing?
SA: It is best to fish when the full tide is >2.6m.

Qn 3: Which is better for surf fishing? Day or Night?
SA: Night time would be better as more fishes would come closer to the shoreline to feed under darkness

Qn 4: When is the best time to start fishing from the shore?
SA: It would be best for land-based anglers to start fishing when the tide is starting to turn up

Qn 5: Is it necessary to cast far to catch fishes?
SA: Not necessary. It all depends on the location that you fish at. If you find that the place is relatively shallow, then you would have to cast further out

Qn 6: What is the best bait to use for surf fishing?
SA: Sea worm, Salong and Prawn meat work best for small fishes. Whole squids, small bait fishes and whole prawns work best to target big species

Qn 7: Which reel is better for surf fishing? Multiplier or Fixed spool?
SA: Multiplyier works best for distance fishing and also to target big fishes. Fixed spool is good for lobbying a small bait nearby and for easy casting

Qn 8: What is the best rig for shore fishing?
SA: A two-hook one-up-one-down paster noster rig is good for general fishing. A single hook with long snood is good for targeting big species

Qn 9: Is it necessary to clip down my baits for surf fishing?

SA: No, unless you want to put your baits at a very far distance

Qn 10: How many pounds monoline should I use for surf fishing?

SA: 20lbs monoline is good for distance and light fishing, 30lbs monoline is good for targeting big species and rocky areas

Qn 11: What must i do if stung by a poisonous fish?

SA: Do not panic. Squeeze on both side of the wound and let some blood flow out. This will reduce down the poison that enter the blood vessel. Drink some water to cool yourself down. If pain is unbearable, take some pain killer if available and seek medical help as soon as possible.

Qn 12: What is the length of the rod used for surf fishing ? 

SA: A 10 feet rod is good enough for jetty or pier. For fishing at beach, a 12 feet rod would be a better choice.

Qn 13: Can we use a mutiplyier with level wind for surf casting ?

SA: Its ok for using a level wind reel for surfcasting, except the casting distance will be affected.

Qn 14: During strong current tide, which is the best rig to used ?

SA: For fishing on strong current flow, a single hook long snood (3ft) bottom feeder rig work best.

Qn 15: Which rig work best for slow current flow ?

SA: A single or double hook short snood (below 1ft) paternoster rig produce better result on slow current flow day.

Qn 16: Where to buy surf fishing tackles here ?

SA: There are limited tackle shop here selling surf gear. So no need to run around to search. Here are the three shop I recommended to go:

1.Changi Pro- Changi point Village

2. Joe tackle – Beach road

3.Riverland Tackle – Changi point village

Qn 17: Will after a heavy rain affect fish bite?

SA: Yes, if you are fishing from the shore. After a heavy down pour, the water temperature near to the shore drop and fish tend to keep still at a place or swim to deeper water where the temperature is warmer.

Qn 18: Can we used the pond method to fish at the beach?

SA: No, it totally a different type of fishing. For pond, the water is still and shallow and the fish is confine to a place. While at the sea, it is and open area and water is moving due to the current flow and fishes swim along with the current.

Qn 19: Why is my finger get cut or hurt after casting my fixed spool reel?

SA: Is your finger wet during the casting? Wet finger always easy to get cut as it soften our skin. Always use a dry cloth to wipe dry your hand before casting. Also tighten your reel drag every time before you cast. A slip drag will also cut your finger during a powerful cast. 

Qn 20: Will a full moon affect catching rate?

SA: Yes to certain extent, it all depend on what type of fish you are targeting. Most surface fish will be more sensitive as its brighter allround. Bottom fish will have not much difference.

Qn 21: Why is market squid don’t fish well as the fresh squid?

SA: Market squid could have been frost n defrost many time. Most of the squid scent or ink could have been wash off as the stall holder alway flush it with water to keep it look nice. Fresh squid is difference. It has all the scent n ink intact. This is the main thing that attract fishes.

Qn 22: How to store my tamban in the best condition?

SA: After jigging up the tamban, immediately keep it in a icebox. This will keep them fresh until you reach home. Wrap a few of them with thick layer of news paper. Then put them into a plastic box with tight cover and store them in the freezer.

Qn 23: Do I need to joint a shock leader onto my mainline for surf fishing ?

SA: Not necessary if your mainline are 20lbs n above. Any mainline below that is a must for safety reason.

Qn 24: How to avoid my baits fly off during casting ?

SA: Please refer to my site on “Rigging your bait for surf fishing”

Qn 25: Why everytime I surfcast I got my line birdnest on my spool ?

SA: It could be due to you casting technic or your reel is not properly tune. Another thing is your casting weight maybe too light. Please refer to my site at Successful shore fishing on “Learn step by step on how to do a overhead cast with a multiplyier”.

Qn 26: Why every time somebody told me a good spot but when I go n fish there I catch no fish ?

SA: Very simple. He go at the right time n you go at the wrong time. Fishes feed at different time on different day depend on the tide n current.

Qn 27: How to read a tide that have a strong current flow ?

SA: Look at the tide chart on the day you want to fish. If it say from 7am from 0.1m to 2.8m at 1.00pm. It mean there is a incoming tide at 7am n high tide at 1pm. The wide tide difference from 0.1 to 2.8m show this is strong current flow tide. If it say from 1.2 to 2.2m this mean the current flow is slow.

Qn 28: Why everytime I wind back my line the bait is gone ?

SA: Below the seabed there is a lot of small fishes, crab n other small sea creature. Especially daytime. They will nibble at your bait once its cast down. So best is to change you bait often.

Qn 29: Why at some fishing trip every time I wind back my line n my bait is still fully intact ? No fish want to eat ?

SA: Yes, If you encounter this type of situation, just be patience. Its a matter of time any fishes swim by will take your bait. This are the best opportunity to land a fish.

Qn 30: Why is it when have a hookup, I wind in the line halfway n I lost the fish ?

SA: It could be you have slacken the line during the winding in or the hook is not properly set. Never slack your line anytime during the winding in. Always maintain a tight line between your rod tip n your casting weight.

Qn 31: Why everytime I saw my rod tip move I strike but no hookup ?

SA: It all depend on the situation. Sometime its not fish bite but are strong current flow. It also could be crab or other sea creature nibble at you bait.

Qn 32: What is the best tackle to buy for a beginner on surf fishing?

SA: For beginner, best is to start with a 12ft spinning rod which is not so stiff for easy casting. A big fixed spool reel(5000-6000 size) fill with at least 20 lbs mono line to match.

Qn 33: How to strike when the fish take my line out n the reel alarm is sounding ?

SA: For multiplyier, use your thumb to press on the spool, grab the rod n strike. For fixed spool/spinning reel, use one hand grab the rod n the other hand use the palm to press on the drag or spool n strike. Do not try to close the alarm or tighten the drag first as any delaying of strike will allow the fish to throw out the hook.

Qn 34: How do I aim for big fishes ?

SA: Get a set of heavy surf tackle n use big hook with big bait like whole squid or bait fish. But this mean also lots of waiting n be patient. Be prepare to be empty handed on most trip as big fish is rare.

Qn 35: What is the best time to jig for tamban(herring) at bedok jetty ?

SA: Morning first light around 7am and late afternoon around 4pm. Best is go on a day when the time mention is on a downtide.

Qn36: Do cable car rig effective at night ?

SA: No. Most surface predator are active in day time.

Qn37: Do I need to secure my rod after casting out at the jetty ?

SA: Yes. and please release your drag also. You never know what is lurking below the water. I had saw many rods just fly into the water within second.

Qn38: Do I need to fixed a reel seat on my rod if I am going after big game fishing ?

SA: Yes. without a good reel seat to hold your reel firmly in position on your rod, you will find half way through the fight your reel start to “rock n roll” round the rod and your line is out of lining from your rod guide. This may cause the line to break off.

Qn39: If my rod are using coaster reel seat, is it good enough ?

SA: No. coaster reel seat is only good for light fishing or distance casting.

Qn40: Can fresh squid bait use for day fishing ?

SA: Can if you have it. But most angler prefer live prawn for day and keep fresh squid for night fishing.

Qn41: What is the best method to fish at bedok jetty on a day trip ?

SA: Cable car rig. Just jig a live herring and slide it down.

Qn42: Shovelnose is a shark or a ray ?

SA: There is two types of shovelnose commonly caught. The diamond head type is under the shark family. Its call the Shovelnose shark. The other one has a more rounded head fin and is also call guitar fish. This one is a shovelnose ray and under the ray family.

Qn43: How long do i need to change my mono leader ?

SA: It’s all depend on how often you fish. After every trip you must check your leader for abrasion or chip. Any found must cut off immediately. If you found your leader is too short, change it.