Contrary to popular belief, tiny island Singapore is surrounded by seas teeming with delicious fish species of decent sizes. Though the thought of deep sea fishing there does not conjure up images of big game fishes in one’s mind, species like Red Snapper, Grouper and even Barramundi manages to lure the angler that appreciates a good tasting fish for dinner. To hunt for them, most choose Deepsea Fishing Singapore, the island’s premier guided fishing trip. Covering various areas, the freedom to select a trip based on one’s comfort is one of the positive aspects of this guided trip. It was only a matter of time before my husband and I jumped on the opportunity to try them out. It was now my turn to show my husband, Naweshad, what the seas of my hometown was made of.
With the plans being made from KL, Bryan from Deep Sea Fishing Singapore was kind enough to make the arrangements, keeping us informed along the way of changes or necessary information update. We booked the Tanah Merah fishing trip after being assured that the species of fishes tend to be of a variety and larger in size.
We arrived at the SAF Yacht Club, Singapore, at 8a.m to the sight of boats and yachts that inspired the dream of one day owning one of our own… We shall keep dreaming. We met our guide along with the other participants, a good mix of locals and expats of different age groups and fishing experience, some fishing for the very first time. Before long, we found ourselves boarding our fishing boat for the day. The boat was large enough to fit 10 people maximum without compromising comfort, complete with a toilet and cushioned seats, along with ample rod holders on the sides of the boat. Bait used on the trip was live prawns and the use of artificial lures were welcomed too.
The weather was rather gloomy with strong winds, we knew that rain was to be expected but it being a fishing trip in Singapore, a country known for its regulations and safety; that knowledge comforted us. To our dismay, upon backing out of the dock, the boat crashed into the safety barriers on the side, cracking it as we were rudely thrown out of our spot. We settled quickly and the exit from the dock resumed. The guide was assisting the Captain, with his yelling, to caution of any other hazard whilst in reverse.
Our first few stops were productive, they kept changing locations, some people were beginning to catch therefore the atmosphere was positive. The weather and water was clear, it was a beautiful morning. My husband and I took towards the front of the boat to ease the crowd at the back. With strong winds, the boat was rocking rather uncomfortably however it was something we were used to, especially during trips of bad weather in Malaysia. Finally, the boat stopped at an ideal location, snappers and groupers were coming up from our fellow fishermen friends and it brought the energy level to a high despite the bad weather approaching.
Next up, we anchored right by a red structure with top water activities, also known as boiling which we were told by our guide was a frenzy of Queenfishes. Most were casting jigs out, since my husband and I had none with us and were comfortable with our bottom fishing rigs, we casted our fiesty live prawns and waited patiently. Seconds into the wait, my reel started screaming, I took it off the rod holder and struggled as I normally would with my right-hand retrieve reel. I could tell the undercurrent was strong, and as the boat rocks gently with the winds, I tried to find my balance, understanding that more than the undercurrent and winds, I had a strong fighting fish at the end of my line. Whether it was big or not was secondary, I wanted to bring it up for a visual push of adrenaline as I was loosing my energy battling the rocking of the boat whilst struggling to reel. Midway in the fight, I asked “what is this!”, our guide confidently replied, “Queenfish”. That explained its strength. True to his certainty, our guide swiftly nets and lifts onboard my very first Queenfish.
With a high in the air and excitement at its peak, the sound of a screaming reel soon joined in with Naweshad’s rod bending mercilessly whilst our guide was attempting to remove the hook from my fish, the suspense caught on camera. Panic with the need to rush, Naweshad began fighting as I tried to find my footing to record his attempt. A strong albeit short fight, our guide grabs on to the leader and welcomed onboard Naweshad’s first Queenfish. We were delighted to celebrate a first for both of us, on our very first Singapore boat trip within seconds of each other. As we continued on, less than 5 minutes, It seemed like Naweshad had an issue with a tangled line. The undercurrent was so strong that our large weights were still being drifted along, he reels it in, it felt heavier against the undercurrent however to his surprise, he hooked on to a juvenile Queenfish! Another one for my husband. A quick photo and we released it back, it was too adorable to keep.
The skies were getting darker, winds were getting stronger and the trip was starting to get uncomfortable. The waves were hitting us hard yet we were headed out deeper and in the distance, conditions looked worst. As we moved further out, we were battling the winds, the boat crashing occasionally from the lifts of a swell as it rides the waves. It was a painful ride, our backs and bottoms were starting to ache. We were surprised that the weather was such in Singapore, we were not anticipating such strong winds and rough waves, however based on experience, we knew that Captains would head back if the weather was not suitable to fish in.
We arrive at another spot, the weather was bad, it was drizzling and there was no way we could stand still with strong winds blowing. The boat was rocking violently and it was mildly worrying. All so suddenly, a large wave hit sending the boat tilting at an angle that pushed a large wave of water into the boat, upon recovering it slammed on to the other side sending another wave of water into the boat, by this time, a participants wife began screaming as the rest of us hung on to our belongings and the boat, with hopes we would not fall over. The impact sent my husband and I forward and almost immediately backwards without being able to grab on to the rails, smacking our backs on the boat resulting in a painful bruise for the both of us that escalated in its level of pain (and swelling) in the days to come.
That was it. Why were we not turning around to calmer waters for that moment? My husband and I went to the Captain’s area where our guide was seated, we enquired if we would be turning around and he said, “Nope, no need”. We struggled to put our lines in and we struggled to take our lines out, more than the fishing, finding our balance proved to be exhausting. Added to that, we were in pain from the impact on our backs. When a participant screams, you know it’s time to instil calm before going head-on to an even worst scenario. The boat trip was not comfortable and stayed that way for about 3 hours before it began to calm down closer to sunset.
An hour left to fish, it finally felt like a regular windy day out at sea. Lines in and all so suddenly my reel began screaming, line peeling like butter, my rod making an unwilling u-turn underneath the boat; the captain exclaimed in Malay, “Quick, that’s a Grouper!”. He was accurate in all his predictions for the trip since the morning and I knew he was right about this one too. As I grab a hold of my rod, I was struggling, I was not able to reel or lift, it was taking line and when it stopped, I was again not able to lift it. It was heavy, far too heavy for my gear and energy levels at that moment. I tried harder and managed a few decent pumps, feeling the fight before I felt a snap.
I reeled up…. A broken hook.
I stared at my hook in disbelief. Turned to the Captain in shock, he smiled and uttered with empathy at my loss, “Grouper”. Our guide walks by and I showed the hook to him, he uttered, “next time buy a better hook”. Yikes. My Berkley size 12 Chinu hook was not good enough.
The trip ended with two Queenfish from Naweshad and I and a couple of Groupers, one of a large size as well. Everyone had fun but was battered, without a doubt. The journey back had us in good conversation with the participants and it summed up the trip for us on a nice note, with bruised backs for souvenir. Would we go back for another trip with Deepsea Fishing Singapore? We would.
Our trouble was bad weather, and that is something anglers face from time to time, we can’t have control over mother nature but we can understand and react accordingly. Unfortunately, there was no option to settle in calmer waters until the winds settled, no one was catching or fishing much during that time but being professional fishing charters, they must have their reasons. One of the reason we would consider it again would have to be because it is managed by Bryan, who was professional, accommodating and true to his word. Ultimately, our fishing trip produced good fishes. We saw good sized Groupers and caught for ourselves our very first Queenfish, for that we were delighted.
For more information, location, cost and booking, you can visit the website of Deep Sea Fishing Singapore by clicking here. If you need a little more inspiration, check out the video of our trip below.