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Pond Fishing
This section will introduce to you some of the paid salt water ponds in Singapore, and what techniques to adopt for a better hit rate.

Usually a good catch rate comes with familiarity of the pond, as with good knowledge, you will know where are the fishes hiding, what type of fish can be usually found at which location and what bait to use for different situations. The common type of fish that can be found in Singapore salt water pay ponds are:

• Sea Bass (Kim Bar Lor)
• Grouper (Gao He)
• Finger-mark snapper (Ang Chor Kee)
• Red snapper (Ang Kuey)
• Mangrove Jack (Chia Chor)
• Threadfin (Taiwan Ngor)
• Pompano (Kim Chew)
• Trevally (Sagai)

Pond fishing depends on a lot of factors. And if all the positive factors add up together on the same day at a certain period of time, and that happens to be the time you are fishing, you will have a very high chance of getting a double digit catch with only one rod, one line, and one hook.

But we try not to leave things to chance. What are the odds that the day you are free and have the mood to fish, happens to be the feeding frenzy period? So now let’s look into what are the factors that can affect the catch rate so that the chances of hitting a feeding frenzy will be higher.

Factors affecting catch rate:
1. Weather
2. Bait
3. Presentation
4. Location
5. Water condition

Weather
This plays a very important role in affecting the feeding mood of fish. During rainy days or cold weather, fish tends to be more inactive. Therefore, they are not too keen to look for food or chase for their food. Rain affects the quality of the pond water. For salt water pond, the salinity of the water will reduce. More sensitive fish will become uncomfortable and less willing to open their mouths. There will not be much effect on fresh water ponds though. So if it’s raining, instead of getting yourself wet and cold with a poorer catch rate, I will suggest pick up an indoor hobby for future situation like these.

Since ponds are not much affected by tidal and moon phase, we shall ignore this factor for pond fishing.

Bait
For every type of fishing, bait is always one of the most crucial factors for a good harvest. Usually for ponds, the common baits used are prawns, fish or squids.

Live prawns are quite universal bait which can be used practically for all kinds of fish in the pond. They are effective for predatory fish like sea bass (Kim Bar Lor) and trevally (Sagai) which will strike upon seeing movement. To target this group of fish, parking your bait will not be as effective as spinning your bait. If you are using dead prawns, movement of the bait will definitely help in attracting the attention of the fish.

Live fish as bait is very similar to live prawns, but since pond fish are farm bred, they are not used to hunting for food, so some of the lazier ones tends not to be attracted to live fish.

Dead prawns can be used for the same purpose as live prawns. Although they lack the movement, they have a stronger smell which will attract a different group of fish. They are most effective for threadfin and pompano. Threadfin are attracted to bait with stronger smell, such as peeled dead prawns or fish meat fillet.

Kambong meat can be considered as one of the most effective fish fillet for Singapore pay ponds. As the fish in the pond are farm bred with fish feed which smells like kambong meat, of course they would not hesitate to have a bite if it is presented to them. The strong smell from kambong meat is partially due to its oily nature. The natural oil present in the fish meat creates a strong scent that can attract fish like threadfin from afar.

Groupers like huge baits. So to target them, your bait must be big. Usually a large slice of fish fillet or a big live fish i.e. milk fish or baby tilapia is used. Big live prawns are usually not readily available at the pay ponds, so you can use peeled dead tiger prawns as a substitute. They are very effective as well.

Baby squids are less commonly used. Squids are the natural food for snappers and lots of other fish. But due to the fact ponds contain only farm bred fish; they are not exposed to their natural habitat where squids are food. Still they will just grab a bite due to their natural predatory instinct. This is effective for snapper family.

Presentation
Fishing is about fooling the fish to take its last meal. So if your bait presentation is not good, not only the fish will not be fooled, they may be spooked by your terminal tackle. Golden rule no. 1 – less is better if it can get the job done. Use the least poundage you are comfortable with. For me, I will usually use 20-30lb fluorocarbon leader with 12-20lb main line. You can argue that the fish inside pay ponds are not so sensitive with leader, why bother using fluorocarbon leader when it is so expensive compared to normal ones. But when it comes to days when everyone is not catching anything because of the water conditions, you may be the only one that gets all the action. You can refer to this interesting article on fluorocarbon leader for more information.

The more common used rigs are:
Floating Rig
Pond Floating Rig

Sinking Rig
Pond Bottom Rig

Paternoster Rig
Pond Paternoster Rig

Location
Though a fishing pond is small, there are still certain spots that are more productive than others. It’s difficult to pin point where is better than the other as the spots may change from time to time. Therefore it is always a good practice to observe where the anglers caught the most fish first before trying your hand in it.

Generally, fish like sea bass, pompano and trevally, they prefer moving water and don’t mind shallower depths, therefore you can target them near water pumps or even near the side of the pond where the water is generally shallower.

For fish like snapper and grouper, they prefer to stay near structures, therefore you can find them near the keep-nets or some wooden structures installed in the pond for access. Be careful not to let the fish pull your line underneath the structure, you will most probably lose the fish together with your line.

For fish like threadfin, they don’t mind stagnant water. Therefore if no one is catching anything, you can try walking around and cast your bait at all the dead corners to target them. You may be rewarded with a threadfin for your hard work.

Water condition
Last but not least, we shall talk about the water condition. We cannot expect anglers to taste the pond water to see whether the water condition is good or not, though we had really come across hard core anglers doing it. The straight forward method is to look for sick fish swimming near the water surface and smell for unpleasant foul smell from the water. But I think the best way is to observe the other anglers’ catch before you start fishing.

Observation is very important in pond fishing. A technique or bait that you find to be very effective in the past or even yesterday may not be that useful today. Observe who is getting more bites, what bait they use and what type of rig they adopt.

We understand that as anglers, once we reach the pond, first thing in our minds is to setup our gear and quickly drop our line in. But this does not mean that the earlier you cast in your line, the earlier you will get to fight a fish. Or even worse, you may not catch a single fish throughout the whole fishing session. In the end, your itch to fight a fish is still not cured. If you just want to cast your and wet lines, chat with your friends, fish or no fish is secondary then it is another story. But if you are craving to fight a fish or many fish in that span of few hours, I would suggest that you maintain your cool, abstain yourself from setting up your rod and observe.

A fine sunny day, partly cloudy with a nice breeze, temperature is good, water looks clean, your live prawns and fish are swimming actively in your bait well, your kambong meat and peel prawns freshly bought from the wet market this morning, you know this fishing pond like the back of hands and you know exactly what type of rig is the most effective here. With all these good factors, you feel that you are going to have non stop action, but in the end it may turn out to be just 2 or 3 fish or even none at all.

Why this can happen? Maybe the fish are sick, maybe the water looks clean but actually the condition is not good, maybe the fish are just being transported from the truck and not ready to take bait, we’ll never know. That’s why we emphasis so much on observation, the simplest way to know whether the fish are in the mood to feed or not is to see how’s the action in the pond. There may not be fish landed but as long as you can see quite consistent action from the rods or floats means that the fish are feeding. It is no use that the pond owner swears that he just released 1000 kg of fish into the pond, if they are not opening their mouths, 1 kg or 1000kg of fish in the pond is no difference.

We hope that this article will help in your local fish pond catch rate, and if you have anything to share with us, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will glad to share fishing tips and information with the rest of our fishing brothers and sisters.

Below is a list of fishing ponds in Singapore, it will be updated from time to time as some of the private fishing ponds may change quite often.

• Pasir Ris Main
• Pasir Ris Pro
• Punggol
• Neo Tiew
• Pasir Ris Farmway 1
• Pasir Ris Farmway 3
• Taman Jurong

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