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7 Ways You Can Catch Your Own Dinner at a Kelong

A kelong is a wooden structure in the sea a distance from shore, where fish farmers rear fish in nets suspended from stilts.

When currents are strong or the weather unfriendly, these structures attract other fish, usually smaller species, to seek shelter underneath. Moreover, as some of the fish feed invariably sink faster than the reared fish may get at them, some of the fish below occasionally enjoy a free meal.When schools of small fish decide to hangout under the kelong, it is only time till the larger fish catch on to the easy pickings there.

Enter the angler and before long, some kelongs converted entirely to catering to customers. Anyone can now go stay a few days to enjoy the sun and sea, and of course catch some fish.Due to the diverse species present, even the absolute beginner can catch something using one of the methods below.

1) Sabiki hooks

These are pre-tied sets of small hooks targeted at small fish like selars, scads and herrings. These have to be constantly moved to mimic the micro-organisms that small fish feed on. Sometimes when a shoal passes by, it is not surprising to see anglers hauling a full line of wriggling fish from the sea.

Difficulty level : *

2) Bottom- Baiting (Small bait)

Small cubes of prawn/ fish/ sotong bait dropped straight down to mid or bottom level. Anglers can expect to catch baby snappers, groupers and sometimes selar papan. The fish can finish the bait really fast, so be prepared to replenish the bait all the time.

Difficulty level: *

3) Bottom - Baiting (Big bait)

Bigger pieces of bait sunk to the seabed to attract bottom feeders. These larger sized bait may be more effective when used with a clawed/ spiked sinker for better grip and less disturbance when the current is strong. Catches can range from groupers to cobia and everything in between.

Difficulty level: **

4) Balloon/ Floating rig

Usually used to target mid or top water fish like queenfish or mackerel. A live fish like tamban or kuning is cast out on a rig with a balloon or a big float to keep the bait suspended in the mid water zone. A live-bait well will make this much easier with a constant supply of small silvery fish.

Difficulty level: ***

5) 'Shooting' with treble-hooks

Certain good eating varieties like the rabbitfish have mouths so small it is difficult to catch them with baited hooks. Anglers then improvised and use weighted treble hooks baited with small cubes of potato/ corn kernels. These hooks are then lifted with a quick jerk to foul hook the fish feeding on the bait.

Difficulty level: ***

6) Pole rods

A single hook with a small piece of long white bait suspended at the right level from a pole rod can sometimes do wonders. Resembling a small worm wriggling in the water, big selars and juvenile barracudas have been known to find this irresistible.

Difficulty level: **

7) Eging

This is the method of catching squid with the use of a lure shaped like a prawn. With the correct rising and sinking actions, a lure mimics the movement of a prawn and thus attracts the natural predators - squid. Lures of different sizes and colours can be used to catch arrowheads, green-eyed squids and also cuttlefish.

Difficulty level: **

For each fishing technique, there are several variations that you can try at different time of the day, different day of the month and different month of the year. Kelong is no doubt one of the platforms (pun intended) that can offer you the most variety of fishing.

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