We all know that Singapore is an island country, but do you know that there are more than 60 islands in Singapore waters? This country might be small, but it is definitely not lacking places for you to explore.
Most of us are aware of the popular islands that were taught in school such as St. John's Island which used to be a quarantine area for cholera cases; Kusu Island where thousands of worshippers visit the island during the ninth month of lunar calendar; and Pulau Ubin where you can trek, cycle and eat fresh seafood.
We shall leave the exploration of these islands to the less adventurous. But if you are game for something more challenging, there are several exciting offshore places for you to explore without having to bring your passport. Coincidentally these places house a huge variety of marine life which attract anglers like us. So let's get up close and personal to these beautiful hidden gems in Singapore waters.
1. Pulau Tekukor
This longish island which used to be the site of a former ammunition dump, is just swimming distance away from Sentosa Cove though we are not suggesting that you attempt to swim over from Siloso Beach. Pulau Tekukor looks extremely wild compared to its close neighbour. This is the type of natural beauty that we anglers are looking for - where the coastlines are untouched by man.
The steep drop-offs and the rocky sea bed make this island a hot spot for catching groupers and tusk fish.
2. Sultan Shoal Lighthouse
Constructed way back in 1895, the lighthouse is a mix of Oriental and Victorian design which gives it a majestic look. Situated in between Jurong Island and Tuas Reclamation Land, it is well protected from the Southwest wind. Compared to the time before Tuas area was reclaimed, the waters are much calmer now. The lighthouse operation was automated in 1984 and is currently unmanned.
There are a few shipwrecks scattered around in the vicinity of the lighthouse which are home to territorial fish, and the breakwaters at the perimeter of the reclaimed land are also potential hiding places for monsters. However you may require ample supplies of jigs and sinkers to fish in these areas as they can get stuck easily due to the wrecks and the uneven terrain.
3. Pulau Hantu
Pulau Hantu is actually made up of two islets: Pulau Hantu Besar (Big Ghost Island) and Pulau Hantu Kechil (Little Ghost Island). The names sound eerie and you may imagine that you will have unwanted company when you go camping there at night. But from our past few camping and fishing experiences, the only company that we had was the starry night and the occasional shooting star that left a trail across the night sky. Pulau Hantu is also quite well illuminated by the oil refineries on the adjacent island which have tall chimneys with flames on top burning quietly all night.
The strong current flow and the shallow coral reefs make this area the perfect playground for pelagic fish such as trevallies.
4. Lazarus Island
This used to be a small island that lies in between St. John's and Kusu Island. After land reclamation, Lazarus Island is much bigger now and is linked to St. John's Island by a bridge. Two lagoons were also constructed on the island which attract many boaters to sail in to party every weekend. It is one of the most developed island with electric power, water supply and footpaths.
St John's and Lazarus Island formed a sheltered bay which makes it a conducive environment for a fish nursery. A large variety of juvenile fish such as groupers, tusk fish, sergeant fish, cardinal fish, rabbit fish, lizard fish, fusiliers, eels, stargazers, snappers, scads, herrings, wrasses, breams, etc. was caught during Beginner Angler's Course conducted on the island.
5. Semakau Island
Semakau Island was once home to a small fishing village and is now Singapore's first and only landfill situated off shore. Most of the landfill is ash from the waste incineration plants. You may think that the surrounding waters are highly polluted and the conditions harsh for marine life. On the contrary, the eco-system is blooming in this area. Huge efforts are made by the Singapore government to ensure that the environment is not affected by the landfill activities.
The deep underwater cliffs and rocky terrain situated to the south of the island house sizable groupers, tusk fish and snappers which can put up very good fights.
6. Raffles Lighthouse
The lighthouse was named after Sir Stamford Raffles who founded modern Singapore in 1819. It serves as a significant landmark to mariners because of its location at the southern most tip of Singapore waters. There are occasional sightings of dolphins in the waters near the lighthouse. It gives us an indication that this area is likely one of the feeding grounds for predatory fish.
This is a spot where you can expect any type of fish of any size. The giant ones maybe elusive but we know that they are attainable. This is the charm of fishing - a perpetual series of occasions for hope.
7. Pulau Biola (Violin Island)
The Malay word biola is of Portuguese origin and means violin. It probably refers to the shape of the islet. Contrary to its seeming insignificance, Pulau Biola must have been regarded as an important navigational feature in days well before Singapore was colonised, particularly since the Raffles Lighthouse had yet to be built.
The 20-meter deep underwater sea trench in between Violin Island and Raffles Lighthouse is a popular fishing spot for pelagic hunters.
8. Horsburgh Lighthouse (Pedra Branca)
Situated approximately 30 nautical miles to the east of Singapore, Horsburgh Lighthouse marks the entrance to the Singapore Straits from South China Sea. Territorial dispute over the sovereignty of this lighthouse was resolved in 2008 when the International Court of Justice ruled Pedra Branca as Singapore territory. However this area still remains sensitive until today. Fishing boats are not allowed to come into close proximity of the lighthouse. The surrounding waters are patrolled by the Police Coast Guard 24/7.
The whole area, including Pedra Branca and middle rocks (a rock formation south west of Pedra Branca which is only visible during low tide), is on a giant submerged plateau which is raised 50 meters above the seabed. This makes the lighthouse the perfect gathering place for fish and of course anglers too. This is one place you can bet on fulfillng your dream of hitting schools of red snappers and groupers.
The above are the 8 exotic fishing places that we had ventured. Follow us and there will be more fishing spots to uncover as we explore the seas on our fishing yacht, Artemis 1. Perhaps one day we will see you on board matey!