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Fishing in Singapore: The Complete Guide for 2024

Updated: Feb 6

Singapore is a developed and vibrant island-country surrounded by sea. Did you know that Singapore actually has over 60 offshore islands and several patch reefs? Being at the Southern tip of the Malayan Peninsula where ocean currents meet, there is some awesome fishing action to be had in Singapore year-round.


Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Diamond Trevally - Singapore Fishing Charter


Contents



What types of fish do you catch in Singapore?


With over 500 species of tropical fish in Singapore, you will never get bored of the variety of fish that you can catch here. Different set ups and different methods will help you target certain species of fish. Obviously having a good fishing boat and captain also helps!


An excellent resource for learning about marine fishes in Singapore are Marine Steward's FishID cards that feature over 100 commonly caught fish. We highly recommend these waterproof cards as they are informative, educational, and proceeds go towards the organisation's championing of sustainable fishing practices in Singapore.



Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Orange-spotted grouper on Singapore Fishing Charter's Ocean Blue boat


#1 Grouper


There are at least 6 different species of grouper in Singapore. The most common is the orange-spotted grouper. This pretty reef fish with green eyes is highly sought after as it is great eating with light, flaky and tender flesh. Perfect for steaming. Grouper like to go for ANY bait or lure near the bottom because they are the greedy. Live prawns, live bait fish, lures, frozen octopus all works.

Depending on species, you can get grouper that are just 500grams (please release juveniles!) up to big 10kg+ (20 pounds) Malabar grouper.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Spanish flag snapper, locally known as "tee-boon"


#2 Snapper


Yay again for the biodiversity of tropical waters! There are at least a dozen different species of snappers in Singapore. Golden Snappers and Red Snappers are highly sought after because the their auspicious "good luck" / beautiful colour. Spanish Flag snappers are also a nice eating fish.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Giant Trevally on Singapore Fishing Charter at the Southern Islands (GT was released alive)


#3 Trevally


Trevallies are loved by sports fishermen because they are pure muscle and put up a strong fight. There are dozens of species of trevallies in Singapore, such as the GT - giant trevally, diamond trevally, golden trevally and other smaller cousins. Also related - queenfish and more rarely mackeral can be caught in out waters.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Singapore Fishing Charter - BAY boat


#4 Tuskfish


Tuskfish are a reef fish that are commonly confused with their cousin, the parrot fish.

Tuskfish has teeth that look like little elephant tusks - hence its name. These are greedy carnivores that love all sorts of bait, from live prawn to octopus - they find it, they eat it! Tuskfish are a good-eating fish that can be found in reef areas in the Southern Islands of Singapore.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish peacock bass

Photo: Fishbrain app user pojgofishing


#5 Peacock bass


Peacock bass are freshwater fish that can be found in our reservoirs. Peacock bass are not native to Singapore - they are considered an invasive species that have been released into our waterways by aquarium hobbyists who give them up. They are originally from South America.




Best spots for fishing in Singapore



Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish where to fish


#1 Southern Islands


Southern waters is home to the best fishing in Singapore. There are many islands and patch reefs South of Singapore mainland. This is also most exposed to the open sea, hence there is the highest level of fish biodiversity here. Popular areas for fishing in the Southern Islands include St John's Island and Raffles Lighthouse.


#2 East Coast Park


East Coast Park is the longest park in Singapore spanning 13 kilometers. Surf-casters fish from shore and another popular spot for fishing at East Coast Park is Bedok Jetty.


#3 Inland reservoirs


Singapore has several reservoirs where fishing is allowed at marked permitted fishing areas. This is probably the only way to do freshwater fishing in Singapore apart from man-made pay ponds. At reservoirs, live / organic bait is not allowed so as not to pollute our drinking water sources. Anglers can use casting lures instead at permitted fishing areas.


#4 Eastern waters


The Eastern area is quite a popular spot for boat fishing, as there are some fish farms in the area where fish seek shelter. The Changi Bay shoreline is currently being reclaimed and affects the water quality there.

How to fish in Singapore


There are many ways that you can fish in Singapore, from fishing at sea on a boat, fishing from shore, fishing at reservoirs (freshwater) or fishing at pay ponds. Here are some of the most popular ways to fish in Singapore:



Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Singapore Fishing Charter - Popeye BT boat


Boat Fishing At Sea


This is the most popular method of fishing because you enjoy fishing from your own private fishing boat, with the flexibility of going to different fishing spots, islands and reef areas. Fishing charter boats also provide you with all the amenities such as fishing rods, fishing gear, bait, ice and icebox, so you don't need to prepare anything!


Boat fishing trips are customisable, they can be as short as 4 hours, to a half day or full day trip. You can add on a BBQ meal and other water activities such as kayaking, swimming, or stand-up paddle board.


Check out Singapore Fishing Charter that has the largest fleet of fishing boats in Singapore. They have a great team of captain and crew who will be able to cater to your wants and needs.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Bedok Jetty


Jetty Fishing

Jetty fishing is a popular activity amongst local Singaporeans, because they are easily accessible and are free to fish at. The most popular jetty to fish at is Bedok Jetty at East Coast Park. This is because Bedok Jetty goes the furthest out to sea as compared to all other jetties, so there are lots of fish that seek refuge there, as well as predator fish that pass through.


At Bedok Jetty, it is possible to catch large rays or sharks - for these, it can be a long waiting game. Anglers there use locally caught sardines (tamban) as bait, and with large fishing gear set ups they can wait for 6 to 12 hours in hopes of catching a big monster. The easiest fish to catch at the jetty are small fish (smaller than palm-sized) - there are many seeking shelter at the jetty.


To fish at Bedok Jetty, you can take a taxi to East Coast Carpark E2, and take a 10 to 15 minute walk to the jetty. Bring your own fishing gear and bait.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish kayak fishing hobie fever

Fever SG


Kayak Fishing


Kayak fishing has emerged as a trendy and popular way to fish in the recent years. This is an active leg-day. Paddle your way through the waves, this is a fun, non-motorised way of going out to sea to fish. You get to fish very close to the water and get a work out at the same time.

For kayak fishing, we recommend our good friends Fever.sg - they have wonderful guides, Hobie kayaks, and fishing gear all prepped and ready for you.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

D'Best Fishing Pond


Pay Ponds


Pay Ponds are popular with local retirees who do not want to go out to the sea, but yet still want to feel that bite on their rods. Pay ponds are usually stocked with table-size farmed fish such as barramundi and mangrove jacks.


There are two systems for pay ponds: (1) Catch and release ponds - stocked with larger, stronger fish that you must release back alive, or (2) Catch and keep ponds - eating size fish from fish farms that are bought and released into the ponds daily.


The largest pay pond is D'Best at Pasir Ris. You will need to bring your own fishing gear and prepare your own bait.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Singapore Fishing Charter - Kuala Rompin 3D2N trip


Day trips from Singapore


Just as the grass on the other side is greener, the fish on the other side are fatter!


Singaporeans like fishing expeditions and trips out of Singapore in search for bigger and different fish, and also as a break from the city. This can be a day trip to go into the international high seas, otherwise known as Outside of Singapore Port Limits (OPL) or fishing trips to Malaysia. Multi-day trips to Malaysia are also an option.


Singapore Fishing Charter organises overseas trips where everything is catered for - transport, fishing expedition leader, accommodation, boat charters and optional fishing gear rental. You just need a valid passport and clear any visa requirements! Check out the popular overseas fishing expeditions that depart from Singapore here.




Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Fishing at Reservoirs


For those who enjoy freshwater fishing, you can try fishing at the designated fishing areas at reservoirs such as MacRitchie Reservoir. Reservoirs are the source of drinking water in Singapore, hence the use of contaminating / organic bait is not allowed. You can use artificial lures for casting.


Typical fish that anglers like to go for are the beautiful peacock bass. Do stay within designated fishing areas - there are cameras all around. If you are caught fishing outside of the designated fishing area, you may be caught and fined.




When is the best time to fish in Singapore?


Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Singapore Fishing Charter, BAY boat


Being in the tropics near the equator, Singapore’s temperature is constant year round. As such, fishing happens all year round!


March through November are great for fishing. You are likely to get better fishing conditions - generally calm weather, clear skies and lower chance of rain. Passing showers can happen, though these don't usually last long and do not impact the fishing.


During the North-East monsoon months December through February, we tend to get more rain, cloud cover, stronger wind and faster currents. Seas are still generally well sheltered from the many offshore islands, so swells do not get more than 1 meter high. Fishing in these months get a bit more technical, and we tend to see more pelagics and trevallies during this period because the water temperature drops slightly.




Fishing permits and licenses in Singapore


Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

Singapore Fishing Charter boat marked "SZH" on the bow of the boat


Individuals do not need any fishing permits or licenses to fish in Singapore.


However, fishing charter boats are required to have SZH license by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). SZH boats have the comply with strict safety and insurance requirements. Before chartering a fishing boat, do check that the boat is a "SZH" boat. If it is a SZ boat (without the "H"), that is not a legal fishing boat.


For ease of mind, go with Singapore Fishing Charter with the largest fleet of fishing boats in Singapore, all of which are licensed SZH charter boats.




Fishing regulations in Singapore


There are not many regulations for recreational fishing in Singapore, as fisheries is not a major industry.

Fishing in Singapore Boat fishing sports fishing fish

FishID cards and recommended guidelines by Marine Stewards


Guidelines: Marine Stewards is a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable recreational fishing practices in Singapore, including guidelines and maturity lengths for catch and release. You can purchase the water-proof FishID cards on their website, it includes over 100 commonly caught fish!


Licensing: Fishing charter boats are required to have a "SZH" license.


Nets: As drift nets and gill nets are a non-discriminate type of trap that kills turtles and sharks every year, we strongly discourage the use of any sort of sea nets or traps.


Protected species: Shovelnose ray (or guitar fish) are critically endangered, and it is forbidden to take these fish. They must be released if caught.


Restricted areas: Fishing is restricted in many areas, including fairways, military island zones and Sister's Island Marine Park. Be sure to go with a licensed operator who are familiar with the waters and boating regulations.



Want to go fishing? Check out Singapore Fishing Charter's boat fishing trips here.
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