When I told a friend I was leaving for the Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival 2015, he let out a hearty chuckle. But I understood where he was coming from—squid jigging sounds so quirky, and it’s something indeed unfamiliar to us Filipinos. Little do he and most other people know though that it’s a fun and fulfilling activity. As a primer to the next articles I’d be writing, here’s what you need to know about Squid Jigging in Teregganu. Read more…
1. Squid jigging sound so quirky, but what is it exactly?
It may be unheard of, but jigging is among the earliest, simplest, and most economical methods of catching squid that only requires a simple contraption called a handline. Up until now, it’s a technique employed globally by both fishermen and hobbyists.
2. Is Terengganu popular for its squid industry?
Actually, yes they are, as evidenced by how squid is part of the locals’ diet—they have several ways to prepare the sea critter. However, according to data from Malaysia’s fisheries department, Terengganu isn’t the biggest squid producer among the states.
3. Then why does Terengganu want to promote it?
For two foremost reasons—to claim it as a signature tourism event and product and to proudly share squid jigging as an activity integral to their heritage as a state of coastlines enriched with marine resources. Simply put, they strive to be the most popular place for squid jigging.
4. How does squid jigging go?
From Duyong Island, Redang Island, or any other marina in Terengganu, a boat would take jiggers at about 5:00 PM, which is about an hour before sunset, into the open sea. Depending on the origin, and the wave and tide, the journey to the jigging area and back may take an hour to an hour and a half of sailing each way.
Once in the area, boatmen will prepare the equipment called a handline, which is simply comprised by a very long nylon string and a big plastic reel. A toothed jig, which glows in the darkness underwater to attract the squid, is attached to the handline. The nylon string is given a constant yanking motion to mobilize the jig, attract the squid, and detect any haul.
5. Is it hard to do?
As described above, it isn’t hard at all to do. Even as a city boy with little outdoor skill, I personally found it easy. What could be a challenge though is battling seasickness if sea conditions aren’t favorable, so it might be better to take seasickness pills before the boat sails.
6. What and how many squid can you expect to catch?
According to Edgar of EAZY Traveler who was present during the orientation, they were told that the following species are present in the water: sotong torak or mitre squid (Loligo chinensis), sotong ketupat or Indian squid (Loligo duvaucelli), sotong jarum or Siboga squid (Loligo sibogae), and sotong mengabang or bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana). Squid jigging may also attract cuttlefish or sotong katak (Sepia sp.).
Predicting how many squid one can catch is difficult, of course. There are factors to consider, such as tidal movement, water temperature, and the spawning calendar, among others. Unless thorough investigations are done, then recreational squid jigging relies mainly on chance!
7. When is the best time of the year to go squid jigging?
Terengganu has a squid jigging season between March and November, coinciding with the spawning period in the squid calendar. Note that Terengganu, as with the rest of Malaysia, has a tropical climate; hence, take its rainfall patterns into consideration when planning your trip.
8. How to go to Terengganu for squid jigging?
First, head over to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. From there, buses take about six or seven hours to Kuala Terengganu, but as a more convenient alternative, several airlines fly between the two cities also. Buses likewise connect Kuala Terengganu with Singapore and other key Malaysian cities like Penang and Johor Bahru.
9. How to plan a squid jigging trip?
The best way to start planning is to contact our friends from Tourism Terengganu who would be more than happy to assist and answer questions. Your resort or hotel may also arrange your squid jigging activity. Keep in mind that prior arrangements must be done to avoid disappointment.
10. Why should I go squid jigging? Is it fun?
To be honest, it is an activity that hobbyists would appreciate better. However, having gone squid jigging for four times already, it can surely be fun. For one, there’s the friendly competition of getting the most squid—and the corresponding sense of achievement whenever a critter is caught. But more importantly, it’s a perfectly novel way to bond with friends and family—you know, while being stuck in a boat in the middle of the ocean and all.
This year is Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 with the theme “Endless Celebrations.” Visitors can expect a series of year-long special events and activities throughout the country. For more updates on MYFEST2015, check out tourism.gov.my and like Tara Na Sa Malaysia on Facebook.