Fishing in Bali

Bali is well known for great surf, diving and a variety of water sports, but what few people know, is that there is an abundance of fishing adventures ready for the taking. Fresh water fishing and jigging have become very popular sports on Bali for both tourists and locals alike. While these two styles of fishing couldn’t be more different, they each offer the avid fisherman opportunities for exciting challenges and big prizes.

For those seeking a more relaxed fishing experience, fresh water pond fishing is a wonderful pastime on Bali. Fishing competitions are regularly held at numerous local ponds scattered throughout Denpasar. These include Waribang fish pond on Jl. Waribang, Nyangluh fish pond on Jl. Paddanggalak, Kertalanggu Cultural Village fish pond on Jl. Bypass, Benoh fish pond on Hmadyanl, Mahadewi fish pond on Jl. Gatot Subroto Barat and Latu fish pond in Mambal village just to name a few.

Every Sunday a major competition takes place at alternate fish pond locations. Great prizes are up for grabs like motorbikes, flat screen TVs, refrigerators, mobile phones and more to the person who catches the biggest fish. Entry fee for competitions ranges from Rp150.000 – Rp300.000 depending on the prize give-aways.

For pond fishing you’ll need a small fiber glass rod with a small reel. Typical bate used for this kind of fishing includes worms, chicken liver or crickets. To find out about a regular weekly schedule, visit one of the ponds, because there’s usually a small competition going on in the afternoons. For smaller competitions, the entry fee is only Rp60.000. At these competitions you can win big money. The competition is based on an allotment of Rp25.000 multiplied by the number of contestants, so the more people who fish, the more money you can win!

“I’ve been participating in fish pond competitions for the past three years and I’ve won some great prizes like two flat screen TVs, DVD player, an 80 kilogram pig which I sold back to the fishing pond and a hot water dispenser. I’ve also won a lot of cash which is always nice,” says Dewa JJ who is also a pro fishing guide.

Jigging in the Deep Sea

If you’re looking for more excitement and a test of your physical endurance, then jigging will definitely give you an adrenalin rush that will make you want to come back for more! Some of you may be wondering what exactly is jigging?

According to: ( “Jigging is the practice of fishing with a jig, which is a type of fishing lure consisting of a lead sinker with a hook molded into it and usually covered by a soft body to attract fish. Jigs are intended to create a jerky, vertical motion, as opposed to spinner baits which move through the water horizontally. The jig is very versatile and can be used in both salt water as well as fresh water. Many species are attracted to the lure which has made it popular amongst anglers for years.”

There are many types of jigs like bucktail jigs, nylon jigs, Mylar jigs and feathered jigs which come in all shapes and sizes. Big fish prefer a heavy meal which is what the jig symbolizes for them. It’s an expensive sport because you must have special gear for jigging. Gear generally costs a minimum of Rp3 million up to Rp10 million in Bali.

“Jigging is very trendy because we use metal bait which looks like a fish. These can go down to over 100M deep. They are very effective for catching deep sea fish,” says Dewa JJ.

For deep sea jigging fishermen generally use either a spinning reel which is positioned at the bottom of the rod with a braided line, or a Bait caster reel positioned on the top of the rod. Most fishermen use a 1.5 meter long carbon rod because of its strength and durability. The fish you’re going to catch are sometimes upward of 30 kilos, so you want to make sure you have really good equipment that will hold up under a long fight!

There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of reels. For example, the bait caster reel is a bit harder to use, but it’s very safe in the event that the line gets stuck on rocks or coral. Additionally, the line won’t get tangled. In comparison, the spinning reel is much easier to handle when you’re fighting with a fish, but if the line gets stuck in coral, it can damage the reel.

“I use both types of reels, because if I go into shallow water like 50M, I prefer a spinning reel. If the water is over 100M, then I use a bait caster,” says Dewa JJ.

JJ’s Do’s & Don’ts for Jig Fishing

1. Always know what your line weighs whether you’re in shallow or deep water.
2. Alternatively, you can become a line watcher by seeing where the line enters the water. If you see the line twitch or make any kind of unusual movement, it means a fish is playing with your jig.
3. Always know what your jig feels like when it drops, rests on the bottom and when you’re lifting it up off the bottom.
4. If it’s windy, this may effect the way your jig feels; you may need to increase your jig weight to retain its normal feel.
5. If it’s raining and windy, it’s not a good idea to go fishing, because the boat can’t stay steady. The water will also be choppy. It’s quite risky to fish in these conditions, because you can’t determine if the bait has reached the bottom.
6. Don’t go fishing if the current on the water’s surface is different from the current beneath, because it’s too difficult to fish in these circumstances. Most of the time fish won’t come.
7. The best time to fish is when the current goes in the same direction on the water’s surface and at the bottom. The stronger the current the better it is for fishing.
8. If you’re fishing at a depth of 200m, you should use at least a 500g jig. The best style is a ‘Squid jig’.
9. The jig weight must follow the current; if the current is strong the weight must be heavier.
10. Move the jig up and down as fast as you’re able; this will help to attract the fish.

Wayan Agus Pecok, a newcomer to jigging used to do coral fishing; he became a fan of deep sea fishing, because he saw the potential for catching really big fish.

“The biggest fish I ever caught was two kilos, but my friend caught a huge fish that was 40 kilos. It was an amazing fight to watch! When you catch a fish, the fight can last anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes. You have to be strong; if you’re not, you’re going to lose,” says Wayan.

A deep sea fisherman has to be prepared for all kinds of scenarios which will put his skill and endurance to the test.

“I remember a time when I caught a fish after a really long fight. A bigger fish came and ate the fish on the hook and there was an even bigger fight. In the end I caught only half of the original fish, because the big fish got away with the bottom half!” exclaimed Made Hyawata.

In addition to using the right equipment and techniques for jigging, it’s also important to get a good boat driver. Not all boat drivers can take people deep sea fishing, because with jigging, no anchor is used. This makes it even more challenging for the boat driver, who must keep his eye on the line to be sure it stays vertical, which takes a tremendous amount of skill.

Some great locations for deep sea fishing around Bali include Sanur, Amed & Padang Bai, which mainly have Dogtooth, Ruby Snapper and Hammer Jack fish. Sometimes you can also catch sharks or Spanish mackerel. Generally it costs around $400USD for half day tours or $800 for full day tours with a maximum of four people. This includes pick up and return to your hotel, all the gear, boat and lunch. Some guided fishing tours are done with a traditional jukung wooden boat. These tours are more affordable and a lot of fun as you’ll get to experience the local way of fishing. The advantage of jigging with this kind of boat is that it’s very stable, so you’re less likely to get sea sick. Even though it’s not a high speed boat, jukungs come equipped with two motors so they still have enough power to go far in search of really big fish.

“I love fishing because it’s a great active sport and provides me with a challenge that’s exciting. The biggest fish I ever caught was 45 kilos. It was an exhausting one hour fight, but I loved every minute of it!” says Dewa JJ.



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