Squid Jigging Festival 2015 Terengganu

Squid Feature

I lay back on the boat staring at the dark hued sky, the moon was shining in all its glory along with a few twinkling stars for company. As our boat swayed in full swing and the cool breeze gently caressed my feet, suddenly a loud scream woke me up from my slumber, I was in the middle of ocean, surrounded by water as far as the eyes could see. The crystal blue water looked black and scary. After an hour of trying my luck I had dozed off on the boat, but the celebration from the near by boat enthused a new spirit in me and I started trying my luck again at jigging SQUID.

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It was in the month of May when we we received an email inviting us to visit Terengganu for the second Annual Squid Jigging Festival that was being held in the month of June 2015. To be honest till that time we had no idea about the state of Terengganu or about the squid jigging festival. As usual our curiosity got the best of us and we googled for Terengganu and Squid Jigging. We came across numerous articles, blog posts and YouTube videos about the First Annual Squid Jigging festival. We found it to be quite interesting and fun, the event not only boosts tourism in Terengganu but also supports the livelihood of the local fishermen.

We had a late night flight from Bangalore to Kuala Terengganu via Srilanka with a six hour stopover at Kuala Lumpur. By the time we reached Kuala Terengganu it was 4 PM local time and we were completely exhausted. Dressed shabbily and sleep deprived we were making our way out to the arrivals hall at the airport where we were greeted by a blizzard of camera flashbulbs of the local media which was there to cover the event. We forgot about our exhaustion for sometime, who doesn’t like a little celebrity welcome. 🙂

After posing for a group picture with the other participants, we were quickly whisked away to our hotel where we had welcome snacks and drinks awaiting us. The organisers had taken care of everything and we had a hassle free check-in. It was late afternoon so we had around 4 hours before the cocktail dinner. We went to a near by beach, lazed around for a while  before heading to the cocktail dinner planned. All the media personnel and bloggers were introduced to the event organisers  and were also told about squid jigging techniques.

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What is Squid Jigging ?

Squid Jigging is the traditional way of catching squid in deep sea using a jig with no fancy equipment. The technique has been followed for many centuries now. The jigs are made of colourful plastic connected to metres of fishing line, which is wrapped around a circular disc, and each line is connected to two jigs. The fishing line is dropped to the bottom of the sea and you need to keep tugging the line till you feel a difference in weight. This is when the squid is stuck to the jig and you pull the line up quickly to catch the squid. The process requires a lot of patience, effort and luck.

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This is how the jig looks like ..

Squid Jigging Festival 2015 Terengganu

The Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival starts from March of each year until October. This year Gaya Travel Magazine and Terengganu Tourism organised the Second Annual Squid Jigging Festival from June 2, 2015 to June 6, 2015. There were 120 media personnel from 28 different countries who participated in this year’s squid jigging festival – namely USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Russia, France, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, The Netherlands, India, Indonesia, Sweden and Malaysia and yes we were the only travel bloggers from India.

#Session 1

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Location : Redang Island

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All excited for our first squid jigging experience

The first session of Squid Jigging was scheduled to take place in the deep sea off the Eastern Coast of Malaysia at the Marine park near Redang Island. All the participants were asked to gather near the Redang Island jetty at 4:00 PM local time, where the participants were divided into 12 teams. Each of the teams were assigned a boat and ours was boat number 12. The boats were typical small traditional fishing boats, which are used by the local fishermen for their fishing activity on a daily basis.

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Traditional Fishing Boats

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On our way ..

It is said that the chances of catching a squid on a full moon night are high. So, on a full moon night and when the tide was full on, we set sail into deeper sea for a little over an hour to reach a spot for squid jigging. Our boatmen dropped the anchor and we all were handed jigs. Initially, we all struggled and were not doing it the right way. Later our boatman demonstrated us the right way and we all started to try our luck at squid jigging.

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Trying our luck jigging in deep sea

Unfortunately, the sea was choppy on that day and many of the participants were seasick by the time we reached the spot but it did not dampen the spirits to get a good catch. All the 12 boats were in close vicinity to each other and every time any of the participants caught a squid they squealed with excitement. Though by the end of 2 hours not many participants were lucky in catching a squid. In our boat only one of the participant’s was able to catch a squid. By 8:30 PM we returned back to Redang Island jetty with the day’s catch. A gala dinner was organised for the participants where the day’s catch was served as one of the delicacies.

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And the stunning sunsets for company ..

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Back to Jetty

That day we realized the hardship that every fisherman has to go through for their livelihood and how their source of income is so dependent on luck aka a good catch.

 

#Session 2 :

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Location : Kuala Terengganu

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Boat Number – 12

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Squid Jigging session 2

The second session of squid jigging was planned off the coast of Kuala Terengganu where the sea is known to be much calmer and squids are a plenty. This time the sea waves were not tossing our boat and in no time we reached the spot for jigging. Every boat was accompanied by an English speaking guide. As we sailed for deeper waters towards the squid jigging spot, we struck up a conversation with our guide, Ahmed. He helped us to translate and understand what the fishermen were saying. We got to know that fishermen sometimes stay at sea for days for a good catch. Sometimes they catch hundreds and sometime just few.

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Our skilled fisherman with years of experience

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In fact Ahmed also showed us how to catch a fish using a hook and a line without a fishing road and shared with us a lot of tips about squid jigging and deep sea fishing and we ended up catching around 5 fishes. In the meantime Ahmed cooked Squid Maggi for us, it was the freshest squid that we had in our lives.

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Squid Maggi

By the end of the session we all had caught 15 squids 😀

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Tan and happy

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Surreal Sunsets

The squid jigging session 2 was wrapped up with dinner and closing ceremony hosted at the Duyong Marina Hotel and Resort by Tourism Terengganu. The closing ceremony was graced by Right Honourable Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Razif bin Abdul Rahman.

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Away from the daily grind, amidst the vastness of the ocean , surreal sunset that provides the perfect backdrop, this unique experience was worth a lifetime.

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Squid Jigging Information

Squid Jigging tours can be arranged by resort or travel operators.

You can also contact below for planning your visit to Terengganu :

Tourism Terengganu
9F, Wisma Darul Iman, 20503 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu.
Tel : +609 626 2020
Email : info@terengganutourism.com

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/SquidJiggingTGG

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Looking at the hardship and struggle of fisherman, we have started appreciating our life more after this trip.

 Have something you would like to share?

We are all ears , do share with us in the below comment box.

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Special Thanks to Terengganu Tourism and Gaya Travel Magazine for hosting us. 
We had an amazing time.

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    magiceye
    September 30, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    That was a fascinating read!

  • Reply
    Indrani
    September 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Whoa! That is a thrilling experience!
    Fantastic fotos!

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      January 17, 2016 at 5:09 am

      It was an amazing experience, we had never thought in our life that we would ever go out to the deep sea that too to catch squid. 😉

  • Reply
    Arun
    October 1, 2015 at 12:59 am

    A different festival 🙂 . Nice pics.

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      January 17, 2016 at 5:10 am

      Thank you for the comment Arun, indeed it was a very different experience altogether.

  • Reply
    rupam { xhobdo }
    October 1, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Great to read, Awesome photos

  • Reply
    Shoma Abhyankar
    October 2, 2015 at 8:15 am

    seems like fun..

  • Reply
    Kishor Kr
    October 4, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    From the post it’s clear how much fun it must have been. The squids and photographs look good too.

  • Reply
    Upendra Swami
    October 4, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Very Interesting!

  • Reply
    Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    October 5, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Wow! Great fun, Swati..I never heard of it before…really amazing… 🙂

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      January 17, 2016 at 5:13 am

      It was an amazing time that we had, even we had not heard about it till we got the invite. 🙂 Thank you for your lovely words.

  • Reply
    thatsofarah
    November 29, 2015 at 3:41 am

    I did squid jigging once. I was not lucky for the whole trip as I ended up not getting any. Lucky your boat to have gotten 15 squids.

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      January 17, 2016 at 5:14 am

      True, the first session we also did not get any and were heart broken. But the second session was truly amazing.

  • Reply
    The best university in Dubai
    December 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Sounds fun !

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