Hai Bin is a brand name that most prawners are aware of. They’ve been around for as long as I can remember, with locations all over Singapore. Right now, they have two branches in Singapore, one at Punggol, and the other at Sembawang. I came to Hai Bin Sembawang with quite high expectations. My friends have been singing praises of this location ever since I started prawning again, and have been repeatedly ‘jio-ed’ to come here.
Hai Bin Sembawang is located within the grounds of the HomeTeamNS Sembawang clubhouse and isn’t all that easily accessible. Its address is 301 Canberra Road, #01-08, Singapore 759774. It’s pretty difficult to come here if you aren’t driving, though with Grab and Uber, that isn’t as much a problem as before.
Arriving at the HomeTeamNS Sembawang clubhouse, I looked around and wondered for a moment where the prawning ponds were.
Pretty obvious now that you mention it…
The prawning ponds are just down a small slope, accessible through a bicycle path, or stairs.
I must say, prawning places in Singapore have really been upgraded! There’s an air-conditioned darts room, a dining area, and even a beer garden with a pool table here.
The main prawning area is semi-sheltered, with 3 large ROUND ponds. I was actually pretty surprised to see round ponds as all of the other prawning ponds I’ve been to in Singapore have been square or rectangular. It’ll be an interesting experience to find out where the prawns are hiding in a round pond!
Prawning charges here are pretty much the same as the other ponds as well, but I’d strongly suggest you get the ‘2 hour’ package. If you decided to prawn for only an hour, it’ll cost you $20! Hai Bin has always done their pricing their own way. I found it slightly odd that instead of going for a standard ‘1 hour – $12, 2 hours – $24, 3 hours – $30’ kind of system, they’ve packaged it as ‘2 hour packages’ with an hour free. Same same but different no?
At the payment counter, I found a huge variety of prawning gear available for sale. There’s not just rods, but even floats and customized prawning ‘gun cases’ available for sale here. Extremely tempting for me. Also available was the ever-present Shrimp Assassin bait fridge. I’ve come to really appreciate these little fridges. Good quality bait and prawning powders, always fresh and available when you need it. I wouldn’t be needing these today though. I’ve still had some leftover bait given to me by PrawnMart.
Oh, yabby fishing is also available here too.
I reached Hai Bin Sembawang at about 1PM in the afternoon on a Saturday. Considering that it was still early, I wasn’t surprised that they had only 1 pond open to the public at this time. I set up my rod and lines, then went to make my payment. Nice of the lady to give me an extra 5 minutes LOL!
So on to the prawning!
Bite rates and catch rates are obviously variable and depends on person to person. My bite rates and catch rates are typically the average of 2 trips, of 3 hours each. Prawn sizes vary from day to day, mainly because it depends on their suppliers, so I’d only mention the prawn sizes if they are exceptionally large or exceptionally small!
Hai Bin sure lives up to their reputation. I found the bite rate here to be better than at ORTO (ORTO has been my benchmark for the past few weeks!). I had measured the depth here with my trusty weight and it’s actually surprisingly deep at about 0.8m or so. I was surprised because the water was clear enough for me to see some pipes at the bottom! Casting my hook towards the middle where the drain was, I got bites pretty much every other minute or so. Good bite rate! There’s definitely prawns in here for sure.
I was also pleasantly surprised that while I was there, the staff topped up the pond with what looked like 1 to 2 kilos of prawns every hour and on the dot. Thumbs up Hai Bin!
Dry spells didn’t last too long here. After I had hit the centre of the pond again and again, I dropped my rod to 6 feet and kept right on casting to the middle. Same as before, bite rates came about every other minute or so.
I’d give Hai Bin Sembawang a 9/10 for the super consistent bite rates across both my visits!
On my first trip to Hai Bin Sembawang, I caught 28 prawns, while on my second, I caught 26 prawns. You must be asking now. If I was getting bites every other minute, how come I caught so little?
Across both my visits, I had quite a bit of difficulty in striking the prawns. During my first visit, I literally struck out on more than 10 solid bites before I hit my first prawn. *mutters something about round ponds* In all seriousness, I’m definitely not blaming this on the round ponds. The bite rate was awesome, but me not hooking up on the prawns is definitely my own problem. During my first visit, there was an uncle there who like me was striking out quite a bit, but was hitting prawn after prawn after prawn an hour later.
This place is most definitely worth another few more trips. I’m going to take my revenge on those missed strikes!
Definitely a winner here in terms of Hai Bin Sembawang’s overall ambiance and amenities. Food was available from a menu at the counter (though I asked the staff and he was kind enough to bring over a menu for me). Drinks (including my favourite Pokka Oolong Tea) was available at the counter.
Music was playing throughout the entire time, switching between pop songs and oldies. Quite nice actually!
With the super high shelter above the ponds, there isn’t anything for your hook and line to get tangled up with here. No issues with a 6/7 feet rod, though I would probably bring a 7/8 feet rod here the next time. With a 6/7 feet rod, I was able to cast straight to drainage pipe in the middle of the pond, but after the hook went down, I was still quite a distance away. I think a 7/8 feet rod would be perfect here.
I really appreciated the metal fork they had placed for each position at the pond. Most other prawning locations make do with a pipe, which works, but in all honesty, is not perfect. With the metal fork here, I could leave my rod in prime position after casting and go about cutting my bait, drinking etc. BIG THUMBS UP for this. It’s really quite a luxury! Plus hands free means I was able to get more pictures too!
While overall, I think Hai Bin Sembawang is a great place for me to spend my prawning dollars, there were just 3 drawbacks. The quite ‘ulu’ location means that the best way to reach the place is either by driving or taking a taxi. The second drawback for me was the pipes in the pond. This could be just a bad seating choice for me, but both times I was here, I tried out my side strike and got my hook ‘sangkot’ on the pipes in similar locations. I gave up on side striking and went 100% top strike from then on.
The third drawback for me was in the shelters. The super high shelters were awesome. BUT, the netting in the middle also meant that if it rained, I was getting wet. It rained on my first visit, and I was getting dripped on pretty badly. I found though that if I moved my seat back, I was able to continue prawning in relative peace.
Oh, not a single mosquito bite here too.
9/10 for Hai Bin Sembawang! I’d have given it the first perfect score if it wasn’t for the few issues I had!
Hai Bin Sembawang
Prices for Prawning
1 Hour – $20
2 Hours (+1 Hour Free) – $36
- Personal Rods Allowed
- BBQ Grills (Salt & Satay Sticks Provided)
- Double Hooks Not Allowed
- No Pork To Be Used
- Free Bait (Chicken Heart)
- Food available until 2am, drinks available throughout
- Good variety of prawning rods & other gear available for sale
- Shrimp Assassin products & bait available for purchase
- Yabby fishing available (Check at counter for prices)
- 3 Large Circular Ponds
Check out my catch reports of Hai Bin Sembawang here: