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Event: Fishing in Hong Kong

Fishing in Hong Kong: an informational overview about fishing in the big city

Date: 8/21/02
Location Hong Kong, China
Season: Summer (month of July)
Reviewer: JIP

Introduction: For me, a trip to anywhere near water wouldn't be complete unless I explored the local fishing life that region offered, especially in a place that was once known as a great fishing port.  Each year many people travel to Hong Kong(HK) for three reasons.  They shop, eat good food, and enjoy the energetic nightlife a beautiful lit city has to offer.  But to people who fish, Hong Kong offers more than enjoying yourself in the city.  Fishing in Hong Kong can be very entertaining and I was able to experience and learn some of the local hot spots and methods of the sport of fishing.  In this article I will provide you with an overview about fishing in Hong Kong.

Where to fish: I would have to say most people in Hong Kong fish in saltwater, and since HK is surrounded by the ocean, locating a fishing spot is quite simple.  One can easily access the ocean or harbor which is just a couple of minutes walk from either a MTR(subway) or bus station.  Fishing from the harbor can be done in many places between Kowloon, from Kwun Tong to Tsim Sha Tsui or further), and the Hong Kong Island.


The fish that are caught off of piers, docks, and harbors range from finger size to palm size, but depending on where you go, you can land larger fish.  One Angler at a dock near Lantau Island landed a nice 2 pounder while I was touring the island


Sticking to Hong Kong Island, saltwater fishing can be done all around the perimeter.  Where there's water, there are fish.  Moving to the opposite side of the island is Stanley.  Stanley is a tourist attraction site that provide good scenery, a place for people to spend a day enjoying the nice beaches, BBQ, and other water sports, and of course the Stanley Market.  People in Hong Kong also come to Stanley to fish because the environment is more relaxed, a place away just far enough away from city life.


Fishing at Stanley Bay is quite nice.  You can fish almost anywhere you have access to and at the same time enjoy the beautiful scenic views


Accessing the water in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island is easy, but if you want to venture further out you can get better fishing action.  There are two places that are recommended by local Anglers and fishing tackle shops... Sai Kung and Lamma Island.  Sai Kung Peninsula embraces much of the New Territory's Eastern seaboard.  Sai Kung town lies slightly South of the peninsula.  Sai Kung, being less developed than other parts of Hong Kong, still retains the pleasant features of a fishing village and provides people with fishing charter boats for all sorts of fishing(also squid fishing), great seafood, and much more.


Unlike Sai Kung where one can reach by car, bus, or taxi, Lamma Island is located a short boat ride South-West of Hong Kong Island.  Guess what the main occupation on Lamma Island is?  It's FISHING!  Like any other island, fishing can be done all around.  Some local Anglers like to book a boat ride from Aberdeen(on HK Island) to Lamma Island for rock fishing.  Such ride would cost $200 to $400HKD(around $26 to $52USD).


Another nice place to fish is on Lantau Island, accessible by ground transportation.  Like other places around Hong Kong, one can fish anywhere they have access to.  There are also some nice beaches there where locals fish from.  While on the island you can also visit other attractions such as the Great Buddha and a nearby old fishing village .


Tai O, a traditional fishing village located on Lantau Island.  Fishing has been in some of their families for many generations


Like I said, saltwater fishing is more popular in Hong Kong, but HK does offer freshwater fishing as well.  There are 17 reservoirs in Hong Kong that one can fish in during the non-spawning season.  There are many types of fish found in these waters, but the most common fish found are Silver Carp, Big Head, Mud Carp, Tilapia, Edible Goldfish, and Wild Carp.  While speaking to local Anglers and tackle shops, they did tell me that there are big mouth(largemouth) bass in Hong Kong, but not many.  For tourists freshwater fishing in reservoirs can be tough because you have to apply for a fishing license in Hong Kong.  That license can only be obtained at the Office of the Water Supplies Department and applications are only accepted in August of each year.

Where to find tackle:
Now that you know where to fish, we need to get you some tackle.  I didn't bring my own gear to Hong Kong, so I went hunting for local tackle shops to see what they had to offer.  There are many places in Hong Kong to find fishing tackle, but you have to look around.  There are many small stores that sell fishing gear and other sporting goods.  One place you can find these stores are in Mong Kok.  Almost all the shops you see that sell sporting goods will have some fishing supplies.  But if you're used to stores that just sell fishing tackle, I have found something you will definitely like.  It's not a little store off the streets.  This shop carries a lot of different types of gear for different fishing techniques, and some of the stuff you can't find here in the USA.  Triton Fishing Equipment Co. is the largest fishing tackle chain store in Hong Kong.  They have 5 stores located in To Kwa Wan, Jordan, Kwai Fong, Lei King Wan, and their largest store, the one I visited, in Wan Chai.   The Wan Chai store has two floors filled with exciting fishing tackle, some that I have seen before and some that is very eye-catching to me since we don't carry them here in the States.  Visit Triton Fishing's website for directions.  The staff that work at the store I visited were professional and very knowledgeable.  They can assist you in choosing the right tackle to use in Hong Kong, where to fish, help you book a charter boat, and much more.  Also if you're in the New Territory you can also visit Big Fish Hunter located in Tsuen Wan.


Bloodworms are a preferred bait for some Anglers and can be bought at a nearby store near the waterfront.  Just tell the shopkeeper the amount you want and you will get your bait nicely wrapped in newspaper and a plastic bag

Let's go fishing: We found the fish, bought our tackle, and now it's time to go fishing.  If you want to fish at the harbor, docks, and piers here is what I observed and experienced.  Not every Angler fished the same way but they all used one of the two baits: bloodworm or shrimp.  Three different fishing styles were observed while I was at Kwun Tong Pier.  Some people would use a spinning outfit(with a telescoping spinning rod) ranging from light to heavy tackle with a weight and hook tied to the end of the line.  The bait would hang at the bottom and they would wait for the fish to bite.  With this technique Anglers landed different kinds of fish, crabs, and even eels.


A family outing brings joy and laughter to the children as their parents land an eel at Kwun Tong pier located in Kowloon, Hong Kong


The next form of fishing is quite popular in Asian countries.  Instead of using a rod and reel, they use a telescoping pan-fish pole where you tie a fixed length fishing line to the end.  The other end of the line is tied to either a bobber, line, weight, and hook or weight and hook.  Suspend the bait in the water by either the bobber or by holding onto the rod.  Then when the fish bites quickly lift the rod which sets the hook and brings the fish out of the water.  I observed this style of fishing in many different fishing areas in Hong Kong.  Many people who perfect this technique can catch a bucketful of pan-sized fish in just few hours.


Fishing rods and reels? Who needs those when you have your hands.  When I traveled to Tahiti a few years back I noticed many people didn't use fishing rods and reels while fishing from their boats.  They used their hands, fishing line, and hooks, and they do land huge fish out there.  While fishing off piers and docks in Hong Kong I noticed the same thing.  Some people in Hong Kong prefer to fish using their hands and fishing line, with the hook and weight tied the same way as fishing with a rod and reel.  The fishing line is kept nicely wound in a hand spool that's made either out of plastic or wood.  They cast using their hand and some Anglers can actually cast a good distance away.  But the thing is, when you're fishing from the pier, casting far is not needed.  Most of the time they just drop the line into the water and wait for bites.  When they detect the slightest hits they pull upwards to set the hook.  So if you imagine, it's similar to fishing with a rod and reel, except you do it with you arms and hands.


With the other types of saltwater fishing many Anglers in Hong Kong use similar techniques we use here in the US.  If it's deep sea fishing off a boat or surf fishing, use your own techniques and you will have fun catching fish.  I didn't see anyone using lures while I was there, but I am sure I just missed it.  The people I talked to they all used blood-worms or shrimp.


Carp fishing in Li-Jiang, China.  It's a tradition that the men in this province do not have to work (but some do).  So many men have a lot of time doing other things, like fishing.  But in this part of China it's all freshwater fishing since the ocean is thousands of miles away


What if you don't like saltwater fishing, can you do freshwater?  Of course you can, but non-spawning season is between September 1 to March 31.  Since I was there in July I was not able to do any freshwater fishing and did not check out the reservoirs because no one would be fishing at that time.  But I did get to do some carp fishing in Li-Jiang, China in a private pond in a village.  For tackle they used a similar setup as I described above using a pan-fish pole.  The villagers used both home-made bamboo poles and for the more wealthy folks, they used fiberglass telescoping pan-fish rods.  The preferred bait used is corn.  I was able to fish for only a brief period since it started to rain really hard.


The basic tackle that the Li-Jiang villagers use to catch carp... hook, fishing line, split-shot, bobber, and a bamboo stick is all that's needed

With a little planning one can add a fishing trip or two along with their vacation.  I was away from local waters for one month, so when I was in Hong Kong I definitely had to go fishing.  That itch I had in my hands to hold a rod and reel or maybe it was the aroma of the fishy smell in the street markets in Hong Kong that woke me up before I went hunting for fishing information.  I was able to track down the fishing spots, the tackle shops, and was able to do some fishing.  All this while the weather was 100F and extremely humid!  But hey, hardcore Anglers always go out to fish when there's an urge.  Hong Kong is surrounded by water and it's quite simple to find any spot to fish.  As long as you're not keeping the fish, then it's fine because you will see a lot of garbage floating around in the water and some places are polluted.  But as long as you're fishing and having fun, that's all good.  And while you're not fishing, you can go enjoy the extremely active city life HK has to offer.  The food is great, the nightlife is wild, and you can shop until you drop, but don't forget to wet your lines.









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