My 6 Year Old Son Has 3 Bites On Forehead Fishing For Hong Kong Sea Bass

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Fishing For Hong Kong Sea Bass

It was a few years ago when I was living in Hong Kong. I decided to move there after I graduated from university. A good friend of mine was already working in Hong Kong and he convinced me to come and try to work over there too. So I packed my bags and off I went to the “far east” to try something new. I started working as an English teacher. Life there was fast paced and exciting. The night life was incredible and it felt like I had landed on another planet! But I soon accepted this exciting new way of life and it became my normal way of life. It was around this time that my inner longing and awareness as a “fisherman born to fish” led me to wonder if it was even possible that there were any fish in Hong Kong’s busy harbor worth chasing. I felt like I was ten years old again wondering if Toronto Harbor had any fish to catch! I found out back then that there were fish, “why can’t they be here too?”, I asked myself.

It was very difficult to find fishing information in Hong Kong at first because of the language barrier. I kept asking around and finally I spoke to my hairdresser and he told me to go to a nearby fishing shop and talk to them about fishing opportunities. I was very excited at that time because I knew that if there was a fishing shop, there had to be some kind of fishing! So right after my haircut, I rushed over to the local fishing shop! When I went through the doors of the shop there was a large board of fishing pictures. I scanned through all of them, saw pictures of squid caught on rod and reels, pictures of GT caught off oil rigs, snappers caught off tropical beaches and mangrove viewing areas and then I saw a photo of something that looked more like mine. fingers I have seen pictures of this same large fish being caught at night off city lit shores. It was a bit like a snook and kinda had spots of sea trout, largemouth bass and steelhead shiners. All of these qualities were the equivalent of a fish that I must catch!

After seeing the fish I wanted to target, it was time to figure out what I needed to catch this fish. I started trying to talk to the guys who worked in the shop, especially the guy I saw on the table with all those big fish. I brought it over to the table and pointed to that gorgeous fish I was dying to get in touch with. He then replied in Cantonese “ahhh, lo yu”. So the name of the fish on the table was “lo yu” but I soon realized that it was called Sea bass in English. I started trying to explain how I would like to catch this thing and asked where to go. The man looked a little confused but after a lot of broken English and Pictionary style sign language he started to catch my drift. He then took me to the wall of lures and pointed out a bunch of red headed white body baits. So he picked a few but then the man took over and suggested a few. I was happy to help him and walked out of there with a variety of charms. The lures consisted of lipless crank baits with no rods, pencil jigs that barely broke the surface and a variety of sizes from 2-6 inch minnow baits in natural and red head colors in floating and sinking models. .

The next day I came back with a few of my rod and reel outfits to see if I had the gear to bring these things in. I had a couple of calcuttas spooled with 14 pound test on a seven foot and six and a half foot rod both in medium actions. The man looked at him and said, “Okay!” and he gave me the thumbs up! I asked him where to go and he said “Wan Chai” harbor. My bilingual friend who was with me at the time asked if I could go with him and his friends sometime and he said no problem next week and we will leave the shop around 7pm but we will take around $100 hkd which was about $25 can. He said we were going to use this money to rent a boat. The next week finally came and I went to the shop to meet the local guys from the tack shop! There were three boys waiting with the same excited anxiety that I had with the tack on their backs and their rods in their hands. We couldn’t speak the same language but I had a good feeling that we could bridge that gap through the love of fishing! We then all jumped in a cab and headed for the harbour. When we got there, there was a man with a rice hat waiting in one of the junk boats you see in Bruce Lee movies. We all jumped in the boat and went into the center of Wan Chai harbor. It took about ten minutes to get out to some fixed vessels. The ships were well lit so a shadow line from light to dark was created by the light of the ship. The guys picked up from the shop and told me to cast on the shadow line and in between the docks and the boats. I was starting to like what I was starting to understand about this fish. It was becoming clear that these fish were behaving a bit like largemouths. Before I did my first casting I was overwhelmed by the futuristic beauty that surrounded me! It was an amazing time, it felt like I was fishing in the movie Blade runner!! The view of Hong Kong at night is something to behold, especially when you are fishing in the middle of the harbor and you are surrounded by everything! It’s really hard to put into words but I can say that I will never forget that moment and I’m getting chills as I write at this very moment.

After my exciting moment I ran to the front of the boat and cast to the side of a large boat with a Yo-Zuri Red Live vibrating bait. I pulled it forward waiting for a bite but got none. Every team felt like I was getting a bit. Around the tenth cast, I positioned a beauty under a rope and between two boats where the lights from the boats were pouring down on the water. As soon as I engaged my spool I felt the heavy rod on my rod. I swept into it and the thing started pulling like a steelhead on steroids!! After a sharp and heavy run a fish about 6 lbs popped out of the water like a smallmouth! I couldn’t believe it was only 6lbs, the thing fought like you wouldn’t believe.! The local guys were very happy and they wondered how I could get my feet in like that but little did they know how long I have been bass fishing back in Canada. As the night progressed, the fishing got better and better as the kill rate started to drop. I later learned that the best fishing is when the water level in the harbor is at its highest and the tide starts to fall. So new moon and full moon times are best. When the water and tide are still, fishing these things is the worst, it’s like fishing in really cold conditions up here. From my understanding I think the tide wakes up the water and oxygenates it a lot and creates fish activity.

Anywayzzz, we must have caught about twenty or so of these crazy fish between 2-8lbs. Although I lost a giant (probably 14 lbs or so) on an 8lb test on a medium light action spinner. I couldn’t do anything with that light rod, the fish took off and smashed me around a pile. I put that rod down for the night and got stuck into my heavier action benchmarks. When we went in for the night, we made one last stop on a boat which was a restaurant park on the shore of the harbour. The light was pouring off this boat too, the guy from the bait shop put a pencil bait next to the boat and put another nice ten pounder on it! The people who were eating the boat were happy, it was funny! We didn’t catch anything after that and the tide was pretty quiet by then so we decided to go back in. Boy was I happy, that was the best 25 bucks I ever spent!

As for the rest of my days in Hong Kong, I discovered that there were tons of other places to fish

shore at night. Any part of the harbor front that was well lit that also had a shadow on it became obvious to me that fish could be holding. I fished all over town and caught many giants in the twenty pound range!!! To my surprise there were very few people fishing for these beautiful creatures, I know in Japan the fishermen would have been all over this opportunity. When I bumped into other anglers they were just fishing for food and not so much for fun. I was surprised that most of them didn’t believe in lures and surprised me when I put one in on something artificial. It is still a mystery how large the population of Hong Kong is and how little the population actually gets out to fish. They don’t know what they are missing! Seabass is still one of my favorite fish to catch. Who wouldn’t want to catch a fish that is like a largemouth, fights like a steelhead on steroids and jumps like a smallmouth! I can’t wait to go to other cities around the world to discover what other urban gems are hiding beneath the surface!

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