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    Entries in fishing in Taiwan (16)


    Keen on Cats

    I haven't had an opportunity to wet a line in a couple of weeks and I've been thinking on trying someithing new. I finally purchased some new fly line for the fly rod, as well as some bass-grade leader, so it may be time to get back to practicing my fly casting. Or I could go for something entirely different...

    I have also been keen on trying some local catfishing. While popular in the states, catfish golargely ignored as a target species in Taiwan. They mostly seem to be caught incidentally while fishing for other speciies, like carp. This is a shame, since Taiwan is home to several interesting varieties of catfish, most in the genus Clarias, which includes the walking catfish--now an invasive species in the U.S. A few can get quite large. I have read many online posts of people claiming to have seen fish up to a meter in length in the Keelung River near metro Taipei. I guess it's time to dig out the chicken livers and stink bait.Asian walking catfish (Clarias batrachus).

    Anyone who has done some catfishing in Taiwan, feel free to drop me a note and let me know how it went.


    Taiwan fishermen to be asked to bring in sharks intact

    This seems like a step in the right direction. We'll see how it plays out.

    Taipei, July 10 (CNA) Taiwan will next year become the first Asian country to ban fishermen from bringing in dismembered sharks, as part of efforts to prevent finning, a local report said Sunday. 

    Photo by CNATaiwan's Fisheries Agency (FA) under the Council of Agriculture expects to implement a new regulation to force fishermen to keep shark catches intact until they arrive in port, with violators set to face fines or suspension of their fishing licenses. 

    Read the rest of the story.


    Video of the Week: East Coast Shore Jigging for GT

    Another great YouTube post from bassell100 showing that that the GTs are still biting along the east coast. This looks like the southeast around Taitung.

    Estuary Target: Indo-Pacific Tarpon

    Family: Megalopidae

    Scientific name: Megalops cyprinoides

    Common names: Indo-Pacific tarpon, Oxeye, Oxeye tarpon

    Chinese name: 印度太平洋大海鰱 (Yìndù tàipíngyáng dàhǎi lián or just dàhǎi lián)

    Habitat: Estuaries, bays, coastal rivers

    Size range: Up to 90 cm, though more common in the 50 cm range.

    The word “tarpon” usually brings to mind images of huge silver-scaled beasts making breath-taking jumps, testing both angler and tackle in estuaries and on coastal flats. This, however, is the Atlantic tarpon, cousin to the Indo-pacific tarpon that are found in abundance in Taiwan’s estuaries and tidal backwaters April through October. Though not a heavy-weight bruiser like the Atlantic tarpon, the Indo-pacific or oxeye tarpon is nonetheless one of the most popular estuary targets on the island. It is also one of the few native wild fishes that can be pursued around the metro Taipei area in Dansui River as well as streams and estuaries that feed into it.

    Though adult tarpon resemble herring in appearance with their up-turned mouths and elongated lower jaws, they are Elopiformes that are actually more closely related to eels. Like all Elopiformes, they can live in both salt and fresh water, spending most of their time in brackish estuaries and moving to the open sea to spawn. Along with their pronounced jaws, tarpon can be identified by the last ray of their dorsal fin, which is considerably longer than the others, nearly reaching the tail.

    Where Indo-pacific tarpon diverge most from the Atlantic variety is in size. While Atlantic tarpon can reach lengths of 250 cm, Indo-pacific tarpon max out at around 90 cm, and 50 cm is listed as a more common length. In fact, most tarpon caught by anglers in Taiwan are juveniles in the 30-40 cm range, which makes them perfect light tackle targets. Any rod and reel setup capable of handling a healthy rainbow trout, for example, is probably suited to local tarpon fishing.

    Tarpon have voracious appetites and are aggressive predators. They typically feed on anything from small baitfish to aquatic crustaceans like shrimp and crabs. They can often be seen feeding near the surface in schools, making them ideal targets for sight casting lures and flies. A variety of artificial lures are suitable for Indo-pacific tarpon, but most local anglers seem to favor small plastic grubs and metallic spoons. Fly anglers usually cast streamers that imitate small baitfish.

    Like their larger cousins, Indo-pacific tarpon don’t disappoint when hooked, often making acrobatic, head-shaking leaps. For light tackle fun, they are hard to beat.

    Tarpon can be found in coastal estuaries in nearly every part of Taiwan, with the possible exception of the rocky stretch coastline between Yilan and Hualien.


    Bass Video from Jinji Hu Pond in Pingjhen

    A short clip of my Saturday morning fishing session at Jinji Hu Pond in Pingjhen. In all, it was a great morning. I went through the remainder of my plastic worms and had to switch to grubs. I lost track after about a dozen bass. Things slowed down after the plastic worms ran out. This was all before 10 a.m. It may be time to find a new wild spot for a bit more challenge.


    Kinmen Coastguard Clashes with Mainland Poachers 

    It seems that the Japanese have not cornered the market on run-ins with Chinese fishing vessels.

    5 injured in clash between China fishing boats, Kinmen coastguard
    Kinmen, Jan. 14 (CNA) Two Taiwan coastguard officers and three fishermen from Xiamen in China were injured in a clash Friday when a coastguard patrol tried to stop a Chinese fishing boat from poaching in Taiwan's territorial waters off the outlying islet of Little Kinmen.
    Read the whole story:

    Video of the Day: Jigging for Tuna at Green Island

    A few readers have asked about charters and party boats that target offshore species like tuna, amberjack and other pelagics. Charters can be found at most major harbors, particularly around Keelung in the north and Hualian and Taidung on the eastern side of the island. The experience is a bit different than what some anglers from western countries may be accustomed to. Tackle and fishing style usually favors fast jigging using knife jigs, rather than trolling or bait fishing. The video below was originally posted on YouTube by the same people that shot the kayak fishing clip. The poster also provided a link to the service through which they booked the boat, which unfortunately is in only Chinese.


    The Changing Face of Angling in Taiwan

    My friend Patrick recently did me a solid by posting a small promo about this site on his blog. The post elicited the following response from a reader identified only as “Anonymous.”

    “It is said that more people start fishing when recession hits the society harder. I don’t know if it is because more people are out of work or they need fish for food. The rivers are so clean when we left the island years back but we have kept hearing that the streams are all polluted and contaminated nowadays. We are cautioned not to eat too much fresh water fish in the States for avoiding mercury poisoning. Are those anglers in Taiwan fishing just for the sake of enjoying the game of fishing or supplement their catch for food?”

    It’s a good question and raises some interesting issues that got me thinking. The short answer is no, most anglers out on the water today are there because they want to relax and/or enjoy the thrill of hooking and landing something they can brag about at the office on Monday. The guy fishing just to put food on the table still exists. I watched a trio of men netting tilapia in Sanxia other day as if the lives of their families depended on it. It turned out they were just having a riverside cookout (in downtown Sanxia!).

    To me, the broader question is this: is the face of recreational fishing changing in Taiwan and where is it going? Can the growth of recreational fishing have a positive impact on the local economy and natural environment?

    Anglers crowd breakwater at Badouzih fishing port in Keelung. PHOTO: CNA

    I’ve only lived in Taiwan for a little more than a decade, but from what I have observed first hand and from what I have learned from others, there does seem to be something of a sport fishing renaissance afoot on the island. Anonymous’ question hints at the belief that fishing in Taiwan is more of a subsistence activity than recreation, and therefore it remains the domain of the working class. Fishing for sustenance was a big part of rural life before local economy boomed in the ’80s and there is still a prejudicial association with those days--even for sport angling--among a small segment of the population. Certainly recreational angling still remains popular among lower income groups because it is relatively cheap to get into on the basic level and recent statistics have shown that the fishing industry has grown during the recent economic downturn.

    However, this view ignores the reality that more and more middle and upper income individuals are rediscovering angling. I say rediscovering, because many of today’s Taiwanese middle class grew up in more humble conditions than they enjoy today and more than a few probably spent their childhoods hooking tilapia with their uncles, aunties and grandparents in rural canals. Today those former kids with cane poles are kitted out in NT$10,000 worth of top-of-line Japanese gear and paying NT$7,000-a-head on offshore charters.

    It is the emergence of this new class of angler that some are hailing as potential cash cow for the island’s ailing commercial fishing harbors. That’s not accounting for the foreigners. At the moment, Taiwan is more or less off the map with respect to the globe-trotting sport fishing community, overshadowed in Asia by Japan, Thailand and smaller tropical islands. That could change if the government made an effort to promote the Taiwan as an international sport fishing destination by making charters and guiding services more accessible to tourists. As any foreigner will tell you, it’s not exactly easy to book or even find information on a fishing charter in Taiwan.

    It’s fair to wonder what impact additional pressure would have on the region’s already heavily depleted fish stocks. I’m optimistic that education and sustainable practices like catch-and-release can work in Taiwan. Catch-and-release is already an accepted practice amongst most foreign anglers, so I doubt that sport fishing tourism will have much of a negative impact on fish stocks, and certainly nothing on the scale of the damage wrought by commercial practices like long-lining, bottom trawling and drift netting.

    On the contrary, the popularity recreational angling could be the best thing for the local environment. In the West, hunting and fishing groups have often been on the forefront of successful conservation efforts. Two stand-out examples are Trout Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited, who have done much to preserve and rehabilitate wetlands and waterways in North America. The bottom line is that devoted anglers know the best way to ensure that they and future generations can enjoy their pastime is to work to improve existing environmental conditions.

    The cynics may say that these attitudes could never take hold in Taiwan, but I’ve seen with my own eyes local fishing club members cleaning up patches of shoreline, and I’m not just talking about picking up their own empty cans and line cuttings. I’ve seen the members of the island’s fledgling fly fishing community practicing catch-and-release. It’s not such a leap to imagine anglers pushing for stricter environmental protections for Taiwan’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

    To answer Anonymous’ original question: Why are people in Taiwan fishing, for food or fun? I would say both. But if they want to keep enjoying all that angling has to offer, local anglers are going to have to take a stand on how they and their fellows approach sport fishing, and decide whether they are willing to be stewards of the very special resource from which they derive so much enjoyment.