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    Entries in pay ponds (12)


    Taipei Area Bass Pond Map

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    Jhunan Grouper Action

    I finally tried something this weekend that I have been planning to do for quite some time—visit one of the many saltwater fishing ponds along the eastern coast of Taiwan. An expat angler I met through this site who lives in Hsinchu county has been telling me about a pond he and his friends frequent in nearby Jhunan. This weekend I finally had time to take him up on the offer come down and give it a try.

    Our first fish was a "small" one landed by Austin.Up just before dawn on Sunday morning, I was soon heading down the highway for my 7 a.m. rendezvous with Austin, a Kiwi who, being unwed and unburdened with children (OK, a “burden” I happily accept), seems to find time for angling that I could only dream of. He is particularly keen on the saltwater variety and often makes it down to Green Island and other offshore spots for his favorite activity—jigging for amberjacks and tuna.

    Once Austin’s gear was stored in the car, we headed to the fishing pond with a quick detour along the way for bait. The pond itself is tucked down a country road along an estuary not far from the Number 3 Highway. It would be difficult to locate without a guide or GPS. The Google satellite map shows it as a single pond, but it has since been divided into two.

    One pond allows you to keep your catch, and anglers pay NT$1,200 to fish for the day. This “keeper pond” is stocked with sea bass, black sea bream (porgy), milk fish and several other species. The second pond is stocked with a few different species of large grouper, some tipping the scale at over 20 kg. You don’t get to keep these brutes, but for NT$200 you can spend the day testing your tackle and arm muscles wrestling them up to shore. And that’s exactly what we came to do.

    After unpacking our gear, we staked out a corner of the pond that Austin said was particularly productive and got down to business. I was clear that the keeper pond was more popular with locals than the grouper pond as we were the only anglers on the catch-and-release side when we arrived. A few more anglers would show up as the day progressed, but never as many as the keeper side of things.

    As we set about rigging up, I was beginning to feel a bit like a hunter that brought a sling shot on an elephant hunt. The heaviest rod I have is a 7’ medium-action bass rod. Austin had assured me that this would be fine since he had landed one of his biggest groupers on a light freshwater spinning combo. On this day, however, he would be favoring a thick saltwater popping rod. It felt a bit strange rigging my comparatively flimsy rod with 70 lb. leader and 8/0 hooks, but I was willing to play along.

    Onto these massive hooks we threaded bloody six-inch fillets of mackerel. Austin said that there was no need to cast out to the middle of the pond since the groupers tend cruise along the edges when they are feeding. So, we tossed our baits a few meters out, opened the bails on our spinning reels and waited. It was a pleasant way to spend the morning. The sky was mostly clear and pines lining the levee provided shade and blocked some of the gusting wind.This bruiser was too heavy to lift with the lip grip.

    It wasn’t too long before something began stripping line off of Austin’s reel. He grabbed the rod and after a brief tussle, beached a “small” 7 or 8 kg. grouper. We popped the hook out, took a few photos and sent our first fish on its way. After this point, the strikes came to a sudden halt and the action cooled off for the next few hours. We were getting worried as midday approached and there had been no more strikes, since the hours around noon tend to be the slowest in the pond. Just around 11:30, several fish could be seen foraging around the edge of the pond. It wasn’t long before the line stripping off Austin’s reel. Graciously he waved me over to do the honors.

    I gave the fish a few seconds to take the bait all the way it its mouth before snapping the bail closed and setting the hook. That did little to stop the grouper’s progress across the pond as it continued to take line. Drag singing and rod bent over, it may not have been a “wild” fish on the end of the line, but it was definitely fun worth the price of admission. Finally able to turn the fish around and gain some ground after a little back and forth, I was able to drag up onto the sandy shore a bruiser that Austin estimated at a little over 12 kg. Try as we might to lift him with my puny lip grip for a photo, he was back on the ground with a shake of his tail. We took a few shots on the ground and sent him on his way.

    All in all it was a great half day of fishing. Austin said the action really picks up just before dusk. The grouper pond shuts down after sunset, but the keeper pond stays open into the night. I’ll definitely be heading back (with heavier tackle) to give it another go. 

    More photos


    Exploration vs. the Sure Thing

    This was a rare weekend when I managed to squeeze in two fishing outings—not always an easy feat when you have a wife and kids who have been waiting all week for some quality face time. My solution is to get up at 5:30 a.m. and hit the water to squeeze in a couple of hours of fishing before the rest of the family wakes up and notices I’m gone. So much for lazy weekend mornings!You can just see the heads of a couple of fellow anglers poking out of the reeds.

    The question I face when heading out to do any fishing on limited schedule is whether to do a little exploring and find a new spot—preferably public or wild stretch of water—or head for one of my go-to ponds that almost always produce some action.

    Saturday morning I drove up to the “wild” sediment pond in Dasi./Longtan near Shihmen Reservoir to see how the small bass I’ve encountered there in the past are growing up. Not much was happening but I did spot more young fish in the three to five-inch range. There were about three or four other anglers out who weren’t doing much better. One commented that my five-inch shakey worm was a little on the large size for that particular pond.

    The other local anglers seemed to be using tiny plastic grubs and topwater lures with some success. One guy had a portable live well with an electric aerator that he opened to show me a small eight or nine-inch bass. I’m not sure what he planned to do with it, but I kind of hope/wish he left it in the pond to grow bigger and make more little bass.

    Sunday I decided to try my luck at Longtan Pond, the big public park pond in the middle of town with the temple at its center. I’ve seen quite a few anglers fishing for tilapia and carp there, but I had been told that big bass can also be found around the temple. You have to fish from shore and are not allowed to fish from bridges to the temple itself, which is where the bass are rumored to be hiding. I walked around for about an hour trying a couple of different crankbaits before switching to my trusty plastic worms, but still nothing.

    A "sure thing" pays off with a quartet of feisty two-pounders. With about an hour left I realize that I could drive to the Jinji Hu Pond in about 10 minutes and get in a little fishing at a “sure thing” before I had to race home to kids waiting for dad to make their Sunday breakfast.

    Once at Jinji Hu, I position myself near the inflow where I know fish congregate and got down to business. The water had cleared up since last week and I started getting hookups on the Texas rigged Berkley Gulp shaky worms right away. A few strikes came just after the bait hit the water. Four nice two-pounders later I was ready to head home. After a bit of a drought, it felt good to have a few fish on the end of my line. Sometimes you have to go for the sure thing.

    Final Note: I spotted a pretty nine-inch snakehead rising next to a weed bed along the sore at Jinji Hu. I didn’t know there were snakeheads in the pond.



    A little post-storm fishing

    I dropped by my old reliable pond in Pingjhen Sunday morning after Tropical Stom Meari moved out of the area. The ponds water was quite muddy and the laoban warned that the fishing was wouldn't be good today. Still, there were fish to be caught. This one grabbed the Berkley Gulp! shaky worm I was fishing Texas-rigged near the the pond's inflow pipe. It put up quite a tussle for a little guy before heading strait for the weeds. It took some work to pry him out, much to the amusement of my son. 


    Preview: Pure Fishing Asian Cup 2011 Third Leg

    This was a recent scouting trip to Happy Farm. These guys were catching a few tilapia on lures, but weren't seeing much bass action.The final leg of the preliminary round of the Pure Fishing 2011 Asia Cup wraps up this Saturday with the tournament arriving at Happy Farm fishing pond in Bade, Taoyuan County. This is the round that I’ll be participating in and I wish I could say I was a bit more excited. I have scouted out this pond on three occasions and have yet to experience or witness any real action outside of the bait anglers landing tilapia.

    If any readers are wondering why there haven’t been many new fishing reports of photos posted in the last month, the reason is that I keep heading back to Happy Farm and getting shut down. I have spotted the occasional largemouth bass, the target of this tournament leg, but haven’t seen that many being caught.

    What I did notice was the visibility in the pond is pretty poor and the water his heavy stained green from algae. The oxygen content may be low because I notice several tilapia gulping air at windward end of the pond. I’ve also spotted a few sluggish and sick looking bass, carp and tilapia. That said, I’ve also seen many big fish jumping and rolling in the middle of the pond.*

    So, it should at the very least be interesting to see what happens when 50 tournament anglers show up on Saturday. I have my doubts that the action will be as wide open as it was at the previous two legs.

    Speaking of which, pure fishing has posted pics from the second leg in Tainan on their site. It looks like a good time was had by all catching a mixed bag of barramundi and bass. There are a couple of nice fish in a few of the shots.

    *Just to clarify, I don't have a completely negative take on Happy Farm. The staff there are very friendly and so are the other anglers. It has a more family friendly atmosphere than some other ponds in the area and if you are a bait angler, you'll probably do well fishing there. I'm just a little dubious about the bass action.

    Here is a map to Happy Farm in Bade for anyone interested in viewing or fishing their in the future.



    Pure Fishing Asian Cup 2011 Second Leg

    Pure Fishing is gearing up for the second leg of the 2011 Asian Cup Challenge fishing tournament Saturday, June 18. This time, the tournament moves south to Tainan. Whereas the main target of the first leg was largemouth bass, this time around anglers will target a wider variety of fish including barramundi, largemouth, striped bass and Japanese seabass. Organizers promise that the action will be even more fast and furious (my interpretation) than the previous leg in Hukou. 

    Unfortunately, the leg I will be competing in on June 25 is at a pond that has yet to display any potential for action that the first to spots seem to deliver. I'm hoping that Happy Heart Farm in Bade gets restocked prior to the contest, or it could end up being a long morning. 

    Below is a map to the tournament location. They don't give a specific name for the pond on the Pure Fishing Web site. You can check out the Pure Fishing site for additional details and translate the Chinese text to English with Google Translate.

    View Larger Map


    Pure Fishing Asian Cup 2011 Taiwan

    Pure Fishing, the umbrella company that owns Berkley, Fenwick, Penn, Johnson, Abu Garcia and a host of other tackle brands, is sponsoring a series of bass tournaments in Taiwan in May and June. The tournaments will take place at ponds in three location--Tainan, Hsinchu and Taoyuan. Registration is NT$600 per angler and participants can only use gear from the Pure Fishing brands, including lures. I'll be taking part in the June 25 event at Happy Heart Farm pond in Bade, Taoyuan County. Here is a link to information at the Pure Fishing Taiwan site. You can download a registration at the bottom of the page. Registration is limited to 50 anglers at each location and it's filling up fast.


    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.