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    Entries in pond (5)


    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.



    Super Moon Fishing with the Kids


    I took the kids back to Jinji Hu Fishing Pond to take advantage of the "super moon." The bass were spawning and that plus the moon made for a super day of fishing in spite of occasional rain showers. We landed and released about 10 bass, including two caught by my son.


    Target Species: Largemouth Bass

    Family: Centrarchidae

    Scientific names: Micropterus salmoides

    Common names: Largemouth bass, black bass, California bass (in Asia)

    Chinese name: 大口黑鱸 (da kou hei lu, “largemouth black bass”)

    Habitat: Freshwater lakes, ponds, reservoirs, large and medium rivers, canals

    Size range: Up to 75cm, though adults over 40cm range would be considered large in Taiwan.

    While considered the king of freshwater game fish in North America, largemouth bass fishing has not been pursued with quite the same level of enthusiasm in Taiwan. The species was introduced to the island through the aquaculture industry. Live bass can often be purchased as some of Taiwan’s larger supermarket chains. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that, whether as fish farm escapees and/or fish planted by anglers themselves, the species eventually established healthy populations in local waters.

    Today a growing number of Taiwanese anglers are catching “bass fever,” a fact reflected in the volume of bass-appropriate tackle showing up in local fishing retail chains. Many pay-to-fish ponds are now stocking largemouth bass to meet angler demand.

    Taiwan’s (mostly) warm subtropical climate is similar to that of the southern U.S. were this species of bass flourishes, which explains why it has been successful as an invasive species. While many anglers may assume the warmer southern end of the island is the heart of Taiwan’s bass territory, this is not necessarily true. To be sure, there are plenty of bass to be found in the ponds, lakes and reservoirs of Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Chiayi counties, however Hsinchu and Taoyuan counties in the north also support healthy bass populations, as well. In fact, many of the ponds downstream from Shihmen Reservoir in and around the towns of Dasi and Longtan as well as the Taoyuan plain hold bass.

    Largemouths are happiest in clean and fairly well-oxygenated water, and are not as tolerant of pollution and stagnation as tilapia or snakehead, with which they often share habitat. They tend to favor water with plenty of cover (aquatic plants) or submerged structures. Largemouth bass are more tolerant to variations in temperature than some other non-native species, tilapia and peacock bass in particular, allowing them to survive sudden winter temperature drops that can claim the aforementioned species.

    Most anglers rely on artificial baits to stalk bass—plastic worms, crankbaits, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, etc. Matching lures to the available local forage is always a good idea and largemouth bass have been known to feed voraciously on juvenile tilapia. Bass strike hard and are strong fighters known for their acrobatic leaps.

    Adult bass begin to spawn in late winter to early spring as water temperatures reach 15˚ C. Females build concave nests in 1.5 to 2.5 meters of water, which they will guard aggressively.


    Video of the Day: Longtan (Yilan) Largemouth Bass Fishing

    Longtan is a small township in Taoyuan county situated just below Shihmen Reservoir. There are several ponds in the area, and though many are fenced off for commercial purposes, a few are accessible and fishable.

    I'm not exactly sure which pond this was shot at, or whether the anglers had to pay to fish it, but it produced a few nice largemouth bass and at least one monster tilapia. Largemouth are not native to Taiwan, of course, but they are farmed here and a few escape and go wild in local ponds and lakes.

    I went out to Longtan last weekend looking for the fabled bass pond, but came up empty handed. I plan to head out again this weekend and will report here on the action (if there is any action to report).

    (UPDATE) I have since figured out that this Longtan (translation: Dragon Lake) is the lake located just north of Yilan city and is not related to Longtan township in Taoyuan County. I recently took my family here for a picnic, but only had a time for a few minutes of fishing. I look forward to heading back when I have a little time for fishing. 



    Video of the Day: Japanese Angler Nails Snakehead, Tilapia,...and Shrimp

    This clip is entertaining in spite of the fact that the dialog is all in Japanese. Apparently the host is something of a fishing legend in Japan. Again, I'm not sure exactly where he is fishing, but it appears to be on the outskirts of Taipei. He finishes his day out with a visit to an indoor shimp pond.