Fishing the rocks along Taiwan's coast is not without its hazards. Anglers are frequently swept into the water by unexpectedly large waves and often it is volunteer rescue swimmers who are called on pull them to safety. It was in just such a situation that took the life of a Hualien rescue swimmer on April 1. Du Jinfu attempting such a rescue when he he was suddenly swept into the rocks in heavy surf and drowned. You can find a full description of what happened here as well as background on the local hero who was responsible for saving many Hualien area anglers. Friends are seeking donations to help Du Jinfu's wife and elderly parents (see above link for info).
Entries in shore fishing (4)
Looking for some hot inshore action in Taiwan? Consult a seer.
Within the family of mackerels, bonitos and tunas known as Scombridae, the genus Scomberomorus includes a wide range of species commonly known as seer fish (sometimes seerfish), Spanish mackerels or king mackerels depending on geography and specific species. Taiwan’s waters are home to five varieties of seer fish—a term I’ll use generically for the genus.
Seer fish are among the more commonly caught near shore game fish on the island, and can be fished both from shore and boat. Fast and aggressive, they are both challenge and a delight on light tackle, whether one is throwing lures or fishing with bait. Seer fish can be found from inshore waters to the continental shelf including coastal reefs, bays, estuaries and lagoons.
Here is a quick breakdown of the common local species:
Scientific name: Scomberomorus commerson
Chinese names: 康氏馬鮫, 土魠, 馬加, 馬鮫, 梭齒, 頭魠, 鰆
Size range: Up to 240 cm.
Scientific name: Scomberomorus guttatus
Common names: spotted seer fish, spotted seer, spotted Spanish mackerel, Indo-Pacific king mackerel, Indian Spanish mackerel, Indo-Pacific Spanish mackerel
Chinese names: 斑點馬鮫, 白北, 白腹仔
Size range: Up to 76 cm
Scientific name: Scomberomorus koreanus
Common names: Korean seer fish, Korean mackerel
Chinese names: 朝鮮馬鮫, 破北, 闊北, 闊腹仔
Size range: Up to 150 cm
Scientific name: Scomberomorus niphonius
Common names: spotted Spanish mackerel, Japanese Spanish mackerel, Japanese seer fish
Chinese names: 藍點馬鮫, 正馬加, 尖頭馬加, 馬嘉
Size range: Up to 100 cm
Scientific name: Scomberomorus sinensis
Common names: Chinese seer fish
Chinese names: 中華馬鮫, 馬加, 大耳, 西達, 中華鰆
Size range: Up to 218 cm
A wide variety of techniques can be used for catching seer fish, kings and Spanish mackerels. In Taiwan, most are caught on lures and jigs fished both from shore and boats. Trolling is also productive, though not as popular on the Island. Bait, both live and dead, can be used as well. Our friends over at Sport Fishin’ Asia have a nice write-up on rigging live bait for Spanish Mackerel.
Lure anglers prefer bright flashy jigs, spoons (particularly Clark spoons) and plugs that can be worked quickly through the water, whether vertically or near the surface. One may be tempted to rig a wire leader—these species do have notoriously sharp teeth—but keep in mind that these large mackerels have equally sharp eyesight and may shy from heavy wire. It’s a choice between more hookups vs. fewer strikes but more hooked fish landed.
Scientific name: Caranx ignobilis
Common names: giant trevally, GT, giant kingfish, barrier trevally
Chinese names: (transliterated) lang ren shen, jhen shen, niou gang shen
Habitat: Habit ranges from inshore reefs, lagoons and estuaries to offshore waters. Usually found near submerged structures such as reefs, banks and drop-offs.
Size range: Have been known to grow to sizes in excess of 160 cm. The giant trevally reaches sexual maturity at 60 cm.
A top target of saltwater anglers not just in Taiwan, but throughout the Indo-Pacific region, the giant trevally or GT is an apex predator of the tropical and sub-tropical zone. Strong and aggressive, they are a favorite on all types of tackle. Schools of juveniles congregate near inshore reefs and sandy lagoons, making them a fun diversion for light tackle anglers. Hefty solitary adults challenge inshore and offshore anglers alike.
A member of the family of jacks known as Carangidae, they can be distinguished from amberjacks and yellowtail by the deeper curve their bodies and their steeply sloping forehead profiles. Juveniles and adult females are silvery in color with irregular black spots, while adult mails darken to almost black as they mature.
As with amberjacks, GTs are frequently targeted by boat anglers speed jigging large blade lures near submerged structure. Another common approach is casting top-water or shallow-running lures, particularly large poppers, which imitate struggling or injured baitfish. These tactics often product the violent strikes and pitched battles that make GTs so beloved by saltwater anglers.
Because of their tendency to hunt near reefs, GTs are among the larger of species accessible to shore anglers. Rock outcroppings and jetties along Taiwan’s north shore and east coast are the preferred haunt of those hoping to hook one. Favorite spots for GT anglers in the north include the outflows of the island’s nuclear power plants where warm water used to cool the reactors is released back into the sea.
Giant trevally prowl all the waters surrounding Taiwan, including the offshore islands. Late winter and spring are considered the best time to pursuing them. While some anglers consider them a good table fish, trevally have frequently be implicated in cases of ciguatera poisoning. Because of this fact as well as the depletion of the species in some areas, many anglers practice catch-and-release with GTs.