Oct 25, 2011

Far East Fishing, Part Two: Stink and Spatter

Another well dressed local and a new favorite picture

The water glowed with the rainbow of petroleum products. In the calm between gentle breezes, my nostrils filled with sewage smells. The movement of my line kicked up a froth where it entered the "water." After a few casts, the white feathers on my spinner were rusty in color. And every turn of my reel spattered the stuff on bare knuckles.

Traveling light
The previous day's scouting (click here for part one) revealed the kink in my plan; I had arrived in China without the goods to snag Asian carp. But I had a chance to fish in China and wasn't going to give it up easily. Surely, there are predators to keep carp in check...

...and don't call me Shirley.

Anything packed is something to be carried through an airport and I traveled light. I brought my new Eagle Claw Trailmaster rod, a medium action spinning reel, line clippers, a clamp and a small box of spinners and grubs - if I was to choose just two lures they were going to be deadly. I wasn't sure about the space availability for casting fly line, so I left that reel in the states.

I set up shop on a canal, far enough away from the no fishing sign to play "ignorant American" if any military tanks showed up to smoosh me. I wasn't the first to fish there; a well worn path through shrubbery opened up to a standing spot on the concrete wall that held back the canal.

I held my own T! Party
Maybe the site of a white guy fishing is strange. Maybe my "short" seven foot rod was the problem. Or maybe it was my slow even retrieve. I was a sight to see for the locals. A steady stream of foot traffic and e-bikes carried rubbernecks past my spot.

I didn't have a fishing license and wasn't even sure I needed one. Not long after starting, two columns of policemen jogged by in formation and synchronized step. I avoided eye contact and started working my way a little further from the "no fishing" sign.

My line and rod were a little too heavy for the 1/16th ounce jigs, so I switched up to a 1/8th ounce inline spinner. The extra distance was perfect for casting the full width of the canal but was negated by a local who pulled up on an e-bike and started dunking bait directly opposite me.

After moving to a new spot, I was really starting to be grossed out by the smell in the air and water on my hands. I had to pause as a row boat came through with government workers straining debris from the surface; their boat heavily laden with a morning's work.

Where's the feesh? Not here.

At least they made an effort...but the whole situation was just too disgusting and I wasn't sure what kind of fish would be living in water like that. I packed it in after an hour of nothing and headed to the room to scrub my hands and take a nap.

The goal had been accomplished, I wet a line in China and the next goal will be to handle a Chinese fish. At work it is starting to look like I'll have more chances in the future. It's not a matter of if I need to go back, only the question of "how soon?" Maybe next time I'll find someplace other than a major industrial hub to fish...there was hardly enough soap in the hotel to wash the disgust from my fingers and nose.

At a minimum, I know there is ample space for a fly angler to stretch his arms...imagine the funny looks that would garner. I may try it, if only to give them something to talk about.


  1. Great post. Be careful about playing the role of "ignorant American"... we wouldn't you to end up in a Chinese prison.

  2. At least you were brave enough to give it a try. I think the stink would have probably turned me off at the git go. Jay covered the other part of my thinking.


  3. Wow, this sounds like a tough one, kudos for trying. Hopefully the pollution and filter-feeding asians havent wiped out the entire food-chain.

  4. @J, but I'm a smoooth talker

    @Tubeman, I was instantly turned off by the smell but stuck it out for a hard hour

    @McT, them carp are right at home in that chain...I just have to figure out what eats Asian carp.

  5. Mmmm...I am thinking that Mexico would be nice after that! Have your work send you there next. Salt water fishing....you need to stay out of the canals...

  6. Clif I seen them fishing out away from the city and they were using nets catching really small fish. The elder fished and the younger washed clothes. Did you eat jelly fish, sea cucumbers, seaweed, chicken feet, or snails? The snails were actually the best out of all those. I agree with the smells, they slap you in the face. BTW, not looking forward to the plane ride home.
    Scott (currently in China)


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