Angler's Mail contributor Dave Coster has been away on business with his main job, working on Hardy and Greys tackle. He's pictured here enjoying the delights of fishing in China, and contrasts it with match fishing back home in the UK.
I THINK I have just broken the world record for making the longest ever journey to fish a match. I had been working in China for two weeks and needed to get back for a league event.
I started my journey in the far north, flying to Beijing. This originally involved an 8 hour wait for a connecting flight, which turned into 10 hours because my plane to Amsterdam was delayed.
Eleven long hours in the air was followed up with a two hour break before the last leg of my trip, a short hop to Newcastle Airport. I finally made it home 30 hours later, jetlagged and very tired!
To make matters worse, the clocks went forward an hour that night, so I ended up with even less sleep than I had hoped for. Suddenly it was Sunday morning and I was setting up my gear on a very windy and cold Northumberland reservoir.
It had been 27C when I left China, now it was back to reality with a bitingly cold gale blowing, combined with frequent icy showers.
The fishing was hard as well, thanks to it still being winter in March. I managed to scrape together 1 lb 14 oz of bits fishing the feeder at long range, which got me reasonable league points, but what a lot of effort for such a paltry catch!
A world of difference
While I was scratching for bites, I contemplated the difference between fishing in China and the UK. Fishing is a lot more of a social event in the Far East. They have commercial style fisheries as well, but in many cases the whole family turns out. They have a barbeque in the background, along with plenty of drinks and it’s something of a fun day for everyone.
Compare this to the UK and yes, there is a lot of banter at matches before and after, but in-between everyone gets their heads down and the proceedings tend to be very serious. Apart from the party atmosphere, commercial fisheries in China are a lot more colourful too, as you can see from the accompanying photographs I took on a previous trip, when I got the chance to fish for a few hours.
Some things are similar though, like those in the know fishing close to aerators. One clever angler had cottoned onto the fact that the bigger fish were tightly shoaled right next to one of these machines. His rod was bent over time and time again, until the guy running the show red carded him for catching too many fish!
Fishing with 16 rods – at once!
Fishing is big business in China, compared to the UK where I think just over one million anglers buy rod licences. Over there it’s estimated 100 million people go fishing!
And the Chinese way is a lot different to ours. Travelling around the country it’s not unusual to see anglers using up to 16 rods! This seems to be “in” the method on larger rivers, using bells on rod tips to signal bites and believe it or not, most anglers take all this gear fishing on a bike!
Anyway, back to the cold North East and I’m getting prepared for another match (one rod at a time is enough for me). It looks like the heavy winds are dropping away for this weekend, so hopefully I will be able to fish properly this time and maybe even get my pole into action. That was made in China by the way and it looks like long pole fishing is taking off over there too.
But I can’t see the 16 rod thing happening here, although it would push up rod licence sales dramatically, if it was ever allowed…