Fishing - Hong Kong style: the Cheung Chau fleet

I HAVE been away, hence the gap in news postings. In China. Well, Hong Kong to be exact.

The former British colony continues to thrive under Special Administrative Area communist status and maintains its unique blend of Oriental charm, ruthless business drive and pursuit of coin, combined with slavish observance of style and latest designs. Any notion you might have that this spectacular sub-tropical island and its neighbouring mainland New Territories are in any sense Third World, should be dismissed right away.

For me Hong Kong puts Scotland to shame in most regards; mountain scenery is an integral feature of the cityscape; unspoiled beaches; shopping on a scale which makes Glasgow look like a beginner, litter-free streets; cheap efficient public transport from shooglie trams to all-night ferries to buses, a staggeringly efficient underground service and copious taxis. They still drive on the left. And I defy you not to find a restaurant out of the city’s 10,000 or so eateries capable of satisfying your palette and pocket at almost any hour of the day or night.

If you like your climate hot (35 deg and humid) during the summer, you’ll feel at home, though air pollution is a weakness and cause for growing concern since the area is downwind of some of China’s most industrialised regions to the north.

New Territories pier fishing: just turn up and cast out

Sadly angling, is not a major pastime. Freshwater lakes and reservoirs abound, but fly-fishing is almost unheard of.  Sea fishing, however, is different. The south China seas still yield an income for a large proportion of the population whether it be from commercial trawling or simply hand-lining from a small dory. For many village communities, like Tai O on the edge of Lantau, or the larger Cheung Chau it remains a key occupation.

But you are still welcome to sit on the shore almost anywhere away from the unpleasant main harbour area, tackle up and cast out. You are very unlikely not to bring something home for tea. Personally I prefer my Hong Kong fish as served up Cantonese-style at Cheung Kee in downtown Wanchai and to save my angling for other parts of the world.