Monday, July 28, 2008

I Finally Found a Tackle Shop in China!

Qingxi (ching-she) Town, DongGuang, GuangDong, Peoples Republic of China is about as far away from the clear clean waters of Minnesota as one can get. Qingxi Town is located 30 miles northeast of the Hong kong/Chinese border crossing of Lo Wu. It is a mountainous area with peaks rising to 3000 feet amongst the numerous valleys that are home to the industrial factories making almost everything we buy from flat panel televisions to plastics to toys. This area was one of the first to be developed in modern China because of it's proximity to Hong Kong, which serves as a focal point for trade coming out of the area. It is sub tropical in nature with many small rivers feeding reservoirs which in turn supply water to the 30 million people in the area (bottled water for me!). In restaurants if ordering fish you usually are given a choice between river fish or ocean fish. One look at the rivers solves that question pretty fast! Although in this area one sees little fishing going on, it does exist in the form of privately owned fish ponds where families go for a day of entertainment. Knowing almost everything we buy today in the fishing world comes from China and the fact that the price we pay is at least 4 times the manufactured cost, I have always been on the lookout for a place to buy fishing tackle. Well, I finally found one just 2 blocks away from our hotel. I was excited to see what was offered, how they fished, and the prices. In GuangDong Province the people are know to eat anything that walks, swims, or crawls. To some the dozen shiners we pick up on the way to Mille Lacs would be a great meal for their family. The tackle was indicative of finesse type bobber fishing with a variety of pencil type bobbers, line stops, and simple terminal tackle. Very few if any lures were available and their rods were long telescopic type similar to those used in Europe. I was very taken back by the pricing. Some special bobbers were selling for 125 RMB (6.75 RMB to 1 US dollar) for 3 which amounted to over $6 each. Interesting enough there was little negotiation as with most baitshop owners, they were small family run enterprises with honest, hard working individuals just trying to make a living, just like my good friend Bill. My goal of finding a place to get good deals on reels have been dashed. Although the reels they had were of good quality, the prices were at least the same as what you can find in the US. So much for that goal. The bait was in the form of prepackaged dough balls and gunky looking bulk concoctions which reminded me of carp and catfish bait we use in the states. I did buy something for a couple of my close friends that fish the reefs on Mille Lacs with leeches and bobbers. The systems are similar to our slip bobber and for night fishing offer small light sticks that conveniently fit on the top. The light sticks were cheap, about 2 RMB for a package of 2 so I did load up on them hoping to see how they work. I am off to my next destination Wuxi (Woo-she), located west of Shanghai where there is much more water, lakes, canals, and evidence of more extensive fishing. Hopefully I can report better success from there. Zaijian (zi-jee-ahn).

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