Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Definitely not a mainstream sport!
There is no place in Hong Kong to buy fly-fishing gear – absolutely nowhere! That should tell you something about the sport in Hong Kong. On top of that, the scant few fly-fishing enthusiasts in Southeast China (and I have met a few) come to Hong Kong to fish! That should tell you something about the sport in China.
If you are heading for Hong Kong, and want to fly fish, I will make it easy for you – take everything you need because you will not find it there. And then connect with two Facebook sites, Fly Fishing Hong Kong and HK Fly Fishing. During my recent sojourn there, I was out on the water within a week accompanied by a few mainland Chinese to fly-fish for tilapia, carp and tarpon on canals near the border with China and using gear borrowed from them.
Bizarre, yes, but surprising, no, since the sport is attracting interest that breeds curiosity and a desire to download technology and know-how. All I needed to do was infiltrate a few underground fishing blogs and I was quickly invited to join an urban excursion with a diverse gang of fly-fishermen.
I was impressed with the skill level of these “novices”, some of whom had been fly fishing for only a few months, but had serious casting skills and vocabulary (in English), which I gathered was downloaded from a select few that brought the knowledge from abroad – among them “Ray Z”, a Chinese national who spent his university career in the USA, and “Vlad”, a Serbian who teaches in China. Both of these personalities are active fly fishermen that regularly have two to three comrades in tow when they cross the border for a day of fly-fishing.
The waters we fished were “rivers” flowing from Shenzhen Bay in China through to Sheung Shui in the Northern Territories of Hong Kong. But they feel more like urban canals and based on the apparent water quality, there is good reason to practice catch and release here! Despite that there is a massive fish population and “walking” catfish can be seen at lengths of three to four feet. Grass carp and tarpon can get hefty as well, so stiff fly rods and strong leaders will be helpful.