Discovering China’s seabass fishing

Seabass fishing is quite a popular technique in European coastal areas, usually on light gear from the shore or on small boats and kayaks. The scientific name for this fish goes as Dicentrarchus labrax, and it does not normally go beyond 4-5kg. In this part of the world however, what people refer to as Seabass is actually another species – Lateolabrax – that is similar in body features but can grow larger than its European relative.

We thought it would be interesting to develop some insights into this Asian Seabass and explain the quite peculiar distribution of this fish in China, where it has been introduced and has slowly adapted even to freshwater environments like dams and other sorts of water impoundments.

The first video was shot in one of these fresh water fisheries in Fujian Province, where the local seabass population grew significantly big thanks to the absence of threatening predators and the favourable feeding conditions. In this situation, they would chase almost all types of lures, from topwater WTD and poppers to minnow and stickbaits.

The second seabass fishing session was conversely undertaken in the middle of the sea, a couple of hours by boat outside Shanghai. The spot sees a big rock emerge from the bottom, creating a natural shelter and feeding ground for the schools of seabass cruising by following the tide.

Here the fishing technique changes dramatically, as we need heavy jigheads to go scout deeper levels in the water column or long jerk that work at 4-5 depth close to the emerging rocks where fish are hidden, hoping to lure them out with the silvery flashes of the lure. As expected, seabass were bigger and definitely stronger here than those grown in freshwater, and they provided a solid challenge to some prototype hooks that needed testing…