Fishing, American-style, lures Chinese anglers to Beaver Lake

Weng Zhen

In parts of China, where fishing for sustenance is more the rule than the exception, fish are still caught in the ancient manner: A domesticated cormorant, one of several the fisherman owns, is taken out on a body of water and allowed to dive down on a tether and catch fish. A ring temporarily placed around its neck constricts the cormorant's gullet and prevents it from swallowing fish of a certain size, however. Once the fisherman feels that the bird has been down long enough, he retrieves it and "milks" the cormorant's neck until all the larger fish it has caught are deposited in a basket. Then the process begins again, with the bird able to eat the smaller fish it catches as payment. Imagine, then, how strange it must seem to most Chinese that there are fishermen who lure bass with plastic devices resembling various creatures that fish eat. Small barbed hooks in the lures devoured by the fish hold them fast to the line, and they are retrieved with reels and rods that quickly tire them so they can be brought to the boat. And all this for the fun of it, yet elevated into an art form celebrating skill and cunning. Strange, but fascinating too, which is the reason that Meng He and Weng Zhen travelled 7,000 miles from their hometowns in China to Rogers, Ark., to fish in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Rayovac and hosted by Visit Rogers on Beaver Lake. Meng He Weng and Meng embody the burgeoning interest in sport fishing that has captivated many Chinese, or at least those who belong to an emerging middle class with more time - and money - to spend. Before about 2007, lure fishing for bass in China was so exotic a notion as to be practically nonexistent. Now there is a television network and an active tournament organization that collaborates with FLW to promote sport fishing in that country. Each year, the sanctioning tournament organization, COB, an adjunct of the Happy Fishing television network, conducts five tournaments, and the top three qualifiers are accorded co-angler berths in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The 59-year-old Meng and 38-year-old Weng won the chance to fish Beaver Lake, along with another qualifier who declined the trip for personal reasons. A representative of Happy Fish and an interpreter accompanied Meng and Weng to the U.S. Though bass fishing is a relatively new sport in China, and though tournament anglers there fish from 10-foot-long boats powered by electric motors instead of Rangers with 250-hp outboards, Chinese anglers are quick studies when it comes to the art and craft of luring bass. Weng and Meng showed up at Beaver Lake with rods made by G. Loomis and reels from Ke Tou, a Chinese company whose reels look and perform like those sold in the U.S. As for lures, the latest and greatest from Japan are just as popular in China as they are in this country. Meng He Meng caught some undersize bass, but he didn't get to weigh in any keepers. Weng, on the other hand, weighed in three in the second round that he caught on a Megabass 110 jerkbait. The Beaver Lake tournament culminated Meng's first visit to the U.S. Weng has fished four Walmart FLW Tour tournaments now and sums up the whole experience with one of the few English words he knows: "cool." Meng says that he would like to return and fish other American lakes, but, given his age, knows that perhaps this was his one and only chance to visit the U.S. and participate in a fishing tournament at the highest level of competition. Weng is more passionate and hopeful. A Ranger boat is on his bucket list - even though at present China doesn't allow boat trailers on its roads - as well as the chance to fish other tournaments in the U.S. They speak a different language and come from a different culture, but Meng and Weng are otherwise like American anglers, with the same goals and aspirations: to fish, to feel the excitement and sense of anticipation generated by competition, to succeed in some measure as much as they fail, and to wish their friends and fishing companions "Good Luck," and really mean it.

Tags: article 

/tips/2015-07-03-scott-canterbury-fireworks-fanatic

Scott Canterbury: Fireworks Fanatic

If you’re looking to put together an impressive Independence Day celebration this year, you might seek the consultative advice of Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury. He happens to be a professional when it comes to fireworks. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-martin-earns-first-aoy-title

Martin Earns First AOY Title

Prior to the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season, Scott Martin had banked a total of three top-10 Angler of the Year finishes in his 15-year career as a pro. It was impressive, but not indicative of his greatness. The truth of the matter is that Scott Martin was a winner, always taking risks in search of equal reward. That risky fishing has led Martin to more than $2 million in earnings, a Forrest Wood Cup win and four Tour-level wins. But the gambles burned him often enough that he never earned AOY. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-30-birge-dominates-roy-race

Birge Dominates ROY Race

Zack Birge isn’t wasting any time filling out his tournament-fishing resume. The Oklahoman won the 2014 Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake last fall then joined up on the Walmart FLW Tour for 2015 and went on a season-long tear that earned him the Rookie of the Year award. Birge, alongside his wife, Kristina, was presented with his ROY trophy this afternoon on the weigh-in stage at the Potomac River tournament, where he finished in 77th place. He finished 29th overall in the AOY standings to best a group of 18 rookies. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-27-flw-signs-contract-for-south-korean-tournaments

FLW Signs Contract for South Korean Tournaments

At the day-two weigh-in of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River, FLW signed a contract that inked an exclusive licensing agreement with MirooNamoo Media Group from South Korea to begin sanctioning FLW bass fishing tournaments in the Eastern-Asian country. South Korea will run a series of FLW tournaments that advance anglers, who are citizens of the host country, to a new International Division at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship beginning in 2016. Two anglers will compete as pros with FLW providing Ranger boats, and two will compete as co-anglers. The top pro award at the Rayovac FLW Series Championship is $95,000, including a Ranger Z518C if the pro is Ranger Cup qualified, and the top co-angler award is a Ranger Z117. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-hunter-captures-co-angler-of-the-year-title

Hunter Captures Co-angler of the Year Title

Things couldn’t have worked out any better for first-year Walmart FLW Tour co-angler John Hunter, who wrapped up a phenomenal season from the back of the boat to win Co-angler of the Year and the Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard that goes with it. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-26-aoy-update-martin-controls-his-destiny-

AOY Update: Martin Controls His Destiny

Scott Martin is on the verge of winning the only major FLW title that has escaped him to this point: Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year. As John Cox and Bryan Thrift stumbled in the Walmart FLW Tour season finale on the Potomac River, Martin steamed ahead and made the top-20 cut in 11th place with 26 pounds, 9 ounces. The way the math checks out, if Martin finishes 19th place or better, he’ll win AOY. If he finishes 20th, he’ll be tied with Cox. The tiebreaker awards AOY to the angler with the most total weight for the season. If he finishes 20th, Martin can still win by bringing at least 11-13 to the scale on day three. Anything less and Cox survives to win. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-25-on-the-bubble-for-the-cup-

On the Bubble for the Cup

By rule, the top 35 anglers in the Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year standings make the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita Aug. 20-23. However, when a Tour pro pre-qualifies through another of FLW’s tournament circuits and also finishes in the top 35, an additional Cup invitation is extended to the angler in 36th place, and on down the list in the event of additional double qualifications. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-24-a-bass-fisherman-in-need

A Bass Fisherman in Need

Friends of FLW College Fishing angler David Cosner have established a fund to help the Texas fisherman pay medical bills associated with his long battle with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a debilitating disease that gradually destroys the organs. Cosner, who founded the Texas State University Bass Cats and was named to the 2010 FLW College Fishing All-America team, was diagnosed with the rare disease in 2009 when he was 17 and since has had to undergo 215 surgeries. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-22-coy-and-roy-on-the-line

COY and ROY on the Line

FLW is hauling a lot of hardware to Maryland this week for the final stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The world’s largest tournament fishing organization is also going to be writing some fat checks. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-18-father-of-david-dudley-passes

Father of David Dudley Passes

James Dudley, the father of longtime Walmart FLW Tour pro David Dudley, passed away June 17 after a lengthy illness. He was a lifetime resident of Lynchburg, Va., and a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Like his son, James Dudley was also a tournament fisherman and competed in 73 FLW events. He finished in the top 10 in eight of them. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-12-is-this-the-new-bass-fishing-capital-of-the-south-

Is this the New Bass Fishing Capital of the South?

Dayton, Tenn., is situated on Richland Creek, a tributary that flows into the western side of Lake Chickamauga, one of the hottest bass fisheries in the country. Local officials with a flair for marketing – and good business sense – believe that Chickamauga can be the sellable “brand” that attracts bass fishermen to come and spend their time and their money in Dayton. They believe that old-fashioned Southern hospitality and small-town charm, plus trophy bass, are just the recipe for turning Dayton into “The New Bass Fishing Capital of the South.” READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-09-bass-bbq-is-back

Bass & BBQ is Back

Bass fishing and barbecue are favorite Southern pastimes, made even better when you spice them up with a little competition. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-04-bfl-payouts

BFL Payouts

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-01-2015-flw-tv-schedule

2015 FLW TV Schedule

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-06-01-miss-nina-wins-more-accolades

Miss Nina Wins More Accolades

When the letter that notified Nina Wood that she was being inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame came awhile back, she was a bit surprised. None of the rest of us was. In a sense, it was a restatement of the obvious, another in a long line of awards and recognition earned by the co-founder of Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-19-missed-opportunities-at-beaver-lake

Missed Opportunities at Beaver Lake

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-12-strader-maintains-lead-at-halfway-mark

Strader Maintains Lead At Halfway Mark

Midway through the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour, Tennessee pro Wes Strader is in first place in the Angler of the Year race, and his prospects for winning it are as good as anyone’s. Two upcoming events, at lakes Eufaula and Chickamauga, “fish” in a way that suits his style, and he has a good track record on the Potomac River, the last Tour stop of 2015. A good finishing kick could earn the veteran his first AOY title. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-10-mother-of-ramie-colson-jr-passes

Mother of Ramie Colson Jr. Passes

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-07-community-outreach-sportsmanship-award-

Community Outreach (Sportsmanship Award)

READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-06-tornadoes-sweep-across-oklahoma

Tornadoes Sweep Across Oklahoma

2014 Rayovac FLW Series Champion Zack Birge, whose appears in the Central Division Tournament on Kentucky Lake was cut short by tornados at his home town in Oklahoma, characterized the damage to his house as “a near miss.” READ MORE »