The Li River, a favorite spot for fishermen with their trained cormorants. The fishermen, all called Huang (one of the main Chinese family names), come from the same village by the Li river in Yangshuo. Most of them are in their 70s and 80s, and they have been fishermen all their lives, young people from the village wouldn't do this because fishing with cormorant birds couldn't really make money for their families. And cormorant fishing in Yangshuo has become a dying tradition. Luckily, with the development of the tourism in Yangshuo, it stays alive.
This is how it works, before the fisherman releases the birds, he ties a noose loosely around the neck to stop them swallowing any fish they may catch. Chanting and dancing on the bamboo rafts, the fisherman encourages their birds to take the plunge. Underwater, the cormorant's hunting instinct kicks in turning them into fish-seeking missiles. Working together, a good cormorant team can catch a couple of dozen decent-sized fish in a morning or an evening. The birds return to the raft with their fish because they've been trained to do so. From the time it first hatched, each of these cormorants has been reared to a life of obedience to its master, Huangs from the fishing village by the Li River of Yangshuo.
These days, competition from modern fishing techniques means the Huangs can't make a living from traditional cormorant fishing alone. And this 1,300-year old tradition is now practiced mostly to entertain tourists. And it's still worth a try to see this ancient fishing technique in Yangshuo.
We arrange 2 types of cormorant fishing shows, one type is to see how the fishermen go fishing with their birds in the evening, can't be done during the day when the daylight is still on because the birds only follow the light from the lamps on the fisherman's boat. Another type of cormorant fishing is a setting posed by fishermen and birds and bamboo boat for photographers, this usually happens at dawn before the day starts when the lighting is perfect for taking photos.
Sam's rating: ★★★★