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Hong Kong is made up of more than 200 islands, and its denizens' affinity for the water is on display all year round. Small fishing villages still abound within a short distance of the city centre, friends band together to rent junks on the weekend, and commuters take the 132-year-old Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour to work.

But with the arrival of the hot and humid summer, another nautical rite of passage takes place: squid fishing. Because this is the season that plentiful populations of squid can be caught, many boat companies -- such as Jubilee, Saffron Cruises and Traway -- offer night-time packages that include transportation, basic fishing equipment, a simple dinner and the facilities to cook up whatever you may reel in during the four-hour trip.

The tours pick up passengers from several piers across the city, and most motor about 45 minutes away from the city's downtown in order to get to prime squid-catching territory.

The equipment is basic: a plastic string wound around a handle with a multi-pronged hook on the loose end. Floodlights illuminate the waters around the boat to attract the wily creatures, then aspiring anglers unwind their lines and toss them into water, using unsophisticated flicks of the wrist to try and hook a squid swimming beneath the surface. Catching one is a chancy exercise -- but when it happens, all onboard gasp and whoop as the hapless creature, spurting black ink, is pulled onto the deck.

What follows? Beam and pose for a mandatory photo of pride, toss your prize into the bucket with the others and untangle your line to try for another before the boat pulls up anchor and heads back to the city.

The cost starts at just 155 Hong Kong dollars per person, depending on the kind of boat and the number of people, and you can bring your own beverages.

Hana R Alberts is the Hong Kong Localite for BBC Travel

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