Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fishing in Kochi

Kochi City CIR, TJ Yanagitsuru
   Fishing in Kochi probably conjures images of Ipponzuri-fishing for Katsuo, but did you know you can enjoy a vast array of other different types of fishing in Kochi?

   The Kuroshio sea current flows off of the Tosa coast, and many different types of fish inhabit the beautiful oceans. Kochi’s long coastline extends 713 kilometers from east to west, and in addition to the 88 fishing ports which dot the coastline, there are jetties, beaches, searocks, and anchored fishing rafts, resulting in innumerable places you can fish from. Anglers from outside of the prefecture make the long trek to Kochi, in order to enjoy this perfect fishing environment.
The boat we went on, the Roman 3-go.

Tenya rig with two hooks.
What is “Hitotsu-tenya”?
   The type of fishing we tried out this time is called “Hitotsu-tenya” and it uses Ebi (shrimp) as bait. Although many fish types can be caught with this method, the main target is Madai (sea bream), and it is the literal embodiment of the Japanese proverb “use Ebi to catch Madai” (“throw out a sprat to catch a mackerel”). A “Tenya” is a rig with two hooks attached to a weight. To use a Tenya: 1. Set the shrimp on the hooks of the Tenya. 2. Drop the Tenya down to the bottom. 3. Once you feel the Tenya hit the bottom, reel it in slightly to get rid of any slack in the line, and wait for the fish to bite. 4. If there are no bites, flick the rod up and let the Tenya fall slowly, and wait for the fish to bite again. 5. Repeat until the fish bites, and if you feel a bite, jerk the rod up to set the hook.
Setting the Tenya.
Things to bring
   Fishing tackle, rigs, life jacket, cooler, clothes suitable for the weather, food and drinks, motion sickness medicine, etc.
Super-rare Shiro Amadai!
   We began fishing at a point about 40 minutes away from the port. As the captain announced, “32 meters. Go ahead,” everybody dropped their rigs into the water.

   KIA staff member, Hirose-san got the first bite, and caught a small Itoyoridai (threadfin bream). From there, small Itoyoridai were biting for about two hours, but most were too small to keep. The big fish weren’t biting, perhaps because of the low water temperature. Even in those circumstances, Hirosesan was able to catch the most expensive fish of the day: a Shiro Amadai (white tilefish). The fact that the extremely rare Shiro Amadai was caught in the waters off of Kochi was surprising. The fish rarely bit from that point on, but in the end we still managed to catch a Ginfugu (green rough-backed puffer) in addition to the Itoyoridai and Shiro Amadai in the end. Altogether many types of fish were caught with others on the boat catching a large Madai and Aohata (banded grouper).
The charm of Kochi fishing
   In addition to all the fishing spots and types of fish in Kochi, there is a wide variety in the types of fishing as well. This time we experienced a form of boat-fishing called Hitotsu-tenya, but there are also types of fishing which require advance preparation such as Isozuri (rock fishing), where anglers take a boat to rocky outcrops in the sea and scatter bait to target Gure (largescale blackfish), as well as more accessible forms which only require tackle and a lure such as Eging, where an Egi (bait log) is used to attract squid, and seabass fishing, where a lure is used to target Suzuki (seabass). One of the best things about fishing in Kochi is the fact that you can enjoy whatever type of fishing that fits you.
Upper left: Aohata (banded grouper), Upper right:
Madai (sea bream), Bottom: the fish we caught.

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