on board my annual chartered haze-tenpura fishing boat. We were very lucky with the weather – it was basically a full gale the previous day – clearing and it was beautiful and sunny all day. The fish put up a good show, too!
We were on a fishing boat but I spotted both a traditional Japanese wasen boat – owned by the same company we had chartered from – and the unusual native creation known as yakatabune:
The design of both craft hasn’t changed for over a century, the only novel addition being motorisation. For such a curious-looking and ungainly vessel, the yakata is surprisingly seaworthy; they are usually built in Kyushu and then sailed to Tokyo Bay.
The high point of the trip must of course have been the skipper’s tenpura, made on board and comprised of haze, kisu, megochi, cuttlefish, kuruma prawns, shiitake mushroom and sweet potato. All of them were quite excellent, although my personal favourite must be the cuttlefish. Cramped in the aft cabin with a gas stove and an enormous pot of spattering, boiling sesame oil, I certainly do not envy the captain at this time of the day.
After such a feast, we carried on fishing and the pretty much everyone had a good bag by the end of the day. Even first-time haze fisherman Clive, a reader of this blog who joined me on this trip, had a handsome catch and enjoyed the surroundings.
This year there were fewer than usual anglers, eleven, although I try not to book more than 15 out of consideration largely for the skipper’s workload at lunchtime. Whether this is a reflection of the economic woes of this year, or just the usual suspects happened to be doing other things that day, remains to be seen. It is a shame as this year was basically the best year so far, in terms of both weather and catch. It was so sunny I ended up not wearing my coat or hat all day, and even ended up a litle sunburnt! After returning to harbour, a few of the more hardy souls headed to a local bar for some post-fishing refreshment. Under the exhilarating influence of the local drink shochu, time flew by and I bumped into some friends who had also been fishing that day, and the skipper joined us later. My memory of events becomes a little clouded after this, but a good time was had by all.