God help

sailors out on a night like this…

It is a full-on typhoon here in Tokyo now, and we are but on its periphery.   It is amazing to think just two days ago the seasonal rains and high winds calmed just in time for my annual whiting fishing charter, which was concluded to the satisfaction of all anglers.  I came within a whisker of cancelling on the previous day due to the poor forecast: Beaufort 6 winds and rain all day.  However, come Sunday the sea died down and the skies cleared as if by magic to leave us with a calm sea and great fishing.  In fact, packing my foul weather slops but no suncream meant I picked up the sun a little – it was actually hot on board at lunchtime and a number of beers and shochu mixers helped quench the thirst.  A spring tide with its flood starting at 9:30am ensured we had a good catch of whiting, and the rain from the previous day coloured the water slightly which meant there were plentiful by-catches of ishimochi and aji mackerel as well.

Come midday Captain Yukio did so well as he always does, which is cook an immense and delicious mountain of tenpura: whiting, prawns, squid, shiitake mushrooms, shishito chillies, sweet potato and a great variety of other things were fried in sesame oil and rapidly brought, hot-and-hot, from the galley and immediately wolfed down.  A bowl each of rice and miso soup made with asari (littleneck clam) completed the meal.

It is very rare the Bay is this calm at this time of year, especially with the low pressure fronts we have been experiencing lately.  This shot shows how calm the sea is and on the horizon you can see the “Aqualine” expressway and “Umihotaru” island.  When fishing for whiting at this particular spot, the skipper veers out a sea-anchor from the prow and kills the engine, so that the vessel is drifted over the shallows – close on a fathom in some places, death to yachts and most pleasure craft – by wind or tide alone in perfect quiet, and with little sound other than the lapping of the waves the fishing is very relaxing and pleasant.  In such shallow water I was able to use my homemade bamboo whiting rod, which continues to give excellent service after these few years.

Many thanks to Captain Yukio, to Fukagawa Fujimi and to Zephyrus, son of Millpond, for the great day of fishing.

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