Last Sunday saw my annual haze fishing charter out on the Bay on a golden, sunny winter’s day. Not a breath of wind (until after lunch) and so warm under my thermal waterproofs I took my hat and coat off and had to put sunscreen on my nose and ever-expanding forehead.
The fishing was very easy, pleasant and the fish gave plenty of sport taking the bait, although this year the fish seemed much smaller than usual. The smaller haze I tended to release if hooked well, and only keep the bigger-sized fish. My homemade bamboo haze rod is still giving good service but its tip needs to be re-straightened over a fire after two seasons of use.
Come lunchtime and Captain Yukio as ever outdid himself in the galley, labouring over a giant pot of boiling sesame oil and serving up the most amazing tenpura comprised of whiting, cuttlefish, kuruma prawns, vegetables and things, all served by the deckhand hot-and-hot as soon as they came out the oil. A great many number of cold beers, kanchuhai and other drinks helped them down, as well as pickles, rice, misoshiru and littleneck clams lovingly skewered onto bamboo sticks and roasted and basted with a sweet soy sauce marinade.
Unfortunately the wind suddenly began to blow from the south very strong after about midday, although I don’t think anyone begrudged not fishing after the giant tenpura meal and we packed up and headed home. The trip was only slightly marred by a spot of engine trouble soon after weighing anchor, but a quick radio call and an obliging fellow sport angling boat came alongside and a man with a magical box of tools went below and sorted everything, saving us an ignomious paddle twenty yards to the shore (aside from those who can’t swim, who of course would be lost). On reaching home, some of us more hardy anglers headed off to a local izakaya to further refresh ourselves, and one of my fishing buddies gave a detailed account of a particularly well documented ghost. Thank you to all my fellow anglers, and to the captain, for another great day out.