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Throw a sprat to catch a mackerel! Enjoy offshore fishing at its best on the Kaiyumaru (Chatan Town) without worrying about equipment or anything!
post : 2020.03.25 16:00
You can enjoy the excitement of real offshore fishing on the [Kaiyumaru], and in this article, I’ll be introducing the great attraction of their offshore fishing tours.
The offshore fishing experience offered on the Kaiyumaru is available from two different courses a day. Their morning course departs at 8:00 and returns back to the port at 12:00 noon. Their afternoon course departs at 13:00 and returns at 17:00. When I called to make reservations in advance, they recommended the morning course, and so that’s what I booked for this experience.
The meeting place was at the fishing port in Kadena. I arrived there at 7:45 and registered to get on board, and then we were off. When I called for my reservations, they advised me to be sure to take medicine to prevent seasickness about an hour before getting on the boat, and so I came prepared!
As we made our way from the fishing port, the sun appeared from between the clouds and showered us with warmth. The sea breeze was delightful as we headed to the fishing point where we arrived in about 20 minutes. I could hardly contain my excitement as we got ready for offshore fishing.
For the offshore fishing experience on the Kaiyumaru, they prepare different types of bait according to the time of year, so you can catch fish that are in season. In the warmer months, you’ll have a chance to catch a number of Gurukun, or double-lined fusilier, which is Okinawa’s prefectural fish, and even when the water temperature falls, you can still try to catch mid-sized fish like Japanese scavenger, parrot fish, and blue king fish.
So that you can casually enjoy offshore fishing, they have all the necessities ready for you, including fishing equipment, coolers, and bait. On this experience, I experienced balance fishing by hooking shrimp and submerging the basked with ground bait. Don’t worry about handling the electric reel, as they will give you instructions that are thorough and easy to understand. It was actually quite simple, so anyone, including women, children and first-timers can handle the equipment with ease.
On the fish-finder on board, we saw shadows of a school of fish about 80 to 100 meters underwater. We dropped our bait in that area, pulled the rod once, and waited. After about three minutes, we pulled the reel in and refilled the ground bait and lowered it again. Still, we weren’t getting a hit. I thought going offshore meant we would catch lots of fish, but I realized I was completely wrong. The conditions were unfavorable that day, with a strong current, and it didn’t look like we were going to catch anything.
Since we weren’t getting many hits, the young deputy captain, Shin Sakugawa, was reading the wind and current to find a good spot. The captain of Kaiyumaru is Shin-san’s father, Masao Sakugawa, who’s a seasoned offshore fisherman with a 20-year career. The father and son team were a great duo and showed excellent teamwork to smoothly maneuver the boat to the fishing points to let us experience offshore fishing.
“It’s sure isn’t easy as we thought,” we were saying to ourselves, and then! One of the female participants on the boat suddenly had a hit, and a big one at that! Despite the electric reel, the pull was so strong, and there was nothing she could do. Watching the strong pull on her rod had us all excited, and we all kept a close eye on her rod. Eventually, the pull began to get a little weaker, and the fish was slowly getting reeled in.
“Pull the rod up slowly, and reel it in as you lower it!” Just as she was told, she calmly battled with the fish for 10 minutes!
To our amazement, she caught an 80cm horse mackerel. As we all cheered, the woman who caught the fish smiled, but her arms were shaking from all that pulling. The catch was so big that it didn’t fit in the cooler. Since our 3-hour offshore fishing course was almost coming to a close, we decided to head back to the port. Although I didn’t catch anything, I witnessed her “throw a sprat to catch a mackerel”, literally! I was thoroughly satisfied just to see that happen.
The ride back to port was filled with excited chatter over the 80cm horse mackerel and the fight to catch it. The woman who caught the fish shared that it was her first time offshore fishing. The offshore fishing experience offered on the Kaiyumaru was wonderful even for beginners, because they gave us detailed instructions from start to finish, which were fun and easy to follow, like hooking the shrimp, putting in the ground bait into the basket, and how to use the electric reel. Even if your hook or bait gets tangled up, they fix it for you so you have nothing to worry about. The Kaiyumaru is also about two times larger than your average fishing boat, so it’s spacious and can accommodate up to 18 people on board. It even has a washroom and an area to rest, so groups and families with children can experience offshore fishing in comfort.
Finally, there are important requests from Kaiyumaru to all those who would like to take part in offshore fishing. Even if you have never experienced seasickness, they ask that all participants take medicine to prevent seasickness one hour before getting on the boat. Also, be sure to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting wet because the waves will splash on board, and also make sure you wear shoes that will not be slippery on wet surfaces. It gets very hot in the summer months, so be sure to take measures against heat stroke and sun burn, and in the winter, be sure to wear warm clothing. Please be sure to comply with these requests, and when you’re on board, follow the directions given by the captain and enjoy a safe and fun experience of offshore fishing in Okinawa. Maybe you too, will catch a colorful Okinawan fish and get to experience of “throwing a sprat to catch a mackerel”.
Address: 699-5 Yoshihara, Chatan Town, Nakagami, Okinawa
Rate: ¥6,500 per person, from elementary school aged children and older
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Yu Murakami