The last Sunday was a special day for my hobby life; I started fishing. I was yearning for fishing since childhood. However, I was not one of those lucky boys who had father, brother or friends who were ready to teach fishing. Since I had started to frequent to Izu two decades ago, I had a new and concrete goal to achieve; catch the fishes I eat by myself.
Exactly speaking, I experienced fishing twice in my entire life, though they are negligible. First, I participated in a childrens fishing festival in my hometown and caught several gobies, when I was ten years old or so. Second and at the same time last experience was when my daughter was still very little. I went with her to the beach of Usami, north of Ito, and caught several fishes; half of them were baby horse mackerels and the other half were wrasse babies. That was a joyful experience for me and my daughter, but brought virtually nothing to our dinner table.
In the mean time I heard from a friend living in Ito that we can catch grown up horse mackerels, sardines and even mackerels from the breakwater of Ito fishing port. After having pondered on this testimony, I checked WWW and found two fishing shops in Ito. The one is a branch shop of a big chain store. I entered the shop, but found too many and sophisticated fishing outfits and I got scared. I left the shop and went to another smaller shop, where a middle-aged man alone looked after the quiet and dimly lit space.
I told him that I was a genuine beginner but wanted to catch fishes for my dining table. He appeared to be amazed to see an aged man without any fishing experience. However, he was kind enough to choose fishing outfit for a beginner – fishing rod with reel, sabiki rig, frozen bate and special bait container – and explained me how to handle them. He assured me that I could fish well from a breakwater of Ito fishing port, if I fish at dusk or dawn.
On the following day, I got up at half past four and reached one of the three breakwaters of Ito port at half past five. As I had expected, there were already a few dozen of anglers and I did not dare to occupy an opportune place, as I was a mere beginner.
It was really appropriate that the shopkeeper chose sabiki rig for me. It is easy to handle, but very effective to catch small fishes. There are several types of "Sabiki" rig. So far as I learned by now, what I used was a so-called "trick sabiki rig". Sabiki is originally a long line with a number of lures and a small basket is attached to the line and filled with plankton. When sabiki rig is put into water, planktons flow into water and small fishes come and eat them and bite hooks mistakenly. Trick sabiki does not use basket nor lures. 6 to 10 hooks hang to a line Instead and each of them carries plankton. The angler needs to move the line with hooks in the container through two gaps to attach bates to hooks. This system does not need as much bates as for usual sabiki and is friendlier to the environment, says a manual.
Trick sabiki was really good for a beginner. I could easily catch first small horse mackerels. However, the line with many hooks made some trouble to me. A hook point stuck into the thumb on my right hand and would not be easily pulled out. The hook was really well made. Impatience and haste did not produce a good result and I could barely pull out the bloodstained hook from the skin. I could imagine the pain of an angled fish!
While I was struggling with the hook, a cat was watching me cynically and yawning. She should go to better fishers to get her meal, I grumbled. Nevertheless, she continued to stay with me and kept intensely watching me and fishes I caught. Therefore, I threw fishes which I thought I did not need. They were red fishes with a small black spot at the base of tail fin. Later I discovered that they are "half-lined cardinals" and they are edible and dependent on the recipe can be delicious. However, they are not popular, because they disturb ambitious fishers by biting bates conceived for more valuable fishes.
After about an hour, I had caught 11 small horse mackerels and stopped angling, because that was enough for today’s dinner. I will show you in another article what I cooked. I was satisfied with the result of my first fishing experience. However, I also thought I could have caught bigger fishes than those baby horse mackerels which measured only between 5 and 7 centimeters.
After returning home, I discovered that I did not choose the right location. There are three breakwaters in Ito. I chose the outside one, as I thought that it was the nearest to the open sea and must be the best position to fish bigger fishes. However, that was not the case. The most popular breakwater is the second from the outside one and is called “Hakuto teibo”. It is the longest breakwater and near its tip the water is deep enough to let migratory fishes come in. I also learned in the internet that I should rather choose unfrozen bate so as to better attract fishes.
So, I will try even bigger catch when I come back to the Ito port in a few weeks.