Okinawa is known for it’s phenomenal aquatic life. The SCUBA diving is world class(I’ll cover that later), it boasts one of the best aquariums in existence(I’ll cover that later too), and the deep-sea fishing in the area has yielded quite a few monsters(I’ll cover that now).
To the left is our boat. When we first boarded, I had my doubts about whether or not it would leave us stranded in an inconvenient place. Thirty minutes into the trip, with black smoke bellowing from the stern engine compartment, I had more doubts. Our captain, a middle-aged Okinawan who didn’t speak much English, didn’t seem to be worried. Yay for him. It was easy to see Captain Jack’s expertise as he move around the boat, essentially handling all the crew jobs by himself. He asked very little of us(no pun intended there), and after about two hours we arrived above an underwater buoy to begin “drift fishing.”
Our experience at the first buoy was completely ruined by a trio of inconsiderate dolphins that kept scaring away all the fish. Our efforts at the next buoy were sabotaged by a rival fishing boat. Our attempt at the third buoy was ham-strung by both dolphins AND another boat. This was beginning to get frustrating. Four hours on the water and we had NOTHING.
Finally, while on our way to yet another fishing spot, one of our trolling rigs “got hit.” The clickety-clickety of the line spooling out from the stern could be heard all the way from the bow, and those of us up front ran to the back to see what was going on. One of the guys hanging out back there had grabbed the operative road and was wrestling with an ENORMOUS marlin. The angry fish was “tail-walking” across the water in an attempt to fight the pull of the line. In what was probably the most anti-climatic moment of the day, when the big fish was about five feet from the boat, the hook tore through his skin and off he went. No marlin for us.
After our epic defeat, we needed a win. We were all anxious to do something. We finally found a good spot and began to reel in a few yellowfin and bonita. I feel like I should mention here that the fish(and the entire boat), smelled like(you guessed it) fish. When I got home, my wife wanted nothing to do with me. Our win came when yours truly felt a BIG hit and began to reel like my life depended on it. I’m pretty sure that if my rod hadn’t been mounted, both me and it would have gone into the water. One of the guys next to me grabbed a gaffing hook and begin to take swipes at what we first thought was a shark. Right when I got him to the top of the water, he dove under the boat, and really made me work at getting him back up to the surface. By this time Captain Jack had arrived and was helping me whilst my companion successfully connected the gaff stick to the monster. Once it was in the boat, the Captain jammed a metal spike into its brain and the big critter called it a day.
After that we managed to catch fish at a pace high enough to keep us entertained. I’m particularly proud of a fish I reeled in without the help of a rod. After I hooked him, the reel popped of the mount and would’ve gone in the drink if not for the Captain and I pulling as hard as we could. Our efforts gave us a good size yellowfin. By the time our boat began to troll back towards Okinawa, we had fifty fish.
Several hours later, we pulled back into Awase Port. Captain Jack had called ahead, and several of his buddies met us on the shore. We laid out our fish, and then hired the Captain and his buddies to clean them for us. Working with deft hands and skill born from years of practice, he cleaned all fifty fish in less than an hour. You can see a video of him working here. He saved Brutus for last, and instead of filleting him, we opted for turning him into sashimi. I took home about ten pounds of him, and gave the rest away. He tastes delicious!