Struggling in the loose tide

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I went out for the first full day trip of the season on Wednesday. I’ve been Looking forward to this day!

Here we go! Off the east coast of Okinawa by Ryo-Maru. A small old boat operated by 66 years old fisherman.

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The first catch of the day!

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A rainbow runner by 140g Cranky (Red Pink Orange) on 603-3. I think it was about 90m deep. The sounder was showing the concentrated baits from the bottom to 20m up. I was going to change to Spunky 150g because I was expecting some fast swimmers, but didn’t have time, so I dropped the Cranky and applied punchy quick actions without much falling. My friend in the photo was using TG Hideyoshi by Bozles and he was doing fast actions too.

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Then there was nothing. The current was not running.

Then my friend broke the silence with this!!

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Oh, no. Silver-cheeked toadfish, Lagocephalus sceleratus. His catch confirms the current is really not running.

m-10438612_685432958237709_2830574523611007623_nThis is a massive pufferfish. The English name “Toadfish” really represents its yuckiness, I think.

This is the pufferfish even we don’t eat. The poison is everywhere in this fish. In guts, eggs, meat… Well, even with gourmet pufferfish like globefish, we amateurs should not try to cook. It has to be super carefully prepared by the special licensed chef.

My next catch was a lucky one. This fish always cheers up Okinawa anglers. Everyone’s favorite. Tomato cod.

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170g Cranky on 603-4, about 120m. Touch the bottom, 1-2-3 fast uplifts, 1 slow, 2 slow, 3 slow, and fall… 1 sl… Bang!

This fish is not a good swimmer. This catch means the tide is still not active.

Well, this is such a time that slow pitch was created for. How do we catch a fish when we are not? My day’s catch were all with Cranky. Actually, Cranky is called automatic weapon by slow pitch anglers. “You just need to drop it and lift it somehow, and Cranky will bring you the fish.” But, to be honest with you, I really never felt very confident with Cranky.

OK. I was determined to practice Cranky today.

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Yes! Another grouper with 230g Cranky on 603-3 at 120m deep.
I was Trying different setups for different weights with Cranky.

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He’s just not having a good day today…
The red cornetfish, Fistularia petimba. Well, but actually this slimy fish is very delicious. It’s really expensive. It’s considered a gourmet fish in Kyoto cuisine. It makes wonderful fine soup.

But this catch means the current is still not running.

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Silence on the boat for a long time.
It was 3pm. Everyone is getting nervous as we are closing to the time to get back to the port. None has caught an amberjack on the boat today. Not a single one.

All of the sudden, a violent hit pulled down my rod!

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First I thought the fighting impact was like an amberjack. But it was…

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A coral trout!!!

230g Cranky on 603-4, 100m deep. I have my faith in Cranky now. I think I’m getting how to work it and it’s finding its place in my tactics.

Oh boy, lucky me. A coral trout in such a slow situation is truly a prize. With these 3 groupers, I’m definitely having a nabe party with my friends.

But where is the amberjack???

We didn’t have much time left.

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The current finally started to pick up. And when it did, it was running fast in the upper stream, but not so much in the bottom layer. A very tough condition. But we started to find some bait concentrations on the sounder.

Only about 30 minutes left…

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230g Rector secret model on 603-6. I was dropping to the concentration for AJ, and this fish was probably the bait the sounder was showing. I’m always happy to see the perfect hooking on these little fish, though. Slow pitch at work!
But this is NOT what I’m targeting now.
(I had this fish the next day in saute, it was delicious.)

We were on the last couple of drifts. The sounder was showing the biggest concentrations of the day.

I was stuck in my thoughts…

2 layer currents. The upper layer has picked up even more speed now. About 100m deep.
Should I change it to 210g Spunky on 603-6? Spunky is fast to fall and works well in the current. But Spunky is bound to be fast actions. Do I want to try that?
Can 230g Rector I have now fall fast enough thru the currents? Probably no. Then I should switch the reels? Now I had OJ2000NR-HG on 603-6, and it’s got Fireline #2.0. I had a Jigger LD2000 on another rod with Fireline #1.5. Do I have time to switch to Jigger LD? Maybe not.
Then what? 260g Cranky with 603-6? Cranky in this clutch time? I still have the feeling that Cranky action is smaller and milder than other jigs. It really doesn’t fit my gut feeling.
Gawky? Hmmm, not quite. I felt that it would be too slow to develop the search range. If it happens to drop to the right spot, Gawky probably had the best chance to be spotted by the targets. But…

Then I picked up a 300g Rector on 603-6.

Rector is not fast to fall in the current, but probably heavy enough to fall straight down thru this fast upper current hopefully. Once it’s thru the fast current, I can do all kinds of actions with it in the slow lower current and Rectors falling property can be very effective…
And the action will be slow because of the jig weight. Rector is light to uplift and wild to fall. I felt that the slow actions can attract the biggest fish there is underneath.

I have set my focus.

My friend caught an amberjack first. He’s finally got a good fish!

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He’s got a Gawky…

After a couple of tries, I stroke it at count 12, about 9m or 10m off the bottom.

It wasn’t very big. But it was sure an amberjack!
I’m not going to let it go now!!! I adjusted my drag a couple of times to be extra careful. Steady lift. Let it swim when it wants to…

And up it came safe!

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It was a small AJ, but I was so happy to catch it finally.

It also reminded me that you should fight like this always. No matter what the size is, what the fish is, I should fight with extra caution with my keenest awareness to make sure to bring it home. Always. That’s the agreement.

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It wasn’t a bad day after all. Pretty good for a day like this.

Sashimi Party with the rainbow runner and the amberjack 3 days later.

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This rainbow runner happened to be the best rainbow runner I’ve ever had. So juicy with fats.

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Rainbow runner may have some sharp scent. If you soak the filets in 3% salt water with some Sake for about 15 minutes, it will make it milder.

I marinated the rainbow runner with white miso for a day. It’s called Saikyo Yaki, traditional Kyoto recipe.

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300g White Miso, 45g Sake, 45g Mirin, and a little bit of sesami oil. The enzyme of Miso breaks down the protein of the fish and brings out savour. It was beautiful.

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Life is good!!!

  1. Samuel
    Samuel12-27-2014

    Hi Totos,
    your preparation with the miso looks fantastic!
    how did you cooked the fish after you marinated it?

    • Totos
      Totos12-28-2014

      Just wipe off miso with your hands and put it on the grill. Miso is quick to burn. When you grill fish, all the Japanese chefs would say, “hight heat and from distance”.
      I happened to be in BBQ situation that day. So it was charcoal grill. It takes a little time but it does the job, high heat and from distance.

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