Trip to 400-meter Deep

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We took a ride on Yumeno Maru. 3 hours north from Okinawa island to Okino Erabu island.

It’s full in summer now. Summer tide makes it hard to do jigging. This was probably my last trip in the season.

 

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We came here to do 400 meters deep. Looking for some ruby snappers, one of the most delicious, and expensive, fish considered in Okinawa.

I need to give at least 3-hour range rod actions along with 1 or 2 full cranks of reeling since I must have so much line slack in 400 meters of water.

 
I got a hit about 10 meters above the bottom. That was right after I got off the snag at the bottom.

Rod. Highpitch Jerker 600
Reel. SOM Blue Heaven L120Hi
Line. Super Fireline Colored #2.5
Leader. Seaguar FXR fluoro #12
Jig. Seafloor Control Arc 400g (proto)
Hooks. Cultiva Jigger Light Hold 5/0 (front) and Shiwari 5/0 (rear)

At such depth the contact felt so faint, but I could definitely tell that it was a fish.
It took me about 15 minutes to bring it up carefully. I was not too tight on the drag because, whatever it was, I didn’t want to tear off the lips and lose the fish. But the fish fought back well all the way, even close to the surface. It made me think that it must be a Ruby. The fight was so heavy and so long. But my excitement built up as it closed to the surface.

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But noooooooo. It wasn’t a Ruby. It was a 9kg pale snapper. A very close relative, but they say the deliciousness is the half of Ruby.

 

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But well, I can’t complain. I’ve never tasted this fish before. Ike-Jime right away.

 

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My friend got a hit.  He brought it up halfway, and all of the sudden, something took his fish and yanked out about 200m of his line.   His long fight began.  20 meters in, 30 meters out.  He fought like that for about an hour.  But it just won’t come up.  It was still 180 meters deep after a whole hour.  Because the fish took his first fish presumably around 50 meters to the surface, 350m off the bottom, we assumed it was a shark.  It wasn’t a tuna or a sailfish for sure, by the way it fought.  Amberjack is a possibility, but highly unlikely.  He gave up on the fish for the sake of fishing time for everyone.

No Ruby today.

 

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We caught some more fish around 150 meters deep.

And that’s all she wrote for the day.

 

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A 3kg amberjack.  It was small but it looked like it’s got nice fats.  The testicle was loaded.  A good sign.

 

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A longfinned bullseye.  This is an OK fish.

 

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The pale snapper.

I didn’t know what to do with this fish.  I tasted sashimi.  It was watery and soft.  The texture wasn’t really good.  But the taste was great.  I tried saute.  To my surprise, it contracted so tightly to the heat.   Very meaty.  A little gummy. Not really the best way.

I heard everyone praised the soup from the bones.  That should be a sure thing.

 

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3 days later on Saturday, I threw a fish party with my friends.

 

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Amberjack sashimi was gorgeous.  Succulent and tasty.  One of the best in the season.

 

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Carpaccio with semi-dried pale fish.

This was a success.  I used Pichitto! to semi-dry the fillet after brining, aged 3 days, and marinated it with smoked soy sauce just before serving.  I was very happy with how it came out. The texture was meaty and succulent, not chewy at all.  The taste was top-notch.

 

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Low-temp ajillo with amberjack.

This was my experiment with my sous vide technique.  I bagged it with olive oil, garlic and smoked soy sauce in a ziplock, bathed it at 50C degrees for 30 minutes.  The result was remarkable.  Amberjack never tasted like this.  The texture was soft and silky.  So juicy and packed with flavor.  Amberjack dries out quickly when cooked.  That’s why we don’t have any cooked amberjack in Japanese cuisine while we have so many cooked yellowtail.  This recipe definitely ranks into my speciality.

 

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So I decided to make breaded deep-fry with pale snapper.  With my handmade tartar sauce with pickled Okinawa shallots.  It was perfect.  This is the best recipe for pale snapper.

I marinated it with soy sauce, sake, mirin and ginger, sous vide at 50C degrees for 30 minites, pat in wheat, dunk in eggs, pat in breadcrumbs, and deep-fry quickly. It was tender, succulent, and sooo delicious!

 

Gratitudes to the ocean.

I hope you find this article informative and helpful to you!

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  1. Darren Cook
    Darren Cook07-05-2016

    Hi Totos, congratulations on your catches from the deep. It certainly is another world in that depth.
    the smile on your face says it all and your recipes inspire me. Amazing presentation.
    Regards, Daz.

    • Totos
      Totos07-08-2016

      Hi Daz.
      Thank you. I’m totally captured by sous vide now. You should get one from Amazon. I bought it for USD150, and it totally changes your game. 50C low-temp ajillo amberjack was really a jaw-dropper.

  2. Jparry Sim
    Jparry Sim07-22-2016

    Holly shit, I did not know that Amber jack will taste good. We caught so many an edit ended up with the boat. I could not release it as they guff all our fishes. After looking at your amber jack sashimi, i am feel with much regret. It really looks so delicious.

    • Totos
      Totos07-27-2016

      Hahaha. You have been missing out, man!
      Amberjack is as much popular and expensive as yellowtail and red snapper in Japanese sushi bar. It just needs to be prepared well.

  3. jparry sim
    jparry sim07-28-2016

    Hi totos, I won’t miss that out for sure in the future. How can I send you some pictures. Thks.

    • Totos
      Totos08-09-2016

      Why don’t you post up on our facebook page?
      I’ll be looking forward to it.

  4. Joey Duigan Macabuag
    Joey Duigan Macabuag10-16-2016

    Youre the best big fish catcher sir toto, my idol

    • Totos
      Totos10-24-2016

      Hi Joey.
      Thank you so much for supporting Japanese Angler’s Secrets.
      The best fish catcher? I doubt that. hahaha. But I enjoy my fishing and cooking. I hope you do too.

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