Spearfishing Update

I’ve been enjoying learning how to dive a bit and identify some fish and spear ’em and eat ’em these past months.

After lots of very spooky (I’ve never really done diving around sunken rocks/tetrapods) and failed attempts — including a lost GoPro camera, stabbing myself in the heel, and a lost snorkeling mask — I finally started to spear some fish at a nice spot where the water has decent visibility, which really makes all the difference.

We’ve been eating a lot of fried rockfish — Japanese “mebaru” — at my house, and it’s been an awesome summer so far in that regard! The rockfish are some of the best tasting fish in the Sea of Japan and aren’t that hard to spear once you spot them.

This was the first guy I successfully speared, and it was super exciting for me, though just a tiny juvenile flathead… Sorry, little guy.

I moved on from the small beach in the pic above to a new spot later the same day and the water was very clear. As I say, this makes all the difference. It’s much less ominous and spooky feeling, and… you can actually see the fish.

This was the first normal-sized fish I speared. I ran up to a fisherman approaching the pier, and he turned out to be a really cool Chinese guy that told me this was a “mebaru” or oblong rockfish. He said they are very good eating, and so far, they’ve been the most delicious indeed.
Fried Japanese rockfish. YUUUUUMMM!!!!

After the rockfish, the next type I got was a wrasse, or “bera” in Japanese.

Wrasse are very beautiful, but not the best eating. Taste is okay, but the texture is a bit mealy/mushy.

After spearing this guy above I once again ran up to some guys fishing on the pier. They told me this was a ベラ, or wrasse, and that you can eat them, but they’re not very good. They were right. But in a survival situation it would be totally fine. Texture is weird. Still, like the rockfish, they are kind of slow and will hover around you almost like they’re in a daze at times, so they’re not crazy tough to catch.

I’ve been to several beaches this season and just finished a string of three consecutive days at the beach. Working midnights can be very rough, and insomnia sucks, but at least I can get out to the beach during the day if I can get my ass out of bed. Which I do, grumpy or not. Because life is now!!!

The rocky wonder of Niigata’s picturesque Sasagawa Nagare coastline.

Well, these past three days of spearfishing have been enlightening. I’ve been wanting to level up my skills. Both in diving down deeper and spearing more challenging fish.

I saw some absolute monsters this weekend and they all evaded me. Still, as a last ditch effort to try and catch something good before the clouds come back this week, I went out at 5am this morning and ended up at a new place where the water is amazingly clear and light blue-green.

Could see down maybe 15-20 feet to the floor. All kinds of fish. Some mebaru, big wrasse, sea bream, tons of puffer fish as per usual, and some unidentified big bastards. Monsters.

I’d been trying to get these weird, sleek black fish I’ve been seeing swimming in schools since I started back in May, and today marks the first time I really chased a school, dove down a tiny bit to the cove where they hid, and speared one. I was super happy because they are much faster and seem more intelligent than the ones I’ve gotten thus far. And I had to work for it with an actual dive down.

Today’s big victory: a large scale blackfish, or “mejina” in Japanese. If you look closely you can see their eyes are blue. Very, very beautiful, sleek looking fish and faster than the others I’ve speared thus far.

I’m enjoying learning about all these fish, and also some basic practices regarding how to gut and prepare them. Also learned from direct experience that these blackfish (above) have spines like catfish. Got lanced today in the thumb when I grabbed it to pull it off the spear.

Aside from talking to the fishermen at the piers, YouTube and the internet have been a good resource for things like preparation, diving tips, etc. Here my wife the master sushi chef is preparing the large scale blackfish from today.

You’d have to round up a lot of these guys for a proper fish fry, but with the mebaru that wouldn’t be too hard to do. Now my eyes are on the big boys of the deeper waters. Still got some time before the armies of jellyfish float in in August, but they’re already showing up on the shore now. Beach, beach, beach!

I’ve found that spearfishing is even more fun than just sitting around on the shore drinking beer. Though I still make time for one now and then 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

By Voluntary Japan

Living life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s