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