“It’s going to be hot today, so make sure you stay hydrated.”
It was the weekend, and Watanabe san and I had come to a certain rocky shore to fish for filefish as planned.
There is a fishing port on the opposite shore and a fishing pond nearby on this side, so on a holiday today, we saw many customers with their children.
We walked past them and arrived at a spot where we could catch filefish.
“I couldn’t sleep much because I was so excited about today !”
We had taken the train and bus early in the morning, and every time I saw her on the way, I was distracted. I must have fallen asleep watching a filefishing video and then woke up on Watanabe san’s lap, so that time must have lingered in my mind.
“This is not a controlled fishing area today, so be careful, there are no fences.”
The foothold was unstable because of the craggy rocks. I was wearing a life jacket, but I hoped nothing untoward would happen.
“It’ll be fine. I’m getting used to fishing, and I can’t stay in Aikawa kun’s care forever.”
Watanabe san taps her arm and appeals aggressively. She was so diligent that she must have gone home after that and watched videos on how to fish for filefish herself.
Without me saying a word, she had threaded the rod and set the hook for the filefish.
“All right, then, let’s get to fishing !”
I’ll put the hook on the clam I brought with me. This method is also important for successfully catching filefish.
I guess she had studied the video and perfected the procedure of putting the hook through the water pipe and pulling the hook out of the gut a little.
“I don’t like the bitter taste of the guts of clams.”
“Oh, yeah, I know.”
“And sometimes when you chew on them, you get a bit of sand in your mouth, don’t you?”
“That’s what happens when store-bought clams are not cleaned perfectly.”
When I remember the feeling at that time, I put on a subtle face.
“Anyway, since it’s so hot, we have to wrap it up by the end of the morning.”
I had told Watanabe san beforehand that we would cut our fishing time short because of the possibility of her suffering from heat stroke.
We quickly swung our rods and dropped our hooks about 10 meters away.
The line comes out of the reel and sinks to the bottoms of the seas. Since filefish tend to stay near the bottom of the ocean, it was important to find out how deep the bottom was.
“I think it might be pretty deep here.”
Counting the time the line was out, it took a few seconds longer than at the bank where I usually fish.
This indicates that there is a distance to the seafloor.
And the deeper the sea bottom, the more likely various fish were to be there.
After reaching the seafloor, I moved the rod several times to entice the fish. Filefish have small mouths, so it is easier to hook the hook if the bait is angled than if it is fed horizontally.
After moving the rod a few times, wait a little longer and reel in the line. Repeat this process and wait until you get a response…..
“Hm? My bait has run out !”
Next to me, Watanabe san was retrieving her hooks, and the clams had completely disappeared from the three hooks.
“There was a strong possibility that there was a bait-catcher here.”
She tilted her head cutely.
“I’m talking about pufferfish. Both filefish and pufferfish use clams as bait, so if you try to catch them, you will most likely catch a pufferfish. And pufferfish also have small mouths, so if you are not careful, they will just take the bait without any reaction.”
The only way to avoid this is to move the rod frequently and carefully, or to drop the hook in a place where there are no pufferfish and where there are likely to be filefish, but both of these require technique, which Watanabe san, who has not held the rod for that long, probably does not understand.
“Muu, they ate my clams for free. Mr. Pufferfish is bad.”
Watanabe san’s cheeks puffed up like a pufferfish and looked angry. She was so open to me that she made a joke like this.
“I’ve prepared a lot of clams for this purpose. Let’s keep on throwing them.”
“Yes ! Got it !”
Watanabe san replied, and with a serious look on her face, she reattached the bait and set the hook.
“Well, there is a reaction.”
I moved the rod up and down several times to stop the movement.
When you use a live bait, the fish will chase it to eat the bait no matter what.
If you make the fish impatient in this way, the real fish, not the pufferfish, will come close to you, so you can feel the rod with your hand……
“Here it comes !”
I felt a smack, waited a moment, and then raised my rod. Then, a definite vibration was transmitted to my arm.
“This is definitely a filefish !”
I had caught filefish several times before, but because of their flat bodies, they tried to escape by swinging from side to side.
The unique vibrations of a filefish are easily distinguishable from those of other fish, and with a smile on my face, I reeled in, determined not to let it get away.
“Ah, I see something !”
There is a splash on the surface of the sea, and I can see the shape of a fish. Even from a distance, the distinctive shape of the fish is obvious, and the appearance of the filefish draws the attention of the fishermen around us.
I lifted my rod and pulled the filefish up to the shore without breaking it off.
“It’s got a great little mouth !”
Watanabe san rushed over to observe the filefish.
She had seen them on fishing videos, but this was the first time she had seen one live. She looked impressed and seemed to be enjoying herself.
“Yeah, the liver is swollen for a filefish this time of year. This is definitely delicious as sashimi.”
During the fall and winter months, the filefish are nourished, and fish this good are hard to come by.
“I’m going to finish this one up a little bit, so can we keep fishing?”
Freshness is the key to eating raw filefish liver. I told her that I was going to finish it right then and there to show my appreciation for the fish I had caught.
“Okay, I won’t be outdone !”
The fact that we caught our target fish motivated all the anglers present.
Some days the fish may not be migrating, so when someone else catches a fish, the chances of catching one myself increase.
I, leaving Watanabe sab, who was showing her motivation, cut the head from the gills of the filefish with scissors and severed the nerves. The next moment, the surface of the fish turned completely white.
“After that, drain the blood and…”
After the blood was drained by dipping the fish in seawater that had been pumped out, it was simply placed in ice water and kept refrigerated. As I was thinking about the steps to be taken after this…..
“W-wow ! I caught something ! Yay !”
I hear Watanabe san’s happy voice.
I looked and saw that she had just caught some kind of fish.
The place where she pulled the fish was in front of her, so I couldn’t tell what she had caught because it was hidden behind her back.
I excitedly approached from behind Watanabe san…..
“Wow, pretty. Its body surface is shining in some kind of black or rainbow color. It’s interesting how it’s wiping the water off.”
She reached out her hand with a buoyant look on her face. I checked out the fish and….
I quickly hugged Watanabe san, who was about to touch the fish she had caught with her bare hands.
Her face was close to mine and she spoke to me in surprise.
I let out a relieved breath, having almost prevented her from touching it.
“This is a fish called a [brown-lined puffer.]”
She fidgeted uncomfortably in my arms.
“They’re called brown-lined puffer because they kill you if you eat them, and they’re poisonous on the skin, so never touch them with your bare hands.”
The next moment, Watanabe san let out a frightened sound and looked at the brown-lined puffer. She was not relaxed and looked at it as an object of complete fear.
“I’m sorry, I should have told you about the possibility of catching one of these first.”
I had forgotten that Watanabe san had become so accustomed to fishing that she no longer resisted touching a fish with her bare hands.
I hugged her trembling body. After waiting for a while…….
“A-Aikawa kun. I’m fine now.”
Watanabe san avoided eye contact with me and pushed my chest away with both hands.
“Is everything alright? Shouldn’t you rest?”
I took over for her and used a fish grip to remove the hook and release the fish into the ocean.
After that, Watanabe san and I managed to catch three filefish, despite losing clams to the pufferfish and the yellowtail clams.
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