Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring - Good Start

I was able to reel in eight Mahi Mahi on my recent trip to Hawaii. Went out of the North Shore this time. The conditions were rough with 12 foot plus swells, but the fish were biting and the crew was awesome. I highly recommend the Grand Slam out of Haleiwa. (

Kazumi and I had a great trip to the Mokulua Islands. We're shown above with an outrigger, but we actually kayaked out from Kailua Beach. It was a five mile round trip with a stop for lunch on the Mokes and some snorkeling on Lanikai. Great trip and our guide Ikaika out of Two Good Kayaks was outstanding (

Made it to Hakkoda last week for a soak at Sukayu Hot Spring. The roads are now plowed and open. As you can see above, we had quite a bit of snow this year.

Here's a view of the snow cut from above. Kazumi had a good time sliding her way back down to the car.

Earlier this spring I hit Shariki Port for some Mebaru night fishing. Went out a few times and caught a few each time. Nothing of any size was caught, but fishing in the tetra off the port is a great time, and the Mebaru are good fighters regardless of size.

Almost trout time!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Summer Excursions and What Nots

I got a chance to complete something I've wanted to do for a long time now; reach the summit of Mt. Odake in the Hakkoda Mountain Range (aka The Aomori Alps). The walk started and ended at the famous Sukayu Onsen and took about 5 hours to complete. It was an awesome day and the scenery was no less than spectacular.

The range consists of several peeks, Odake being the highest at 15,846 meters. Shown above are some of the lower peeks on the northern end of the Hakkoda Range.

Of course this is a volcanic area with a lot of sulfur springs. Shown above is evidence of the volatile sulfur activity that still exists. Venturing off the trail has proven fatal on several instances by folks who have succumbed to the poison gas in the area.

My guide for the day was our family friend Yoshiko-san. She hikes the summit several times a year and I was very excited and grateful that she allowed me to tag along on this excursion.

Another one of the awesome views from the trail above. This hike can also be attempted in the winter with proper gear, i.e. snow shoes and the like. There is also a cabin about 3/4 of the way up that anyone can stay in for the night for free.

Kazumi ordered up an insane amount of rakyou this year to be processed, cleaned and pickled. It took a combined effort of about ten hours to clean and prepare the rakyou. This is a serious delicacy that we will have as a side dish for the rest of the year.

Shown above is what the rakyou look like before and after cleaning. This was the hardest work I've accomplished in a long, long time.

Once cleaned they are set in a salt water mix for a few days then after draining, a special mix of soy sauce, sake, etc. is added to allow the pickling process to commence. After a couple of weeks, these are ready to enjoy.

I took the boat out to Mutsu's Natsudomari Pennensula to try for some Flounder and Sea Bream. When I arrived at the Sunrise Bait and Tackle, the owner unfortunately only had two small containers of dead worms left for bait. Theses were in such bad shape that he didn't charge me. I wasn't able to come up with my target, but I did land a few Mackerel and the Ray shown above.

The Cicada were out this year. This one hung out around the house for a few days before completing it's cycle.

We were able to attend the Misawa Costume Parade this year which was interesting as always.

Several monkeys out and about on the Tsugaru Pennensula this year. I saw these guys hanging out in the Mountains on my way to Minmaya to try for some trout.

I saw 30~50 monkeys on this trip. They seem to be enjoying some type of grain along the roads.

The gorge at Minmaya is beautiful and full of trout

I was able to dangle a worm from the top of this waterfall and land several trout. Is it worth risking life and limb on the minor chance of landing a presumably small releasable trout? - Yes

I was able to land a few keepers and had a great time. Had a good mix on this day of Iwana and Yamame. I released 3~4 times more than I kept and was using barbless hooks, so everything was released lively and ready to grow. Although we've been experiencing a lot of rain lately, the warm weather continues. I hope to get back out for some more trout soon, or maybe get the boat back on the water, this time with some fresh bait. - Hanto

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hoya Fest 2011

Received a styro-bushel of Hoya (Sea Pineapple) this week through a friend from an acquaintance who lives on the bay. These are apparently too large and expensive for the average consumer and are usually sold to high scale Tokyo restaurants. To keep the prices where the should remain, a few are held over and given away. This is one of my favorite foods. These are fresh off the boat and ready to eat.

The Hoya have a plus and minus nub. The minus nub is cut to drain the juice. After obtaining the juice, cut open, scrape and clean the "meat" from the outer skin.

Chunk the meat, let it soak in the juice for a while and eat. Although Hoya tastes best straight from the varmint, it can also be grilled or breaded and fried with tempura breading. Be sure to counteract the extreme health benefits of the Hoya by eating with a cold beer or nice imo shochu. - Hanto

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kanita Round 2

Back to Kanita today to try out a different branch. I ended up landing 11 fish again, this time even smaller. I decided to use a barbless hook anytime I fish this area due to the small sizes. This resulted in the loss of about 10 fish as well. Landed all three target species today including Iwana (shown above) Yamame, and Ugui. All fish were released unharmed. I may try out the south end branches off the main river the next time I go out, or even fish one of the main streams. I need to get some fish in the keeper, as I'm hungry for a nice mess of trout.

I stopped off at a Small restaurant just west of the mountain tunnel on my way back and enjoyed a great bowl of Shoyu Ramen and Gyoza. Hit the Onsen after lunch to round off a perfect Tsugaru day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ugui (Big-Scaled Redfin) on the Oirase River

Did some research on the Oirase looking for a large water trout bite. I didn't manage to come up with a trout, but did hook this nice Ugui. After fishing the main river for the first time, I think learning how to fly fish will be my next move. I'll try to make it back to Kanita this week with some Budo Mushi for some trout, hopefully keepers this time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 Trout Debut - Kanita

Got off to a decent start today for this year's trout season. Caught 11 in all including two Ugui. All fish were fairly small and released. I was able to get in some good Kanita area research and will go a bit more remote on my next excursion.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Off-Site Mahi Mahi

As I had already purchased my spring trip tickets prior to the massive catastrophes, I decided to proceed to Hawaii. It was an eventful and highly enjoyable trip. I witnessed the above scene trolling out at sunrise aboard the "Wild Bunch" big game rig out of Waikiki. The skipper and deck hand were helpful, friendly, and worked hard trying to pin down some fish.

Above is one of the two Mahi Mahi that I managed to reel up to the boat during the trip. The other fish was beaten off the hook by the deck hand's gaff by accident. Under other circumstances I may have been irritated by the loss of such a nice fish but after hearing his comment "That was bad" I couldn't help but laugh.

Another highlight of the trip was our snorkeling adventure to Hanauma Bay. It was a fine day and we were able to see many species of fish including my favorite the "Humuhumunukunukuapua'a". Above Kazumi models her snorkeling gear. While snorkeling I ensured that she kept her fins tightly secured as I was afraid her oddly shaped toes may be mistaken for tube worm nubs and be eaten off by a hungry sea turtle.

We stayed on Waikiki at the Hale Koa Hotel which was well equipped and close to the beach. Above Kazumi and Moe-chan relax in the shadow of Diamond Head.

The folks at a Honolulu Airport cab stand have taken to collecting zipper tags that have broken away from luggage. I can only think that one of these may have belonged to the great Don Ho himself.

Spotted this Kamo Shika (Japanese Serrow) on my commute to work in Mid April. I have seen several of these critters while out trout fishing and beach combing, but this is the first one that would stand still long enough for a picture.

When I came to Japan over 20 years ago, The only place that I could afford to fish was at the local port in Misawa. I spent more days and nights than I can remember reeling in flounder and greenling from this port. I have spent some of the truly happy times of my life here. Above is a portion of what it looks like now. It is heart breaking, but the folks around here are tough and resilient and will pull through.

It's important to remember that Japan is still in deep pain over this massive chain of events and still needs help in her recovery. As new news hits the tube, it's easy to be distracted, disassociated, and forget (and understandably so in some cases). Please continue to help when and if possible. While I was galavanting in Hawaii, my good friend Yoshikazu-san and his associates continue to spend their own time and money to transport supplies to the effected areas. I thank them for their continued efforts.