When you spend a year living on an island, you’re bound to go fishing at least one time. For me, that time occurred at 4:30 on a beautiful Saturday morning.
An Awaji local, who I met at the driving range, invited me on his boat for a fishing trip. I immediately accepted the invitation; It didn’t matter that he spoke zero english and was old enough to be my grandfather. Before I knew it, and before the sun was up, we were out on his boat in the Inland-Seto Sea.
We stayed close to shore and saw plenty of other fishermen on the waters. It seemed almost every boat we came across knew my new fishing friend. He would always stop to say good morning. What a nice guy!
With two fishing rods, each loaded with slimy sea warms, we managed to catch a bunch local favorites. Although I didn’t bring any home to cook, I hear the Japanese Whiting fish, called “kisu” is delicious, when cooked in tempura. And every time I caught one, my friend would jump up and congratulate me. It was worth getting up so early to see his excitement after catching his favorite fish.
Overall, we caught three different types of fish: sea bream/red snapper (たい, 鯛, “tai”), Japanese whiting (きす, 鱚, “kisu”), and wrasse (ベラ “bera”).
Red sea bream caught in the waters surrounding Awaji Island are known throughout the country. They even have their own special names depending on where in Awaji they were caught. “Akashi Tai” is from the northern strait, and “Naruto Tai” is from the southern strait. The three most recent emperors, Taisho, Showa, and Heisei, all got their red sea bream from the Naruto Strait waters of Awaji.
Japanese whiting is a local favorite and can be found in every super market on the island. It’s a smaller fish, as the average size is under 10 centimeters. But it’s best enjoyed breaded and deep fried as tempura, bones and all.
The wrasse is an inexpensive fish, but it sports a very bright and colorful skin pattern. Wrasse was the most common of the three types of fishes we caught.