Fishing the Yamashomaru in Chiba, Japan

JoshInSD

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Dec 22, 2015
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Josh
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Mackerel Magnet (Sailfish 21' CC)
Having been to Japan 15+ times over the years I have never fished before out here. So I decided this was the time! After doing some research and narrowing down the choices I was able to organize a half day (5am to 12pm) trip targeting Hiramasa (Yellowtail) out of Ohara Port, Chiba, Japan on the Yamashomaru: https://m.facebook.com/yamashomaru/ Owner/captain Toru-San and his wife are so gracious and world class anglers, so this was going to be a real honor to spend time with them. They are pioneers for Yellowtail (AKA Hiramasa, Kingfish, Hamachi) fishing in Japan.

Since the boat departure time was so early and trains stop shortly after midnight, and being that Tokyo is 2+ hours away from the port, boat owners Toru-San and his wife Hana invited me to come stay at their home the night before. Turns out they have a great studio out back which is next to their fishing storage "room." It's really more like a store, as they are both world renowned for their Kingfish/Hiramasa fishing and are sponsored by Shimano. The photos below are of their personal equipment! I was like a kid in a candy store except I couldn't eat anything. There is also a photo of the world record Kingfish (Yellowtail) which is over 100 pounds. The thing is huge!! Hana also has the women's Japan record for largest Kingfish, over 50 pounds (http://ameblo.jp/yamashomaru/entry-12283294662.html). They are both so in love with catching Kingfish it takes them around the world. They're in some magazines as well (see below). The rest of my story is in photos below.

IMG_0137.JPG IMG_0138.JPG
Boat brochure IMG_0139.JPG
Lifesize, its huge! Video of the catch of this monster! IMG_0140.JPG
This is the "smaller" oneIMG_0141.JPG IMG_0144.JPG
Personal collection
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Stella's everywhere IMG_0148.JPG
The guest house IMG_0166.JPG
The Yamashomaru. Unlike San Diego boats, this one is all lure, no live bait. Also you get an assigned space to fish from and don't move around Toru-San was kind enough to give me the starboard stern Corner to maneuver IMG_0171.JPG
The men's room is a urinal behind a door IMG_0178.JPG
Captain and owner IMG_0179.JPG
Captain is a big advocate of catch and release, especially during spawning season. No gaffs in this boat all nets. He did let me keep my 22 pounder though!!IMG_0181.JPG IMG_0186.JPG
A small one to start first stop, first fish on the boat.IMG_0189.JPG IMG_0191.JPGHana weighing my bigger one IMG_0195.JPG
Sure. You can hold my fish!IMG_0199.JPG
Cutting the gill arch between the 2nd and 3rd plateIMG_0201.JPG
Fully bleeding before spiking and Ike-jime

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She's quite the angler as well IMG_0222.JPG IMG_0269.JPG IMG_0244.JPG
All spinning rods and lots of Stella's IMG_0251.JPG IMG_0261.JPG
Packed for the 2 hour train ride home IMG_0256.JPG
Dropped off at friend's restaurant so we can eat in a day or two. IMG_0206.JPG
Don't go inside the cabin if you're sick IMG_0247.JPG New Zealand. Toru and Hana
IMG_0157.JPG IMG_0159.JPG IMG_7791.JPG IMG_7792.JPG IMG_7796.JPG

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Pencils were the hot ticket.
IMG_0207.JPG
Everyone brings their own depth finder for vertical jigging IMG_0232.PNG IMG_0243.JPG
Step off the boat and the wash is right there along with the parking area super convenient IMG_0267.JPG
Night before dinner with captain and Hana
 
Last edited:

watersdeep

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 19, 2016
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Jed Venture
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the twisted ducker
You pretty much covered it. looks like fun. very cool.
 
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JoshInSD

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Dec 22, 2015
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Mackerel Magnet (Sailfish 21' CC)
That is awesome. Can you speak Japanese? Language barrier have any impact with the other anglers?
I can speak some Japanese. Owner/captain and wife speak a little English. No issue with other anglers as everyone has an assigned space. Communication on a boat is as simple as pointing and making inquisitive faces!!
 

momaguro

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Sep 23, 2011
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David
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Pequod
Josh

Thanks for sharing what looks like a great time experiencing a whole new way to enjoy fishing. Whatever their endeavor is the Japanese usually devote their full attention to the details which clearly comes through in your story and pictures. Most importantly the emphasis is on the value of close relationships which the overnight stay at their house in a tatami room reveals and all the way to the end where the clean up and maintenance is performed.

I have lived and traveled extensively throughout in Japan but never seriously considered to go ocean fishing there but your story sharing is great inspiration to go for it next chance.

Did you use the depth finder and how does it work? What fishing technique or tackle do you want to try at home?

David
 
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JoshInSD

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Dec 22, 2015
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Josh

Thanks for sharing what looks like a great time experiencing a whole new way to enjoy fishing. Whatever their endeavor is the Japanese usually devote their full attention to the details which clearly comes through in your story and pictures. Most importantly the emphasis is on the value of close relationships which the overnight stay at their house in a tatami room reveals and all the way to the end where the clean up and maintenance is performed.

I have lived and traveled extensively throughout in Japan but never seriously considered to go ocean fishing there but your story sharing is great inspiration to go for it next chance.

Did you use the depth finder and how does it work? What fishing technique or tackle do you want to try at home?

David
David you are right on all counts.

The depth finder was for the vertical jigging. They use it just to know the depth so when they drop their jigs they count off and try to avoid hitting bottom. I'm not practiced in that so I just waited to hit bottom and started there, hoping to avoid snags!

Learning how to bomb underhand casts was pretty cool, tossing a pencil and being taught by them their style of retrieve. I'm looking forward to trying that back at home. I bought a bunch of pencils and other topwater lures to experiment with in SD and N. Mexico.
 
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Tifoso

Chinook,lings,bottom fish. And everything else.
Jul 25, 2016
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yes
Outstanding report, Josh. Very cool.
You basically lived the Japanese version of my dream Italia trip. Attaboy!:cheers:
 

medicidela

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Feb 5, 2015
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Medy
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Party Boats
This story is like a dream come true!

What can be better than good fishing, most probably in clean water, with a good caring personable crew/family. For many people, this would be the trip of a lifetime!!

Happy for you Josh, and thanks a million for sharing!
 

Brad I

Common Sense Isn't Common Enough
Jun 20, 2015
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A wonderful trip and a wonderful read, thank you.

Interesting that they left a little blood meat on the yellowtail sashimi--no doubt it was deliberate--any idea why?
 
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JoshInSD

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Dec 22, 2015
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Mackerel Magnet (Sailfish 21' CC)
A wonderful trip and a wonderful read, thank you.

Interesting that they left a little blood meat on the yellowtail sashimi--no doubt it was deliberate--any idea why?
Yes I noticed that and asked myself that night but did not get a clear answer, but it is certainly deliberate. Perhaps it adds a little flavor or texture, I'm not certain, perhaps somebody else can chime in
 

aznboy619

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Apr 25, 2006
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Yes I noticed that and asked myself that night but did not get a clear answer, but it is certainly deliberate. Perhaps it adds a little flavor or texture, I'm not certain, perhaps somebody else can chime in

Josh the taste in farm yellowtail and wild yellowtail is different. As farm yellow is usually in the 9-11lb range when it is harvested and is fed with feed that fatten them up. Wild yellowtail will have some discoloration due to it being a muscular fish that has to chance there own food. Usually all yellowtail will have some or blood line left in it and it doesn't really change the taset at all. Here is something that might be able to inform you

https://shizuokagourmet.com/japanese-seasonal-fish-buriyellowtail/