Though not the best condition, we enjoyed the day the best we could, including the pleasant homebound voyage back.

A huge cargo sihp heading south.
The tuna we brought home was cooked to serve as a tuna carpaccio. Though not rich in oil as more highly sought after tuna species, flesh of yellow fin go well with olive oil and spicy salad dressings.

Cheers to the Pacific, I say, Bon appetite!!

- Back

Another favourite spot of ours is Roadside stop of Minami-town. Here you can try all kinds of local speciality - including dried moray eels. For a faint hearted, Yuzu citrus ice cream is the safer bet, to be enjoyed in the foot-bath offered free of charge.
In short distance south runs a scenic drive route of Minami-Awa-Sunline.

The wide expanse of Pacific can be fully enjoyed from the elevated lookouts.
The village of Hiwasa is an attractive destination even for non-fishing visitors.

In Japan, there's an old but die-hard belief that certain years of age, 25, 42, 61 in case of men, 19, 33, 37 for women, brings bad lucks, called Yaku. To dispel them, people go to certain temple known to possess power for such. Yaku-Ohji temple in Hiwasa is one of the most famous in the nation.
Or else, should they fight back!?
Next morning we took a stroll in the Ohama beach, where turtles come to nest. Last year saw an all time low with only two turtles. But this year is starting with a better trend - 4 already sighted.

One of the common cause of turtle death is suffocation as a result of eating floating plastic bags by mistake, which resembles jelly fish, their diet. Don't we hate to see these great creature dying as a result of irresponsible conduct of ours?
The sight of the thrilling bout gave us a dose of adrenaline. With a sore arm, I kept swinging the wand. I remained persistent on this particular day - not to pretend a fly purist but I simply had a conviction I can catch'em on fly!

Sure, they were indifferent to those chunky surface plugs, but when they see 1. a small fly the size of a Iwashi, 2. in a swirling current just downstream of the buoy and 3. (though not easy) a fly presented when swimming in a pack of friends, they do compete for the snack!
After a good while moving slowly on, we finally came up to the familiar looking Payao. But at this point the place was still occupied by a couple pro boats.

Keeping distance away from it, we started blind casting. At the height of summer there should be good chance all over the place, but it was a tad too early yet. A half hearted chase for a surface plug of my lurefishing pal was the only event. Flyfishing? Not a chance!

Meanwhile the professional fishermen were catching loads of it, among the skip jacks, occasional big Mahi Mahi are taken out. Of little commercial value but they scare away skipjacks. So those pros kill all Mahis as pests. Pity, from a sportfisherman's perspective!
This time, we were accompanied by my fishing colleagues as many as 7 in total..

First thing in the morning we scooped up two bucketful of Iwashi, i.e. small sardine. Unlike Aji, juvenile yellowtails that tend to dive as soon as thrown in, Iwashi stays on the surface darting around, which works magic in appetizing fish of prey and lure them to the surface.
Following the captain's advice, we used a very small hook so that the bait should swim on naturally.

Now that at least the ladies have got a reward each, well, let's call it a day.
To make the best out of it, we rigged one for the other lady fisher on board. And yeah, GYRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
As the sky got overcast, in the darkened sea we noticed number of blue streaks darting at remarkable speeds. Skipjacks!

The moment the chum baits hit the water they disappeared in a fraction of a second. And with unbelievable precision - sure enough - leaving out my artificial imitation.

''Choosy today.'' The first mate called out to me. ''See me throw Iwashi? Hit the water with your fly exactly when the chums do!'' Following his advice I made a short crisp cast in sync with the chum bait. And there you go, Bingo!
Well into the afternoon, the last of the pro boats stopped work and hurried back to the port - all their bounties must be flown to the big cities by early next morning.

Finally, our turn. We began chumming those seductive live Iwashi around. However, even predatory fish have limit in their stomach. After half a day's extravaganza, with pro fishermen chumming tons already, none were excited seeing the same old Iwashi any more!! Even Iwashi themselves started happily swimming about!
Boy, look yonder, there we saw a pack of whales taking a leisurely stroll. Now isn't this great!?

The grand entertainment rolled on - we were greeted by a pod of dolphins swimming along, even a manta ray flying clear out of the water!
Turning back to a giggle, I found Ron, another friend of mine dangling a most pathetic looking fish in his hand. An 'Eso', a least prized fish in the entire Pacific. For unknown reasons Ron always hits this fish however hard he may try to avoid.
Now with the livewell full, off we go to Payao the floating buoy! Or do we not, Captain?

After a short chat over the radio phone, the captain turned back saying Skipjacks in Payao. That in itself is a great news, but when Skipjacks are there, professional fishermen are at work. We recreational fishermen will then be kept out of Payao's reach until the pros finish thei job.

We spent a while jigging in the coastal water. The rocky shorelines stretching south of Hiwasa is a blue ribbon fishery for snappers.
Again to Hiwasa on the Pacific, this time in June. Start of the season tends to see fewer but bigger fish. Also you have a fair chance on a prized table fish 'Katsuo', a close kin of skipjack tuna, as well as juvenile yellowfin locally called 'Binta', which makes June a very popular month in Hiwasa.
The fly was already taken as it hit the water. Even then, they didn't react to my other flies in unnatural size or colour. I can only assume they have incredible eyesight enough to see airborne objects at speed. Not a very fishing-like-fishing but a learning experience.

Breaking the past few hours' stalemate, a party has now begun, with skipjacks and even the cheeky sea birds joining the dining frenzy.
We threw the chums, or what's left of it, sparingly just enough to keep the party going.

And time for us to get real, we put on a live bait on a bare hook, and let it drift. . .
And in a matter of seconds . . . , GYRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!
Sayuri's very first throw received a passionate welcome - easy fishing huh!?
As the boat glided on, the colour of the sea changed to a deep, Pacific blue.

Gazing from the top of the fly bridge, - hey, what's that? (yep, only posing for a snap!)
The bout lasted rather long for a skipjack, the foe that eventually surfaced up was a small Yellowfin.
In the end I failed to land one, but I managed to move fish 7 times, 4 out of which even did bite. With the fish wandering at leisure, with the hook small, I found it difficult to strike the fish at the right timing and strong enough. I failed, but enjoyed the challenge!

A while later, a second mahi mahi came - what else - to the live bait. This time it was a fully grown male and the fight was spectacular.
In the following two hours no hint of action for all the lure casting friends aboard.

Around 3 o'clock, the tide started moving, and occasional silhouette of inquisitive Mahis were seen between the waves. Still reluctant to chase fast travelling lures, but getting active enough to pick up innocent Iwashi as they prowl around.

A friend of mine, tired of working the plugs in vain, put on a live bait and let it adrift. After moments of anticipation, the reel started churning out unnerving screeeam!! A fish, at last!
Fishy Trips
Pacific in Summer '07
Me, not having jigging tackle, just sat back and watched. My friends were working out deftly with jigs, but apparently fish weren't feeling for it on this particular day.