one final venture onto the sea

Nichinan, Miyazaki, 2018.07.28

It was my final weekend in Japan, and Mari's uncle took us out on the water one last time. We ran into a bit of trouble almost immediately.

We headed out onto the water, five boys: Akio my father-in-law; Hidenori-san our host and guide; Ta-chun, my nephew; my son; and me. The water was flat and glassy with only the most gentle of roll to it as we zipped out of the harbor with 150 horses propelling us for the cape. We wended our way between commercial and recreational boats that must have departed quite early that morning, and arrived at our destination after 20-30 minutes. Hidenori-san gave us the OK and we put our lines in the water.

But almost immediately, our guide then told us to watch for a large wave coming. My father-in-law had already taken a spill when a surprisingly sudden swell had rocked the boat just as we arrived. I'd gotten my line into the water quickly for once and spun the reel some ten times in quick succession to get the weighted lure away from the seabed lest I hook some rock or coral. I then stood from my spot near the stern of the boat and saw indeed a ~3m swell starting to crest. What was going on! As Hidenori-san fired up the engine to turn into the coming wave, I turned to tend to the ten year olds at the stern, I suggested they hold on. I also realized that I'd have to reel my line in.

Naturally, my line had dropped as I stood and as the wave hit the boat dipped in the water. My line hooked something.

But the boat was still moving forward and we were buffeted by another couple of waves. It looked like conditions had abruptly changed, and that an off-shore current running past the cape had somehow shifted to our position. As I fought with the snagged line, I alerted everybody. I'd been tripping the spool release on and off to try to jog the line free, but we were making quite a bit of headway against whatever I was caught on and it wasn't working. Hidenori-san brought the boat through the last of the waves, then asked me to give him my rod. I did so, and the he tripped the spool release to stop the line going out. The rod was nearly taken from his hands, so he tripped the release again and asked that I handle the rod while he looked for something to wrap around the line to pull it free. With maybe 200m of line out there, the inevitable happened: the line snapped. We were free, anyway.

Hidenori-san went back to the controls of the still-moving boat as I stepped out of his way. I inspected the reel and could see that it had been a tear, not a clean break. Also, that with all the line I'd lost, my fishing was done for the day.

Now, it's possible to conjecture on what had happened. The previous day, I'd hooked a small grouper that had then dodged into a hole in the rocks or coral, perfectly imitating a snag. It was only when Hosoda-san, our guide, brought the boat around that I'd been able to drag the caught fish from its hidey-hole and reel the thing in. It had happened two weeks prior as well - I'd had one of the bottom-dwelling fish on the line, had started to reel, and then the fish went into some spot that we couldn't get it out of - resulting in a lost line. It's possible, given how I'd already reeled enough to get about five meters from the seabed that that's what had happened this time. Or perhaps the line had dipped enough to snag the rough rocks of the seabed. Or (and this is my personal theory) the line had snagged a coral growth.

But in the end, the cause of the snag was immaterial: my fishing was done for the day with a single cast. The moral of the story: always bring more line! 8^)

Unfortunately, ta-chun was overcome with mild seasickness that caused him to need to lie down. So I wound up with a rod to use, but when he recovered I could only make with whatever time I could get with a rod when someone else decided to take a break.

first catch of the day

first catch of the day

Heading home with a drowsy angler

Heading home with a drowsy angler

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