STORY Jan 15, 2016
This photo was the root of the uproar.
There is a super cool fish called the "wolffish" in the North Sea.
I desperately wanted to witness this fish under its natural environment, so I successfully hooked it this summer in Shiretoko. And then I ate it.
On top of that, this started a huge controversy.
Hiroshi Hirasaka（平坂 寛）My purpose in life is to enjoy living creatures with all my five senses.
Set in Shiretoko, the Sea of Okhotsk
A creased bumpy face, with a huge mouth and jagged teeth. The first time I learned about this "wolffish" was in lower level elementary school. It is said that they can chomp down and eat a scallop shells whole using their strong jaws. Pretty scary... However, even that scariness is intriguing.
This little guy is from the aquarium.
According to the web, they can be caught in Hokkaido and the Eastern region of Japan mixed with other fish. Apparently "if you go further out with the boat, they are reasonably easy to catch."
Since I heard that they sometimes can be caught in the shallow water as well we tried sticking to the shore for three days but it was a swing and miss, which is when we arranged for the boat.
I contacted my friend in Hokkaido to get in touch with a fishing boat that would take us out specifically targeting the wolffish. The response I got was "June may still be too early."
But, I can't just give up and come back out in a month. Aside from not being able to wait any more to see the wolffish, the plane tickets are super expensive in the high seasons. I decided to take a gamble on this opportunity.
So I chartered a boat with my friends, and we headed out on the Shiretoko waters.
The moment we stopped the boat and threw the squid bait out by the reefs about 100meters deep, we caught a fish. Could it be a wolffish?
It was a codfish! I got pretty excited about the first catch, but then they kept coming until our boat looked like a cod fishing boat
Delicious cod kept floating to the surface. But then there was cod, cod, and more cod!
While we were going through the motion of catch and releasing the cod, we knew. "Defeat.."
An immediate revenge challenge a month and a half later!
It seems we were in fact too early last time, since the captain even commented that "seeing that much cod means that the ocean is still in winter-mode. You'll have better luck if you come back in the summer."
So, here I am again, in Shiretoko.
While it is a beautiful view,all I am having are flashbacks of cod hell.
Despite it already being August it is still a bit chilly, but that's Hokkaido for you. I throw some salt water over the frozen squid bait that doesn't seem to want to defrost. ...The water is warmer. This clearly indicates that the situation has indeed changed. The wolffish have to be back in the place of the cod! A smile spills from my face.
Despite having just started, N seems to have caught a big one!
A giant cod!
"N catches a humongous cod fish, leaving me behind."
"What? The cod fish are still around...?"
"Wait!? Is it? It feels like it is!"
K's rod bends aggressively. While I was thinking "another cod?", K commented "it may not be..."
Then the captain leans out over the control room yelling "Is it that!?"
A shadow slowly approaches the surface of the water. Brown, and long. Could it be.....
IT'S A WOLFFISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What was pulled up onto the boat using the landing net was without a doubt a wolffish!
Finally the fish I had only seen in books and through the glass at aquariums was in front of me!
What was pulled up onto the boat using the landing net was without a doubt a wolffish! Finally the fish I had longed for but had only seen in books and through the glass at aquariums was in front of me!
Wolffish, they keep coming!
Having our dream fish within grasp peaked out excitement! ...Or so we thought. This is when things got a little crazy!
Soon after S, a local fisherman, caught a big one!
The wolffish started flooding in. It was a wolffish rush hour. Considering this is my dream fish, I wonder if it's okay that we are catching this many.
I got a hit at the same time! My hands shake from excitement.
According to the captain, a large group of wolffish are found by a single reef. Apparently he once caught over twenty in one day.
We caught even larger wolffish the following day, on a different boat!
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