Saltwater Fishing Okinawa – CLOSED
EDITOR’S NOTE: We have been informed that this operation is no longer in business. We’re leaving in our archives for those of you who may be looking for it.
CONTRIBUTED BY BRYAN WINZER
I love eating fish and Okinawa has some delicious ones swimming around in the waters. My friend and I are hardly fishing experts, but we both wanted to give deep water fishing a try before we left the island. After looking into some options, we decided to book a trip with Saltwater Fishing Okinawa. Booking was fairly simple: you can reserve a spot and pay via Paypal through their website. You can either get a full charter together or join an open charter individually. Saltwater Fishing Okinawa gives a discount to military personnel and their guests (100 USD). That fee covers the boat, bait, a basic reel (power reels and trolling reels are available for additional fees), and the entertaining and helpful Captain Billy.
When you return to port, Captain Billy and his staff will clean and fillet the fish for a nominal fee of a few dollars. Coordinating the date can be done via email with Captain Billy, the owner of the fishing company. Flexibility helps as weather or cancellations can affect the charters. The trip has an early start: 0250. Bleary eyed but full of anticipation, we met outside Camp Foster’s Legion Gate and convoyed down to Itoman Port (with a quick stop at a convenience store to pick up snacks and drinks). After a quick run through safety and expectations, we were off to open water and some of us tried to get some shut eye during the 2-and-half-hour ride out to sea. As the sun rose and the waves batted up against the boat, I must admit I felt a sense of awe staring at the vast blue ocean and the golden rays beginning to light up the sky.
Soon, we were at the fishing grounds. Captain Billy offers a quick tutorial on how to fish with his set ups. Put your hook through the eye, slip back through the body of the tiny fish, and drop it in the water. It couldn’t be simpler, eh? The minute a line went into the water, someone pulled out a skipjack (also known as a Bonito or in Japanese as a katsuo). I first pulled a decent sized yellow fin tuna. Shouts of ‘Fish On!’ and the pulling out of strong fish made every tug on your line, whether a fish or the tide, surge adrenaline. Captain Billy and his staff help all along the way, offering advice and humorous jokes, and taking the fish off the line as you bring them in. The fish go into a common holding area, but you can tag your catches if you want. Otherwise, they simply divide the catch based on what you say you caught when they get to port.
The Saltwater Fishing Okinawa charter was one of the most exciting things I’ve done on the island. My friend and I went home with two yellow fin tuna and four skipjacks. That very night, we cut up one of the slipjacks and served half as sashimi and seared the other half in garlic and pepper with a large salad to five friends. It’s hard to beat the freshness and the satisfaction of a fish you have caught yourself.
A note of caution, though, you might want to check sea conditions and prepare for seasickness. Being on a small boat in open water can turn the hardest stomach, so you might look into a motion sickness medication before you leave. On our trip, the water was quite choppy, resulting in a large number of us offering personal chum for fish. For some, this was a momentary rumble; for others, like myself, it was occasionally debilitating. Even as I stood up to get a glass of water while writing this entry, I felt the echoes of the sea. My legs wobbled a little and I swear I felt the room list.