You, Me, And a Tanuki is a weekly featured blog run by Michelle, a Californian who is currently one of only two foreigners living in Chibu, a tiny fishing village on one of the Oki islands in Japan. Check back every Saturday for a new post or read more on her website here!
It’s squid fishing time in Chibu and when the waves aren’t too high, the horizon is sure to be speckled with the distant light of squid fishing vessels. Sometimes there are so many boats out at sea that it looks as if dawn is breaking.
Squid fishing is mostly done at night and each squid boat is equipped with large light bulbs that are used to attract squid to the boat.
^Close-up of the large light bulbs used on squid fishing vessels. The bright light attracts the squid.
In Chibu, you can also catch squid right off the side of the docks without using any lighting source. The haul isn’t as large compared to fishing out at sea, but many hobbyist fishermen in the area have brought in up to thirty squid in one outing.
One of my fishermen friends told me that squid always come in pairs. I guess they are romantic animals. It’s said that if you are able to catch the female first, the male will search for its mate around the vicinity of the boat, making for an easy catch. But if you catch the male first, the female will simply swim away and never look back. They say it’s best to catch the female first because you’re likely to get a second squid. I’m not sure if this is just an old wives’ tale (old fishermen’s tale?), but it’s an interesting story either way.
^A big bag o’ squid.
I’ve tried my hand at squid fishing off the docks near my house a few times. It was really hard for me to tell when I had a squid on the line. The lure is so light, there’s almost no drag when whipping it through the water and the squid only adds a little more resistance. I learned that if I felt even a little resistance (not even a tug) on the line, it meant I had a squid.
Every time I’ve caught a squid, it spat ink at me in an attempt to get away, so you know you’re in a good fishing spot when the cement is stained black. Once on land, the little cephalopods continue to try and swim away, making little squeaking noises in its attempts to swim through the air.
For those of you who have never seen a squid lure, here’s what it looks like:
The lure is meant to look like a shrimp. It’s weighted in the front so when you quickly whip your rod in a vertical motion, the lure scuttles through the water like a shrimp. When the squid strikes at the lure with its tentacles, it gets caught in the prickly barbs. That’s why you need to shake off the squid when unhooking it.
Many people in our area eat squid sashimi (raw squid cut up into strips and dipped in soy sauce and wasabi). Others make sushi or kalamari. I like the taste of raw squid, but it’s really chewy and took some getting used to.
How about you? Do you fish for and eat squid in your home country? Do you even like the taste of squid? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Michelle is originally from California, but currently living in the tiny fishing village of Chibu, one of the Oki islands in Japan. Being one of two foreigners living in an island village of a little over 600 people presents many adventures. Come back every Saturday for a new article featuring the interesting and bizarre things she comes across in her life in rural Japan. Once a week not enough? Check out her blog, You, Me, And A Tanuki, for photographs and even more articles.
We’re still looking for more unique and interesting stories from Asia to share with the world, so drop us a line if you’d like to have your own blog featured on RocketNews24.