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Japan Spear Fishing - 日本 やり釣

Discussion in 'Asia & Japan' started by Mr. X, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

    I know we have a few forum members in Japan. I thought I would start thread to see if we might have a "community" of spearfishers out there.

    BTW What is the Japanese for spearfishing? Is it this: やり釣 ?
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
    foxfish likes this.
  2. yugyug

    yugyug everything is nature

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 Spearfishing 2009年

    I used to live in Japan, near Tokyo, for a few years and speared there. There's a few guys on this forum I think, my friend Adon, is the first one I think off.

    But to be honest, spearfishing is a secretive activity in Japan. Even if done with full legality, or legally just because its not illegal, it relies a lot on who and what you know. Local fisherman, police and the tourist industry can help, but just as easily put you in a situation where you lose your gear, get a fine, or a hook in the wetsuit hood (thankfully not my eye....:blackeye)

    But that said, there's is some great spearing in Japan. There is one website for some Japanese spearos who only use handspears - try and find it , its interesting, and they have caught huge specimans of Japanese fish, delicacies like ishidai and ishigakidai that sell for $$$ in the sushi shops. Actually the type and variety of fish is one of the most interesting things.... I caught a huge fuefukidai off a little volcanic Japanese island once that remains perhaps my best catch to date. But don't ask me to tell you exactly what a fuefukidai is... I have no idea. But it tasted good.

    btw the above doesn't really apply to the Oki islands, which seems to have a more open attitude to spearing. I have a friend there, Shin, who seems to live an idylllic life, which apart from girlfriend troubles, revolves around making the ocassional bottled water delivery, spearfishing and making great spearguns from driftwood and shipping crates.
    Mr. X likes this.
  3. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 Spearfishing 2009年

    Not helpful Joe.

    On the TV programs about this recently the fishermen were Taiwanese & Micronesians. I think the market was China rather than (or perhaps as well as) Japan.

    Anyway, be nice, this could be an opportunity to learn something and maybe influence a little. With British commercial fisherman throwing away tons of by-catch we are hardly in a position to preach (one post on this forum this week claimed only 1-in-7 fish caught actually here make it to market, the rest discarded, dead).
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  4. yugyug

    yugyug everything is nature

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 Spearfishing 2009年

    agreed. Its not the Japs that have a taste for shark fin soup, and, as far as I understand, its the south east asian countries harvesting shark fin for china.
    Not to say Japan does not have problems with their responsibility to fisheries, they do. But the issues with even the biggest problems, tuna, & whale overfishing for example, have very little to do with the actions or worldview of the average Japanese spearo, or person for that matter. From my experience, the Japanese outdoor and water enthusiasts are very caring and compassionate people who shy away from eating whale more than I. So maybe your concerns should be placed in another thread. I for one would love the opportunity to meet more spearos from Japan here.
  5. monchan

    monchan Well-Known Member

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 Spearfishing 2009年

    Couldn't agree more. Where I live the first few times spearing, no problems. Then the next few times I got a few boats of really angry fishermen, going off at me for just being in the water. They are really protective of thier catches, but I don't mean fish. They get the shellfish any type, the different types of seaweeds etc. In japan and mainly in summer, many people decide to get some free abolone or oysters or something. This is way the fishermen get so mad, understandably I guess.

    A little local language helped me a lot, by politely explaining that I'm only taking fish, and that I know the laws and that I can ONLY TAKE FISH, showing my catch on a stringer. Don't use a catch bag, it's what the poachers use for the shellfish. And they eventually got used to me being there in the water with them. Some of them will often speak to me, some of them will tell me where they have seen or often see fish. While others tell me it's against the law to swim if it's not summer, to these guys I now reply, "really, I don't think so. I'm only cathing fish, it's not against the law feel free to call the coast guard" They just leave. Most have accepted me, and have not had any problems for a long time. Guns are not allowed but I sometimes use one, in areas where I am know to the locals and thats all good.

    As mentioned above Ishidai (stripped japanese knife jaw) and Ishigakidai (spotted J. Knife jaw) are very popular fish worth a bit of $$. Ishidai are just coming in now June to Oct. where I live they coming in good numbers and taste fantastic. Ishigakidai, are rarely seen in any numbers. I might not see any for days. They are so sweat, they bring in big dollars at the market.

    I'm on the Japan sea, in a small place called Tottori. famous for it's sand dune. If you ever see any Japanese movies or tv, showing a big sand dune it was filmed here. Doco's with Karate students running across a beach with a sand dune in the back here.
    Mr. X likes this.
  6. Adrian

    Adrian Deeper Blue Beachcomber Supporter

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 Spearfishing 2009年

    There are many countries who do this, and as far as I know it's the Chinese who like shark-fin soup...everybody's guilty, looks what's happening to the tuna.

    Edit: Just saw Mr x's follow up...
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  7. monchan

    monchan Well-Known Member

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 Spearfishing 2009年

    Yep you got it right, and it's pronounced yari-tsuri
    Yari -lance/ spear
    tsuri- fishing
  8. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 Spearfishing 2009年

    Excellent, I'll add it to the thread title later. Thanks;)
  9. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    Are there any spear fishing equipment companies in Japan? I see Monchan had some Japanese fins, which were mentioned & pictured on another thread.
  10. yugyug

    yugyug everything is nature

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    I don't know of any speargun makers in Japan now - the shops in Tokyo are reasonably well stocked with European and US brands like Omer, Mares, Riffe etc.

    There is a Japanese dive knife made by Hattori that I have been told is very good, and looked great when I saw it in the shop (I didn't buy, but wish I did). They sell it online here:
    Featured Spearfishing and Freediving Items

    Here's the website for the hand-spearfishermen I mentioned earlier. They make their own handspears:
    Spearfishing in Japan, MOGULER'S DELIGHT

    But at sometime in the past there were Japanese spear gun makers - there's an early "roller" style gun here:
    In Jack Prodanovich's personal collection is antique speargun

    I imagine that if there is a company making guns in Japan, they would probably be pretty good, given the country's general ability with craftmanship.
    Mr. X likes this.
  11. monchan

    monchan Well-Known Member

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    The only company I can find for Japanese spearguns is a company called diveways. But thier guns like very similar to the beuchat canon. possible made under licence?

    DIVEWAYS?????????????

    Polespears though you can find being made by different people, and wow they have some doozies. But to pricey for me. I just ordered one from Crist polespears in the states order made to the length I want and still much cheaper than the ones made here.

    http://www6.ocn.ne.jp/~flat-out/frame_spear.htm

    These poles, are great, but they will cost you over $400. They range in length from 3m to almost 4m

    ?????.net???????

    this is a page for anyone who wants to make an easy pole from golf clubs, been meaning to give it a go, but......
    you dont need to be able to read it I'm you get the idea.

    ??????

    Koisan (mr carp) must be a mechinist, making timber guns and poles,
    lots of different idea's in his work. If you mess around a bit and click on the different links you'll find some interesting photos and maybe some a new idea when making your gun?

    ????
    more expensive poles

    gear
    ?????????????? ????????????????(???)??????(???)???(???)??????????????????????????????????????RIFFE(????????)?KOISAN?DIVEWAYS?OMER(????????)?O.ME
    index.html

    The above 3 links are of the main online shops we have. Not much in the way of good prices. I only sometimes buy rubber and cord for making my rubbers.

    The bubble has burst over here now, and I dont think it'll return to the old days where Japanese will pay anything for what they want. But then again my super market sells $7 mangoes and $60 watermellons. Having said that if I dont buy those things (never have anyway) the price of living is not too bad. It's just the specialty items that will cost you an arm and two legs, one eye and one ear.

    Edit, the links look bad??? but they still work.
  12. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    Interesting links.
    Jeez that is really expensive. I'd be growing water melons all over the place!:D Can you buy equipment from abroad (on the internet for example) - or do import taxes make that expensive too? You would think that having China nearby would drive down prices - so I'm guessing import restrictions.
  13. monchan

    monchan Well-Known Member

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    I've bought all my expensive gear from the net, shipping can drive prices up but it's still usually cheaper than here. Luckily I don't go through that much gear. I had my one and only shaft stuck in a small crevice, couldn't for the life of me get it out. Here I was looking at 11,000 yen to replace it plus shipping. Jim on this site said he'd sell me one for $38 but shipping to japan might cost $80. long things are not good for shipping. After a month of going to the same spot again and going gorila on it, it poped out, new flopper and it's fine. That was lucky. I only hunt in shallowish reefs, as I always hunt alone and the fish that could bend my spear are too old and big to eat so I leave them be. No more shooting into narrow crevises, my 120cm marlin carbone it is too powerful for that. he he he. That was the first and only time I used my gun in cave. I'll keep using my pole for that.
  14. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    120cm in a cave! I watched a video on youtube a week or so ago where the diver had powered down his gun for a cave by just loading a single rubber (from a pair). I guess you could load to the first notch but for 120cm it's still going to be very powerful.

    Do you have any more images of the beaches/coast where you go (don't give away your secret hot spots - of course)?

    I'm surprised that we don't hear more from Japan, with the history of pearl diving and the popularity of angling. Perhaps English is not as widely known there are in some other countries? Is Japan inward looking? They seem incredibly successful in several areas of international business. Somebody was telling me about a recent documentary about Japan on TV shown here in the UK, it sounded like they prefer to keep their own culture. Apparently they tried letting in a group of immigrants as an experiment - ethnic Japanese who had moved to Brazil some time ago - but even that did not really work out and they ended up paying them to leave (as Britain and other countries do).

    Yugyug, I too like the look of those Hattori spearo knives & the Hawaiian spearo on the forum rate them highly. It'd be nice to have a Japanese made knife too. I saw a store selling them on-line from Hawaii but I think they may not have them anymore but there is another Hawaii shop that has some. I really like flat knives - unobtrusive when used with an RA Limpet/Pelaj pancake sheath. Like a better quality, more expensive version of the Union Taiwanese spearo knife I use. I thought them fairly expensive (something to bear in mind as diving gear is sometimes dropped and better left dropped) but when I looked up Hattori, I realised that these are probably the most affordable knives they make - by far! I think I would prefer a slightly slimmer blade - like a Sporasub Snake, Imersion Mini dagger or Omer Laser/mini-laser (if I say it enough, maybe somebody will make one!) with a distinct but rounded guard on both sides to push against. If I saw one in a store at the US price I would buy it. Perhaps I should make the effort to try an order from Hawaii? (or Japan?:)).
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
  15. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

  16. monchan

    monchan Well-Known Member

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    I don't really have many photo's but next time I'll take my camera out next time and take a few, been meaning to for a long time. I'm lucky to have some really picturesque coast around here. but heres a few snaps I found

    One is of a fairly rare fish to catch and many of the people here have never heard of it let alone seen one. When I say rare doesn't mean they are in any trouble or anything they are just very reclusive, I thought it was a bream. It's called kosho-dai. Kosho means pepper in japanese, it's the fish with all the black spots hence pepper fish.

    You can see me with a big bass I got with my pole

    sunset at one of my favourite spots.

    and the waves pounding another of my favourite spots. The one with the waves has huge amounts of fish.

    Attached Files:

    mishu1984, Mr. X and devondave like this.
  17. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    Cool pics monchan. Are those single-sided Japanese kitchen knives good? Starting to see them appear in articles in the UK.
  18. monchan

    monchan Well-Known Member

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    That one is double sided, with a spine of about 6mm. It really makes light work of getting the heads off, the biggies and chopping the bones for soup or simply so they will fit in my freezer until rubbish day. Japan has way too many knifes for different jobs, most of which are not needed by us. I like to use a long straight japanese fish knife for after the fish has been filleted for sushi/ sashimi, apart from that I use that axe in the photo. (while it's not long it's very meaty and very heavy almost no arm power needed oh it's quite sharp too) I generally like to use a curved, thin fillet knife for most of the work though, maybe it's just what is used where I come from. But I've never used a good single sided japanese knife though.

    It depends on where people work as to what type of knife they use. at the fish markets they have some great knifes similar to butcher knifes, they are used at high speed and get the job done. In places like some restaurants or japanese ryokan
    (japanese style inns) is where you are most likely to see the more expensive single sided knifes. some made with patterns similar to a samurai sword. These places (or chefs) are viewed and treated like craftsmen, and have a wide variety of tools (knifes) etc for any number of different jobs. Thier work is often done at a slow pace, especially where customers can see whats going on and often what they do makes your jaw drop. I wont go so far as to say it's a zen kind of thing. but I will say I can see similarities to the japanese tea ceremony with some chefs, certain movements, ways of doing things etc. Sometimes thier approach is rather zenish. but that goes for many other people in a wide range of trades.

    there doesn't seem to be anyother people from japan posting around here?????
  19. Mr. X

    Mr. X Forum Mentor Staff Member Forum Mentor

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    :DWe can but try. It might take a while. Perhaps Japanese spear fishers /freedivers don't know English or prefer to use their own language? I noticed around 10 forum members that live or lived in Japan. I think some of the Hawaiian (and other) spearos also have some Japanese heritage or at least influence. There seems to be quite a bit of interest in Japanese fish prints, sushi and sesami(sp?).

    Axe? Is that what I thought was a knife - is it cleaver, like the Chinese famously use (and chase people with in movies:D)? We used to have some Hong Kong Chinese in our house when I was a student. I think the cleaver was the only knife they used.

    I use a long, curved slim blade filleting knife too - is your filleting knife tradional Japanese? I would think the Japanese have filleted more fish than most cultures. I have a Finnish Rapala sheathed filleting knife from America(!) and a cheap second-hand Chinese made kitchen filleting knife I found in a charity shop. Both are excellent & super sharp - even with my rather poor sharpening.
  20. monchan

    monchan Well-Known Member

    Re: Japan Spear Fishing 2009 - 日本 やり釣 2009年

    Nah it's not a clever but a knife, a bl#$dy heavy one that often gets used as a clever. I'd never used one like it before and I call it an axe but it's is surprisingly versatile, I use it a lot for thin slicing vegs. The weight of it makes it so easy to use. I sometimes use it for filleting some types of fish where going around the rib bones is difficult this one just passes through them, then I slice them off afterward. The filleting knife I'm using now I got from the filleting.com webshop quite good knives. If I remember correctly you posted some pics of your knife a filleting fish thread.

    If the sun shines tomorrow I'll take some snaps, we are in(near the end of) the rainy season. The ishdai are around now so if I get a nice one I'll post some pics. I'll try and get some of the small types of fish that make a fantastic meal as well, so you can see some of what else is one offer here.

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