About the Author:
John Merwin lives in Vermont, where, when he's not tying flies, building lures, or digging up worms with his backhoe, he writes the monthly Fishing Column for Field & Stream magazine.

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November 20, 2008

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Cermele: Japanese Rock Fishing Explained

A few weeks ago I posted a blog featuring a video of some crazy Japanese anglers extreme rock fishing. If you didn't read it or watch it (and I recommend you do), here's a link.

My hope in posting it was that we could together figure out exactly what these guys were doing, as it was quite perplexing. Giant reels are bolted to the rocks, 20 foot poles seemed to double as gaffs...it was just strange. But lo and behold, a fellow writer named James Card who lives in Korea happened upon the post and cleared things up for me. James writes:

"Although the actual angling technique with the rope and handline maneuvers is a bit odd, the rock fishing is pretty common over here. 

It mostly goes like this:  in Japan and Korea nearly everyone lives in apartments. Therefore they have no garage, nor a backyard. Thus they have no place to keep a fishing boat. Very few guys actually own sportfishing boats.  So what's an angler to do when he wants to get offshore?  He pays a commercial fishing boat captain to take him offshore to some remote rocks where the fishing is good. The captain drops them off and comes back later. Some are small uninhabited islands, others are tiny patches of rock just barely sticking out of the sea. Sometimes the tide comes up and those guys get washed away. Or the commercial fishing boat captain gets drunk back at the village, passes out and forgets to pick them up at the designated time and they die from dehydration, hypothermia, drowning, or sharks."

After reading that (the last part especially) I'm not so sure I want to go extreme rock fishing in Japan anymore. But this does prove you learn something new everyday. Take this knowledge and share it with the world my friends. And thanks to James for cluing in the clueless.



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Tyler (NC)

I guess that means no pictures of John in the karate kid outfit. (dont know if the world is a sadder or happier place for this)

John Merwin

Tyler, if you were referring to me the answer is a definite no, which will indeed make the world a happier place. On the other hand, it might be a way to have a rock all to myself!

Blue Ox

I guess this means no sake, either.

Scott in Ohio


Really enjoyed this story. It a great wide world and people around the world have alot to share/teach us - even about fishing! Those were some nice fish. Please tell Joe Cermele I'll contribut the case of Miller if he manages to pick up the plane fare.