Fishing Boat YOKOHAMA
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Enjoy a half day fishing with rods and lines in Tokyo Bay on one of the Arakawa boats, then, if you want, have the fish you caught cooked for you to enjoy in the upstairs Sandfish Dining Bar.
You don’t need any equipment – everything you need is provided.
You don’t need any prior experience either. Arakawa Fishing Club are fully used to complete beginners and give instructions before setting off.
– Making a reservation
– Boats and times
– Getting yourself ready
– Registering and paying
– On the dockside
– On the boat
– From sea to table
Making a reservation
The telephone number to make a reservation is 045-701-6672 between 5am and 8pm. Don’t phone when they are busy (6:45-7:30am, 11:45-12:30 and 4:00-5:00pm). They don’t speak English but can communicate well enough.
You should also book to eat in the Sandfish Dining Bar at the same time if you want your fish prepared for you. This service is called “tsuri pack” – see From sea to table, below.
Please note there is a cancellation fee policy so check the weather forecast before making a reservation.
Boats and times
The two main fish caught are “kisu” (‘smelt-whitings’, ‘sand-smelts’ or ‘sandfish’) and “aji” (‘horse mackerel’ or ‘jack mackerel’).
“Kisu” is probably the easiest to fish as you can just drop the line and wait. “Aji” requires a bit more technique and the rod is heavier because of the weighted bait cage. Each boat is only for one type of fish, although you might catch other fish by lucky accident.
Half day fishing for these is from 7:30am to 11:30am, and 12:30pm to 4:30pm.
There is full day fishing for “kisu” or other fish. See this page in Japanese for more details. (URL: https://www.arakawaya.jp/contents/category/plan/)
The regular closing day is Thursday.
Getting yourself ready
You don’t need any special clothing, but be aware that it can be wet and messy, and also very hot or very cold depending on season. It is recommended to bring:
– a hat and sunglasses
– sunscreen lotion
– 2-3 small towels
– a change of clothes (if you don’t like wet or messy)
– drinks and snacks (for the boat)
– a disposable-type raincoat or “kappa”, especially if it is windy
– a pair of small, cheap scissors is also useful.
If you suffer from sea sickness, read the medicine (“funayoi dome”) instructions carefully. Often tablets have to be taken hours in advance.
Car parking spaces are available for a small charge, but it’s only 5 minutes walk from Keikyu Line Kanazawa Hakkei station.
Registering and paying
On your first visit, you should aim to arrive 60 minutes before boat departure.
There will be a table near the entrance with a registration slip to complete per person/family. Information needed (in order) is date, fish to catch, your age/s, your name/s, your address, a contact phone number.
Payment for half day fishing and bait is 6,500 yen for male adults, reduced to 4,500 for women, 3,500 for children. There is also a weekday reduction for senior citizens. Rods are free to rent if 3 or more are in the group, otherwise 500 yen each. There is a coupon giving a 500 yen reduction (for adult males) here (URL: https://www.arakawaya.jp/contents/category/coupon/), which you need to print and bring. One coupon covers 2 people.
In addition, you will need to buy hooks at 300 yen for a pack of two.
If you are fishing for “kisu” you will need to buy a sinker (weight) for 50 yen. If you are fishing for “aji”, you will need to pay 2,000 yen returnable deposit for a weighted bait cage.
These prices have not changed for many years, but you can check here in Japanese (URL: https://www.arakawaya.jp/contents/category/plan/)
You will receive:
– a slip of paper to give to the boat captain to say how many rods you need
– a plastic tag on a band with a number on it, which indicates your seating position on the boat. The captain will also collect this from you when you board, so don’t forget it
– a plastic bag for your rubbish to take home with you (including any hooks you’ve had to cut). Leave the boat in the condition you found it.
There is a point card if you intend coming regularly.
If you have pre-booked your “tsuri pack”, they will usually take payment for this at the same time.
Basic “tsuri pack” is 2,200 yen (fish, rice, miso and a soft drink), or a “course” (3,300 yen), which includes an alcoholic drink, fries and two extra dishes from the menu.
On the day reservations for “tsuri pack” may be possible if there is space, but a surcharge will be applied.
On the dockside
On the dockside, pick up:
– a life jacket (compulsory)
– a small towel (just one)
– a bucket on a rope, one per person or share between 2
– a cool box from the rack near the bridge, which you fill with some ice. Share the larger boxes between 2 or 3
There are rubber boots available to borrow.
The rod and bait, also a cushion, will be at your numbered place.
The captain can give a short demonstration on the boat of how to attach the hook, sinker and bait, and fishing technique, so make it known when you hand over your seating tag if you want instruction.
On the boat
When the boat is moving to the fishing area, remain seated and leave your rod upright in its rest. It will take about 10-15 minutes to reach the fishing spot. Depending on the wind, there may be a lot of spray. You can stow personal bags in the cabin if necessary.
On arrival, fill the bucket with sea water, and add a small amount to the cool box. Put the fish in the bucket initially then transfer them to the cool box when you have time or they have stopped moving.
Baiting the lines can be messy. The bait for “kisu” is a live ‘bristle worm’ (“ao isome”), which can freak you out at first, but you can remove the head before threading it on the hook. Don’t leave the box open because they will escape. “Aji” bait is chump to put in the cage and a tiny piece of pink, processed squid for the hooks.
Always keep your hooks under control and hold the line to keep the hooks from flying around. When you reel in your line, take hold of the line when the weight is about to come out of the water, and put the rod down beside you. Then use your hands to bring in the line, hopefully with a fish, on board.
Occasionally you may get tangled lines (“matsuri”) with another fisher. If you cannot untangled them, a last resort can be to cut the transparent hook line and attach another hook. Don’t cut the multi-coloured line on the rod. Extra hooks can be bought on board.
There is usually an experienced, regular fisher who will help if you have difficulties. Arakawa staff want you to have a good time and catch lots of fish.
The boat may move several times to new areas, in which case lines have to be reeled in.
There are toilets on board and you can use the cabins if you need to rest.
On arrival back at the dock, leave the rods and bait boxes on the boat. Hand back all the equipment you picked up, including weighted cages for “aji” to receive back your deposit. If you do break or lose anything, like a rod over the side, you will be charged.
There are pay showers (300 yen) available.
From sea to table
With your own cool box you can take the fish home, or there are sinks with cutting boards on the dockside near the bridge if you want to scale, gut and fillet the fish. There are knives but it’s easier to bring your own. The heads and innards go directly into the water, where mullet and brown rays will be eagerly waiting. Clean these facilities after using them.
It is possible to book a BBQ set to self cook and eat on the dockside. Contact Sandfish direct for more details (number below).
Alternatively, if you have pre-booked your “tsuri pack” at Sandfish, put your fish in a tray and take it upstairs to be prepared. If you have caught more than 6 fish per person, there is a small surcharge.
You’ll receive your fish prepared in a selection of styles like sashimi, tempura, deep and pan fried, etc. depending on fish variety and size.
If you didn’t catch many fish, often the more experienced, regular fishers will donate some of theirs. Sandfish staff want you to have a good time and eat lots of fish.
There is a direct line for Sandfish, 045-701-6672, but you can only take a “tsuri pack” if you have booked to fish.
(Page written in May 2021)