Mr. Mamoru Mima, a fisherman engaged in dragnet fishing, leaves Tsuda Port during daytime and works on his boat until 5:00 early in the morning. When lights start to light up at the bottom of Mt. Bizan far away, he throws a net into the sea by using a motor, making high-pitched sounds, and starts night time fishing. The place offshore Tokushima is a rich fishing site as freshwater containing nutrients abundantly comes from the Yoshino River and others. This is one of the best fishing places to catch hamo fish (Japanese conger), which is essential for the dishes of summer festivals such as Gion Festival and Tenjin Festival in Kansai region, with the highest catches in Japan.
Since hamo fish is nocturnal, the fishing started when it became dark. After setting the net near the sea bottom, the boat started moving. When I noticed, it became completely dark outside. Because the moon hid behind the clouds on this day, there was pitch-black darkness where no boundary between the sky and sea was recognized.
“I repeat dropping the net in the sea and drawing it out of the water four times a night,” said Mr. Mima, steering the boat in the pilot house installed with a fish detector. Normally, he just waits for the moment when enough fish gather in the net in the darkness on the sea alone.
After dragging the net for about one hour, he hoisted it by using the motor at a stroke. In the net, actively moving hamo fish were found, as well as shrimp, horse mackerel and other kinds of fish. The caught fish were spread on the floor of the boat, and firstly, fierce hamo fish, which have sharp teeth, were quickly removed from the net with special tongs. Then, other fish were sort out into baskets. He again threw the net into the water and moved the boat to another target site. In the darkness, far away from the trace of the boat lit by lights for luring fish at night, I saw different lights swaying in the town.