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Yeow! 17" Catfish by the Jefferson Memorial! Learn to Fish in 30 Seconds!

Learning to Fish in 30 Seconds!

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Travels in Fishing

- Tokyo -

Shurakuen?!

May 22, 2006

One thing I detest are people who are just plain unhelpful. I tried to find a place to fish in Tokyo and after three hours, at least two tour guides, and a cab driver later, I stumbled on a place that sounds like the one in the Time Asia’s article, but who knows? It sure doesn’t show up in Google …

So I will tell you EXACTLY how to find such a place.

  • Go to the Ichigaya stop on the Keio line
  • (If you are staying in Shinjuku, it is the third stop east)
  • On exiting, make sure the Starbucks (… yes) is over your right shoulder
  • Walk slightly downhill and over the bridge
  • Go down the first set of steps on your right on the right side of the road.
  • You should see posters that remind you of an aquarium or pet store. That’s it!

The lady behind the booth speaks only Japanese apparently and shows you a sign for 870 ¥ (yen) – less than $10 US (at 108 yen to the dollar). You are given a 3-foot stick with some pink mono attached, which you unwind from the stick to a very thin bobber and #6 hook. She gives you a margarine cup with a gray ball the size of a small orange inside. There may be 10-15 others sitting on milk crates fishing.

It turns out that the ball is bait and is to be torn off in small pieces and pressed onto the hook. Then toss the lot into a pond (must be 4-5 self-contained pools).

I tried this for about 20 minutes (of my allotted hour) and saw one fellow was doing better than most; so I got up and motioned if I could watch him. He did one better.

He took my “rod”, adjusted the bobber to the right depth, and fiddled with a tiny collar-like weight. Then he showed me where to toss it all. One key input: it seems you are encouraged to chum; so throw a small handful of the gray bait over the place where the bobber is.

He quietly left with his stash (about 6-7 12” carp), but then came back and sat by me, as a silent coach, appropriatelytossing in more chum as needed. There were three of us fishing the pond, but I caught not just one, which gave me quite a run around the pool, but another just as my time was almost up. I bowed and thanked him. The 30-Second Fisherman was not skunked that day!

It was the highlight of three days in Tokyo … that and having a drink at the top of the Park Hyatt (Lost in Translation?)

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