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Fishing Trips to Distant Waters

In search of the yet-unseen big catch

Chapter 9: Fishing Trips to Distant Waters - In search of the yet-unseen big catch

Certainly anyone who loves angling has dreamed of taking trips to distant destinations in quest of a giant "monster" game fish. For this issue, I made just such a trip, traveling to Okinawa at the southern end of the Japanese archipelago to try and catch one of my dream fish.

My dream fish, the giant trevally

When asked what fish you dream of catching most, I'm sure there are many different answers, but for me, the giant trevally (commonly known as the "GT") is one fish that I really wanted to catch. The GT is the world's largest member of the genus Caranx (part of the family including horse mackerel, etc.) and it inhabits the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific oceans. It is a large, carnivorous fish said to grow to a body length of 180 cm and a weight of 80 kg - a target worthy of its title as one of the strongest fighters that is caught by lure casting. The fact that it can be caught with poppers and other types of topwater plugs is undeniably one of its biggest appeals. Large lures that range from a lighter 120 grams to giant ones as heavy as 200 grams are cast and reeled in with a jigging action to attract the GT. Few angling moments can match the excitement of seeing a GT of several tens of kilograms breaking the surface as it attacks the lure. What's more, the GT inhabits shallow coastal waters full of natural obstacles such as rocks or coral reefs, which means that once the fish is hooked, the angler has to keep a strong drag on the line and fight the violent pulls of the giant fish to keep it from cutting the line. The size of the fish and the tackle needed to catch it makes for an exciting angling challenge.

In Japan, Yamaha runs a rental boat service and we used it for this trip

A long-distance outing to catch a GT

My attempt to catch a GT started with an early morning departure from the marina on a day at the beginning of October. My goal was to land a GT of over 20 kg. That is the average size for GTs caught in the waters of Okinawa, but for me it would be one of the largest fish I had ever targeted. Our boat this time was the Yamaha "YF-23" fishing boat marketed in Japan, and it was powered by an "F115A" outboard motor. Because there was a typhoon approaching at the time, the waters were a bit rough, but that was no problem with the reliable Yamaha boat and engine, so we moved ahead smoothly and the ride was thoroughly enjoyable. As a warm-up, we started by making our way around fishing points not far from port. At that first spot, there was some response to the bait but no strikes, so we moved on to the next spot. There, we had little response, so we headed farther out to the next fishing point.

By the time we arrived at this third spot, I was finally used to the weight of the heavy-duty fishing tackle. It was a spot with a good tidal flow through a coral reef off the end of a small island and it was the main spot for serious fishing on this day's outing. Our hopes were high at this point. I set up my rod with a 120-gram popper and made a cast at the point. It was the moment of my third jig action on that first cast that the strike came. I caught a glimpse of a giant shadow nearing the water surface and in the next instant my rod was bent to the limit and the air was filled with the whine of the drag on my reel. I held my breath as I held on against the powerful pull and managed to keep the fish from diving for the reef. From there I reeled it in some before having to let it run again. I was nearing the limits of my physical endurance when I was finally able to land this fish, and the only way I could describe its size was indeed, giant. With a length of 132 cm and a weight of 38 kg, it far exceeded the target I was hoping for on this trip! What a successful long-distance outing! It was an experience I'm sure I will never forget in my life as an angler. I'm grateful to the fishing guide, the people at the marina and the Yamaha marine products that helped make my dream trip a success.

The power of the GT is so strong that it feels like your whole rod will be pulled into the ocean
There is a huge sense of achievement just being able to catch one
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