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Fishing the Seto Inland Sea

Take a small, fast fishing boat from Niihama to fish for sea bream

Fishing the Seto Inland Sea

Niihama is located on the ‘waist’ of Shikoku facing the widest part of the Seto Inland Sea. The city has a big fishing port from which small, high-powered fishing boats sally forth and bring back a wide variety of seafood that used for preparing meals in local homes and restaurants.

The Seto Inland Sea is known as the Mediterranean or the Aegean of Japan for its many islands and its blue waters and skies. It’s a truly beautiful place and exploring its coastline is enough for many people. But the adventurous won’t be satisfied until they get out on the water and feel its salty spray. Out on the waves, you can look back and see the huge mountains of the Shikoku Range that fill the interior of the island.

From Niihama, you can take one of these fishing boats out into the Inland Sea and fish for sea bream, the preeminent predator of this region. Sea bream is prized for its vigour, its pinkish red appearance, and the delicate flavour of its plump, white flesh. Its name in Japanese, tai, is associated with good fortune.

The fishing boat has an engine worthy of a racing car, and it can cover large distances quickly. It’s designed to accommodate nine passengers, either on deck or in the cabin. The captain can produce a variety of drinks according to the occasion. There’s a toilet on board offering peace of mind on longer trips. The boat is equipped with the latest fish radar so the captain can take you where the hunting’s good.

For catching sea bream, you use short, flexible fishing rods with a weight and lure. Drop the lure over the side and it quickly sinks to the seafloor at 30 m or so. You reel the lure up 20 turns and let it drop again until you get a bite. Then you reel in your catch and ease it into the boat with net. Sea bream vary in size from 20 cm to well over a metre.

One of the best places to catch sea bream is the islands around the Shimanami Kaidō, easily accessible from Niihama. The sea between the islands resembles large lakes, and the boat moves between these secluded areas as the conditions dictate on the day. Some of the islands are uninhabited, but they’re conveniently equipped with all the facilities required for turning the catch into delicious meals, be it sashimi, fish barbecue, or even seafood pizza. Their sandy beaches are also ideal for picnics and swimming.

If you’d like to explore the Inland Sea more intimately, let us know and we’ll plan you a trip.

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