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In January this year, Captain Riley and his partner Deedee who is also a Captain in Sitka, made their way to Okinawa, Japan, where they explored the island, went scuba diving, and most importantly, WENT FISHING.


Our first weekend in Okinawa, Riley, Deedee, and Tyler (Riley’s friend from high school who was hosting us) went on a fishing charter with Legasea Charters. We researched around, and even though some of the other charters had more reviews, word on the street was that Legsea was the better of the three main ones to go fishing with. We’d like to agree.

On our way to the port, we stopped at Family Mart to grab snacks and beverages, since they aren’t catered like we do at Outer Limits. That wasn’t a problem though because the food in convenience stores in Japan are MUCH BETTER and MUCH CHEAPER than in the States. For coffee and snacks, Deedee and Riley spent about $12 combined for the entire day. Okinawa is mostly a cash society but Family Mart does take credit cards.

Once we got to the boat, we noticed most of the people were military (Tyler is in the Air Force) and it seems that is the main client base for Legasea. Apparently, it is fairly unique for people to fish in Okinawa just for vacation. All the military guys were definitely frothin’ on going fishing, which was cool to see. There was also a father and his son who hadn’t been out fishing before and both did pretty decent. Although for a second it looked like the boy was going to get sick, our deckhand Marvin gave him this Japanese nauseous medication. Seems like it was effective and didn’t make him tired like the stuff we have in the States so we took a picture of the bottle. We never made it over to a drugstore to bring some back for our clients though (planning on trying to find it online though).

We started fishing on the way out, trolling at about 12 knots for about two hours into the Subtropical Pacific. We had zero love until we were about 2 minutes from the first buoy we’d fish at. We were all on the bow when we heard the reel start taking off, and the most enthusiastic guy Kyle, jumped on and hooked him. After a few minutes, he passed it off and Tyler cranked it the rest of the way in. It was a super nice mahi! When our deckhand brought it onboard, our Japanese Captain, Yogi-San,  jumped onto the deck in his thongs with socks and helped bleed it and drag it into the hold. We trolled around for a little while longer, then our Captain Yogi-san set the drift. 

They taught us how to drift fish with kibinago (silver-stripped round herring), letting us know to let the line out about 30 pulls and wait. The mono line was about 50lb test, thick, and wasn’t super smooth going out, so Deedee caught a few fish just trying to clean up the line (haha!). She also picked a spot on the bow which made it more exciting to have to climb around stuff. Riley was a little worried she would fall in but they were baiting their own hooks unhooking their fish after Marvin showed them the best way. The guys on the stern of the boat were jig fishing which didn’t seem super effective to start but they were enthusiastic and eventually caught a few.

Turned out to be a pretty productive day of fishing. We were stoked, especially going into it with zero expectations. 

On the way back in, Marvin cleaned the fish while the military bros helped him bag. The mahi was split out evenly to everyone on the boat since it was caught on the troll and the tuna was split roughly between who caught what since some of the guys were marking their fish with zip ties. We weren’t going to have a great way to bring fish back, so we didn’t take any of our split outside of what Tyler thought he could eat. We did eat some of the tuna that Marvin prepared on the boat and some again a few times later during our stay. Tyler’s wife, Heather, was super happy though, claiming she could eat a whole tuna to herself. 


We were told that there was a good bite for mahi this time of year out of Chinnin, but unfortunately, the weekend was already too full for the three of us to get on the boat. So instead, on our final trip, we went out of Naha with Captain Yoshi and Deckhand Marvin and made our way out to the East China Sea.

Marvin told us legends about our Captain, including that he at one point had the record for the largest marlin ever caught in Okinawa (and maybe in Japan?). Apparently, fishing also put his kids through school. Yoshi’s children are Doctors, Lawyers, but the youngest is a fisherman. We’re guessing the youngest is the favorite. After hearing these stories, and watching Captain Yoshi set up the gear, Deedee felt compelled to get more of the folklore from the Captain himself, so she pulled out her Google Translate and asked him via the translator to see his fish photos. 

After a little confusion, he understood her request and pulled out his business card which was bent up and wrinkly but had a faded photo of the biggest marlin we’d ever seen. Then he pulled out an album of huge tuna and kept pointing at the jig hanging out of the tuna's mouth in the photos. It was the same jig in every photo. Turns out Yoshi had made it himself and he’d made all of the jigs we were trolling with. Unfortunately, nothing on the troll this trip but Yoshi points to Deedee and says in broken English, “Next time, you big,” and puts out his arms like he’s holding a big fish. We got to the first buoy, and it was time to drift.

Although the last time, bait drift fishing seemed to be the most effective style, Riley decided to jig fish to start. He found some Daiwa rubber baits at one of the many fishing stores we explored and he was frothin’ to try them. Right away, he hooks into the first tuna. Then the second. Then third. Yoshi’s getting excited and taking a liking to Riley. 

Meanwhile, Deedee starts getting a little frustrated drift fishing so she joins Riley and Tyler on the jig. Then everyone on the boat starts jigging away. Drift after drift, our whole crew of five just works the jigs super hard and we keep slinging in fish. Yoshi keeps saying, “Deeper bigger!”

Riley kept poking his head into the cabin window to look at the screen and was getting SUPER excited. The screen was marking everywhere. So we drop an estimated 100m down and work it on the jig up. It's exhausting but fun. The fishing turns out super good and we take 56 tuna home.

Near the end of the day, Riley tells Yoshi that we’re probably good on fishing (and that we want enough time to catch our flight home), but like a true fanatic, Yoshi says okay but only after one more drift. We catch a few more, wrap up, and make our way home trolling. 

We pull the fish out of the hold, take some fish pictures, and then Marvin sets up a table to clean the fish. We decide to help him, knowing how much it can suck to have a lot of fish to clean by yourself.  

He teaches Riley how to fillet and we all make it quick work while Deedee puts the fish on the table, Riley and Marvin fillet, and Tyler and his buddies bag. When we’re all wrapped up, we realize the cooler is full. Unfortunately for Tyler, we had to fly out right after our charter (we changed clothes to be less stinky on the plane), so he and his wife Heather had to clean the bloodline and bag the fish by themselves that night. Despite having to work solo, they crushed it and had it all wrapped up by midnight.

The next day, Tyler brought his and Riley’s two biggest Tuna to a woman named Hiroko-san who makes gyotaku fish prints with color at this fishing store. We still don’t know how to pronounce the name of the store but you can find it here. The shop is covered with gyotaku prints from hundreds of varieties of Japanese tropical fish. Hiroko-san was working on a nice mahi when we checked her out the day before. For lack of a better way to describe the trinkets, there are also all these little robots made out of old fishing gear around the store to look at. If you are in Okinawa, it's worth a stop. We’ll try to keep you posted when we get those prints back!

Anyway, overall, we’d super recommend fishing with Legsea Charters in Okinawa, Japan. If you can swing it, pop over to Northern Japan for some great powder skiing while you’re at it like we did. It's surprisingly much more affordable than you’d think and the fishing is GREAT FUN!

Written by Deedee Creed

Photos taken by Tyler Marsh with a disposable camera


LEGASEA FACEBOOK - Legasea is very active on Facebook, so this is the best way to get information on available charters.


Captain Riley (350) 556-8656

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