With the sweetfish season coming to an end during autumn, the onset of winter sees a rise in Sukumo’s population of ‘suzuki’ – Japanese sea bass.
The weather in Sukumo can retain an autumnal climate up until the start of the year. Once the cold sets in, however, the sea bass’ typical winter behavioural pattern of swimming down into deeper waters to lay their eggs can finally commence.
All the sea bass, however, do not swim down to deeper waters together. Many will make the journey as early as December, with others remaining in the coastal areas gathering their strength until journeying down as late as February.
It is therefore an obvious time of year to go fishing for sea bass, with both Sukumo’s fishing ports and the bridge piers over the Matsuda River packed with fishermen and women by night, diligently casting a variety of lights, bait and lures to ensure a good catch.
Besides the typical fishing method consisting of throwing lines down to the riverbed, the fishermen and women of Sukumo have been heavily influenced by a method used in Kuroshio to catch barracudas and other species, in which lures with rotating ends are cast into the water, with the fish then using their mouths to bite the attractive lures. This is no easy feat to accomplish, however. Despite its mild winter months, the temperature in Sukumo still drops in the early year, and with strong north-westerly winds blowing, the groups of people brave enough to wade into the river during the night need hardiness and determination, as well as their equipment, if they are to succeed.


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