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Chris Pancoast knows where big ones are waiting

By: David Knickerbocker

Date Posted: 2001-10-01

A “shimagaijin” is a foreigner who loves Okinawa enough to claim it as his or her home. Fishing fanatic Chris Pancoast is one. There are many on Okinawa. The word “shima” means island and “gaijin” is a foreigner.

Chris came to Okinawa about ten years ago as a member of the United States Air Force and claims he has been fishing since he was three years old, twenty-five years ago. He always wanted to be a fisherman when he was growing up, so that is the occupation he chose to pursue. After five years of service in the military, Chris left the service and has been making ends meet with his love for fishing ever since. He is currently working with the Awase Harbor boat captains running his own chartering service, taking fishing fanatics wherever they want to go. I asked Chris how much the average fishing trip costs to those wishing to use his chartering service and he explained that it is hard to say because there are so many different types of excursions to participate in and so many types of fish to catch, and each fishing trip is specialized on what the customer wants. However, the most you will pay is $100 per person for an all-day offshore fishing trip, and according to Chris, his fishing trips average between 40 to 100 fish.

Chris says he is planning to open a new kind of fishing store in Awase, Okinawa City in the near future. He plans his new store to be more of a hangout for fishermen and others to come and discuss fishing. Its main purpose is for charter people to come and purchase the right gear. "At many stores on Okinawa, you end up paying more than you should because you buy things you really don't need or won't use very often. We'll make sure you get exactly what you need, and if the prices are high, we'll look for the best deals for you. You don't need to buy anything extra or buy the wrong items," says Chris, adding, "Fishing should be fun, not expensive." His new fishing store will be a learning place, where people will drop by to give or receive advice or to discuss the monster marlin they caught or the one that got away. "It will be more of a pro shop than anything else. A fisherman's paradise," he adds.

During October, white squid, big mahi mahi, wahoo, tama, and yamatobi are in season. White squid can be caught in-shore using lures, mahi mahi is caught in the deep sea using trolling gear or bait, wahoo is also caught deep sea using trolling equipment, tama is caught in-shore using squid or cut fish as bait, and yamatobi is caught in-shore using the same. For solid advice on how to go about catching these fish and squid, give Chris a call at 090-9788-0282. He is more than happy to help a fellow fisherman.

If taking a deep sea fishing cruise or enjoying a relaxing day of offshore fishing seems appealing to you, consider using Chris Pancoast's chartering group. He has been on island a long time and knows many of the best spots to catch the fish of your dream. He also has many interesting stories to tell of his intriguing fishing career. For more information on his chartering service, give Chris a call. He loves fishing, and his trips go seven days a week, depending on the weather. You can reach him at his cell phone number above or call him at 939-7682. "We make your dreams come true," says Chris. "There are so many types of fish and so many ways to catch them."

Starting in the first week of October, Chris Pancoast will submit a monthly article to Japan Update about fishing on Okinawa. He will discuss what the big catches are for the current month, where to catch them, what bait is most effective, and tips that might make your fishing excursion more enjoyable and successful.

How to make sashimi

Sashimi is a delicacy served in many of the restaurants on Okinawa. Foreigners who are brave enough to try raw fish for their first time usually end up enjoying it as its tender texture is appealing both to the taste and other senses. In this example on how to make sashimi, Chris used a fish called “Kochi” he caught off of the Sunabe Seawall.

The first thing you want to do when making sashimi is scale and gut the fish. Then, make two shallow cuts down the center of the back, just deep enough to get a line, and two cuts down the fish's stomach following the backbone. Be sure to keep the head attached in this next step as it will prevent you from cutting yourself if your knife slips. Start from the tail and cut towards the head of the fish, following the backbone, all the way to the head. Be sure to hold on to the fish's head while doing this in case the knife hits a bone and slips toward your hand. The fish's head will protect you from cutting your hand in these circumstances. Do this on both sides. Next, do two clean cuts down the side of the head, separating the filets from the fish. You will now have two filets and leftover fish bones and body. To separate the skin from the filet, hold the filet down and put pressure under the meat and go along the skin cutting away from you to remove the skin. Once you have removed the skin, be sure to make sure to remove all bones, and then make one-centimeter cuts going down the side of the fish. You are now ready to feast on the freshest sashimi you can find anywhere.

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