Fishing for Gobies in Odaiba
When most people think of activities to do in Tokyo, fishing is probably one of the last things on their minds. However, Tokyo does offer several fishing spots that are easily accessible to anyone looking to catch some fish in the city. Odaiba Seaside Park is one of these places. The park features a stretch of land where fishing is absolutely free no matter the time of day! However, not all of the shoreline is open to fishing. (Please refer to this website. The fishing area is highlighted in blue while the fishing prohibited area is highlighted in pink.)
No license or fee is required, and you can simply drop your line in the water and fish to your heart’s content. I’ve been waiting for quite some time to test my luck fishing in Odaiba. The fish I have been reading about and preparing to catch are called gobies, small fish that reach maturity during the late summer to autumn months of the year. From autumn season is said to be the best time for catching good-sized gobies.
The great thing about fishing for gobies is that these little fish can be caught with minimal equipment, even without a rod. But that being said, fishing is still a highly technical activity that requires some preparation. You must prepare your own line, hooks and container for keeping gobies you caught, and bait. If you have all this, the procedure for catching gobies is very simple. During high tide, gobies can be found hiding in the crevasses between the rocks close to shore. All you need to do is lower your line into the cracks and wait for a nibble! I fished by just wrapping the line around my fingers; however, you could also find a small branch or twig to use as a substitute fishing rod if you prefer. (Tide times can be found here)
The line I used to fish for gobies
I found that the best bait for goby fishing are asari clams (あさり). They give off a fairly strong odor that the gobies seem to really love! For a couple hundred yen, the clams can be bought at a Maruetsu supermarket next to the Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station nearby. One pack should be more than enough to last an entire day of goby fishing.
Asari あさり clams Photo by LeaMaimone
Gobies generally start biting a few seconds after dropping the bait into the water. If you don’t feel a nibble on your line at all, it’s probably best to move on to another spot. I found that the darker the hole, the more bites that occur. Oftentimes I would pull up the line and find my bait had been taken. But don't be discouraged, reset your line, and give it another shot! Do be warned though, the rocks where gobies like to hide are also home to crabs. These crabs definitely will go for your bait too, and it can be annoyingly amusing when you find a crab with its claws clamped around the bait and refusing to let go!
My gobies after being frozen overnight
Gobies apparently have small suction cups on their bellies
After catching the gobies, you have an option between bringing it home to eat or releasing them back into the water. I brought my gobies back to cook. Gobies are a fairly easy fish to handle. The innards don’t necessarily need to be removed before cooking. However, they are very slimy so make sure to wash them clean! I was planning on frying up my gobies but ended up just pan-frying instead to save trouble. Season them however you want and they make for a tasty snack or as a side dish to complement your dinner. Of course, if you catch enough of them, you may serve them as the main dish itself! Anyway, if you’re in Tokyo and looking to go fishing for food or for fun, Odaiba Seaside Park is a great location to do so.
Approaching the end of the day at Odaiba
Location: Odaiba Seaside Park (お台場海浜公園)
Time: 24h (Goby season lasts from until the end of November)
Price: Free indefinitely. No catch limit. (However, remember to prepare your own equipment-fishing rods are optional)
Access: Yurikamome Line –
Daiba Station (Closest station to fishing grounds).
Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station (Closest to supermarket for buying bait).
Rinkai Line –
Tokyo Teleport Station (Longer walk to fishing grounds).