Extreme Fishing with Robson Green

Monday 22 November, 9:00pm on Five

The fishing adventure series with Robson Green continues. This week, the Geordie heads to Japan, where he encounters a culture quite obsessed with fish. After dicing with death in attempting to catch and eat the highly poisonous fugu, Robson goes in search of the tiny ayu, some bottomdwelling sea snails and the magnificent oilfish. Robson starts his Japanese adventure with an early morning visit to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji market – the largest fish market in the world. Ten per cent of all the fish caught across the globe pass through this vast emporium, which takes millions of pounds every day. Some 400 different types of seafood are sold here – amongst them the highly poisonous fugu, or blowfish. “It says a lot about the Japanese that their favourite delicacy is a fish that could send you six feet under,” reflects Robson. “And they’ll pay up to a hundred quid for the pleasure!” Unfortunately for him, Robson’s experience of the iconic fugu does not end at Tsukiji. The following morning, the Geordie joins a local fisherman for a perilous trip into the unknown. “It’s bewildering and petrifying at the same time,” he says. Having donned several layers of protective clothing to safeguard against the deadly toxins in the fish’s skin, Robson helps prepare the lines. So valuable are the blowfish that Robson’s guide lays some 1,500 hooks to ensure he does not return to land with nothing. After a long wait on the calm seas, it is time to pull in the lines. Will Robson have caught his first fugu, and will he live to tell the tale if he does? “The suspense is killing me!” he says. The next stop is the Kano river, where the intrepid angler prepares for a fishing trip with a difference. A popular sport in this region involves dressing in wetsuits and using live bait to catch ayu, a tiny but supposedly delicious fish. Using a method known locally as ayu-no-tomozuri, Robson and his guide hook a live ayu, then release it into the water. When the hooked fish encounters another, a fight will break out and the second fish will also become ensnared – or at least that is the theory. After four hours in the water, Robson has had no luck. “I’m reliant on how aggressive my little fish is feeling,” he says. “Unfortunately, this one seems to be a bit of a pacifist.” Half an hour and a change of bait later, Robson finally manages to catch a tiny fish – but promptly drops it when removing it from the net.

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