“Hookin’ Up with Mariko Izumi” is a show about what you see in this picture. That’s right, that rod she is holding is a fishing rod! Mariko Izumi hosts a fishing show on WFN, the World Fishing Network channel. She is daughter of champion angler Wayne Izumi and the niece of angler and TV host, Bob Izumi. I first encountered the Izumi family when trying to relax by watching guys bash each other on the Versus channel. I noticed a show called Bob Izumi’s Real Fishing show, and the Asian name caught my eye. Bob Izumi is a full time professional angler and in addition to being Mariko’s uncle, is an co-author of a number of books and is the chairman of of the Fish for Ever Foundation, a conservation foundation dedicated toward preserving Ontario’s fisheries.
How did these Japanese Canadians get into the fishing business? It seems that Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians have had some influence in fishing in the US Northwest and Canada. The fishing technique for salmon called “Mooching,” drift-fishing using only a banana-lead weight tied to a leader with a herring, described here, was said to be invented to by Japanese immigrant fisherman. The name, according to this account, comes from these Japanese fisherman who did so well that other fisherman would “mooch” their bait to use themselves. The Tengu fishing derby in Elliott Bay near Seattle was started by these Japanese-American fisherman in the 1930’s. A “Tengu” is a creature from Japanese mythology whose nose, like Pinnochio’s, grew when it lied, a perfect name for a fishing contest (think “fish” stories about “the one that got away”). The tournament was interrupted by the Japanese American internment, but has been going on ever since. Bob Izumi’s father started one of the first fishing tournaments in Ontario. Japanese-American and Seattle Native Mark Yuasa blogs about fishing for the Seattle Times.
Researching this post makes me want to try fishing some day. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the influence that Asian-Americans and Asian-Canadians have had on fishing in North America. Plus, Mariko Izumi’s show seems like a great and certainly easy on the eyes way to start learning about it!