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Master of Scaremonies
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Aging angler swears there's nothing better than feel of invisible mountain skyfish

September 25, 2006
Copyright 2004-2005 THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS. All rights reserved.

Skyfish are mysterious, paranormal objects that fly through the skies or swim in water at speeds so incredibly fast they're invisible to the human eye, but are regularly captured on video camera. And Japan is home to one of the world's most adept skyfish anglers, according to Cyzo.

Incredibly, Kozo Ichikawa, a 64-year-old tangerine farmer from a rustic part of Shizuoka Prefecture, claims he can catch the skyfish - also referred to as Unidentified Marine Animals -- with his bare hands.

Ichikawa has already displayed his talents on a DVD about the most effective methods used in skyfishing and made by Jose Escamilla, one of the world's leading experts on paranormal phenomena.

While no samples of living skyfish are in captivity, nor have any samples been found for that matter, the sexagenarian farmer has no doubts that they exist.

"When I was a little kid, I used to catch them all the time," he tells Cyzo. "Now, though, the environment's gone bad and you've got to go deeper and deeper into the mountains to see them anywhere."

Ichikawa says that he's now too old and frail to try and head up to the high mountain peaks where skyfish are easily caught by hand, but insists that it can be done. He's also refusing to take on apprentices, but says that watching the skyfishing DVDs tells anybody anything they need to know to catch one of the bizarre creatures.

Considering Japanese eat more fish than any other people on the planet, how would the skyfish go down at the local sushi bar? Not well at all, according to Ichikawa, who says skyfish aren't for consumption.

"You don't eat skyfish," he says. "You just catch them and then release them again. That's all. Mind you, if you did eat them, I guess they'd probably taste a bit like nata de coco (a healthy, jelly-like Filipino food produced from coconut milk)."

Ichikawa says the appeal of skyfishing by hand all comes down to one thing.

"They feel so good to touch," he tells Cyzo.

With skyfishing growing in popularity, a follow-up DVD has recently been released onto the market featuring successful skyfishers from across the globe advising wannabe air anglers on how to catch the curious creatures. Ichikawa is delighted by the sequel.

"As a skyfisherman myself, I'd love to meet these people," Ichikawa tells Cyzo. "And I'd really like them to study my methods on skyfishing by hand and tell me if they work overseas, too." (By Ryann Connell)

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