Pike & Muskie Fishing photo

Though I sincerely hope some of you get after a few steelhead, or trout, or stripers, or muskies before dinner tomorrow, I’m sure a bunch of you will spend your morning prepping the Thanksgiving feast. So here’s a fun little food story to share at the table. Imagine, if instead of buying a Butterball bird, you set a live turkey loose in the yard and the only way anyone could eat is if they had to snare the gobbler first. That’s exactly what goes on at Zauo restaurant in Japan, just substitute turkey for fish, of course.


According to this story on The Daily Telegraph’s website, Zauo is quite the popular joint. You sit on big wooden boats hovering over pools of live fish, and if you can’t wield the provided rod like a pro, you don’t eat. And we’re not talking about farmed carp or trout or perch here. At Zauo, they’ve got everything from red snapper to mackerel to sharks in those pools. Only thing is, if you are lucky enough to have your waitress sink the net and land your catch, the article says “the staff will sometimes do a silly cheer in honor of you catching a fish, and ask you how you want it prepared.”

I’d ask that they skip the silly cheer if I caught something, because nothing makes me more uncomfortable than being called out or sung to in a restaurant (if you ever want to make me mad, tell the wait staff at On The Border or Olive Garden it’s my birthday; my friends used to do it to me often). I don’t think the Zauo concept would ever take off in the U.S., however, because then you’d know the “Icelandic cod” special you just ordered at the Red Lobster is really tilapia, and it would only be a matter of time before some jokester contaminated the tank by sneaking in a pack of Gulp! corn niblets.

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone, and stay safe on the water this weekend.