Thursday, January 17, 2019

Species Hunting fun in Japan : Back in Osaka.

On our penultimate day in Osaka we visited its castle in the afternoon and afterwards, under strict supervision, I was allowed to visit an incredible tackle shop that was dedicated to only lure fishing styles. After spending a while browsing I treated myself to a spool of Sunline Small Game braid, a few pieces of end tackle and a rockfishing magazine/DVD managing to spend less than £50 in the process so Lillian did a fantastic job of keeping me under control! The evening before our day trip to Rabbit Island Masa had very generously pointed me in the direction of some marks I could fish for Japanese horse mackerel that were only a couple of metro stops away from our accomodation. In the evening Lillian decided to have a nap after we ate way too much grilled chicken for our dinner so I grabbed my gear, jumped on the Chūō line and headed out on my own for a couple of hours' fishing.

Osaka after dark from the top floor window of the Osaka Bay Tower. A huge ferris wheel lit up red marked the spot.

I started my session at the same spot near the aquarium where I'd fished a few days earlier but after a while I'd had no bites so I walked to a second spot, one that Masa had recommended. Another angler was there already and I watched him catch the target species as I approached so I started fishing along from him. Simply casting out and feeling for takes on the drop I was soon catching a few Japanese horse mackerel as well which I gave to the local angler as he was keeping the ones he was catching. My time was soon up but quite happy to have caught a few of my target species I headed off.

I'd bought some new jigheads and soft plastics to use and went with the combo above, an Ecogear Aji Chon jighead and ThirtyFour Octplus lure. The jighead is designed to nose hook the soft plastic but I went with a more standard straight presentation which worked fine.
My first Japanese horse mackerel. Prized by Japanese anglers Aji are a popular target because they are both delicious and good fun on the tackle used to catch them.

On our last day in Osaka I wanted to try and catch some tanago. After another supervised trip to a tackle shop to replenish my micro fishing supplies, we headed to some large ponds next to the Yodo river in the north of the city. Again Masa had given me the location and had told me it was a famous spot amongst Osaka tanago anglers. Another serious looking sign greeted us upon our arrival that this time had photos of tanago on it. I was sure Masa wouldn't send my to fish somewhere that tanago fishing wasn't allowed so I just set about finding a likely looking spot to fish.

There are several different species of tanago in Japan. Masa would later tell me the one on this sign is very rare and protected.

Setting up my rod the wind began to pick up and when I got started this made it very difficult to fish with such incredibly light tackle. Eventually I found some slightly more sheltered spots and started getting some tentative bites. My tiny float would just dip slightly though and I struggled to connect with them. The gluten bait I was using didn't seem to stay on the hook very long either so I switched to a tiny piece of cooked rice. Finally my perseverance paid off when I got a much more positive bite, my tiny float went straight under and I lifted into a tiny fish. Swinging it quickly to hand I was excited for a brief moment before I realised that it wasn't a tanago and was in fact a tiny bluegill.

How annoying!

By this point we were both pretty cold so I reluctantly admitted defeat and we headed off to get some piping hot Takoyaki in a nearby restaurant before catching a bus back into the city. The following day we were getting up early to take a train up north into the mountains to spend a couple of days relaxing at a traditional Japanese ryokan in the hot spring town of Shibu Onsen. I wasn't sure if I'd get any opportunities to fish but I was really looking forward to this relaxing part of the trip even if the end of our adventure was fast approaching. 

Tight lines, Scott.

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