Sometimes the rains fall in Japan

Sometimes the rains fall in Japan

Martyn White | Monday, 10 June 2019

It's getting to be rainy season here in Tokyo, which means overcast to cloudy days, warm stable weather and plenty of water to keep the rivers nicely topped up. I love this time of year in Japan because the freshwater fishing is excellent.

As the humidity started ramping up I  decided to visit a river I had been leaving alone after some major construction work had ruined large sections about 3 years ago. I am glad I did!  As it always does, nature had taken its course and  the floods of the last few rainy seasons had carved out new pools where there had been flat canalised sections, the weedgrowth and insect life had recovered. I found the river teeming with life, huge shoals of this year's fry, minnows and dace were in the shallows with bass, carp and barbel capitalising on this protein rich buffet.

Most of the time, I sight fish the rivers around here as they are so clear and I would rather see 3 fish eat then catch 10 blind casting.  But I wanted to move quite quickly  and cover as  much water as possible so decided on down and across streamer fishing as it meant I could quickly run through the pools, avoid the carp (or so I thought). I also reckoned I would catch or at least move some bass so I could bookmark the locations for future trips.

I headed up to my usual starting spot a kilometre or so above the new sluice, and  quickly made a nonsense of my carp avoidance theory with a flick of the articulated streamer above a lay-down.  Just as the swing started I felt a quick tug followed by a weight that I new couldn't be a bass.  Nice to get off the mark but not the target species.  I quickly moved down stream the new sluice is impassable and if there were in bass this far upstream, they could only be a few holdovers from before the work was done.  As I started on my way beyond the sluice I enjoyed discovering the new topography-going deeper than expected can be quite refreshing in the muggy heat.

I moved several bass over the first mile but they wouldn't commit, but instead of stopping I decided to switch flies and keep going eventually connecting with a nice fish on a 7 inch bucktail deceiver  from behind a large boulder at an inlet .This was followed with another couple of carp and several more smallmouth charging the fly. The refusals were frustrating but I was really focused on exploring the river. Next time I'll be moving more slowly and working likely looking spots more thoroughly with, probably, smaller flies.  In the end I had covered about 8 miles of river, found some nice spots that previously didn't exist and caught a  couple of smallies and few surprise carp which were oddly disappointing. Don't get me wrong, I love fishing for carp and it's a weird feeling to be disappointed when you realise you're connected to a 3ft carp and not an 18 inch bass, but there you go.