Martyn White | Thursday, 1 April 2021

I have a Japanese friend who's always trying to get me to go fishing with him on mountain lakes and streams for tiny yamame trout and iwana char. I can't really motivate myself to do it when there are other species that are so much more interesting to me here in Japan.

Growing up in the Scottish countryside I think I was quite spoiled with some of the fishing that was available to me; 20lb plus pike were not that unusual, perch over 2lb fairly common, not to mention the excellent lochstyle fishing available on the likes of Leven, Carron valley and the island lochs, nthen there's the lowland rivers.  I find it hard to enjoy fishing for trout here, especially when I've tried to replicate lochstyle in the lightweight boats that skate along like an empty crisp bag when you try to set a drift.  Maybe it's my general mindset, but I just get frustrated.

That said, there are many and varied opportunites here that don't exist back home and some of them might be spoiling me in much the same way.  There are carp and bass that we don't have back home, the seabass are far more prolific and there's the tropical options like triggers and trevally on the Okinawan flats as well as summer time tuna and mahimahi in Tokyo bay- I still remember watching Paul Young catching mahi on TV when I was about 7 or 8 and wondering if I'd ever get the chance to catch one.  No matter how pretty, a 7" trout can't compete.

But really it's the smallmouth that are probably spoiling me, and I only realised recently while talking to my Canadian mate Chuck, I mentioned that I had caught a little smallie about 18", which surprised him an he told me that was a pretty decent smallmouth. See he's used to normal smallmouth, he's from Canada and lives a good bit North of Tokyo in Tochigi prefecture where the bass population in the rivers is fairly normal. I on the other hand, started fishing the rivers around Tokyo where the population is pretty small but with a large average size fish.  I genuinely just thought  fish over 20" were fairly normal occurences that you could expect.  So maybe I should embrace the grind to get a few fish and be glad of the size.

That said, I have caught more smaller fish than ever this year, I assume in part because lockdown kept the gear guys away from the spawingn beds last spring, so maybe things will shift a little and the fishing will be a bit less spicimen heavy round here too in coming years.