Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans

Martyn White | Tuesday, 21 January 2020

My year end trip for 2019 was to a new-to-me river in Nagano prefecture. My mate Hiromiki, who came to Okinawa for his first saltwater trip with us in the summer invited me to join him and Igarashi-San for 3 days on the Sai river which has a good head of very nice wild browns and rainbows from stockings some decades ago.

I rarely fish for trout in Japan as I find it hard to pass by the carp, bass and snakehead that surround me. However, I was pretty excited to get away from Tokyo and fish in some nicer natural surroundings, with (I hoped) less fishing pressure and, of course, the fish. Fishing pressure in Japan is incredible, it's really hard to get just how much there is across to people who haven't fished here, but I hoped that the 3 hour drive would make a difference.

The first day started off pretty well,  Igarashi-San caught a nice 50cm rainbow almost immediately after starting down the first pool and shortly after I hooked up with a smaller fish on a Czech nymph. Things were looking good.  Then, I broke my 3wt, a bit disappointing but I had a 6 with me too. This coincided roughly with me finding out that for some reason fishing upstream is against the rules on the Sai.. So I broke out the streamer box for the rest of the day. We had no further contact with fish on day one, and unfortunately spent a fair bit of our time looking for water without other anglers already there, so much for my ideas about escaping fishing pressure. Back to the inn to relax in the hot spring bath. 


Day 2 was snowing heavily in the morning and we had much of the day without seeing any other rods. I was feeling pretty good about that and as we worked through a particularly nice section below a Shinto shrine, turned a nice fish with an articulated sex dungeon, then it wasn't long before I came tight to a nice cock brown about 4lb. Which got off before making it to the net, I lost what would have been my biggest river brown by some margin. The bad luck wasn't only mine though, Hiromiki took a tumble into the river mid morning. Luckily he was in shallow water and unhurt, but he was cold and very wet. Not ideal, but he kept fishing (savage) and caught a fish later in the day. In the afternoon the weather improved which signalled a quick increase in anglers on the water and no more action for us the rest of the day and a leak in my waders to boot. The cold and wet made the hot spring bath feel particularly good that night. 


The third day was sunny and fishless on a very busy river. None of us had so much as an pull and, to add insult to injury, I managed to take a bad fall down a the river bank while scrambling with elephant like nimbleness down to the water, bashed in my reel cage and seemingly every surface of my body on the rock. Hiromiki almost followed my example immediately after but kept his feet somehow.  I'm still sore over a week later and the first attempt at casting practice this year had to be aborted.  


All in all, not the ideal fishing trip and while I enjoyed being out on the river and the inn's hot springs, the tumbling, broken rod and reel, leaky waders and injuries left me feeling pretty glad to go home at the end.  Hopefully my next trip will be a redemption!