Better Than Expected

Better Than Expected

Martyn White | Thursday, 1 September 2022

Last weekend I headed West from Tokyo to Shizuoka prefecture with my mate Hiromiki to fish Hamanako with for black bream. It was much more fun than I expected.

It took me a long time to come round to the idea of targeting bream, and if my Okinawa trip had gone ahead I still probably wouldn't have gone to Hamanako. A lot of people here get very hyperbolic about anything that's in Japan, and I'd often heard people calling them Japanese permit-obviously without having fished for permit- I found that kind of BS pretty off-putting and a bit weird because there are actual indo-pacific permit in Japan. Also I'd see a lot of pictures of guys posing with 6-8 inch bream caught from the various islands around the country. Even though they're present reasonably locally, it just didn't appeal.

I'm happy to say that the fishing over the weekend was very enjoyable. Luckily we have a friend, Carlos, who lives down there, so he was able to take us to the right flat for the tides. We arrived at the top of the tide, which was too high for sight fishing so We decided to have a try for mullet while we waited for the tide to drop a bit. Carlos caught one pretty quickly while the rest of us were plauged by 4" seabass. We didn't have long to wait and after a couple of hours it was possible to start sight fishing for the bream. At first it was just looking for nervous water trying to decide which were mullet and which were bream then making a shot. There were a lot of spooked mullet though. It wasn't really until it got really skinny that I really began to appreciate the fishing for what it is: excellent, challenging, shot fishing for very spooky, tailing fish. If the fight is what you're into with saltwater species, these fish might not be for you but if making tricky shots to tricky fish is what you like, then you'd love it at Hamanako.

We all fished with 6 weights but a 7 or 8 would be handy if it was windier. The leaders were long, 18-20'of fluorocarbon tapered down to 10lb. The flies are simple, a little shrimp/crab imitation with just enough weight to hold bottom in the current- Carlos only fishes one fly there, but carries it in a few weights. The hard thing was putting the fly close enough to be eaten without spooking the fish. The good thing is there are so many fish there, that it takes the pressure off. Even if you mess up, there'll be a another fish tailing nearby in a few minutes. Initially I was a bit too worried about spooking them and was casting short, but as I settled in, the number of fish I was seeing let me be a bit more blase about spooking them. And I spooked plenty, but I put more good shots in and just had to figure out how to get them to eat. Once that was figured out I managed to pick up 3 nice fish, Carlos had 4 and Hiromki got one too before the incoming tide carried in a load of weed and we decided to call it a day and go for dinner. On the second day we had to head back in the afternoon so only fished the falling tide and the first hour or so of the flood. We took much the same approach, although with better light it was easier to identify which fish, whether mullet or bream were actively feeding even when the water waist deep. The little seabass were still a bit of a pain when we had the mullet flies on, I managed a mullet and lost another before the tide dropped enough that I switched flies and started looking for tails again. It wasn't long before Miki and I both picked up a bream each, unfortunately just as the tide was bottoming out and there were tails everywhere we had to leave because Huromiki had to get back to Tokyo by 7. We left Carlos on the flat, there was no way he could leave all those tails flapping in the sun.