I was pretty dejected as we motored back into Hamanako lagoon, we were going to fish for black bream on the flats. I'd made the trip for bream before with my mate Hiromiki, they're spooky, fussy, technical fish which just about keeps them interesting. Unfortunately they don't fight well and there are so many fish that it doesn't matter if you mess up a shot, there will be another fish tailing in front of you in a few minutes. I don't actively dislike fishing for bream, but I also don't really want to go and fish for them and certainly won't do a bream specific trip again. If I fish for them it'll be locally or as a fall back like this week.
I hadn't packed a #5 or #6, but that was fine I was glad of the #8 with the wind being so strong. After slowly tying up a 25' bream leader, I joined Dave and Kenji on the flat and sure enough I'd barely pulled the line off the reel and there were three fish tailing in front of me. 50 yards away Kenji wasp pointing out a fish for Dave who was taking a shot as I made mine. Both were good both of us hooked up, neither of us landed the fish. Didn't matter, ther was another along in a minute. Over the next hour or so we both had several opportunitites, I hooked and lost 4, Dave was getting refusals and spooking fish, probably because his leader was only 10'. At one point the wind dropped off and the lagoon was glassy so Kenji suggested heading out and trying a run off shore, but that didn't last. The wind had dropped enough and changed direction that the flat we were on was sheltered, as soon as we rounded the inlet there were waves coming over the bow. Back to the flats. I'd somehow lost Kenji's fly when changing the 8wt set up so cadged one off Dave. We went to another flat that was catching more wind, but seemed to have bigger fish on it. It didn't take long for both of us to get into fish, this time they stayed stuck andwe both put a couple in the net before heading to another, larger flat.
Then something special happened, I seemed to stumble on a run of fish that were just willing to eat. The wind, despite making the shots difficult, seemed to be hiding us to a degree and making the fish less cautious. An our later I had 4 more fish, Dave had 2 more and Kenji was getting excited. At the top of the tide we took a break for an hour then headed to the flat I'd fished with Carlos and Hiromiki last summer. It took all of 3 minutes for me to land my sixth fish, over the last hour I had another 3 to hand. I even doubled up with Dave while he was fishing with Kenji. Dave finished the day with 4 landed, which is a really good day on Hamanako. I finished with 9 and Kanji says that's the best single rod day on the lagoon. An average day is 2, 3 is good. It was some consolation, but I'd still have swapped it for a single tripletail. Kenji was excited though, gravely telling me it was a really special day. The next day was just as windy, so we stayed on the flats. It was nothing like the day before but it was still a decent day's fishing with a handfull of fish each, but definitely more refusals or exploratory pecks rather than confident eats.
Talking to Dave on the bullet train back to Tokyo, he dicided that I had been so successful because I'm not fussed on bream, he's really into them. I had to agree, I was fishing in a completely pressure free mindset even when Kenji was with me I didn't feel any guide pressure, neither real or imagined. I'd really like to get into that midset all the time, regardless of the species. Especially because it seems to come with that weird ability that feels like you're slowing time so there's no rush in making the shots. Unfortunately I do tend to get excited and/or pressurise myself because the guide is there -I know I'm not alone in this-but maybe I'll get there eventually
Kenji's guide service is here, he speaks English and would be worth fishing with if you're traveling in Japan. And with the weak yen, now's the time to do it.https://www.watatsumi-k.com/