Late October and November are the best months for seabass here, reports of good action had been coming in for a week or so, and we were keen to get out. For most of the year, I'll happily fish a rubber candy and nothing else, but at this time of year the bait is more diverse and there's plenty of fun to be had on the fly front too. So Instead of the usual single rod, I had 4 in the boat from #6-10 rigged with flies from the obligatory 3" rubber candy to a 10" Sedotti slammer. Dave is nursing some tendon injury so stuck to the smaller end with candies and bucktail deceivers. It was Dave's first trip since he came back to Japan and I let him take the bow as we hit the first mark, as we came up we could see the fish herding anchovies and it took him only a couple of casts to hook up with a decent fish of around 50cm, as he was playing it I put a cast in and connected with my first fish of the season. The fish always fight well a this time of year being in peak condition before the spawn, and as I hooked it on the #6 I didn't initially realise what I was hooked into until it plunged under the boat and started taking line from me. Capt. Masuda saw the fish first, the exclamation of "fucking nice" as he picked up the big net made it clear I was into something good. When the net slipped under the fish I still couldn't really see how big it was but when I lifted the net for unhooking, Masuda started pulling out the camera instead of the phone it really clicked- this was something big. My first fish of the season was a PB at 78cm and likely the biggest fish I'll get this season.
I'm not superstitious, but the spot basically died after I caught that fish followed by a quiet 45 mins or so and I did wonder if I had ruined things for the night. Eventually after a few dead spots we came accross some fish that appeared to be herding scad against a seawall, Dave continued with a surf candy and did pick up a couple of fish, but I went a bit bigger with a 7" semper fleye and had 2 nice fish in the 60cm range in the first 2 casts followed by another 3 or 4 similar fish over the next half hour before things went quiet. The next spot we went to had a some fish boiling on anchovies next to a tanker and we both got into another few fish, I spotted a fish in the open water at the edge of the boat lights and dropped the rubber candy in front of it getting a quick eat, another big one about the same as my first. Unfortunately it threw the hook after a fight of a few minutes, disappointing but bearable. The last spot of the night was another ship at anchor, with the wind direction only one of us could fish properly so I gave Dave the bow and took casts when I could, I hooked and lost a tiny bass so picked up the #8 with the semper in the hope of a canibal. As Dave snagged up on one of the ships lines I went to the bow and put a cast out into the dark water beyond the ship's light and hooked up almost immediately the fly came across the shade line into the light. It was big, definitely as long as the earlier fish but it didn't feel as heavy. It was easy to see in the lights and I watched in dismay as it flared its gills, shook its head, and threw the hook. It was awful, it happens sometimes but that's a fish that will haunt me for a while. We're going back out on Monday night for another go, so hopefully I'll manage to partially scrub that fish from my memory with a couple of big ones.