The converted

The converted

Martyn White | Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Although I focused much more on smallmouth bass than normal this year - which will be the subject of my next FP- I'm still a massive fan of carp and like nothing more than turning trout anglers to the mud bones, and I had a good chance to play Palpatine at the start of the Christmas holidays. A couple of weeks ago at the club night out, I met Antonin from Switzerland. He's new to Japan, having just moved from Hong Kong where he'd been fishing for snakehead and tilapia, so a prime candidate to become a carp bum.

We decided to go to a small river on the outskirts of Tokyo, the fish aren't that big but there are lots of them so I was confident Antonin would have plenty of opportunities and hopefully manage a fish or two. With it being winter there's no need to be rushing out early, far better to let the sun get up and push the temperature up a bit. So we met at 9.30 am, nice and civilised. After walking to the river we got set up. Luckily I had brought 2 rods as Antonin had just brought a 5wt with a superglue spliced 5X leader. That quickly got packed back up and we went with my 8wt and  leader with a 14lb tippet. Quite a difference!


It didn't take long for Antonin to get his eye in and start spotting fish, and just a bit longer to be able to reasonably identify the catchable fish. Presentation took a bit longer to get, it's not easy to judge the sink rate to drop a fly on the bottom, in front of a carp, in current when you're not used to it. Luckily as we moved into some stretches it became easier and a lightly weighted marabou puff cast across stream with an upstream mend resulted in an aggressive eat from a 5-6 pounder in perfect condition. Antonin's first carp! 


I was really struck by his appreciation of the fish. I think wild river carp are beautiful fish, but sadly I rarely meet trout anglers who share that view. I love the bright gold scales and eyes perfect fins with orange edges, happily my new Swiss friend agrees. 


After we get all the festive indulgence over with we'll head somewhere else to see if we can get him on a bigger fish, then he can find out why the 8wt is my go to for old rubber lips.