Second time fly-fishing

Back from Ibaraki…

Made another trip today to north Ibaragi with fellow countryman and fishing buddy Clive for a full day’s fly-fishing at the pay-and-play stocked pond Yuzakiko.  Actually the air temperature hovered about freezing and it snowed most of the day, but the weather was not a problem since the fish were biting all day; in the end we left about two hours early, as we had caught so many.  The stockers were well-finned and in pretty good nick, with some veritable beasts lurking in amongst the crowd; the zenith of the trip was my last fish, which was probably the largest I landed that day with her flank almost a hand-span.  That fish was very game and put up a tremendous fight. 

A good play on a fly rod is most exhilarating and quite unlike any other form of fishing I have encountered; I can only wonder what kind of fight a native wild fish would put up.  I also learnt the hard way what knot to use to tie my flies onto my line, losing a brace of good fish in succession.  Otherwise the casting is still an effort, but I think I am making progress; the fly is turning over properly more often, I only knotted my leader once (!) and I feel a bit more comfortable with the tackle.

Well after arriving home, I fired up the Japanese bath and filleted the fish.  I kept one whole for baking, but after doing the rest I ended up with more than 1.5 kilograms of fillets…I foresee a lot of trout on the menu this week.

After a hot bath and some native spirits, I started off proceedings with a French dish, truites aux amandes.  For such a simple recipe – lemon, parsley and almonds – it is quite delicious, and I could have handled a few more fillets, without I had another dish on the side.

The next dish was seared trout fillets with a sauce made from onions, Japanese shimeji mushrooms, cream, white pepper and good old Marsala wine. 

The trout dishes were helped along with some buttered noodles and more shochu firewater.  I suspect that the fish would come out very well breadcrumbed and fried, and there is plenty for a Bengali mustard/chilli curry as well later this week.


9 responses to “Second time fly-fishing

  1. Wow! A better day on the water than I’d had!

  2. Chris, yes definitely it was a good day out. Took a couple of real beasts too. Although it was very cold all day. How was Hokkaido?

  3. Hokkaido was great. Really enjoyed the non stop snow fall and the – temperatures. Made me feel at home and home sick at the same time.
    Wish I could have made the trip longer.

  4. Nice looking fillets! The rest of the trout went in the oven in foil last night and came out a treat. I was wondering if there was any difference in taste between the larger fish and the smaller ones.

  5. Chris:
    Next time tell me in advance when you are going, and I’ll meet you there with a cooler full of native spirits and some fishing tackle.
    You can provide the bear-spray.

  6. Clive:
    Glad to hear the baked trout came out well.
    Actually I wondered the same myself, in particular different fish seemed to have very different-coloured flesh. Perhaps an experienced trout angler-chef can enlighten us. The big rainbow I caught is on the top, very yellow; the big one that nice chap gave me came out very white inside: you can see it on the very right of the tray. They all seem to come out the same colour when cooked, though.
    For these recipes I used the smaller fish on purpose. In particular, the almond recipe preserved the very slight trout-aroma and is a very delicate dish. I think I will curry the very big fillets as they have some bones in them.

  7. It’s a date!

  8. Excellent report and great pictures, as always. How do you butterfly/debone your trout? Quite nice.

    It’s been a while since I’ve posted on your blog, but I’ve been following your exploits. No longer haze fishing Lake Michigan, as I’m now living in the state of Washington where trout (after salmon) are king. EVERYBODY here fly-fishes or at least fishes for trout. They actually kill off whole (public) lakes because other species eat the trout; After kill offs, they then proceed to restock with trout.

    Anyways, I thought I’d join the bandwagon this season, but just got introduced (online) to something called Tenkara fishing (Japanese reel-less fly fishing?). Planning a week-long trip to see the in-laws in Machida, and then going to try to stock up on fishing gear – including the aforementioned Tenkara rods/lines.

    Well, happy fishing; Hope to wet some lines when I get there.

  9. JayK:
    Thanks for posting and nice to hear from you again.
    I have never tried tenkara fishing but it has quite a cult following here.
    It is however more suited to remote streams and rivulets, the kind we get here up in the mountains, where regular casting is made difficult by overhanging trees or rock faces, than lakes or ponds (for the fairly obvious reason that you can’t cast far).
    If you are pressed for time during your stay, I can recommend a couple of stocked rivers I know where you can go tenkara fishing.

    PS as for the trout, they are filleted exactly the same way as I do sashimi, but I copy the American countryman-style of skinning: turning the fillet over at the end when it is just connected to the bone by a bit of the tail, and then taking the fillet off the skin. It was a piece of cake, apart from the two beasts that needed my big deba for the job.

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