Travelled to Yuzakiko yesterday for another day of fly fishing with fishing buddy Clive. We timed the trip well, with Japan being hit by a serious gale in the evening, but during the day, the weather was glorious; so much so that I picked up my first fishing sunburn of the year, with my nose, ears and hands roasted to a lobster-red. After the success of our last trip, I decided to release most of my catch and only keep enough fish for one meal and then a few extra to try my hand at smoking. The fish were biting on-and-off most of the day, and I had some memorable plays with middling-sized rainbows; all in all it was another excellent day with excellent company, and I would be hard-pressed to come up with a more enjoyable way to spend a Saturday.
My haul for the day; to save work at home, I scaled and gutted the fish at Yuzakiko, where a sink with running water is provided for anglers to do so. I think I caught and released maybe twice this number. The fish were in pretty good nick, well-finned and coloured, and promised to be good eating. In my opinion the 12-14″ fish seem to be the best for cooking, as they are easily prepared, the meat is quite succulent and tender, and the pin bones are small enough to be of no consequence. To keep the fish in best condition, I dispatched the unfortunates with a quick cut through the cervical spine as soon as they were caught, and placed them in iced water (in a plastic bag to prevent the meat being ‘burnt’ by the ice) in my cool-box.
Perfect hook-set, perfect-sized eating fish; bahut accha!
Woolly buggers in olive green or brown, fished with a stop-go action, seem to be by far the most consistent catcher, but I experimented with a hare’s ear nymph later on, with pretty good effect. This beauty ended up a keeper too.
Whilst gutting my catch one of the local cats put up a most pathetic mewling and begging performance; however, I found it quite difficult to feel sorry for her given her bright eyes, bushy tail, perfect glossy coat and very obvious daily diet of fresh trout, native chars and cherry salmon!
Back in Tokyo, after a bath and slathering my nose, hands and ever-increasing forehead in after-sun cream, the serious business of trout dinner was attended to. I was waiting for a takkyubin delivery in the evening so I didn’t have time to do any shopping for ingredients so I made do with what was in the fridge. After a dusting with salt and white pepper, I floured the fillets lightly and seared them in a pan in a half-half mixture of olive oil and butter. The sauce is garlic, onion, red pepper, tomatoes and puree ditto, seasoned with vinegar, oregano and cayenne pepper, then de-glazed with red wine and made interesting with a garnish of finely chopped onion and capers. I served it with buttered linguine on the side. Simplicity itself, and quite delicious.