My fishing buddy Mr. S. took me to one of his secret spots, avoiding the ludicrous o-Bon traffic jams – three hours to get out of Tokyo by car, and not a khazi for miles – and we were fishing within an hour of leaving east Tokyo. The tanago fishing was excellent, though hot work. I have a new hat – the native woven reed variety – which is quite airy and gives a good all-round shade, almost good enough to make me forsake my near-sacred Tilley fishing tile; however, the near-indestructible Canadian creation does fold very small, for which it retains the advantage when fishing at sea.
The local cats had the right idea that day; it was blistering-hot, a genuine fry-an-egg-on-the-road hot, but despite this there was a good number of anglers fishing, and they were unusually friendly and talkative, despite some being rather frightening and oddly-shaped. It turned out that most were locals who fished there every single day and were self-appointed guardians of the river, ensuring that visitors behaved themselves; I am sure it is due mostly to their vigilance there was no littering, all catch & release game and no netting or trapping or any such silliness (if you are a regular sport angler in Japan, you will know what I speak of). I was lucky as my fishing buddy passed on the shibboleth that satisfied our interrogators, and we were made most welcome. I am sworn to secrecy over the location of this particular fishing spot, and for good reason too; we had a very good day with the fish literally fighting each other to take the bait, often within plain sight. In the end I took 67 okame and four specimens of a new species for me, Acheilognathus tabira erythropterus. There was a considerable by-catch of native minnow and small examples of all three kinds of funa too.
At this time of year, some of the okame taking the bait are of the most ludicrous size – considering the ludicrous size of the tackle anyway – and I achieved a new ‘record’ catch:
My native hat kept the sun off my head but my arms and hands were not spared, and I picked up a veritable farmer’s sun-tan. Being so hot, and with the catch so satisfying, we packed up at around midday and headed off for some lunch at a local ‘Chinese’ place. I had a dish of noodles, which despite the apparent lashings of chilli oil, proved insipid and the steeped eggs were the only real highlight.