New record fish! Caught on one of my home-ground hooks at Lake Teganuma yesterday. Not quite the almost-legendary 1-yen-coin fish but by far my smallest tanago yet (a 1-yen coin is smaller in diameter than the first joint on my middle finger, whereas this fish is clearly longer than it).
Despite the sunny weather there was a very strong unseasonal wind blowing, the Japanese version of the mistral perhaps, which made fishing almost impossible in the morning (on several occasions, the wind actually picked my tackle out of the water and set it flying, parallel to the ground, as a kind of fish-pennant). Instead I had a good chat with one of the local regular tanago anglers (whose rod I lacquered previously) and in addition to a great deal of advice, kindly made a gift of a great number of things: two tanago rods, some hooks, a float rig, a set of three diamond files for grinding hooks and a bunch of yadake bamboo and split cane (for tips) for my own rod-making. I look forward to using them!
Since the strong winds precluded any real fishing we set out to a local restaurant for an unagi lunch. I have been to this restaurant before and they serve a special dish, which contains twice as much eel as an ordinary one:
After a hefty lunch we set to tanago fishing at the same spot as my last visit to Teganuma in February; curiously enough, the same anglers as last time were there too and it was pleasant to chat with them again. One of them made me a gift of one of his secret tanago ground hooks and it was amazing to see the difference in my rate of catching. At the same time, we spoke of some tanago anglers who claimed to have caught a specimen 13mm in length (a 1-yen coin is 20mm in diameter), and of another who said his fish was still an alevin – with a yolk sac attached (!), to which my companion dourly asked how he could tell it was a tanago. Anyway, it was nice to make a catch of progressively smaller fish and to give my own ground hooks a try, and receive lots of advice (and gear) from veteran anglers who know so much. In my own experience I have always found Japanese anglers to be generous with their knowledge and always eager to offer some friendly advice.
Anyway, we fished till twilight and all tanago were released, traumatised perhaps but otherwise healthy, to fight another day. Many thanks as always to Mr. I for everything, and also to Mr. Greentree and Mr. Redfeather for their generous gifts and advice!