I had no luck on the water yesterday fishing for mabuna Crucian carp – aside from losing a very good fish that threw the hook at the surface, she had at least a shaku on her (30.3cm). The wind was too strong for orthodox fishing: a stiff northerly breeze in the morning that only got stronger as the day went on, till it was howling at midday. We packed up and left the lake at 1:30pm when the wind grew so strong as to lift one’s tackle out the water and send it streaming in a horizontal pennant in the air from the end of the rod. I think we were one or two days too early or late as the majority of fish in the area were spawning in the shallows, you can hear and see them thrashing about, and such fish do not take the bait. Some other fish, no doubt spent after their frenzied exertions, were idly sunning themselves at the surface or taking gulps of air and at one spot, where two rivulets conjoined, some fish were leaping out of the water. The lucky ones would fall down the bank and roll back into the water; one unlucky fish we came upon was stranded and had its eyes and intestines picked out and eaten by the inevitable crows. Kasumigaura is always an interesting place to visit, and for me a lack of fish in the bag is no cause for disappointment. I passed some time watching a local man in the shallows with a home-made fishgig, standing as still as a hunting heron, looking to spear passing koi carp – in these days of opulent luxury carp is no longer a staple food in Japan but the older locals still take them. I also spotted a number of big birds of prey soaring about but had forgotten my spyglass so I couldn’t identify them, but most sensible birdlife was taking shelter from the wind. On the way back my fishing buddy almost ran over a cock pheasant that had walked blindly into the road, which would have been an ironic end to such a huge fine creature that had survived the Kasumigaura hunting season; luckily the bird came to his senses and ran off just before we flattened him.