Breeze over Kasumigaura

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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.

2 responses to “Breeze over Kasumigaura

  1. Sounds like a great day despite the lack of fish. I used to live in an apartment barely more than a stone’s throw from Sakuragawa not far from where it empties into Kasumigaura. Many, many great memories fishing both the river and the lake for bass, bluegill, carp, smelt and whatever else might happen along – including piscivorous chubs, catfish and barbel. There was an irrigation gate where, when it was flowing during spawning season, funa would fling themselves onto land in an effort to move upstream. Great bird watching around Kasumi too.

  2. It was good fun. My fishing buddy said I should grab one of the funa as it leapt out the water so I could say I caught a fish that day. Going over my bird books back at home afterwards it turns out that one of the big birds of prey we saw was a buzzard (nosuri). I also saw the usual suspects, some larks and a shrike.
    Unfortunately post-Fukushima the local farmers in Kasumigaura are being discriminated against by Japanese consumers who won’t buy their produce – rice, and the other major crop there lotus root (you may remember seeing the fields of it where you lived) claiming it is “all contaminated.” As you go past the fields you can see the heaps of discarded lotus root lying rotting by the roadside, as well as the acres and acres of unplanted rice paddies. My fishing buddy often asks the farmers for lotus roots and they are happy to give them away. Very sad.

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