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.
Crucian carp of 2013!
5-shaku mabuna rod. I have yet to figure out a way to take nice pictures of rods in their entirety without they appear minute or require the reader to download awkward-sized images, so here is just the grip and the butt-ends of the two other pieces (I may lacquer the inserts once more as they still look a little raw):
Mid- to deep-water shirogisu whiting rod with bamboo root butt and large-ish guides for casting with a spinning reel (again not in its entirety):
Close-up view of the silver and mother-of-pearl inlay on the wrapped parts, which for my first attempt came out better than I expected, although they are hardly masterpieces:
Both rods need a rod bag and then they are ready to be fished! I always feel my fishing rods are never wholly finished until they have had a fish on.
Mabuna (Crucian carp) rod. Compare this with the photo from a few posts previous. With a couple of polishing steps, and one last straightening over the fire, the rod will be complete.
Tanago rod. The gold-bronze-red flake finish on the wrapped joints is coming along nicely but the body of the rod wants several more layers of lacquer.
Short 5-shaku (1.5m) rod for mabuna fishing: lacquering is coming along nicely.
Good day out on the rice paddies today, despite the heat. I also snagged a middling koi carp – at least 50cm on it – and had the good fortune of it breaking off my hook, rather than my rod. I also got stung by something on my right hand. Curiously today I didn’t see much birdlife today aside from a pair of larks. Last weekend in Tochigi I spotted a buzzard, which was a first for me.
The glass plunged on Friday night and as promised, it rained all day yesterday, with a howling southerly wind. I for one was not bothered, as I was not fishing and stayed at home to get some lacqueirng done. High atmospheric humidity always helps the lacquer to polymerise quickly and without ruffling – it took six hours instead of the usual twelve for the coloured variety, and half a day instead of three for the raw stuff. I have two mabuna rods, one tanago and one shirogisu whiting rod all in various stages of lacquering.
Mother-of-pearl on my whiting rod. The crushed shell is seated into the lacquer and then polished to a flat surface. This is my first time using this technique so we shall see how it turns out.
Short (5 shaku) rod for mabuna fishing in ditches and shallows. The lacquering on this rod is a secret technique that my teacher just recently let me in on.
Metallic powder-finish on the tanago rod. Freshly painted on it looks a lovely gold now, but the lacquer should harden into a red/ruby colour.