Buri [jp] / Japanese Amberjack
(Temminck & Schlegel, 1845)
Japanese amberjack is another common coastal game fish like Japanese seabass who are fished in all year around. It changes its name as it grows from par to adult: Mojiako, Wakashi, Inada, Warasa, and one beyond 80cm is called Buri. The one in photograph caught on fly will be called Wakashi.
Japanese amberjack is often mistaken for its close kins, greater amberjack (kanpachi [jp]) or yellowtail amberjack (hiramasa [jp]), but this specie is the most tolerant to the oxygen level of water that allow them to come deep into bay. (I was mistaking this too, so I’m correcting the English name right now on this blog…)
One way to catch this fish is by boat chasing after the sign of blitz. Another way to catch it by ambushing the school in deep beach. Either way, it is productive to take both top water game tackle (fly or lure) and jigging tackle for they swim out of range quickly.
Sight fishing for rogue fish will be quite a challenge, but worth trying.
Tackle from Boat (or good ground)
If you have good clearance to cast, then use 8-10wt single hand rod with good drag saltwater fly reel with at least 100 yards of backing (increase the amount, if you prefer longer fight). Slow sink or fast sink your choice.
Problem is amberjack’s good eye sight. When they are agitated and you ought to strip fast, don’t matter at all. If fish come slow, then use leader system longer than 12 feet with tippet thinner than 16lb. Otherwise, they notice your fly line before your presentation.
Tackle from Surf
11 – 13 feet 8-10wt two handed rod with concealed drag such as Ross or Nautilus (don’t bring Tibor or any other non-sand-resistant reel to do this job) fly reel or better. Intermediate shooting head with sink tip of your choice. Make sure to take care of intersection between shooting head and running line to be smooth so you could repeat shooting with ease.
Line basket is a must. I’d recommend deep enough and durable enough basket such as Mangrove Hip Shooter. As a matter of fact, I killed 2 other baskets before Hip Shooter.
Use double line leader for butt section and make it loop to loop connection to your fly line. Wave , sand, and pebble will harm this section badly. Please make this interchangeable in case you find wear.
Choice of tippet depends on the condition. Prepare to use longer as 12 feet and thinner tippet as 8lb.
When fishing from surf, don’t trust items just because it’s sold widely on market. You need to choose wisely. You will be casting over incoming waves and many times over.