25 Dec Blackfin Sea Perch / Hira Suzuki
Hira Suzuki [jp] / Blackfin Sea Perch
Easily distinguished from its kin, Japanese Sea Perch, with the feature of very flat head. Blackfin sea perch lives in water of high salinity such as reef and coast facing outer ocean touched by Kuroshio Current keeping water relatively warm and productive with bait during winter time. In waters in/near Tokyo, you find flathead sea perch only in the southern part of Miura Peninsula, Manazuru Peninsula, Izu Peninsula, Boso Peninsula on the side facing Pacific Ocean, and Izu Archipelago. If the coastline provides rocky reef, as hiding place, and surf, as gathering place for schools of baitfish, there is high probability of them nearby.
Seasonality & Other Factors
High season or blackfin begins in early winter when they come ashore to hunt for bait fish taking shelters until late spring. Where they are the dominant sea perches, this seasonality extends to a whole year. On the night of large tidal move, they swim out in school to come to less saline part of water such as bay or estuary to expand their zone of feeding drastically. They are nocturnal just like Japanese sea perch and have strong tendency to ambush its prey, so they do feed during cloudy daytime where they can hide in shadow for rest and ambush.
How to Fish
It is still under research, for I have only caught this fish on lure and not on fly yet. There have been several occasions of meeting them in rocky reef, rocky surf, sea port, and estuary all during cloudy day or night time. But their style of feeding is much more careful and selective than that of Japanese sea perch and only occasion I brought one into hooking was in very wavy spot in rocky reef in Boso Peninsula where I couldn’t land the fish. I was using single hand 8wt tackle with Clouser Minnow as fly pattern.
Most anglers use single hand 8wt tackle, and some use two hand 6-8wt tackle in rocky reef to make the pick up easier and safer where every second counts to save your fly line and save yourself from breaking waves.
I will update information as research progresses.