Bake – Japanese Traditional Saltwater Fly Pattern

2010/11/10 Bake – Japanese Traditional Saltwater Fly Pattern


Japanese have been using fly rig known as “Bake” (pronounces as bah-kay) since the medieval time which was originally made with died cock saddle. The rig is composed of 2 to 5, often 7, bake flies tied as droppers towards the end tip where you put a sinker, reflective material (work like spoon or dredger), or kattakuri: Japanese metal jig.

Expansion of Bake – Sabiki and Kabura

From what I have learned from various history boards in maritime museums so far, the rig was originally developed by the commercial fishermen in the western Japanese fief of Kishu known for being benefactors to various fishing schools from light fishing to whaling. Kishu appointed seasonal fishermen to other areas of Japan for business research. Those master fishermen brought their tackles as their settlement expanded towards eastern fishery, then bake eventually became modern day’s Sabiki rig used in dropper style in small hook sizes to catch small fish.

Sabiki rig

Other school went into the west which had become Kabura hook who has small metal head to sink fast into designated depth. Unlike sabiki, kabura is often used as single hook lure by sports anglers today.

Kabura Hook

Both rigs were used with handrod  or handline in the past, then moved to modern day reel tackle which helped this unique way of fishing spread nationwide and abroad as “feather fishing”.

This one shown below is bake for amberjack. In the old days, fly was made with cock saddle died in red which is still used in the north where fisherman catches salmon. Today, bake use a mixture of sparkling tinsel and thin sheet of fish skin.


Does It Work on Fly Fishing?

If you use the same formula and tie it on fly hook or bait hook with an eye, it works just fine as wetfly.

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