20 Apr Red-spotted Cherry Salmon – Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka
Justin McConville contacted to see if he could come along for spots where they have streamborn amago or red-spotted cherry salmon, subspecies of cherry salmon. It is quite rate that someone knows the distinction, so my answer was immediate YES. Yet he told me that he was flying in after his trip to New Zealand which made me bit concerned for the mountain river where we will be going in Izu won’t be very easy in terms of casting and presentation for someone who is not accustomed to the environment.
So we left Tokyo a night before and started practice in early morning next day. “Practice” in this case is not at all about how “skilled” or “talented” the person is, but how “in control” he is before setting foot into one of the most dreadful terrain for fly fisher surrounded by many obstacles: “fast narrow current”, “tight spot”, “trees all over”, “rocks to snag”, and etc. On top of that you ought to cast and make presentation fit to the likes of landlocked cherry salmon. Not very difficult especially those in awkward spots having not seen many anglers, but they are simply different from rainbow trout or brown trout in terms of cautionary reaction and feeding behaviour.
There is nothing I can help about the terrain, so the practice focused on how to install the mindset of “not over doing” and “adjust to the fish”. And the rest is all about stiff upper lip.
Justin well adopted to the terrain, actually much better than I would have.
Then his well sorted “being in control” was rewarded with amago.
They aren’t big in this occasion, because they are stremborn and summer hasn’t arrived yet to provide nutritious terrestrials. Yet this is a sport of mind overcoming matters manifested into a crown jewel of mountain stream. And Justin has done it!