09 Mar Guided Trip 7-8 March 2017: River Aki, Tokyo
Ben, an American angler from Michigan visiting Tokyo for business, came in very timely asking for a day guided trip to mountain river to catch cherry salmon. Checked for options and River Aki suited his schedule, so I have arranged a special 2-day trip with my camper van as lodge.
We left Tokyo early in the morning to avoid traffic then arrived at license office near River Aki just before water begins to warm up a bit from previously very cold day wth flakes of snow.
We went over fundamentals during the drive and then started with short lesson of how to make presentation in this terrain for this land-locked salmon he was not familiar with. Ben’s casting is very solid having salmon fishing background yet he never did match the hatch fly fishing in river, which is a great advantage in this case not needing to decode “trout” perception when this isn’t mayfly season yet.
Cherry salmon has its own unique and wary feeding style which can only be resolved by observing what one fish is doing, then right fly needs to be selected, and the most challenging part is always presentation that needs to bring life into fly to behave better than real ones. This fish cannot be caught by “just cast and wait”. You have to decide what insect and its stage you want to role play, then make sure to play that effectively.
It was particularly difficult when majority of fishes were already hummered by anglers from the previous week, drop of temperature pushed many fish to move to the pools of river where fish can see us coming, and main food was buzzers in this time of year no bigger than size #22. There was very slim chance select number of keen cherry salmon would make mistake on wrong fly presentation.
One fish at a time, Ben got closer and closer to his own right move, then moment of truth came…
This one fish who kept feeding on midge in pool kept refusing Ben’s presentation of soft hackle for nearly a dozen times. And finally took the fly when Ben’s presentation made just enough lead to deliver fly most naturally.
It was indeed one of the most difficult one, carried over fish from the last season. Bead-headed soft hackle does not present itself, so this is 100% pure Ben’s work.
Next day, temperature dropped even further making the fishing even more difficult sending more fish into the bottom of river. But we already knew what select fishes were feeding, so we scouted further upstream to find good school who would go for flies.
Then we came across a small pool where native fish carried over from the last season were feeding calmly at the bottom of shallow spot. One streamborn cherry salmon went for thoroughly sunken soft hackle drifted for more than few meters into just the right spot.
And followed by this streamborn white-spotted char.
Results & Data
- Fish: Cherry Salmon x 4, white-spotted char x 1
- Flies: Soft Hackle #22, Bead-headed Soft Hackle #22
- Line System: 8ft of tapered leader, 3-6ft of tippet fuluoro carbon 8x (0.3 gou)
- Fly Line: Scientific Anglers Supra Trout Floating DT3F
- Fly Reel: Oris Battenkill BBS III
- Fly Rod: Tiemco Euflex J-stream 793-4