To be totally honest, I was not even thinking about fishing when I left home for this business trip to Japan. Everything was re-scheduled and re-booked last minute, I was supposed to meet my colleagues from Mustad in China but due to this new virus outbreak we’ve been forced to cancel everything and move our meetings to Japan instead. It would have been also the chance to visit Osaka fishing show, Japanese companies are well known worldwide for their innovation and constant pursuit of perfection, no wonder I was looking very much forward to walk around the expo centre in Osaka !
This would have been my 4th time in Osaka, and of course I was also looking very much forward to catch up with my good friend Yoshihiro Mune, experienced carp angler and super cool guy ! After a couple of days I was already able to see that my business schedule was perfectly in order and I could have had a 4/5 hours window of free time during the week end, that was exactly what I was hoping for while on the plane on my way to Japan !! No need to say I sent a message right away to MuneSan...
As urban as it gets
I must say that my expectation were pretty humble, I would have been mega happy just to catch up with him and have some good time together as always, but his reply was like “Awesome, sure I have time to catch up with you, do you want to go fishing and catch a couple of carp ?” Two minutes and the plan was set. Saturday afternoon and I’m waiting in front of my hotel, and punctual as a Swiss watch Yoshihiro and his lovely wife Kimiko were there to pick me up.
On our way to the spot i received a brief introduction about the river we were going to fish : a super shallow tidal river, not more than one kilometre from the sea, near the discharge of a small power plant where there was a good inflow of warm water. Intriguing enough right ? Yoshihiro was telling me that on this place, sometime, especially during the winter it is possible the see enormous schools of carp grouping up, and guess what, while crossing the river I was looking at it from the car window and right in the middle I saw an enormous black area that I then realized to be a massive group of carp ! I’ve been in quite some places in my life but I’ve never seen anything like that while driving on an highway ! A short walk from the parking spot and we were ready to cast. One thing I need to mention is about Yoshihiro set up and fishing gear, I loved to see how much he has adapted to the environment he fish. No BS, no fancy stuff, every single piece of the gear he carry around the city has a practical use and has been adapted to be as compact and lightweight as possible. Fishing most of the times for few hours only, when the tide is right, he evolved his set up to one of the most effective “hit’n go” I’ve ever seen.
Mune San preparing his secret Method
Few people were already fishing in the area casting lures, and guess what species they were targeting ? Sea bass and sea bream, just so you can understand how close we were to the open Ocean !
These guys were casting lures around us catching sea bream and sea bass !Single hookbait and a bit of method was the chosen approach. I knew MuneSan had fished this place countless times and I was feeling super confident to rely on he’s knowledge.
“We will probably catch three or four carp this evening” he told me, I was a bit sceptical to be honest on the beginning, but 10 minutes later, after looking the spot in front of us for a while I realized that was not a joke….the warm water outlet was about 100 meters upstream from our swim and because of that hundreds of carp were in the area, I could see them showing up in the surface all in front of us. I felt like a little kid the day before Christmas !!
In no time the rod tip started to jump, followed by a sneaky run and my first ever carp from Japan ! It was just a small one, but hey, who cares today ? It was my first carp of 2020 and my first ever carp caught in Japan, happy days !!
After an hour or so I could see MuneSan started to be a bit worried as we should have caught at least one more during this time according to his plan. From my side I was already mega happy, I was spending some good time in great company and I even got my first carp of the season, I was enjoying the moment with no stress what so ever. It was getting dark and our time available was nearly over, but like in a fairy tale the happy ending was just around the corner. First a single beep, than a absolute melter on the right hand rod put us back in action. As soon as I picked up the rod I could feel there was something powerful on the other end of the line, and after few long minutes of fierce fight I could see a lovely common on the bottom of the net.
I was literally over the moon ! What a fighter this Japanese river common, what a fighter… Few pictures with the man who made all this possible and the fish was ready to swim back home.
On our way back to the hotel I was thinking about the whole thing and about how lucky I am to be able to meet and share my passion with good friends from nearly every corner of this planet.
I simply can not thank Yoshihiro and Kimiko enough for all this, for their hospitality and kindness, I’m honoured to be your friend and I can’t wait to wet my lines again with you, maybe in Japan or maybe here in Europe who knows !
By Enrico Parmeggiani