18 April, 2007

What's Biting This Summer

I throw together a page to give folks an idea of what sorts of fish they can catch offshore in most parts of Japan during the summer months. I’m sticking to game fish folks commonly take on lures as that’s my main area of knowledge.

Right now the weather’s warming up bringing with it a rise in the salinity level in Tokyo and Sagami Bay, as well as other near shore areas in and around Kanto. This makes for some good action with blue runner species especially in the mackeral and tuna families. The best fishing is off shore, but folks are able to get good catches from the shore along the costlines of Kanagawa, Chiba, and Shizuoka. This is a good time for newbie anglers to get started as the fish are generally biting like crazy leaving no one empty handed when the boat get back to shore. The species I’ll mention here can usually be caught on both jigs and surface minnows or poppers, but one or two can only be taken on jigs.

Taking a partyboat is in the best way to get a good days fishing in. For us Tokyo-ites it’s a relatively convenient way to go given that many of the ports are only a few minutes walk from a train station. I’ll get into some specific places to check out in my next post. The only draw back if any is that these boats can get a little crowded when the action is really good. My advice is to try and go on a week day if possible as the number of anglers won’t be so high.

Most folks are suprised to hear that Dorado (aka Dolphin Fish aka Mahi Mahi) can be easily caught just offshore in Japan. They’re called ‘Shira’ in Japanese. Anglers can take meter plus mahis between June and mid to late October in the Kanto area. The most popular method is to use a 6-8′ casting or twitching rod and 16 to 20lb mono. Recently alot of folks (myself included) are doing casting with PE using rods outfitted with Fuji Lowriders. Lure wise, folks cast poppers, pencils, and light jigs. Probably the most action for your buck during the summer months.

Many captains, especially in Sagami bay will do Dorado and Skipjack relays, where they bounce from one point to another depending on the conditions. A wide variety of tunas and bonitos are easily caught during the summer months aswell. Anytype of bonito or skip jack is called a ‘katsuo’. They can most easily be taken on jigs, but can be caught using poppers and pencils when feeding near the surface.

A common and very exciting site from the boat is what’s called a ‘tori-yama’, literally, a ‘bird mountain’. This is basically the phenomenon of dozens of guls flocking to an area where a large school of baitfish is swimming around. The occurance of game fish striking at the surface itself is called ‘nabura’. When one can see a cloud of birds diving at the ocean in a feeding frenzy from a good distance, it’s a sure bet that there are gamefish underneath getting there fill as well. It’s a pretty cool site.

During the later summer months expereinced anglers can go out for a variety of tuna. These are mostly albacore and yellowfin, but there are other varieties as well. To boat one you need a powerful reel like a Daiwa Saltiga or Shimano Stella SW spooled with a at least 300 meters of 30-50 puind braid. Your rod has to be 6′6″ minimum and should have a relatively parabolic action. -Not stiff like a GT rod. Folks cast pencils and poppers but the best way to get em is by casting a long 60-80 gram sliding jig into a school of sardines and giving it a few sharp jerks then letting it drift down a few meters as if it were a wounded baitfish. If the jig makes it past the dolphin fish, you get a chance at getting a tuna. Del.

No comments: