One of the big challenges associated with finding fly-fishing in Asia is the lack of information available on the web. I am very lucky to have fished with series of fly-fishermen linked from one to the next throughout Asia, starting with my good friend Captain Keiichiro, in Yokohama, Japan. While fishing with Capt. K he informed me of his friend in Hong Kong: Lefty Hama. After having an awesome morning catching Giant Trevally in Hong Kong, Hama informed me that he had a fly-fishing friend in Singapore named Kelvin. It was as if the fly-fishing gods aligned to connect me with fly-fishermen from port to port while traveling on Semester at Sea‘s Spring 2014 Voyage. After a few email exchanges with Kelvin, we set up an afternoon to go fly-fishing for Peacock bass.

Some time ago, Peacock Bass, native to South America, were introduced into Singapore reservoirs by bucket biologists. Peacock bass are considered an invasive species because they compete with native species like snakehead, catfish, and Tiger barb . To anglers, they are a superb game-fish. Akin to Hong Kong, it is quite a commodity to have a quality fishing opportunity involving wild fish so close to a major metropolis.

After we arrived, my wonderful wife and I checked out a little of what Singapore has to offer

 

Hawker Center Singapore

Hawker Centers are popular among Singaporeans as common place to grab a bite to eat.

 

She handed me the coveted kitchen pass and I set off to meet up with Kelvin. We drove on the left side of the road (thanks to Singapore’s British Colonial roots) about 20 minutes into the jungle north of the city. After meandering up a winding road draped with high green canopy, we parked and hiked about 30 minutes through the jungle to a reservoir. Kelvin handed me one of his custom tied orange eyed tan clousers striped with green, orange and black markings, similar to the markings on a Peacock bass. He instructed me to cast my 6 wt near a man made structure, let the fly sink for 10 seconds and make medium paced long strips pausing between each strip. On about the 10th cast I felt a large bump, at first I thought I had caught the bottom, but then I felt a stout pull. Adrenaline rush through me as I yelled “FISH ON.” It was a good fish. In-between thinking about grabbing my camera and stripping line to keep this nice fish tight when I missed a strip and the fish came unbuttoned. I couldn’t believe I blew my opportunity to land my first Peacock. I looked at Kelvin in disappointment saying “lets get another.”

We continued fishing the same spot with no more action when Kelvin made the call to venture further into the jungle …

Singapore-Peacock-Bass-Fishing

We bushwhacked through dense brush, large trees and downed timber careful not to break our rods

 

 

After about 30 minutes, Kelvin showed me a spot where he has had success before. About 15 minutes into casting Kelvin yelled “FISH ON.” I ran over to see a nice bend in his rod.

 

singapore peacock bass fishing Kelvin-Bent-Rod

Peacock-Bass-Singapore

It was a nice fish that put up a good fight

 

Once it turned dark we hiked back experiencing the tropical jungle at night, walking through spider webs, loud exotic birds chirping and flying over head, while keeping an eye out for what is in front of you. It can get creepy in the jungle at night, especially when you see a large black snake quickly slither across the trail in front of you. When the local you are with is obviously concerned about this big ass snake I almost stepped on its probably a good sign that you should get the hell out of there. Bushwhacking through the dark and treacherous jungle did not stop us from trying another spot on the way out at dark. It wasn’t more than 5 casts before I hooked up and landed my first peacock.

Singapore-Peacock-Bass-Nick

It is not everyday you get a chance to catch a Peacock bass at night, so once again I felt blessed by the stars that aligned to make this uniqued experience happen.

 


Of Colorado’s 22 million acres of public land, the San Juan area (San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests) make up about 3 million acres. Hiking, fishing, camping and biking opportunities are immense. One could spend a lifetime exploring this area and still not see it all.

Colorado san juan mountains scenery

A scenic view of the San Juan Mountains near Dolores Colorado

 

The following are places I have visited in the area:

 

Piedra River:

This hike is easily accessible. From Pagosa Springs head north on highway US-160 north to Piedra Rd. Turn Right onto Piedra Rd go about 16 miles and park here. The further you hike in the better the fishing gets. For more information contact Let it Fly.

 

Rio de los Pinos:

This place is very special. The population of native Rio Grande Cutthroats is isolated from other fish as a waterfall acts as a natural barrier. To get there navigate to Truijillo Meadows Reservoir.

Take the forest road at the end of the reservoir northwest up stream. The road is a bit rough and requires 4 wheel drive. The road dead ends where there is some good primitive car camping spots. Hike the trail up stream, for a few miles. When you see the waterfall the cutthroat population lives above.

The following lakes are rated good or great lakes to catch fish and are most likely to yield fantastic hiking and camping:

Crater Lake

Quartz Lake

Turkey Creek Lake

Upper Four Mile Lake

Fish Lake

Williams Creek Reservoir State Wildlife Area

Emerald Lake

Dollar Lake

Flint Lakes

Divide Granite and Elk Lakes

Needle Mountains Lakes

Verde Lakes

Highland Mary Lakes

Lost Lake

Garfield Lakes

 

For more information visit the Colorado Fishing Atlas or call Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Customer Service: 303-297-1192

Or contact local fly shops:

The San Juan Angler: 970-382-9978

Rio Grand Angler: 719-658-2955

Conejos River Anglers: 719-376-5660

 


22Feb

Medium

As a requirement for the graduate program I am in: Boulder Digital Works, we are writing in a weekly publication RE: Write. It has been a great opportunity to get a lot of thoughts and ideas out there:

Nick Clement


14Apr

Semester at Sea: 50th Anniversary

Traveling on Semester at Sea as a student in 2006 gave me an almost overwhelming appreciation for life, and all the gifts this world has to offer. I think this feeling is synonymous with all Semester at Sea Alumni. When I was asked to produce a film to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Semester at Sea, I knew immediately that I wanted to portray this feeling through the film. If you are a Semester at Sea alumni, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you are not hopefully you get a little taste of this feeling by watching this film.


An interesting phenomenon throughout Asia is that the term “sport-fishing” is completely incomprehensible to most. A common response one would receive when asking about sport-fishing is “Why would you fish just for sport? You don’t like to eat fish?” No actually, I love eating fish however, I love catching them even more. When I visited Vietnam as a student in 2006, I found this phenomenon to be true. While we still managed to get a line wet and catch a few fish, conservation and sport fishing were two things that just simply aren’t a part of the culture in Vietnam. One thing Vietnam does have is some beautiful beaches. We took the opportunity to visit a Vietnamese island that is situated off the southwest coast of Vietnam just south of Cambodia. Phú Quốc (pronounced FU-QUAW) is a quaint Island with a laid back tropical vibe.

We left Ho Chi Minh city early in the morning, after a 45 minute flight we arrived in Phú Quốc with a full beach day ahead of us. After getting a feel for the island, the beach, and our simple beach hotel we hit up the Dinh Cau Night Market. A bustling street filled with restaurants boasting the daily catch in large bins filled with ice. It was a miniature Tsujiki Fish Market in regards to the fact that it seemed to have everything imaginable that lives the ocean. Crustaceans, snakes, lobsters, prawns, and multiple species of fish.

Dinh Cau Night Fish Market

A hot chick I picked up off the street next to everything imaginable out of the ocean. I told the owner of this stand that he shouldn’t buy such small fish (while pointing at the baby Red snapper in the middle). He responded saying “Its okay, not a problem.” And I told him, “if they continue to kill little fish like that it is going to be a BIG problem. There are not going to any fish left.” Hopefully he understood me.

 

The aroma of fresh fish on the grill constantly flirted with our nostrils as we walked through the busy street lined with fresh seafood. It was quite the sensation. One particular stand caught my attention:

Giant Trevally at Fish Market

Fresh Fish at Phu Quac Night Fish Market

I pointed at the Giant Trevally on the left asking the lady at the stand “Was this caught around here?” She replied, “Yes.” While pointing at the ocean behind her. My excitement immediately rose as I just caught a GT about half that size in Hong Kong which gave me a good fight, a small burst of adrenaline rushed through me as I imaged the fight this fish would yield.

One of my most vivid memories from being in Vietnam in 2006, was eating the fattest most juicy prawns you could imagine. I convinced our group they shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity. So we ordered a kilo of grilled prawns:

vietnam grilled prawns, seafood, delicious food from the ocean

Fresh grilled prawns served  with simply salt, pepper and lime.

As promised to my wife, Sara (the wonderful wife that she is), we spent the following couple of days relaxing on the beach. It was great to sit back, enjoy the ocean, and the 80 degree weather with a luke-warm breeze flowing through the palm trees that sat high above the khaki sand beach. Although, while we were relaxing, contemplating how far that GT at the fish market would take me into my backing was constantly trifling me. How was I going to make keep my promise to my wife of a relaxed beach vacation, yet, somehow get a shot at hooking one of these impressive fish? Luckily, our group agreed to rent a boat for a day of snorkeling and “fishing.” The Vietnamese tour companies say, “Enjoy a day of snorkeling, fishing and relaxing on a boat tour.” Of course, by fishing they mean baiting a hook, attached to a line that is woven around a plastic spool. In fishing terms, the complete opposite of fly-fishing.

So we set out early, boarding our “boat” for the day. The “boat,” constructed of heavy timber was more like a small barge with a crude inboard engine, some picnic tables, benches and a ladder leading to the roof top for sunbathing. In simple terms, it would suffice for not only spending quality time with Sara, but also getting a line in the water. I rigged my 9 and 12 wt rods with a gummy minnow and a large chartreuse clouser. When fishing in a completely foreign place that has seen very few flies, if any, the gummy minnows are alway a great choice, as well as anything chartreuse, as I once learned from a seasoned guide in Ascension Bay, Mexico; “If it ain’t chartreuse, it ain’t no use.”

Boats Phú Quốc, Vietnam

Boats align the harbor in Phú Quốc, Vietnam

We set off, our young Vietnamese captain that spoke little to no english navigated through the many small ships, boats and  small barges just like ours in the harbor. I dropped my full sinking 12 wt line rigged with a barrel swivel tied in the middle of my tippet a couple feet above the clouser. When trolling flies, barrel swivels are very useful so the fly line doesn’t get twisted. Trolling a large fly all day can really twist up fly-line, which takes a lot of work to untwist.

Luckily, our small barge didn’t go faster than the ideal trolling speed (2 to 3 knots). Honestly, I didn’t except to catch anything. I was just happy to be out with my wife and friends, drink a couple of beers, and enjoy the Vietnamese scenery while trolling a fly. We were no more than 100 yards outside of the last boat in the harbor when I was jigging the fly line giving it some action and I felt a large tug. At first, I thought I had hooked one of the many pieces of trash floating by. However, the tug was pulling hard. When I looked up to see a big boil where my fly was I yelled “FISH ON!” Followed by an immediate, “STOP THE BOAT!” It wasn’t until one of my friends raised his hand like a traffic cop yelling “STOP” for the captain to actually cut the engine. By this time the fish was well into my backing. While my adrenaline was pumping, I tightened my drag as the fish was running hard. I yelled “THOW IT IN REVERSE” to the captain, later realizing how stupid that was of me, not only because he most likely had no clue what I was saying, but more so because there is no way this barge of a boat had a reverse gear. Within moments the fish was well over 100 yards into my backing. I saw big boils in the distance while I tried to keep the pressure on the fish. The fish didn’t let up continuing to run while the sound of “ZZZZZZZZ” was music to my ears, not to mention the extremely large smile on my face. As the fish was now about 200yards into my backing all I could think was at this rate, the fish would spool me in no time, so I gave it some more pressure. Then the absolute worst feeling a fisherman can have, came next. It felt like my feet were swept out from under me as my fly came unbuttoned. It was as if the wind was completely knocked out of me.

PHÚ QUỐC VIETNAM

Despite the lost fish it was a productive day on the barge, drinking, eating, snorkeling and catching some vietnam D

I’ll never know the size or species of that fish, I can only imagine that it was probably a Giant Trevally just as, if not bigger, than the one I was saw at the Dinh Cau Night Market. Hopefully it continues to swim around the Island of Phú Quốc and never ends up on a tourist’s dinner plate but rather on the end of another sport fisherman’s line who, uncommon to Asian tradition, releases it unharmed.

 

 


04Apr

Vietnam: Global Music – The Universal Language

One of the most inspiring Semester at Sea field labs I have had the privilege of covering was the Music Cultures lab in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam. We visited the Soul Music Academy started by Thanh Bui (A famous pop artist in Vietnam originally from Australia). This academy teaches Vietnamese kids traditional and modern music. We were given a special performance by the Voice Kids Vietnam, which includes kids that apparently finished high in Asia’s version of America’s Got Talent. To say the least all the students, the Professor and myself were floored by the talent these kids possessed. Watch the videos and you’ll see what I am talking about.


03Apr

Cu Chi Tunnels – Living on Four Legs

Vietnam’s turbulent past gives visitors many opportunities to learn about life during the Vietnam war. A visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels provides a hands on experience as to what conditions were like for Viet Cong during the war. While it seems as if the Vietnamese economy has recovered since the war one interesting fact is that the Vietnamese refer to the war not as the “Vietnam War” but rather “The American War Against Vietnam.”


23Mar

Fly Fishing Hong Kong – Lucky Fish for Me

Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]

Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every 100 yards or so.  Don’t get me wrong, with proper due diligence finding a river with wild fish is very plausible in some of the more remote areas of China. Maybe some of the border areas of Mongolia or areas in Tibet or any of the Eastern border areas in the Himalayas.  After leaving China disappointed in 2006, I received some emails replies from members of a sport-fishing club based in Hong Kong that I had found through the IGFA. While Hong Kong isn’t technically China, it seemed that one of the biggest cities in the world does have a small population of sport-fishermen. On our recent stop in Hong Kong, I found this to be true. Thanks to my fly-fishing friend in Japan, Captain Keiichiro of Seakuro, I was linked up with one of the few fly-fisherman in Hong Kong, a nice Japanese fellow by the name of Koichi Hamaguchi aka: Lefty Hama. I met Hama early in the pre-dawn hours on our last day in Hong Kong. We rigged our 6, 8 and 9 wt rods as we waited for what Hama referred to as “the only sport fishing boat for hire in Hong Kong.” I felt very lucky to be fishing with one the few local fly-fishermen and the only sporting fishing charter among millions of people.

The original purpose of the trip was to target the specific sea-bass species native to the area known as “Lo Yu” or Chinese Spotted Sea-bass (Lateolabrax Maculatus). Hama, being from Japan, explained to me how the Sea-bass in Hong Kong receive a lot of catch and take fishing pressure, because of this, the fish rarely look up unlike the Suzuki or Japanese Seabass that can often be caught on the surface. Therefore, the main technique used to catch Chinese Spotted Sea-bass on a fly is using a sinking line. He explained that in the last couple years he has fished hundreds of times from the pier while only catching Sea-bass twice. After hearing this, I didn’t expect to catch anything this morning, I was really just stoked to be out fishing in a unique setting with someone from across the globe that shared the same passion as me.

We fished for a couple hours in the shimmering glow created by Hong Kong harbour’s industrial ships and marine lights. We moved from spot to spot as we cast our sinking lines towards structures created by the commercial tankers, ports and jetties. As the sun rose, the glow from the city lights dwindled and we continued to laboriously cast in hopes of something to bite. We were fishing near a Chinese navy base when our guide let the boat drift naturally by the current. All morning we had been stripping fast with hopes that the quick strips would instigate a strike. While I felt the boat naturally drift I thought it might be wise to change it up. I held the same point on my depth charger line and jigged it using the boat’s drift to create the action on the fly. For whatever reason, this was the ticket for success. I immediately felt a hard tug, as a rush of adrenaline ran through my body, I stripped set the line, raised my rod and yelled “FISH ON!”  You would have thought Hama won the lottery because he immediately started jumping up and down like he just won the Super Bowl. His excitement was contagious. I immediately got another charge of exhilaration just from witnessing his reaction. It was simply awesome. The fish made a good run against my tightly set drag before we finally saw a glimpse of the fish. At first glance, I thought “permit? no freaking way,” until I realized it was a Giant Trevally. Not a huge one, maybe 2 kilos or 4 pounds tops. We took a bunch of pictures and videos before releasing the fish unharmed.

Hama explained that in late 2012 the Hong Kong government put a ban on bottom trawling. He attributes this to our success. He explained how before 2012 it was hard to find some Giant Trevally up to a 1/2 kilo or about 1 pound but thanks to the ban on bottom trolling the bait fish populations have recovered significantly in just the course of a couple years. This was music to my ears, hearing about an Asian government doing things to conserve and improve the natural resources. Absolutely encouraging and inspiring after just coming from Japan where it seems as if conservation is not a word in their dialect. Hama clarified that he not only has only caught only 2 Sea-bass while fishing from the shore in over 100 outings, he has only caught 2 Giant Trevally in the course of two years. This made what was about to happen next completely special. In the same spot, using the same technique and the same fly, I hooked up with another fish! I couldn’t believe it and neither could Hama. It was as if he had just won another lottery AND won ANOTHER Super Bowl. He was completely ecstatic. Jumping up and down, throwing his fists in the air, yelling and screaming. This fish fought harder and was a bigger, weighing about 3 kilos, about 6 or 7 pounds. I couldn’t help but sharing Hama’s excitement. I have some great fishing buddies back home in Colorado that get super excited when I catch big fish but no one has ever shown this kind of elation for a fish I’ve caught before. It was truly a remarkable experience.

As we have traveled throughout Asia, a common term you’ll hear when people are asking for a tip is “lucky money for me?” I always wonder, how the hell it is lucky if you are asking for it? A tip will be given if a tip is deserved. Well, Hama and I insisted on tipping our captain this day, even though he said a couple times over, “this too much,” but we insisted because he deserved it. Later that night as we pulled out of the brilliant Hong Kong skyline towering over us, I couldn’t help from thinking to myself that this day was a “lucky fish for me,” and I attribute the luck to a nice fellow who goes by the name of Lefty Hama, because if anybody deserves it, he does.

 


26Feb

Embracing Ubuntu Through Sacred Places

Motion picture is a visual medium that requires a fair amount of adaptivity. Especially in the documentary form. You must do your best with what you have. Well this was the case when we traveled to China. The MV Explorer was supposed to be pulling into Shanghai around 8am but instead of seeing the sights of skyscrapers over the city, our awakened eyes were met with a muddy river with banks lined by industrial ports and ships. We were anchored in the middle of the Yangtze river. Our arrival to China was delayed 8 hours. The Chinese water pilot who was supposed to guide us up the Yangtze river into Shanghai must have been partying real hard for the Chinese new year because he completely missed the boat, literally. So our trip to the Zhujiajiao Water Village was canceled. On top of this, the junk boat ocean garbage recovery trip that was scheduled out of Hong Kong for me to cover was canceled due to low enrollment. I guess no one on this ship cares about the oceans we travel around the world in. It may sound like a lame trip, recovering trash from the ocean, but I’ve been to many oceans around the world and I think it is safe to say that there is always plenty of trash no matter which one you visit. So I was honestly excited about this trip, just to see what is being done to mitigate this problem. Pretty bummed it was canceled. So there I was, in China with nothing to cover. I had to come up with something.

My wonderful wife Sara and I teamed up with a great couple we’ve become friends with: Drew and Maria Kahn. Drew is a former actor and teaches drama at Buffalo State in Buffalo, New York (GO BILLS!). We all went to Lantau Island together to experience the Tian Tan “Big Buddha” and the Po Lin Monastery. We had a peaceful day taking in the beauty of this sacred place. The monastery was filled with vibrant colors and golden buddhas while one giant buddha sat on top of the hill overlooking the island. As Drew explains in this video, you don’t have to be buddhist to appreciate and find peace in a place like this. Sara found peace in the amazing buddhist vegetarian meal we ate for lunch while I found peace in the inspiring visuals this divine place had to offer.


Japan is an interesting country filled with sharp contrasts. The island is physically smaller than the state of Montana, but holds a population more than twice the size of the US.  Toilets literally warm and clean your butt in one place while in another there is simply just a hole in the ground. Japan’s best attribute is the people. Its common to have people say “welcome” when they see a westerner or foreigner on the street. They are required to study English for 6 years in school. Anyone will go out of their way to make sure you know where you are going. It is truly a great place to visit for so many different reasons, especially the fly-fishing. On my original Semester at Sea Voyage in Spring 2006 to Japan I experienced the tug of a Suzuki (Japanese Seabass) on the end of my fly line. So I was determined to do the same this time around. Our gracious host in 2006, Takashi Nakajima recommended I fish with the best fly-fishing guide in Tokyo: Keiichiro Okamoto (Captain K <- another example of how kind Japanese people are. They come up with alternate names that make it easier for westerners to pronounce) of SEAKURO Fly-Fishing. Captain K, lived up to his reputation. On average, Captain K guides 5 days a week. Aside from catering to clients like Tommy Lee Jones,  he also fishes on his own every chance he gets. If you get a chance check out his website: SEAKURO. Click on reports and you’ll find sea-bass after sea-bass. Here is his report from our night of fishing:

best fly fishing guide in Tokyo Japan: Seakuro

Capt K of Seakuro – Fishing Report

 

His report literally translates to this:

Setting sail in the sea bass fly fishing

I was going to guide you through the American guest.

Near the enthusiastic fly fisherman, I can enjoy the highest never better night sea bass.

Boyle spree! Rolled exploded to the top! Spree hit!

In many exciting scene, it was night “awesome!”.

OK just floating line.

[Capt. Okamoto]

Yokohama-bay-lights

Cruising Across Yokohama Bay

 

 

Captain K’s report is accurate. There was “never better night” for sea-bass fishing. Captain K picked me up from the ship at 9pm and we were fishing by 9:30. We navigated through the darkness amongst freight ship lights, big highway bridges and industrial ship yards.

Captain K with a nice Sea Bass

Captain K with a nice Sea Bass

 

 

 

Capt K's Custom Tied Flies

Captain K’s Custom Tied Flies

 

 

 

With my 9wt we threw his special top-water fly into the shadows, stripping it out into well lit areas. With no wind and a calm harbor we had non-stop surface action all night long. Cast after cast sea-bass would come out of no-where and slam the fly. Most of the fish we caught were in the 1 kilo range, while we managed to catch a few in the 2-3 kilo range.

 

Reel Escape Films

Kick His Ass Sea-Bass

Like Captain K explained in his report, it was literally a “Boil Spree.” Fish slamming flies cast after cast. If the activity died out in one location Captain K had another we’d motor to in minutes. We probably fished 20 different locations throughout the night catching multiple fish at each. For a more detailed report and pics see CAPTAIN K’S BLOG post from our incredible evening on the water.

After a long night of catching fish after fish, Captain K motored us back to the MV Explorer. He instructed me to throw a few more casts into the corner no more than 75 yards from the back of our ship. On the third cast my fly was nailed, and I was hooked up with yet another hard fighting Japanese Sea-bass. Landing that final Suzuki was a great way to end an incredible night. After, Captain K let me pick his brain on camera while we drifted in his boat with our ship in the background. In his good English (he claims it is Kindergarten level but I told him that most Kindergarteners can’t speak half as good as he can in the US) he talked about Sea-bass fishing in Yokohama and Tokyo bay and how Japanese culture has no regard for conservation, although the growing popularity of fly-fishing is helping create awareness for the importance of catch and release sport fishing.

After the interview, I explained to Captain K that I had such a awe-inspiring experience fly-fishing with him I felt like I was “Turning Japanese.” I even sang the song to him. It was obvious he had never heard of the song and probably thought I was just pulling it out of my ass.

 

 

In the days to follow my wife Sara, our friend Andrew and I had the opportunity to travel around Japan. We spent a night in Tokyo giving us a chance to see the city and visit arguably the biggest fish market in the world: the Tsukiji Fish Market. It was an interesting experience. Imagine the best seafood market you have visited multiplied by 1,000.
Tsukiji clamsTsukiji Fish Market tuna-head

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was everything from big fish like Blue Fin Tuna and Yellowtail, to mollusks and crustaceans that I never knew existed. It was such a unique experience to see the variety of seafood but a bit sad at the same time. The market was an indicator of what little regard Japan’s culture has for conservation. If you are concerned about eating sustainable seafood its a great idea to abide by THIS GUIDE TO EATING SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD.

 

After experiencing Japan’s largest city we caught a bullet train to Kyoto. Thanks to some help from Daniel at TENKARA USA, I was linked up with a couple Japanese Tenkara fisherman.

Izakaya-Japanese Style Pub

Unfortunately due to the winter season we were not able to go fishing in one of the many mountain streams Japan has to offer. Our gracious hosts were very kind. They took my wife Sara, our friend Andrew and I to an Izakaya, a Japanese style pub. Eddie (right) and Kiyoshi (left) were awesome. They taught a lot about Tenkara fly-fishing, its origins and culture in Japan. Kiyoshi even gave us a few of his Tenkara flies. We had a tasty dinner including, sushi and cod roe in a hot pot. It was an unforgettable night.

The next day we had a chance to explore Kyoto. Japan’s cultural capital.

Kyoto-Kiyomizu-dera-Temple

The cemetery at the Kiyomizudera Temple offered a spectacular view of the city

 

Osaka-interesting-characters4web

On the way back to Kobe we stopped in Osaka for some sights and lunch. It is said that Osaka is as if lady Gaga was a city. A friend responded to this with: “so the city is just covered in a meat dress?” I’m not so sure Osaka resembled Lady Gaga but we definitely ran into some weird characters.

The last night we were in Japan Kiyoshi and Eddie the Tenkara fishermen set me and a fly-fishing friend from the ship, Chris, up with another night of sea-bass fishing. This time it was with Yusaku Tsutsui, the owner of Drag Free Fly-Fishing in Osaka. Tsutsui had explained that it may be hard to actually catch a Japanese Sea-bass around Kobe because there is a lot of catch and take fishing. Kiyoshi our Tenkara friend showed us the way to meet Tsutsui. Upon arrival, we rigged our rods as Kiyoshi broke out some pre-game treats, beers and sushi.Flies and Sushi w Kiyoshi

 

As we fished multiple spots that night he talked about how lure fishermen would take 50-60 fish out of each spot. It wasn’t nearly as action packed as the first night of fishing but still a great time.  We all had blast but more so Kiyoshi as it was his first taste of saltwater fly-fishing. While we  were only allotted about 4 hours to fish because we had to catch the train before it closed, we fished hard throwing flies into the shadows of big ships and industrial ports stripping them out into the lit areas. Tsutsui explained that the constant pressure in the area pushes the fish down, so we threw heavy flies with floating line and sink tips as well as full sinking lines. With no action most of the night Tsutsui recommended to change the fly to one that he had tied, a small white clouser, the ticket for success. While stripping my fly out of the corner created by a concrete sidewalk next to the Kobe Airport I felt a big tug. I strip set, then immediately saw a large fish surface and jump completely out of the water. Yells of excitement came from Kiyoshi, Tsutsui, Chris and I. FISH ON!

A great end to an incredible trip

A great end to an incredible trip