mardi 8 septembre 2015

My encounter with Masami "Tenkara-no Oni" Sakakibara (Part 3)

The next day we did fish the same torrent but a little bit further upstream.
I have watched videos on the  web and seen a lot of pictures of Japanese anglers fishing at the foot of dams and this time it was my turn to try this exercise in style. There is indeed some iwana at the foot of the waterfalls but it is not easy to reach them with a kebari. After a few tries I managed to sink my kebari in the depths and got a strike. The fish unhooked itself when  emerging from the water but Masami-san congratulated me because it is very difficult to feel the strike of an iwana in a such violent current.

We slowly ascended the banks of the river, exploring one by one all the spots likely to harbor these very discreet fish are that are iwana. 

The Iwana being a fish that does not move a lot it is to you to get your kebari convincingly drift in its field of vision. Masami-san never insists on a post, if the fish does not react when fishing upstream, he goes up the river a few meters and may try the same spot fishing downstream. His approach of the fish spots is stealthy and it pays off because he excels at catching fish at very close range.

A discreet approach, accurate and delicate casting and drift control are the keys to success in tenkara. I was also pleased to take another Yamato Iwana before we arrive at the highest point of our adventure. Having not the necessary gear we could not climb the waterfall that was in front of us when we came down in the valley.

We did find a river whose water was well cleared, the level still seemed a bit high to Masami-san but it probably seemed correct because he invited me to fish.

This time I was the only one to fish and it was my great pleasure and privilege to practice on this stream under the watchful eye of my friend and master.

I did catch some beautiful  amago that were in great shape. I was satisfied with this result and the water level being a little bit high was a good thing for the amago. They were in great shape and were a lot of fun to fish.

The weather that had been sullen and capricious turned to great weather as we were leaving the mountains. All good things come to an end and I had to return to Tokyo to take the plane that would bring me back to Paris. I thanked warmly Masami-san and Coco for their hospitality and for sharing with me their vast knowledge and experience of tenkara. Bye my friends!

My stay in Japan was a great moment in terms of fishing of course but above all a great human experience because I met simple, welcoming and generous people. And I have no doubt that this trip where I had the chance to meet some of the best connoisseurs of this fishing technique will have a great influence on my own experience of tenkara.

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