Think Like a Fish

First fishing trip of the year was a success. Not in terms of fish caught, for there was only one very small yamame which I successfully landed. But my casting was crisp, my equipment was well prepared, and my knots where tied smoothly and without incident. For me that’s a win.

During this excursion I had a conversation with my fishing buddy about how I actually possess a lot of fishing knowledge. Book knowledge. I can tell you that the improved clinch knot has shown to have no advantage over the standard clinch knot when tests have been run on knot strength. I can tell you that a 6X tippet can turn over a #18 size elk hair caddis without issue. None of this info has helped me land a fish as far as I know.

What I have yet to do is put any of this knowledge into real practice on the water. I’ve had moderate success catching yamame using my ultra mini keiryu/tenkara hybrid rod, but only have caught a few legit trout here in Hokkaido. Does that make me a poor fisherman?

My friend has a different problem. What he lacks in uber-specific fishing knowledge he makes up for in sheer abundance in gear. Gear of all sorts. He is a collector of gear. It’s a different problem.

But we enjoy all of it. Fishing is an experience. And it doesn’t require that you catch fish to find it rewarding. When I get a chance to just be out wading in a stream, away from Sapporo’s concrete gridded streets, I make the most of it. This last weekend I followed a small flock of what I believe were Eastern Yellow Wagtail’s along the bank of the Bifue River, a species I have yet to add to my life list. Although I couldn’t make a positive ID, it caught my eye and led me down several bird watching rabbit holes throughout the day.

The Bifue River
The Bifue River outlets into Lake Shikotsu and is about an hour southeast of Sapporo.

I decided that since my rigging on my fly rod was working fairly well, and I was getting decent drifts on an old #18 caddis, I would forgo using my Nissen Pocket Mini and just see what I could accomplish with western fly fishing methods. Not much was rising, and I only managed a handful of tiny yamame strikes throughout the morning. I managed to officially catch one unmeasurable (meaning incredibly small) yamame. So the day was a complete success!

What do you think?