Japan is awesome. There are a lot of things there that are not found anywhere else. I believe they have the most diverse fishing industry in the world – this is to be expected since fishing is deeply engrained to their culture and it was even the most favourite pastime of the Samurai.


I never thought dropping down 22 meters for a small fish like this would be so much fun


Abbas getting instructions from Kozo while trying to feel the soft bite of the wakasagi

It was a surprise that there was a fishing trip set up for us by Kozo Okubo, one of Japan’s most prolific anglers.


Mihara had home lake advantage and was the first to catch a fish, something to be expected from someone of his caliber


We were supposed to be there for fishing, but the eating was non stop

We fished for something totally unique, a fish called Wakazagi. It’s quite a small fish and I was really surprised at the kind of tackle we used, it was so high tech for something so small, but the Japanese love this fish and have invented technologies to help them catch it. From fish finders to specialized rods and reels for them, fishing tackle made for them are an industry of their own.


Haru and Yuki were already in the dome when we got there and they helped us get rigged and ready to catch fish – they are quite good anglers!


Kozo planned everything for us and we can’t thank him enough for the experience

You fish inside plastic domes on a floating platform with large rectangular holes in the floorboards. Although it’s not normally allowed, the Lake manager, Mr. Mihara allowed us to have a barbeque inside the dome. What we found out, later on, was that Mr. Mihara is a professional bass fisherman! So we had two of Japan’s top-notch anglers fishing with us and showing us the ropes.


Kozo is quite a character and very unpredictable, it was none stop laughter with him around – so even if the fishing was slow, the fun certainly was not

It started snowing and the water temperature was quite cold, even if the conditions were against us, we still caught some fish. My first ever fish in Japan is a Wakasagi of about 10CM and they said it was a big one!
Great company and new friends always make for an excellent experience, even if the fishing wasn’t that good.


Kozo and Chef Todome really gave us a dinner to remember – It’s hard to beat this and I think we have to go back there soon

We were treated to another experience – the best steak dinner I have ever had in my life. Since Tojo Lake was pretty close to Kobe, we went to a place near Kozo’s house, which had the best Kobe beef I have had in my life. It was really an experience on it’s own.


The whole team before we started fishing (and eating)

The trip to Japan was indeed something I would remember for the rest of my life. A memorable trip shared with an old friend and a trip that marks the start of a great friendship with great people. I will let the pictures do the talking. ■

Till nest tide change,

Kit


Our fishing pro who shares his experiences and expertise with OutdoorUAE through his regular column. thefishingkit@gmail.com


Words by: Kit Belen
Photos by: Kozo Okubo