Seabass game in 2016 went well, with considerably improved efficiency. I am leaving Japan for several year's work abroad but, when I come back, would love to work on this project for an ultimate answer - should there be such!

- Bream Games

'Conoshiro pattern', shad like fish on their spawning migration, started rather early this year. Or perhaps we just hadn't noticed it in the previous seasons.

We started catching big fat giants from early October already, making our nightly errand almost mandatory.
Our catch was topped by 90cm trophy, followed up by several nearly as big. When big seabass start chasing big meals (20-30cm) it becomes really hard to entice them with a humble fly.

That nevertheless is a subject worth further researches and I will keep you posted.
Just when we thought that could be end of it, a true big fortune rolled in - a solid rain that continued for 2 full days. The river went up raging high and then started to come down. I had to take a day off and rush to the crime scene. My emergency expedition (at the cost of business meetings) was duly rewarded!
You must prepare multiple options, so you can hop onto the next best alternative if you find someone fishing already.

Now if you luckily secure the intended spot, spend a good few minutes running simulation. Fish in such places are highly educated and the first cast is all that counts. Carefully select the spot to cast to, and ensure the lure travels on the premeditated path. The moment a shadow of seabass looms out of the shade to inspect the lure your heart will race!
Generally lure outfishes fly by a big margin - especially in a big water where distance is one of the key. But in smaller water, where you know seabass is holding, flyfishing could produce as much result. And once you hook up the fish, flies have a big advantage of weighing by far less - therefore hang on better than lures during those explosive head shakes.
Advent of monsoon in early June signals the start of yet another game. The flood water cools down the river pushing down the hapless baitfish along the way. Again, there come up Seabass to take advantage of the easy meals.

Because bait fish are now larger, I size up my fly to some 4inches in length, and give a bit faster, erratic retrieve in the pocket water amid fast currents.

I caught many fine seabass in this pattern, up to 71cm on fly and 86cm on a lure. Because the bait is bigger, spinning outfit also with its ability to cover wider area, tend to play better in this game.
Ochi Ayu game is really special in that seabass becomes so fixated to this tasty, chunky prey (now 15-20cm). Unlike summer flood pattern, dying Ayu tend to float right on the surface, pulsating but not swimming. And when the condition is right, there are more seabass in the path of the drift than the floating meals, so Seabass tend to grab at it competing against each other. And I'm talking about these adult, big seabasses 70cm+. Catching them on fly, crashing the surface in broad daylight is one of the finest flyfishing we know of.
Baby Ayu pattern worked from late April thru to end May. There wasn't an obvious correlation with the moon phase but, as is the case with Salmon, Ayu too swim up the current during high water more actively. Warm rain and slight increase of river level almost guaranteed an exciting night out.

Catching a fine trophy of 80cm, I avenged myself on my defeat a year ago.
To enjoy a good Ochi Ayu pattern (spawned out Ayu) you need 3 things - drop of temperature, shorter daylight and flood. Thanks to the typhoons we continued to receive good rainfall from August to September but that was a tad too early for Ayu to spawn and perish. Then came October when Ochi Ayu could start any minute, but no rain. We suffered from 3 weeks of continuous bright blue sky.

When we finally received a somewhat half hearted rain, we had to give it a go anyhow. While the action was not that hot, Sayuri managed to nail down this respectable fish to our great delight.
As we see off the cherry blossoms, baby Ayu start their migration from the sea to the river. Chasing these vulnerable prey, come Seabass the predator not far behind.

My new fly pattern and reduced speed of retrieve was received well by the predators, and interestingly, I noticed fly could easily outfish lure in this particular game.
On Seabass Games

Baby squid pattern of chilly winter nights was a subject I worked out with a reasonable success. I made an extensive field research around Kurahashi islands to the east of Hiroshima, catching several good fish up to 75cm.

This fishing is dependent on jetty lights. Baby squids are attracted to the lights, and in turn, inviting their nemesis. The good location therefore is all too obvious and are under nightly fishing pressure.
Seabass accounted for the biggest chunk this year again but the frequency in less productive months dropped a lot. Meanwhile outing for breams increased yet the total catch declined - due to a reason I touch on later. Only several days were spent on the freshwater, though they too produced good fun in their own rights. Let me dwell on each theme.
2015 was a year of harvest - from the researches of my past 2 seasons. In '13 I spent 158 days out as I restarted SW fishing. In 2013 166 days even. That was time spent to gather observations to weave my strategies.

Now 2015 was a year to test them. And sure enough, despite the reduced frequency by a third (106 days), the total catch remained the same.

Take seabass fishing for instance, which arguably is the most data oriented game of them all, the catch rate per outing kept rising, to more than double of '13's. The sense of progress is not just rewarding but what lifts up fishing to the height of science.

'15 Journal