Muppets

Muppets

Martyn White | Monday, 28 December 2020

When I was younger I really didn't like sea fishing. This was long before you saw anyone saltwater fly fishing in Scotland, it was all heavy, clumsy gear that just wasn't pleasant to use.Perhaps if I had started on it rather than fly fishing I would have felt differently, I can remember the excitement of getting chrome pram handles, crushing the end and filling them with molten lead to make pirks which would be used with the mackerel feathers in the hope of a getting a cod. The experience never really held up to expectations for me though. So it was fly only, with occasional Walker's Key Chronicles inspired forays down the coast with my fly gear that garnered plenty of odd looks from the other rods around, sadly the fish were less plentiful - interesting how things have changed on that front and saltwater fly rodding isn't an unusual sight in Scotland any more.

It stayed like that for me till after I moved to Japan.  I know there have been a couple of decades of technological improvements in rod manufacture and the advent of PE lines, but there is also something about the Japanese approach to tackle that has resulted in incredible tackle that is light and ergonomic with fantastic power to weight ratios.  It became interesting to me again, and I always have a popping and jigging rod with me when I go offshore now.   The thing I enjoy the most though is kabura/tai rubber, or muppeting as it has become known among my friends and I. Although mechanical and slow pitch jigging have spread from Japan and become known around the globe, to my knowledge kabura is still fairly unknown in other countries.  It's basically a vertical fishing technique for targeting red snapper and similar demersal species.  The rods are soft and parabolic, all you need for a reel is a little compact baitcaster loaded with a few hundred metres of size 1-1.5 pe line. Throw in a leader of 15lb mono- nylon or fluoro and a few muppets and you're good to go. Not only that, the hooks are small, don't get taken deeply and you can beat the fish very quickly allowing for successful release. The technique is simple, drop the appropriately weighted muppet to the bottom and retrieve it back up a few metres from the structure, before repeating at various speeds and cadences till you find what's working. When you feel a fish eating the rubber skirt on the lure don't strike, just keep reeling until it finds the small hooks and the rod loads up with the weight of fish. Simple.  

 

The good thing about it in Tokyo is that red snapper (tai) are here all year and the best period for them is in winter, especially around late December and January which coincides nicely with when the seabass have all buggered off to spawn and there's nothing doing inshore.  I had hoped to be out over the Christmas holiday, but have found out I need to isolate over the next couple of weeks instead.   So I'll be watching TV, eating too much and tying flies instead. Hopefully I'll still be able to squeeze a trip in before the inshore fly fishing gets going again.