Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Eging Summit 2014 - Day 4


After a cracking big day at the summit the day prior it was time for some relaxation so a short road trip was planned to head up into the mountains for a spot of land based Bass hunting.

Kotaro picked me up from the hotel at about 0930 and we headed south east from Tanabe towards a fave place of mine in Japan the beautiful Gogawa Dam. This was the place where Mr Hiraiwa the Gan Craft founder guided me to a 50cm+ Bass on my first summer trip to Japan on a Jointed Claw so this place holds some very fond memories. It was about 1 hour from the office of Gan Craft to the crisp clear waters of Gogawa Dam through twisting and winding mountain roads, if you have issues with tight spaces then this road is not for you, you often feel as though the tall mountain cut outs are closing in on you as you wind through the countless valley's, tunnels and mountain towns. The road although a main road has spots only wide enough fro 1 car and can fully understand why so many small trucks are on the road in Japan. There is no way a B Double or even a semi is making it up into some of these places.
We arrive at our first point of call after crossing the bridge that passes some o the best looking water on the planet, the color of the water is amazing, the bridge is about 30 meters above the water but we could see Bass swimming freely in 3 meters of water, I took an opportunity while we were on top of the bridge to take a photo of a Bass through the water, it sat almost as if it was suspended in air almost as if there was no water at all. To give you an idea of scale the pic on the left shows a large rock to the left in the water, this rock stood approx 3 meters out of the water. We traveled about 300 meters past the bridge and began our decent into the forest to the water below. Half way down the steep decent I mentioned that I should probably have gone first as if I loose grip I am taking all 4 of us out with me.

At the waters edge we cast away for about an hour covering a bit of water and although we could get the bass to follow our lures we could not entice the strike. Not worried we kept casting away, fishing is not always about the catching. Just spending time in a place like this can lift about a years worth of stress off your shoulders, as quoted by Michael Caton (Mr Darryl Kerrigan) in the Castle "Ah the serenity!" Punching lures around in both the fast running water upstream to the slow pool below, the sound of water passing by and the tease of the fish that followed our lures I was hypnotized by both the water and the environment that it dominated, time was not a factor when we were in this valley, I could have sat there all day. We did decide to move to another location though so a quick pack up and a move was made. Now its no secret that I have the fitness of an 80 year obese pack a day smoker with a walking frame so my happiness dropped to an oh shit I have to walk back up that hill moment. I did make it - just. The next location although beautiful did not have the same precious feel to it although the activity of the fish was greater we could still not entice a strike, best part about this spot was the access was flatter meaning no moaning about me climbing back up a hill and panting like a tired dog on a hot day for half hour afterwards.

With food on my mind it was decided a lunch stop was required, Iwatchi mentioned a place he knew of in the mountains that we should enjoy, I had no idea where we were going but I am up for almost anything. Back though some winding roads back toward home we came accross a dirt driveway with no signs or any indication of a restaurant, we drove along a very long bumpy driveway to a place that has been built into the forest right smack next to a spotless river that ran off the Gowgawa Dam. It was a timber doorless and windowless building bringing nature into the restaurant. It was nothing short of spectacular and one of those places off the beaten track with no signs and not on any tourist brouchure (It should be) Right next to this timber building was a location where you are required to catch your own lunch, it is an Ayu fishery. All gear was supplied and it only took us approx 20 minutes to have enough for 4 of us. 

This was my first ever time Ayu fishing and I was fortunate enough to catch a couple. Within 30 seconds of being caught and older gent was salting them and skewering them and put them onto some hot coals that he got burning as we arrived. This restaurant was a Sobe Noodle house, while our fish was being cooked we were seated around a table that had water flowing around it. The noodles were added to the flowing water and part of the feed is catching the noodles with your chop sticks before dunking them into a sauce of your choice. If you dont have any chop stick skills get some practice before you go there or you will starve. The fish came out and I have heard this fish refered to as 'sweet fish', for me as a moss eating vegan fish it was quite bitter and not to my liking I should just stick to the Fillet o Fish from McDonalds, good fish is wasted on me.

All fed and full of noodles we headed back top the Gan Craft office to chill out for a bit, it was nice to see Suguru Yoshizaki Evergreen pro staff pop in to say hi and was kind enough to give me a fishing towel with the 100 year anniversary emblem on it. He spoke great English for some one who does not study it or who has not spent long in Western countries, much better at English than I was at Japanese. During the chill out I had a play with the many toys that you would expect to find in the office of a cool Japanese fishing tackle company while catching up with other visitors that often pop past for a coffee and a catch up, one thing I will miss about this place is the 24 hour a day fishing channel on TV. non stop fishing all day every day, this would have me unemployed if we had it here in Australia.

It was getting late and the team had planned a get together at Shyraku with the Gan Craft family, this place is a great feed, run by Husband and wife team Akio and Mika Ogawa I have never been let down by the food and company, they really know how to make you feel welcome and they go to great lengths to make sure I am well fed (Mika Iyashi!!) Every one joined us, we ate, we played, we made Takayaki with sausage instead of octopus to suit my liking and we drank. Mr Hiraiwa even joined us for a drink (rare occasion). I can not explain the awesome hospitality offered by some of the coolest people on the planet. It is beyond words. All good things must come to an end though, we said our good byes and headed home to sleep off the food and drink.

Main road up to the mountains

Bass pic taken from 30 meters above and in 3 meters of water amazing water

Did some one say trout - Bass love eating these things 
View as you drive into the Sobe noodle house

30 seconds after being caught

1 minute after being caught

The view from the table at the sobe noodle house

Out the back - this is just outside the restaurant approx 30 meters from the building

My cooked Ayu
Party time

Chubie' thought my cup and ball skills were amusing - I was crap

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