Friday, May 15, 2015

Kazu visits from Japan to catch black bass

Rewind eleven years to a time when I was much skinnier, my hair was blonder, and most of my wardrobe was orange and blue.  (My fishing lifelist was probably around 5 then.)  In the summer of 2004 I spent 6 weeks in Japan, and while I was there I became friends with the Okayama University Weight Training Club.  One of the team members, Kazuhiro, can be seen sitting beside me in this photo taken at a celebration after the All Japan Powerlifting Championship in Kobe, Japan.

I've stayed in touch with a few of the OUWTC alumni over the years.  In 2012 I fished with my friend Jun, a former OUWTC member, while I was visiting Japan for a conference.  Last week I got the opportunity to take Kazuhiro fishing in Champaign-Urbana.  Kazu was visiting his girlfriend in Ohio and decided to take a side trip over to Illinois to meet up with me.  Kazu told me he wanted to catch black bass, which in Japan means largemouth bass.  However, in Illinois we have three black basses - largemouth, smallmouth and spotted.  Naturally I wanted to give Kazu the opportunity to catch all three species.

Kazu's plane was delayed, so I killed some time in the evening at one of my old fishing spots before picking him up.  I threw a pretty large Mepps spinner hoping for a smallmouth or spotted bass, but I ended up catching the usual smaller species instead.

Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris)

Striped Shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus)

I picked up Kazu at the airport late in the evening, and we stayed the night at my aunt and uncle's house in Urbana.  The next morning we met my friend Jeff, who is dedicated to fishing for smallmouth and spotted bass in the Champaign area.

We fished one of Jeff's favorite spots with him heading upstream and Kazu and I heading downstream.  Of course Jeff ended up catching a couple of nice smallmouth bass, and Kazu and I caught everything else.  Nonetheless, it was a great opportunity for Kazu to go wading in a creek fishing for species he'd never seen before.

Striped Shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus)

Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris)

Striped Shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus)

Longear Sunfish (Lepomis megalotis)

After a fantastic barbeque lunch at the Black Dog, Jeff and I agreed that we should take Kazu to a subdivision pond that would have plenty of largemouth bass.  Jeff knows of another spot with bigger bass, but we chose quantity over quality since we had limited time.  Jeff and Kazu rigged up with imitation Senko worms, and I did some bobber fishing to go after the big bluegill that I knew would be in the pond.

Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

Before long I had switched to bass fishing as well, and boy was the action hot!  We must have caught 20 to 40 bass each.  I looked over at Kazu and said, "we should take a photo with both of us holding a bass".  He cast his worm, caught a bass, I cast my worm, caught a bass, and Jeff took the picture.  It was that easy!

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

With only an hour left before I needed to take Kazu back to the airport, we had to call it a day.  Kazu caught one last bass, and fortunately it was one big enough to be proud of.  It was about 15 to 16 inches.

Kazu, I hope you had a good time fishing in Illinois.  To all of my other friends around the world, you're always welcome to visit and go fishing with me!  I can't promise a trophy sized fish, but I can promise you'll at least get a taste of what multi-species fishing is like in the U.S.

1 comment:

  1. Which river/creek were you fishing in? The boneyard?