fbpx
    • Spring
      • Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.

        Into the Mystic

        While you probably won’t encounter an elusive river sprite in the highlands of the Northern Japan Alps, you may feel a bit lightheaded from the refreshing thin air, remarkable vistas and mystical aura of the mountains and valleys in Kamikochi.
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...
    • Summer
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...
        A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • Autumn
    • Winter
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
        video

        Shuzenji Sanctuary

        Nestled in the ...
    • Near Tokyo
      • Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Ark Hills Marche

        Tucked away in ...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!

        Summer Runs, Races & Tours

        Trail running is a great way to explore the beautiful nature of a country while getting away from the usual tourist spots.
    • Near Kyoto
      • A glass of beer from Kyoto Brewing

        Kampai! in Kansai

        Kansai has been...

        Music Festival Guide 2018

        Warmer months mean awesome music festivals in Japan. Check out our favorite music festivals!
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • Return to Palau

        I am sitting in...

        Air it Out

        There is no bet...

        Nature and History in Shonai

        One of Tohoku’s six prefectures is Yamagata, located just north of Niigata Prefecture along the coast. It's a hidden gem for travelers in search of authentic cultural experiences and outdoor activities.
    • River and Lake
      • Air it Out

        There is no bet...
        video

        Niseko Untapped

        Niseko draws th...

        Minakami Mofest

        Head up to Japan's outdoor mecca of Minakami for the country's biggest outdoor adventure festival!
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • video

        Mad About Pow

        A powder pocket...

        The Reemergence of Arai

        Lotte Arai Resort will definitely become a hotspot for western skiers and boarders over the next few years.
    • Travel
    • Food and Drinks
    • Races and Events

The First Bite

Toward the end of spring, my friends and I start getting a little cagey when it comes to making plans. We decline party invitations, give vague explanations to our loved ones as to why we can’t schedule any important events and generally steer clear of hanging with anyone who is not part of our fishing crew.

There is a good reason.

From the beginning of May, we are on a watch for an event that for us is more important than Christmas, the Super Bowl, national elections or even landing a man on the moon.

Several times a day we visit meteorological sites to check the water temperature, winds and tides; hoping to glean some tidbit of info that will give us the heads-up we need, so we can be portside at the right moment. Rumors float around social media, and everyone gets keyed-up to the point where it’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

The tuna are coming. We don’t know exactly when, but we know they will show up soon, and barring the sudden death of a loved one or imprisonment, we want to be there for the first bite and the no-holds-barred action.

In June 2012, five friends and I boated 13 tuna and five skipjack in a single outing, which was at that time unheard of in Sagami Bay. We knew it was a special moment; that we’d probably never see a bite like that again, but in the back of our minds, we are all thinking you just never know.

The tuna, mostly yellowfin, stay around in the bay as late as the end of October, allowing numerous chances to target them, but experienced fishermen know them to be way more ravenous and much less selective about what lures they will take at the very start of the season.

Within a week or two of the kick-off, the tuna seem to realize they are being hunted and gradually become skittish to the point that, by the middle of summer, they will ignore any lure or bait that doesn’t resemble or move like the anchovies or sardines on which they are preying.

They surface to feed in the distance but submerge once a few boats get within casting distance. Sometimes they feed aggressively on juvenile baitfish so small, it’s impossible to match their size with a lure heavy enough cast to them.

For many it is headache after agonizing headache, but a good number of anglers become transfixed and go at it every weekend, regardless of how lousy the reports, until the tuna head back to the Black Current in early autumn. Tuna can mess with your mind that way.

Many anglers who make it out for the first bite and score at the beginning of the season opt to continue marauding the bay in search of the next bite, but also find it easier to take their minds off fishing to enjoy the beach, barbecues, festivals and other nostalgic vestiges of summer.

I say it is better to get the tuna bug out of your system early. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Readers interested in jumping into Sagami Bay tuna fishing can get outfitted at one of several tackle retailers in the Kanto area.

Outdoor Japan logo tree

Related

Latest posts

Categories