XBRAID, CBONE, MC Works, and Melon Shop Kobo Gathered

Hiramasa Casting in Genkai Sea ~Past, Present, and Future~! Who will get the trophy fish?

In the late fall of 2023, members of XBRAID, CBONE, MC Works, Melon Ya Kobo, and CODE gathered at Sunrise Shinkai in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, a place known to many who love casting for sunfish. The reason for the gathering was a DVD released in 2010, in which the fishing trip was filmed and re-created in the modern age. For three days, the sunfish casting experts struggled to catch large sunfish. Who caught the big fish and with what tackle?

Hiramasa Casting in Genkai Sea ~Past, Present, and Future~! Who will get the trophy fish?

The impetus for the multi-maker fishing trip

Casting for sunfish is now enjoyed by many offshore anglers. The current mainstream luring method using a diving pencil has a history of being established through repeated trial and error. Surprisingly, the history of this method is not very long.

In 2010, a DVD was released by SALTWORLD, a magazine focusing on offshore fishing. The DVD was titled “A Complete Guide to Casting for Kingfish,” which introduced the game of castin’ for sunfish. A few years before the release of this DVD, the style of “sunfish can be caught with diving plugs! was born in the Genkainada Sea in the west and in Sotobo, Chiba Prefecture in the east. At the time, it was the subject of an article in SALTWORLD magazine, a publication that dealt extensively with offshore fishing, and it attracted a lot of attention from readers. The reporter was one of its editors.

Until casting for sunfish with a diving pencil was established, jigging was the most common way to catch sunfish, and although there were times when anglers used plugs to search for sunfish that had arrived at birdhouses or nabura while fishing elsewhere, metal jigs were the main method. However, a new method of fishing with diving plugs was developed, and because of the large size of the catches, anglers who love sunfish and casting attracted a great deal of attention. The fun of casting for sunfish became known throughout Japan through magazine articles and the release of the DVD “The Complete Guide to Casting for Sunfish. Incidentally, the DVD “The Complete Guide to Casting for Lancefish” is set on the Sunrise, a popular pleasure fishing boat in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, and is of course operated by Seiichiro Tashiro. Participating anglers included CBONE tester Hiromu Sano, Hirokazu Suetsugu of MC Works, Masato Nagai of Melon Shop Kobo, and Tomomi Onoyama of Saurus King (CODE).

Time has passed, and until now, in 2024, sunfish casting has continued to evolve, giving birth to new tools, new styles, patterns, and so on. Mr. Sano, Mr. Suetsugu, and Mr. Nagai are still passionate about and enjoy casting for sunfish. It was during a fishing show that the idea of getting together again to shoot a video came up. But that alone would not be interesting. So, we decided to bring one young casting enthusiast from each manufacturer, invite Mr. Onoyama to join us as a coordinator, and shoot a video at Sunrise once again. X braid agreed to cooperate with us. Three days of actual fishing. The stage was set. The target was, of course, big fish. But the fishing trip was also a chance for experts and young anglers alike to reconfirm various aspects of the world of castin’ for sunfish.

The Evolution of Casting for Kingfish

The last time we filmed a DVD was a few years after Captain Sunrise Tashiro started casting for sunfish in the Genkai Sea, the sacred land of sunfish in the west, when Mr. Onoyama of CODE (Saurus King) said, “I want to introduce such interesting fishing to people all over Japan through a video. I want to show the truth about the Genkai Sea sunfish. And at that time, Mr. Sano of CBONE, Mr. Suetsugu of MC Works, and Mr. Nagai of Melon Shop Kobo were passionately attending this Sunrise. Although they each carried the signboards of different manufacturers, Mr. Onoyama consulted with each manufacturer about introducing the excellence of sunfish casting beyond the boundaries of manufacturers, and this became a reality.

Captain Seiichiro Tashiro of Sunrise has led the way in casting for sunfish in the Genkai Sea. He gives us point selections and precise instructions. Even he has no idea how to cast for sunfish. And that is what makes it so much fun.

Mr. Sano, Mr. Suetsugu, Mr. Nagai, Mr. Onoyama, and Captain Tashiro, who gathered for this interview, talk about casting for sunfish back then and now.

Tashiro: “Thirteen years have passed since then, but I don’t think the stock of sunfish has changed that much. But the bait has decreased. There was an abundance of baitfish. At that time, the maximum PE line was No. 6. But now, depending on the point, I sometimes ask to use No. 10. Tackle for catching baitfish has changed, and the way to catch baitfish, fishing methods, and the variety of lures have also changed.

Sano: “Thirteen years ago, we had just started fishing, and it was like we were all groping our way through it, throwing PE No. 6 and sometimes No. 8, which was physically demanding on the angler’s part. But with today’s tackle, you can throw all day long, even with No. 10 or something like that. In addition, the variety of lure movements has increased. Although the fish are more sluggish than they were then, I think we are able to get them to respond to more types of lures.

Nagai: “To this point, I know that the baits change every time I come here and that there are many different patterns, so I make lures accordingly and try again. In making lures, we had to repeat the process of trial and error. That was the role of the manufacturer.

Suetsugu: “In rods as well, the basics have not changed, but I think they have been subdivided to respond to different situations. There is a rod that is easy to use for each lure, and rods are now made with fatigue reduction in mind.

Sano: “Also, the evolution of the line has been significant.

Nagai: “Lines have become stronger, and rods that can handle them have become necessary.

Tashiro: “I think lures, lines, rods, and even boat operation have evolved because fishing is no longer as easy as it was back then.

Onoyama: “What I am most pleased about is that 13 years ago, young anglers gathered together and continued to challenge themselves in the waters of the Genkai Sea, and I am glad to see that they are still at the forefront of the sport and have evolved in their own ways.

Nagai: “The younger generation is emerging, and I hope they will continue to improve their techniques and overcome us. From a manufacturer’s point of view, that makes me happy.”

The evolution of tackle has increased the probability of catching large sunfish. Of course, there have also been technological advancements, fishing methods, and boat handling. Incidentally, some of the members used X braid PE line FULLDRAG proto on this fishing trip. I would like to introduce them in an article sometime in the future.

The fishing trip started!

The members gathered at the port of Yobuko, the departure port of Sunrise, while it was still dark. Melon Ya Kobo was joined by Nagai and Yoshinori Enoda, who enjoys fishing for a wide range of fish, from monster fish overseas to big fish in Japan. MC Works, which is based in Fukuoka and calls the Genkai Sea home, was represented by Mr. Suenaga and Shota Koga (“Shota”), the youngest member of the group and a Fukuoka resident. The experts used their vast experience as a weapon. On the other hand, the youngest members will be able to use their experience as well as their young physical strength as weapons. For the three days of this trip, the boats will run from Yobuko to Iki at once because of the wind effect, and the main fishing will be on the backside of the wind in Iki. The fishing points will be narrowed down naturally.

As mentioned above, this fishing trip was filmed on video, so you can watch the video below to see how it went. So, here I would like to introduce some of the most notable catches. The first angler to make a shout was Mr. Sano, who, although he did not have good luck in the video shooting 13 years ago, finally caught the biggest fish of 19 kg, which made the video a success. It was Mr. Sano’s first cast that made the fish take a bite.

First cast on the morning of the first day. Mr. Sano suddenly got a hit!

He quickly removed the dandruff from the line as soon as the bite occurred, hooked the hook forcefully, and immediately put the end of his rod against the belly of the fish to float it away. The fish was a good size, weighing 25 kg, and was caught in a strong, smooth fight that did not give the other angler the initiative. The fish was a good size right from the start.

Rod: CBONE・NEW ENFINITY82/16 proto
Handle: STUDIO OCEAN MARK・20ST18000 BM95
Lure: CBONE・Ryan230 Glow
Protect leader: XBRAID・Scram16#10 proto
Hook: VAN FOOK BG86#7/0
Snap: STUDIO OCEAN MARK・Ocean snap#8

Next up was Ippei, who looks up to Sano as his mentor. Although he has caught good-sized yellowfin and Korean sunfish, he has yet to catch a domestic sunfish over 20 kg. Therefore, his goal was to catch a fish over 20 kg. However, the first fish was a cute size. But then, just after noon, Ippei caught another one. This one weighed 13 kg. Still not reaching the target size.

However, Ippei’s determination not to give up led to a third fish. A violent tug attacked the angler with a bite. The angler could not let up even for a moment. A sense of tension ran around him. The one that landed safely in the net was a fish of a size that could be recognized at a glance as weighing over 20 kg. Ippei was in tears, and Captain Tashiro, who had witnessed Ippei’s fishing until now, was also elated. The on-board measurement of 25 kg was Ippei’s personal record in Japan.

Ippei’s domestic personal record of 25 kg.

Rod: CBONE・ENFINITY83/14 proto
Lure: CBONE・RUDOLF 260 proto

The ENFINITY82/16 and ENFINITY83/14 rods used by Mr. Sano and Mr. Ippei on this day will be released in the fall of 2024, and are power models designed for use with large fish, with PE #8 or #10. Orders have already been taken (@cbone_official).
And the first day ended with two 25 kg and seven sunfish.

Mr. Suetsugu’s first fish. As a local angler, he caught it well.

Rod: MC works’・SLOW HAND835TSV
Line: XBRAID・Proto PE#8
Lure: Local standard・Paddle Bait 220
HOOK: OWNER・SJ-41 9/0 11/0

Shota’s first fish of the first day. He is the youngest of this year’s group. Fukuoka is his hometown, and he has been going to Genkainada all the time.

Lure: Fish trippers Village・tanguera210
Hook: OWNER ST66-2/0

Day 2

It was a windy day, and we started casting around noon. As soon as we entered the point and started casting, a column of water appeared on Mr. Enoda’s plug. Mr. Enoda had been rotating lures to find a pattern up to this point. He was relieved to catch one fish first.

Mr. Enoda’s first fish

Rod: Melonya(Melonya Kobo)・True Blue EC87H
Lure: Melonya ・FLAP BAIT250
Line: VARIVAS・Avani Casting PE SMP Hiramasa Tune X8 #10
Leader: VARIVAS・Ocean Record SHOCK LEADER 150lb

Mr. Sano added a small one, but the Hiramasa remained inactive until the evening masu-masu. Ippei caught a 17kg sunfish and the second day was over.


Members repeatedly cast without losing concentration, against the wind and waves. The mindset of never giving up is important.

The last and third day of the exciting event.

The last day of the fishing season, the wind had died down more than before, although there were still some waves. Time was running short as we had to return to Yobuko Port this day. Everyone kept on casting, trying this way and that, hoping to catch a big one. Just before noon, Mr. Nagai got a long-awaited hit. Mr. Nagai had been struggling to hook the lure several times before, but was unable to do so. He was relieved to catch it.

What kind of pattern is it? Mr. Nagai repeatedly changed lures and got closer to the Hiramasa.

Mr. Nagai struggled to hook the lure, although the sunfish appeared on the lure. However, he was able to catch it in the end.

Rod: Melonya(Melonya Kobo)・True Blue EC87H
Lure: Melonya・FLAP BAIT220

After that, Mr. Suenaga added a 13 kg fish by letting the lure dive. Mr. Enokida also succeeded in increasing the size of his fish, adding 14.5 kg.

On the third day, the anglers had a hard time catching fish.
On the third day, it was difficult to get the lure to bite, but Mr. Suenaga caught a 13 kg fish by using the lure in a slightly diving manner.

Line: XBRAID・Proto PE #10
Lure: Local standard Paddle Bait240
Hook: OWNER・SJ-41 13/0

Mr. Enoda was unable to reach his goal of over 20 kg, but in the end he found a pattern and caught 14.5 kg.

Rod: Melonya(Melonya Kobo)・True Blue EC80XH
Line: VARIVAS・VARIVAS・Avani Casting PE SMP Hiramasa Tune X8 #10
Leader: VARIVAS・Ocean Record SHOCK LEADER 150lb
Lure: Melonya・TWZ200(CLEAR COLOR)

Then, the last drift. Here, an impressive fish was brought on board.
Shota, who was casting at the shore, got a strong hit.

The line was violently pulled out from the tightened drag. Shota immediately took action. It was the biggest pull of the fishing trip. Everyone on the boat was nervous. Then, Captain Tashiro gives him a command. The sunfish was quickly and powerfully pumped and reeled in, dodging the roots and being floated up to the surface. The size of the sunfish was obvious at a glance. As soon as the fish was in the net, Shota shouted with a slightly trembling voice of relief, “I did it! He knew immediately that it was a personal record for him. It was the moment when everyone on the boat was moved by the fish and its fight. Everyone, including Shota, naturally burst into tears. Then, gradually, the smiles turned into smiles. The on-board measurement was a big sunfish weighing 35 kg and measuring 154 cm in length.
I can’t stop casting for sunfish because of this,” said Shota.

Shota’s personal record of 35 kg. A magnificent fish. His enthusiasm for catching sunfish in the Sunrise and Genkainada Sea has taken shape.

ROD: MC works’・EXPLOSION837HF-TRIDENT(3 piece)
Lure:Fish trippers Village・tanguera 270
Hook: OWNER・STX68-5/0 proto

This fishing trip ended with the best fish of the trip. The anglers who cast hard for three days, kept their spirits up until the very end. 13 years ago, they were young anglers, but now they are experts, and the young anglers are striving to be like them. The great thing about casting for sunfish and the big game is that everyone on the boat is a rival and a mentor, but when a trophy size fish is caught, everyone is happy. This fishing trip was just such an occasion.

The experts will continue to chase big sunfish they have not seen yet. Of course, young anglers will follow suit. And they will be the future of sunfish casting. As the experts first mentioned, the development of casting for large sunfish has continued, with stronger lines, rods, reels, and hooks to match, and lures that can produce a variety of movements, making it possible to catch more fish. However, we cannot continue to do so if the fish are gone. Finally, Captain Tashiro asked the younger members about the current and future hiramasa game.

Enoda: “I have had many enjoyable experiences through sunfish casting, but in order to keep doing this, I think it is important to release the fish properly.

Tashiro: “When I started casting for sunfish, people still thought that catching sunfish meant keeping them, but nowadays the idea and trend is to release them. I wonder if the number of fish has decreased because people are becoming more and more aware of the release. Is it getting harder to catch fish? I wonder if it is getting harder to catch fish. Nowadays, people are more naturalistic about releasing fish.

Shota: “I want to increase the number of people in this younger age group. Now that there are social networking sites and so on. I want to make good use of it and spread the joy of sunfishing.

Tashiro: “That’s right. Ippei: “I met a Korean bluefin tuna fisherman on a social networking service.

Ippei: “I am connected with Korean anglers through SNS, and when I go to Korea, I find that the culture of sunfish fishing is different from that in Japan, and I really enjoy interacting with them.

Tashiro: “I am looking forward to it, everyone.”

A commemorative photo of the anglers who participated in this fishing trip. The art of the sunfish casting game will be passed down from generation to generation.


Summary: Angler’s Time Editor Hidenori Omoto

Reporting cooperation
Sunrise Shinkai https://sunrise.genkainada.jp/
X BRAID  https://xbraidygk.jp/
Melonya http://www.melon-ya.net/
MC works https://www.mcworks.jp/
CB ONE  https://www.cb-one.co.jp/

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