SMALL BEGINNINGS: Zaiyu Hasegawa, with bass fishing champion Braden Schuch, started small with this Australian bass, which he quickly returned to the water. It was the first of the species, or any Australian native fish, he had ever caught.
SMALL BEGINNINGS: Zaiyu Hasegawa, with bass fishing champion Braden Schuch, started small with this Australian bass, which he quickly returned to the water. It was the first of the species, or any Australian native fish, he had ever caught. Arthur Gorrie

'Gympie, you're the greatest,' says top chef and angler

WHAT happens when one of the world's best chefs encounters one of the world's best and most picturesque fishing environments at Gympie region's Borumba Dam?

Zaiyu Hasegawa takes food and fishing seriously, but was seriously overjoyed when he caught his first Australian native fish. That happened yesterday, at Borumba Dam, when the internationally rated restaurant royal and globe trotting bass angler caught five of the elusive Australian native species.

Mr Hasegawa rated his day at Borumba one of the best experiences of his fishing life.

"It is my first experience of Australian bass,” he said, with the aid of interpreter Sachiko Forsyth.

"I've never caught an Australian native fish before,” he said.

The cook in Zaiyu Hasegawa's team in Australia, Rei Mochizuki, came close to showing her boss up when she caught this bass on Lake Borumba.
The cook in Zaiyu Hasegawa's team in Australia, Rei Mochizuki, came close to showing her boss up when she caught this bass on Lake Borumba. Arthur Gorrie

Lake Borumba
Lake Borumba Arthur Gorrie

One that did not get away, but which was returned to the water later, was this Australian bass caught by Don MacAulay of the Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association.
One that did not get away, but which was returned to the water later, was this Australian bass caught by Don MacAulay of the Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association. Arthur Gorrie

His Tokyo restaurant, The Den, is rated not only one of the world's top 50 eateries, but comes in high on the list at Number 12. And, with a Japanese-style emphasis on fish, The Den is also rated the best in Japan.

So he knows his fish, in the water and on the plate.

SMALL BEGINNINGS: Zaiyu Hasegawa, with bass fishing champion Braden Schuch, started small with this Australian bass, which he quickly returned to the water.
SMALL BEGINNINGS: Zaiyu Hasegawa, with bass fishing champion Braden Schuch, started small with this Australian bass, which he quickly returned to the water. Arthur Gorrie

An early start on a misty morning at Lake Borumba.
An early start on a misty morning at Lake Borumba. Arthur Gorrie

An early start and a misty morning at Lake Borumba.
An early start and a misty morning at Lake Borumba. Arthur Gorrie

An early start on a misty morning at Lake Borumba.
An early start on a misty morning at Lake Borumba. Arthur Gorrie

ON THE LINE: Renowned Japanese chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, whose restaurant is rated 12th best in the world and best in Japan, took time out from his starring role in The Curated Plate foodie event on the Sunshine Coast, to wet a line at Borumba Dam. Also well known as a bass fishing enthusiast, his hosts were champion bass angler Braden Schuch and Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association worker Don MacAulay.
ON THE LINE: Renowned Japanese chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, whose restaurant is rated 12th best in the world and best in Japan, took time out from his starring role in The Curated Plate foodie event on the Sunshine Coast, to wet a line at Borumba Dam. Also well known as a bass fishing enthusiast, his hosts were champion bass angler Braden Schuch and Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association worker Don MacAulay. Arthur Gorrie

He released all five of them.

Cook, Rei Mochizuki, who travelled with Mr Hasegawa to help with his involvement in the Curated Plate foodie event at the Sunshine Coast, almost upstaged her boss when she landed a good sized example of the smaller Australian species, showing it off with a grin at least as ear-to-ear as Mr Hasegawa's.

"There's fish under us,” said champion bass angler Braden Schuch, a regular visitor to Borumba Dam and Mr Hasegawa's fishing guide for the day.

"It's just a matter of whether they're feeding,” he said.

"We put in 100,000 fingerlings last year and another 100,000 this year,” said Lake Borumba Fish Stocking Association stalwart Don MacAulay.

"That was a mixture of bass, yellow belly (which is really golden perch, he said), silver perch and the endangered Mary River cod.

" I can't tell you how many are survivors. They tend to face a lot of challenges, including being eaten by bigger fish.

"There's a stack of fish here at the moment,” he said, consulting his fish finding sonar to show we were floating over one such "stack”. "Do we know any good cooks?” Mr Schuch said.

Mr Hasegawa, however, accepted a particularly local lunch - a steak sandwich prepared by fish stocking supporters at the dam.