This Kohaku from Sakuma is owned by Martin who recently featured in my "Pond Visit" article. Imported by The Koi Collection, I took the photo on the left when it was a tiny 17cm, just after it had finished its quarantine period.
I always had a soft spot for this fish, I loved the beni, I loved the skin and yes the pattern really floated my boat! Martin made the purchase and after a good period of growth this year I thought we'd take a little look at the results!
The first thing to note is how the increase in size has completely transformed the visuals of this koi from a weak looking little tosai, into an imposing, strong 45cm nisai. Never underestimate the impact of the most simple factor, growth!
At location 1 on the left we can see a pinkish/red colour under the skin of the head, you can also see the skull just above the eyes. On the right the skin has turned a lovely creamy colour, just as we would want. The white skin on the koi as tosai was very good and so one could predict that this would carry over to nisai. Notice how the shape of the face has changed entirely and gives the koi a completely different 'look.'
Location 2 shows the development of the kiwa. You can see in various places how it's becoming quiet pleasing maruzome kiwa (following the scallop-shape of the scales). Hopefully it continues in this direction.
Location 3 on the left is to demonstrate the quality of the beni. It's very consistent across the whole koi, with no variation in colour or depth. In the right shot (despite the interference from reflections) you can still see this koi has consistently beautiful beni. It is however, looking a little thin or 'stretched' - this is due to the amount of growth the koi has seen this season. This is fairly common and I anticipate that in cooler temps the colour will have a chance to catch up.
Location 4 on the left shows the sashi, which is very even and consistent. In the right shot we can see this has now started to tighten and refine. Now, for some bloodlines this wouldn't be great news to have such refined sashi so early on, others it's not an issue. Here I'm not sure, but time will reveal all. Koi like this are quite an intelligent purchase because there are very limited areas of sashi and therefore less areas to get right/wrong. The other thing with this particular Kohaku is that the pattern is still very interesting and gives the illusion of being a five step, without all the risks!
Another interesting thing to note that Martin and I spoke about was the ojime (where the red pattern ends), there's very little white ground before the tail on this fish. This is something we appreciate in most Kohaku as a sort of 'necessary.' The reason it doesn't catch the eye so much on this Kohaku or rather, detract, is because of the beni spot on the nose. The gap between the beni spot on the nose and the mouth of the koi is very similar to what is going on with the ojime and therefore works quite harmoniously. Take that nose spot away and I anticipate the ojime would become distracting. Also in regards to the tail tube, previously weak and thin looking, it is now incredibly strong and adds to the powerful look of the koi.
Overall the koi has done really well in Martins care and I think it will now benefit from a rest over the winter months. My gut tells me this won't ever be a massive koi and certainly not a jumbo koi, but if it retains the quality and gets near 70cm... what a koi nonetheless!