Originally posted 9 August 2012
A week or so ago we posted a story about Basser Magazine sending reporters to the US to cover both the 1986 Bass Masters Classic and the ’86 US Open. Well, although this may look like a story on the ’86 Open, it’s not. It’s about the author of this article. If you expand the picture you’ll probably notice a familiar name – Norio Tanabe.
Tanabe was more than just another bass fishing writer.
Japan sent over a number of anglers that year to fish, but evidently, Tanabe was working two jobs – that of a scribe and that of an angler.
Each year the numbers of Japanese anglers coming across the pond to fish the Open increased. They came over to see how the anglers in the U.S. fished, take notes and test their mettle against the country that invented bass fishing.
What they took home was invaluable information and newly learned skills.
In 1992 Tanabe would step up and move to the U.S. in order to pursue a professional career in bass fishing. He followed fellow countryman Takahiro Omori, who arrived a few months earlier. His late arrival, though, didn’t hurt him.
In 1993, at the Kentucky Lake Bassmaster Invitational, Tanabe became the first foreign angler to win a BassMaster event. Although he didn’t have too stellar of a career, he fished 53 events and made a little under $120K, he spent 13 years in the States before going home, where he is not only looked at as one of Japan’s bass fishing forefathers, but also a highly respected tackle designer.
Since I can’t read a lick of Japanese, I have no idea what he reported on. Maybe someone reading from Japan will contact us and offer to translate. If that happens, I’ll be sure to let you know.