Most people are aware of Japan’s obsession with bass fishing and lure design. Japanese anglers such as Takahiro Omori, Norio Tanabe, Shin Fukae and Morizu Shimizu have come over and made an impact in the U.S. bass ranks and companies like Lucky Craft, Mega Bass and Yo-Zuri have changed the way anglers in the U.S. look at lures.
The interesting thing is very few Americans outside the west knew bass fishing even existed in Japan until the 1998 timeframe, when Seiji Kato fished the Bassmaster Western Invitational at Elephant Butte, NM and gave the winning bait – a Pointer-78 – to his second-day partner Dennis Hoy.
Well, here’s a little glimpse of how long bassin’ has been popular in the Land of the Rising Sun.
The picture is the cover of Japan’s most revered magazine – Basser. The issue date is 1986 no. 2. In this issue Basser sent over writers to cover the 1986 Bass Master Classic and the 1986 U.S. Open, then run by US Bass. Not only did they send writers, though, they sent anglers to fish in the Open, held on Lake Mead.
The cover features Zell Rowland and Ray Scott at the Classic along with some of the contents presented inside.
[Ed.] Basser started in 1986 and though that may not be as long as Bass Master Magazine has been in print, it leads one to ponder that bass fishing had been popular enough prior to that in order to dedicate an entire magazine to the sport.
In the coming weeks we are going to start posting some snippets from this magazine and we feel confident you’ll be amazed how advanced Japan was at this time during the mid-80s.
[Editor’s note: When this article was originally written, I had purchased this Basser magazine off of eBay, with the description that it was Volume 5, Number 2. It was recently brought to my attention that this was not correct but was actually Volume 1, Number 2. This is an important piece of history because Basser was the first publication in Japan dedicated solely to bass fishing. According to my source in Japan, Dodge Katayama, This is how it started.
“Tsuri Bito Co. had been publishing a legendary magazine called Tsuri Bito, which translates to Angler. From time to time they [would] publish specially-edited issues beside their monthly issues. Then, bass fishing started [becoming] popular in the 80s in Japan and [they] released a special issue and entitled [it] Basser.”
Now I just have to find the magazine after four moves in the last 5 years. Thankfully I scanned the entire issue so at least I have it in digits.