Popeye's Angler's Site 51. Japan's version of Bass Pro Shops. Photo Terry Battisti 2006.

Earlier this week we posted a story about international bass boats and a question was posed by a Facebook reader whether I or anyone else had seen the small versions of Japan-Only Ranger Bass Boats. Well, the answer to that question is, in fact I have.

On one of my first trips to Japan (2006) I was lucky enough to spend some time touring the local tackle shops and boat dealerships around Tokyo. My guide and close friend, Dodge Katayama, took me to what is the biggest tackle and boat dealer in all of Japan – Popeye’s.  Popeye’s has shops all over the country and is their version of Bass Pro Shops, and this Popeye’s that Dodge took me to was close to Tokyo. The shop was on what I’d estimate at least 5 acres of land, which is huge when it comes to a shop in Japan. The tackle store alone was between the size of an Academy and a Bass Pro or Cabelas. The boat shop was about the same size as any you’d see in the U.S.

Inside the store, Popeye’s had a good display of the “smaller” 10- to 13-foot aluminum boats that I showed in the piece last week. Outside, though, they had an amazing number of glass boats. Some of these glass boats were full-sized U.S. models, including Larry Nixon’s 2005-year personal Stratos that was for sale. What really intrigued me were the Japan-only glass models made by Ranger. These were 14- and 15-foot boats not available in the U.S. market and rated up to a 60-hp motor. The boats sat on Ranger Trail trailers and were outfitted with everything a bass angler would need.

Anyway, I felt you all might get a kick out of seeing some shots taken from that day at Popeye’s in 2006 as well as the Japan-Only Ranger Bass Boats. I guess the fact that they were taken 15 years ago does qualify them as “historic” too.

On a side note, I spent roughly $300 that day on tackle. Of that $300, the best $60 I’ve ever spent on tackle allowed me to acquire four New in Box Lure Ichiban Balsa Pro topwater lures. They were sitting on a shelf with dust on them with a price tag of 14,950 Yen – or roughly $14.95 USD. For those of you who are Balsa Pro fans, you know what this means.

I hope you enjoy!