The unlikely heroes of 2021
If you’re a fan of the underdog, you’ll like some of the fishermen who came out of nowhere to become big news in 2021.
Taku Ito followed the American dream when he left Japan and came to the States to compete on the B.A.S.S. circuit.
He dreamed of winning one of the big blue trophies awarded to Elite Series champions, and he fulfilled that dream in 2021.
Competing in July on the St. Lawrence River, Ito ran away with the title after landing a four-day total of 90 pounds, most of them smallmouth bass.
After the tournament, he talked about learning to fish for bass by playing a video game when he was a youngster. And he credited his days of carp fishing in Japan as playing an important part in his bass techniques.
“When I was 8 years old, I won a video game, and now, on the St. Lawrence River, I won the Bassmaster Elite Series,” an overjoyed Ito said on stage. “Big bass, Big stage. Big dreams. Bassmaster!”
First bass, state record
Brandon Wright will never forget the first largemouth bass he caught.
Fishing with a nub of a nightcrawler in April, he hoped to catch a big trout when he cast out on Lake Elmo in Montana.
Instead, he caught his first bass ever–a 9.575-pound largemouth that was soon deemed a state record. His catch broke the mark of 8.8 pounds that stood for 12 years.
Another state record
Troy Diede had two great days of pre-fishing for a tournament on Lake Oahe in South Dakota.
First, he caught a 6.39-pound smallmouth bass on July 15. Then he went back to the same spot the next morning and caught one that weighed 7.29 pounds, a South Dakota state record.
You know where this is headed. He again returned to the off-shore structure during the tournament and the fish weren’t there.
“After I caught that first fish, my friends said, ‘That may be the biggest smallmouth you’ll ever catch,’ ” said Diede, who lives in Sioux Falls, S.D. “And I thought they might be right.
“To catch that second fish, that was unbelievable.”