It has long been hypothesized that the next man to break the largemouth world record held by George W. Perry for the past 77 years would likely earn upwards of a million dollars. The presumption is that all the manufacturers of tackle the lucky angler used, from lure to line to the brand of soda the fisherman was drinking, would offer endorsement deals to brag on their products.
Manabu Kurita, catcher of the Lake Biwa goliath last July, is trying to cash in on his 22-pound, 5-ounce bass one interview at a time.
As I was finalizing plans for my upcoming trip to Japan, my contact there, Yasutaka Ogasawara (Oga for short), informed me that the interview he had set up for me with Kurita had hit a small roadblock.
"What's the issue?" I inquired.
"Mr. Kurita wants to know how much you will pay him for interview time?" Oga explained.
"We don't do that, Oga," I returned.
"I did not think so. I told him the system is different in U.S.," he continued.
I went on to explain that Mr. Kurita would get exposure in the U.S. that he could potentially leverage to earn money, but that's as much as I could offer.
So, the interview with Mr. Kurita is up in the air. Hopefully he will decide that telling his story has exponentially more value than any amount of yen I could afford him.
Interview or no, I'll report on how Kurita's pending world record has affected the fishing community in Japan. As of this writing, the country still requires anglers to kill all bass caught.
I'll also be talking with Japan's best bass anglers to get their take on Kurita's catch and providing a photo gallery from Lake Biwa.
If the timing's right, we also hope to have Kurita's reaction to the decision on his application from the International Game Fish Association.