Ito on the board

Taku Ito is on the board with about a 3 ½-pound smallmouth.

It was good to see Ito battle and win with the fish on Bassmaster LIVE. He is the latest offering from Japan to hit the Elite Series. He’s a rookie this season and it hasn’t been especially easy this season.

Under Covid restrictions and worries it’s been tough on the whole field. Ito, though, traveled back to Japan during the height of the concern to be with his family.

It looked for a while if he might not be able to get back to the states when events started getting rescheduled. Ito, though, was determined.

His whole purpose this season is to win the Rookie of the Year title. It burns in him in a way that it borders on obsession. With travel restrictions worldwide, Ito found a way back to the states from Japan (a story that will likely be worth telling once all the scare is over, but not for now) just to make sure that his goals are realized.

Currently, he’s second in the ROY standings, some 20-plus points behind Buddy Gross, who won the last event. But he’s closing in and today solidifies his obsession.

While a lot of attention is being placed on the battle between Johnston and Mueller, this battle between Ito and Gross bears watching the rest of the season.