My boatmate, Seigo Saito, whose work graces the pages of Bassmaster Magazine as well as bassmaster.com, does a good bit of freelance work for magazines in his home country of Japan, so it wasn't a surprise that he wanted to detour from tracking the leaders at Oneida to snap a few photos of his compatriot, Morizo Shimizu. Morizo just put his third fish in the boat for the morning.
Seigo had told Morizo that I was in the boat -- all I understood of the exchange in Japanese were the words, "Bassmaster magazine." He responded, "Oh, my God. I need to catch a big one now to show him what I can do." Three seconds later, he set the hook and hauled in a 1 1/2-pounder. It wasn't the big one he wanted -- what he calls a "big mama" in his broken English -- but I was definitely impressed with the timing. Seigo says Morizo is the Mike Iaconelli of Japan, having parlayed his fame from tournaments in the United States into a television show, a slew of instructional DVDs and lucrative sponsorships. One of his sponsors, United Airlines, enables him to make frequent trips back to Japan. I am amazed at how the Japanese contingent has done so well in adjusting to our culture when few of them had any working knowledge of English. My hat's off to them.