Elite Man Caves Elite Man Caves: Taku Ito Posted on September 7, 2021 Photo: Shane Durrance - Inside an RV and boat storage facility is the Man Cave of Japanese angler Takumi âTakuâ Ito. The north Georgia location is centrally located for travel to Bassmaster Elite Series events. This is Taku's home base when he's in the U.S. All captions: Craig Lamb Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku, as he likes to be called, won the 2021 Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River, just weeks before these photos were taken in August. After winning, he departed Waddington, N.Y., and drove to Lake Oahe in S.D., to scout the 2022 Elite Series fishery. From there, he stopped in LaCrosse, Wis., to practice on the upper Mississippi River, where another event will be next season. Photo: Shane Durrance - âTaku like smallmouth, and many smallmouth like Takuâs boat.â Indeed. Taku qualified for three of three ânorthern runâ Championship Sundays during 2020, his rookie season. Before then, Taku had never caught a smallmouth. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku is from Chiba, Japan, the capital city of Chiba Prefecture. The city is about 25 miles east of central Tokyo, on Tokyo Bay. Taku lives there with his wife, Chie, and their young son, Takeru. Photo: Shane Durrance - Itâs early August, and Taku is preparing to go home. Heâs not been there all year. While many of his American peers will spend the âoffseasonâ hunting, Taku will be fishing. Photo: Shane Durrance - âI donât have an offseason, because I go back to Japan and nearly every day is fishing work.â Photo: Shane Durrance - There are photo and video shoots, magazine interviews, social media production and more. âEvery day I like to fish. Fishing is my hobby. Fishing is my job.â Photo: Shane Durrance - The rod tubes will be packed, boat winterized and put to bed, and the lights will go out in the Man Cave until January, when Taku returns from Japan. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku will take a nonstop, 13-hour flight from Atlanta to Toyko. Before he does that, heâll make one more very important scouting trip to Lake Hartwell, S.C., site of the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk. But before he does that, he took us on a tour of his Man Cave. Photo: Shane Durrance - If this looks familiar, it should. Like all Elite Man Caves, there are shelves filled with tools, boat parts and accessories and racks of outerwear. Photo: Shane Durrance - Another familiar sight? Yep, like his peers, Taku stores baits and terminal tackle in large storage containers, relocating what he needs for a given tournament in smaller tackleboxes inside his boat. Photo: Shane Durrance - Whatâs not familiar is whatâs inside of Takuâs storage containers. There are Japanese baits the likes of which youâve never seen. Photo: Shane Durrance - Every Man Cave has its own personal touch, with oddities standing out among the stacks of tackle. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku had just purchased this Frigidaire Retro Mini Fridge. âTaku get hot in here during summer.â Photo: Shane Durrance - Like everyone else, he stores favorite beverages inside, including cans of soda that canât be found back home. Photo: Shane Durrance - This shelf of the Man Cave is off limits except for one person. Photo: Shane Durrance - âThis is my wifeâs stuff.â Photo: Shane Durrance - Here is a glimpse at whatâs inside the secret containers. Each one we opened had treasures like this one, likely never seen by an American bass. Photo: Shane Durrance - This 4.25-inch Nories Escape Twin, Brush Pile Craw, is a favorite soft plastic bait. Photo: Shane Durrance - The bait comes in 30 colors, including Tequila Green, Cherry Cola, Smoke Mustard and many other unusual name patterns. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku fishes the soft plastic bait on a Cherry Rig. What the heck is that? âIn Japan there is no such thing as a Tokyo Rig. We call it the Cherry Rig.â Taku fishes the rig in heavy cover, offshore, through brushpiles and more. Photo: Shane Durrance - This was an eye opener. Photo: Shane Durrance - Called Glitch Oil, the Japanese low viscosity oil is ideal for spool bearings, shafts and other high revolution moving parts. Photo: Shane Durrance - âTaku uses this on spool shaft of Stella reels.â Photo: Shane Durrance - He said the oil is longer lasting than other oils, and that he can apply it once a month during the season. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku said the benefits of the oil are even smoother drags, which is very important when fighting hefty smallmouth on light line. Photo: Shane Durrance - Here are Takuâs favorite rods for casting and spinning. At top: 6-foot, 10-inch Nories NXS Structure Sensitive Motion Rod, medium/heavy action, designed for baits ranging in weight from 1/4- to 3/4-ounce, and line ranges between 12- and 16-pound test. At bottom: Nories Road Runner Voice Jungle Spin. Photo: Shane Durrance - Lining the wall is Takuâs arsenal of Nories and Shimano rods. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku holds his winning Elite Series spinning setup. Photo: Shane Durrance - It is also the primary rig he uses for catching feisty northern smallmouth that notoriously hang around line breaking zebra mussels. Photo: Shane Durrance - The reel is a Shimano Stella 2500 SHG, spooled with 10-pound Seaguar Smackdown Flash Green Braid, with 8-pound Seaguar Gold Label Fluorocarbon leader. Photo: Shane Durrance - The rod is a 6-foot, 10-inch Nories NXS Structure Sensitive Energy STN 6100MLS. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku loves his Shimano Metanium SVS Infinity for casting reel applications. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku also loves catching smallmouth, something he is very good at doing. Photo: Shane Durrance - Every Elite Man Cave has a work space, and this table gets a lot of use, customizing Japanese baits. Photo: Shane Durrance - There are American baits, too, and lots of tools of the trade. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku uses American and Japanese hard baits, in this case, the Nories Shot Over Series. Photo: Shane Durrance - The Shot Over comes in several sizes that run at varying depths and actions. Photo: Shane Durrance - You are about to finally see a secret revealed. Photo: Shane Durrance - Taku adds a Japanese lure attracting formula to the containers. Photo: Shane Durrance - Itâs not just any lure scent. He just smiled and laughed when asked the ingredients. Photo: Shane Durrance - Itâs rather pungent, and he applies a Japanese hand cleaner to rid his hands of the smell. Photo: Shane Durrance - âSmallmouth like Japanese baits. Smallmouth like American baits too.â Photo: Shane Durrance - Maybe American baits are like Big Mac. Very, very big. Sometimes smallmouth want to eat like sushi. A smaller food.â Photo: Shane Durrance - âMaybe sushi bait is healthier than American food.â (laughs) Photo: Shane Durrance - The hard plastic containers are like the barrels used to age fine whiskey bourbon. Photo: Shane Durrance - The baits inside the container will remain in the solution for one year, when they will be placed inside smaller containers stored inside the boat. Taku said the aging process works magic for his soft plastic baits. They will come out just in time for the 2022 Northern Swing through New York, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Photo: Shane Durrance - Here is the lineup of baits you might see Taku use in New York and South Dakota. Photo: Shane Durrance - Clockwise, from top left: Eco Gear Aqua Bug Ants, Eco Gear Aqua Swim Shrimp, Eco Aqua Super Dojou that resembles small eel. Photo: Shane Durrance - Those baits will be added to containers containing the scent. Photo: Shane Durrance - Another favorite bait going into the special sauce is this 4.5-inch Nories Escape Twin. Photo: Shane Durrance - The baits will be used as trailers. Photo: Shane Durrance - And as weedless wacky rigs. Photo: Shane Durrance - âI always happy, always smiling, because fishing is fun.â Photo: Shane Durrance - This container came out of Takuâs boat following a nearly two-month road trip. Photo: Shane Durrance - Inside are the baits he used to win the Elite Series event on the St. Lawrence River. Photo: Shane Durrance - The collection of hard baits is smaller than the soft plastics, but they are still a key part of his lure arsenal. Photo: Shane Durrance - Inside the boat box are Japanese and American baits for every depth, action and need. Photo: Shane Durrance - Here are the trio of baits used the most by Taku. Photo: Shane Durrance - Each run at a different depth in the water column. Photo: Shane Durrance - The lineup: Nories Shot Over 2 (7-foot running depth); Nories Shot Over 3 (9-foot running depth); Nories Shot Over 5 (17-foot running depth). Photo: Shane Durrance - Before leaving for Lake Hartwell, Taku does what Taku does best â which is spend hours working on tackle. Photo: Shane Durrance - There is plenty to do, and lures to sort out. He wouldnât have it any other way. Photo: Shane Durrance - âWhen I was teenager, I dream of fishing in American tournaments. Now I fish in Bassmaster Elite Series.â Photo: Shane Durrance - âMy dream came true. I played bass fishing video games when I was a teenager. I won lots of trophies. Now I come to America and win dream come true. The blue trophy. The Bassmaster Elite trophy.â Photo: Shane Durrance - âI love U.S., and I love U.S. people.â We feel the same way about Japan and Taku.