Thank you for the gracious welcome

Kyoya Fujita

After five Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments, and nine Bassmaster events overall, I am thrilled to be here. I have been very humbled by the incredible welcome that I’ve received from American fishing fans and from my fellow anglers.

So far I have had some very good finishes – second at Seminole and third at Murray – but also some tougher ones. I’ve been adjusting to life in America and to the high level of competition. Overall I’m pleased, but there is always room for improvement. During this gap in the schedule, I figured I’d take the opportunity to introduce myself. I am still working on my English, so a lot of you don’t know much about me. Here’s a little background:

I am originally from the Saitama Prefecture and currently live in the Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan. While many of the other bass pros on the Elites from Japan call Lake Biwa home, my home waters are Lake Kawaguchi, which is near Mt. Fujita. Growing up there, I developed two main skills as an angler: I love fishing topwater lures, and also I feel that I’m good at eking out bites no matter what. When other anglers are complaining about how tough it is, I’m often at my best.

I just turned 27 years old, but I’ve been at this for a while. I was the Angler of the Year on a major bass circuit in Japan four times, and I also won their Classic. It was a stout field, and I wanted to test what I could do against the American pros I’d read about for years.

With the big support of my sponsors, Daiwa and Jackall, I came over to fish the Opens in 2022. I worked very hard, practicing nonstop for almost two weeks straight before all of them. The results were quite strong – I finished 10th at the James River, 16th at Oneida and 11th at the Chesapeake Bay. That allowed me to finish second in the division’s overall standings and boosted me into the Elite Series.

Now that I’m here, I’m still feeling my way through the process of being a successful pro. It’s hard because I don’t have any family here, and I don’t share information with any other pros. I like to do everything on my own. Those brief episodes of success have given me the motivation to keep on pushing.

Right now, despite the two Sunday appearances, I’m outside of the 2024 Classic cut, and also sixth in the Dakota Lithium Bassmaster Rookie of the Year race. I want to improve those standings to a more respectable level. With multiple tournaments up north, I hope to be able to make up some serious ground. I really want to be the Rookie of the Year.

Thank you again for your interest in my fishing style. I look forward to a long time on the Elite Series, and I hope to introduce many of you to some unique Japanese techniques. Speaking of that, many fans — and some of my fellow competitors — have asked about the “dice rubber” that I used at Seminole. In my next column, I’ll tell you a little bit more about those. It’s time to let the secret out.