On January 8, 2010, the announcement came from IGFA Headquarters in Dania Beach, Florida, that Manabu Kurita's 22 pound, 4.97 ounce largemouth bass from Japan was accepted as a tie for the official world record.
B.Hiroshima: Mr. Kurita, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Might I ask, what is your earliest memory of fishing and who introduced you to the sport?
M.Kurita: When I was 3 or 4 years old my grandfather used to take me skink and carp fishing, but I began bass fishing maybe 19 years ago. At that time, there were hardly any bass to be found in Japan, so my friend and I had to ride a bicycle 100km (one way) to fish for them.
M.Kurita's ride is a black and yellow Skeeter.
B.Hiroshima: When did you start targeting trophy bass?
M.Kurita: About eight years ago. I am fortunate to know and look up to Mr.Okumura (Deps's president), Mr.Maeda (Pro Guide in Southern of Lake Biwa), Mr.Go (maker of the "Go-eel"), Mr.Yugo (Pro Guide in Northern of Lake Biwa), and Mr. Okuda (SIGNAL). I have received help from everyone.
B.Hiroshima: With the growing popularity of tournament fishing in Japan over the years, have you ever competed, and are there any reason as to why you don't fish more tournaments?
M.Kurita: Yes, I competed in a local tournament for one year. I think fishing tournaments takes a different mindset compared to chasing the record.
Rigged and ready to go on another world record quest.
B.Hiroshima: What kind of fishing pressure does Lake Biwa get on a given weekend? In other words, how many fishing boats, and has it increased since you caught the world record bass?
M.Kurita: I think roughly 300 to 500 boats along with outgoing ships and bank anglers. I am unsure of the increase since the WRB was caught, but I am not worried about it.
This was the previous Lake Biwa record fish mounted with Mother bait.
B.Hiroshima: Are there seasonal migrations that you try to follow or do you try to fish certain big fish areas you know hold fish?
M.Kurita: Yes, there are. In Lake Biwa, I think there are two kinds of giant bass, the bass of seasonal migrations and one that stays in a certain place. I try to look for either big bass using my intuition.
B.Hiroshima: When you're chasing trophy fish what is your process and how do you mentally and physically prepare yourself?
M.Kurita: 365 days a year, when I'm fishing, when I'm driving, when I'm with friends, I always think about a world record bass. Part of my preparation is making sure to always use new hooks and line.
Deps Sidewinder The Bao Constrictor HGC-77XS rod, Shimano Conquest DC reel, and Deps Slide Swimmer 175.
B.Hiroshima: On April 6, 2008 you caught a bass weighing 18.7 lbs (at the time, Japan's 3rd largest bass) on the Roman-Made Mother bait. Can you tell me about this experience?
M.Kurita: One week prior to catching that fish I thought I would be able to fish for the World Record Bass. Three days before going out I prepared a scale for a fish over 1 meter. All day my concentration did not become interrupted even though I had to wait until the evening to go angling. The mother bait was made to swim around the 4 meter line over 7m of depth so this is where I fished it. After hooking the fish with my rod I felt the true sense of being alive. Fighting was done after 2 or 3 minutes, and then I landed the fish.
Deps Sidewinder The Dom Driver HGC-80XR rod, Daiwa ZDV reel, Deps Knucklearm, and Deps Slide Swimmer 175.
B.Hiroshima: What works better for you when chasing big bass, fishing slow or fast?
M.Kurita: I believe both are important. It is hard to explain why, it really depends on the mood of the fish.
B.Hiroshima: When do you decide to use live bait?
M.Kurita: It is instinctive for me. I wait till I see the bass' reaction and then decide. I use live baits that I think the bass are eating each season, Gill and
Sweetfish for example.
B.Hiroshima: The day you caught the world record bass you said you saw a school of 20lb bass. Was this the first time you had seen such a big school or do the big fish normally run in packs throughout the year on Biwa?
M.Kurita: I saw that school two weeks prior to catching the world record bass. I see schools like this 2 or 3 times a year with each school having around seven fish.
Deps Huge Custom 81RF, Daiwa Pluton and Deps Slide Swimmer 250.