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Featured Article: Show Coverage

Japan's International Sportfishing Show 2005

Date: 1/30/05
Location: Chiba, Japan
Event Dates: January 27-29, 2005
Reviewer: Team TackleTour in Association with JapanTackle

This year, TackleTour, in Association with Jun Sonoda of JapanTackle is proud to bring you coverage of Japan’s International Sportfishing Show. Jun reports that there were many brilliant, new offerings amongst the array of 130 booths by tackle manufacturers and other associated businesses, and the show did not disappoint. However, a few days prior to the opening, Japan’s Minister of the Environment announced their decision to classify black bass as “harmful foreign creatures” with a possible plan to exterminate bass from all waters in Japan. Such a move could potentially devastate the tackle industry in Japan so although the air was electric with new offerings, there was a cloud of caution and reserve through the course of the show. Many of the seminars addressed this problem directly imploring anglers to appeal to the government on this potentially devastating ruling.

A glimpse of the annual Japan International Sportfishing Show

Shimano Japan: Shimano unveiled the new Metanium XT at this year’s show revealing the Japanese market counterpart to the Chronarch B. This is the first time in recent memory that Shimano has released a reel to the US Market before debuting it in Japan. By all counts, the reels are virtually identical. Additionally, Shimano debuted the new Twin Power (Sustain) spinning reel, Biomaster L (Stradic) rear drag spinning reel, Cardiff series trout rods, and high end Monster Limited and Stream Limited series rods featuring burled wood reel seats. While rather understated with their offerings at this show, Shimano hinted that there will be additional new releases during the year so stay tuned.


Shimano offerings included the new Twin Power Sustain (left), Limited Stream rods (center), and Biomaster L rear drag spinning reel (right)

Daiwa Japan: The big news from Daiwa this year is the planned release of two, new, limited production reels - the Alphas-Ito Ai and Millionaire Lite 103 I'ZE. The Alphas-Ito Ai continues Daiwa’s collaboration with Megabass featuring a reel with a polished aluminum body and transparent sideplates. Expect the spool to have some modifications over the stock Alphas as well, but the exact tuning information is not yet available. The new Millionaire Lite 103 I'ZE is a red reel featuring a super light-weight body. Other reels on Daiwa Japan’s list this year include the Caldia KIX spinning reels which will be introduced just below the Luvias. This reel will borrow on the “real four concept” introduced with the Certate. The Certate adds 2506 and 2004 models for finesse fishing. Daiwa plans to add a “Big Bait Special” TD-Z baitcaster in black and gold featuring a deep, flat spool quite possibly targeting swimbaits, a growing trend in Japan. Jun got a closeup look at the Smak – an orange baitcaster featuring 4” automated line retrieval with the click of a lever. The Smak is targeted as a finesse fishing reel. The new limited color for the Pixy this year will be red, and Daiwa will also be releasing a reel to match the US Market TD Advantage titled.....The US Advantage.


Daiwa showed off a range of offerings including new variations of the Alphas, Millionaire, and the automated Smak (lower left)

Megabass: Megabass unveiled some new rods at the show including a topwater series (Paniga), inshore series (Shoreluck UL), and heavier action Orochi rods. Other news from this specialty manufacturer were some new lures, the SR-X Cyclone, MR-X Cyclone, a new Baby Griffon, and the Anthrax minnow. Stay tuned in coming months for a TT review on the SR-X Cyclone, a shallow water crank with internal water chambers for increased water disturbance and vibration.


The Megabass booth. Mr. Ito, CEO, and lead designer of Megabass was on hand (upper right)

The famous magnesium tuning spool manufacturer will release a super tuned ABU, IM-AE-74 in March based on the Morrum SX series. These reels will be limited production based on pre-orders but limited to a couple dozen overall. ZPI has developed a magnetic brake system for Conquest 100 reels and sales rep, Mr. Kato, told Jun that they have started testing a 7.1 gear system upgrade for the TD-Z100. No official release date has been set.


ZPI magnesium tuned reels included a supertuned ABU Morrum and a TD-Z

Perhaps in anticipation of the Minister of Environment’s ruling, a strong emphasis in the show this year was on lures and trout fishing. The following are reports on various other happenings in Japan from Jun Sonoda:


Evergreen Evergreen, like Megabass produces both fishing rods and lures and while their rods are more conservative in nature, their baits closely rival their competitor. At the center of this year’s show were a few additions to their swimbait lineup, the Timberflash Jr. and Timberflash Noisy Dach.


Uo-ya Uo-Ya introduced a the new 3-piece version of their Monster Jack. The original model attracted much attention for it’s stunning  finish and has been back-ordered for a very long time. The new,  3-piece Monster Jack promises the same popularity.

Jackal Following the increased popularity of swim baits in Japan, Jackall has released three new swimbaits: The Flat Bone Clicker (1.5 oz), 180 Pencil Bait (2 oz), and the Mikey Slim swim bait (3.4 oz).

Jackson Another rod manufacturer that debuted a reinforced trout rod lineup of rods titled Monster Brown series and Trout Unlimited (a casting model designed for steelhead). The grips of these rods are finished in burled Maplewood.

Smith Smith, aka Heddon of Japan, introduced a new series of boron trout rods titled Inter-Boron X. These rods have boron graphite blanks and solid tiger maple reel seats. Smith has also brought over some of their US domestic lures such as the Zara Spook and Baby Torpedo.

Toray The line manufacturer released two new fishing lines: Super Hard Strong fluorocarbon and Solaroam Super Strong nylon. The new fluorocarbon reportedly has more abrasion resistance, and a softer body than the Super Hard Natural.


New Megabass offerings include ultra refined rods and interesting birdlike lures

Jun’s Final Notes: The fishing show was successful to accommodate tons of new great, beautiful tackle, talk shows and demonstrations. However, it seems the time has come, for lure-fishing industry to see the oversea market. I surely see the shrinking lure-fishing industry in Japan, and the trout fishing seems the only hope for them. Is it true?


The industry has already made large industry efforts to expand lure-fishing market in Japan, mainly after year 2000. And the efforts didn’t see much result so far. The first target was seabass fishing in metropolitan bay area. However, the target population was very limited, and it saw small peak a couple of years ago. Later, industry focused on fishing for squid from shore. The fishing is the mixture of traditional lure “egi” and western tackle. It sees slightly increased population, but it is still very small compared to the bass fishing. The number of pay fee area limits the expansion of trout fishing, and I may not expect too much on the winter-spring limited fishing. Many professional bass anglers will go overseas to find better opportunities in 2005. Why not tackle? Hope 2005 is the great year for all anglers in the world. -Jun

Conclusion: TackleTour would like to thank Jun Sonoda for this collaborative coverage of the Tokyo International Sportfishing Show. It appears there are many new and exciting tackle items in store for all of us in 2005 - opportunities both here in the US and abroad. Will the pending turmoil surrounding black bass fishing in Japan impact
what’s available to us here in the United States? Will much of the excitement and innovation that surrounds the tackle industry in Japan simply be shipped overseas to other shores to spice up an already highly competitive tackle market? Perhaps the creation of Megabass USA is the result of this pending outcome and the first step of at least one Japanese Tackle Manufacturer in seeking a more diversified market.

Whatever the case may be, we here at TackleTour will share with you, news as it is made known to us. For now, realize that many of the new and exciting tackle items reported in our show coverages for this year are already in our TackleTour vaults and we are excited and anxious to share with you, our discoveries, tests, and reviews for 2005









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