Opinion: ‘Made in Japan’ takes on a new meaning with giant largemouthAfter watching the news the other night, I found it impossible to concentrate on the walleyes I’d soon pursue with Dave, a hunting trip I’d been planning or the things a retired guy should normally think about. I was upset with those protesting Arizona’s common sense legislation to deal with illegal aliens crossing the border. I thought about John Wooters and the problems a U.S. senior citizen should not have to confront.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
After watching the news the other night, I found it impossible to concentrate on the walleyes I’d soon pursue with Dave, a hunting trip I’d been planning or the things a retired guy should normally think about. I was upset with those protesting Arizona’s common sense legislation to deal with illegal aliens crossing the border. I thought about John Wooters and the problems a U.S. senior citizen should not have to confront.
If ever there was an outdoor columnist I admired, it was John Wooters, a.k.a. Mr. Whitetail. I faithfully followed this Texan’s monthly column in Petersen’s Hunting until he retired. John wrote of simple things. He made you feel like he lived next door.
His final columns both saddened and infuriated me. He quit deer hunting on his home place for fear of illegal aliens. Home security haunted him. Can you imagine being afraid in your own home? When we went to a Republican president and Congress in 2002, I mistakenly thought that they would secure our U.S. borders. They did nothing!
Now Arizona, with Texas carefully watching, is attempting to safeguard itself as the feds continue to do nothing. We cannot allow some seemingly politically-correct whiners to jeopardize the lives of our neighbors to the south. Hunting the Texas-Arizona border country today is as dangerous as hunting parts of Africa during civil war. It is not supposed to be this way. Arizona needs our president’s support.
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Back in the early ’70s, South Dakota hosted a team of Japanese school teachers. An English teacher, Hideo Kakui, came to Burke where he was hosted by the Wiltz family for a month. Hideo and I became close friends, and as Hideo loved fishing, we spent a lot of time together on the water.
Hideo would set the hook with gusto. At times I feared he was going to rip the head off some fish he caught. When I asked him where he learned to fish like that, he told me “Lake Biwa.” He’d let out with a whoop and yell “Bakayaro” every time he whipped that rod back. I know what it means, but the paper won’t print it, so I’ll save the space.
I wondered about Lake Biwa. Did all of its anglers act like Hideo?
When Hideo and I talked, neither Pearl Harbor nor the atom bomb was spared. I once asked him what the typical Japanese thought of Americans. He responded that it didn’t matter what the Japanese thought about Americans as the Japanese were totally dependant on us. We were the primary buyers of their products, and their economy — their livelihood — was red, white and blue.
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On June 2, 1932, George Perry caught the biggest largemouth bass ever recorded when he pulled it from Georgia’s Lake Montgomery. He took it on a Creek Chub Fintail Shiner. He shared the rod and reel with his partner. One would row (no electric motors) while the other made a cast. A swirl near a stump revealed the bass’s location. Fortunately, George weighed his bass on the certified scale at the local post office. The scale registered 22 pounds, 4 ounces. It was the height of The Great Depression, and the bass went on the dinner table.
Would George’s record ever be beaten? Most anglers believed that if it was, the largemouth bass record would come from California. Thinking California, Arizona, Georgia or Louisiana, with their warm climates and longer growing seasons, made sense.
The largemouth bass is indigenous to North America. Surely a record wouldn’t come on foreign soil, although Cuba holds some giant bass. Hideo’s Lake Biwa would certainly be the most unlikely of places.
On July 2, 2009, Japanese angler Manabu Kurita hauled a 22-pound, 4.97-ounce bass from Japan’s Lake Biwa. According to the IGFA people (International Game Fish Association), fish under 25 pounds must beat the existing world record by two or more ounces before it is recognized as a world record. Hence, the new fish ties the world record. Kurita had to take a polygraph test to verify the details of his record catch.
I’ll admit that when I first learned of a record largemouth bass coming from Japan, I was slightly miffed. Isn’t this our bass, and doesn’t the record belong in our country? I think so. I hope this doesn’t mean there’s a trace of prejudice in my veins. There’s now talk of a 25-pounder being caught in California, but thus far it’s just talk.
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Consider letting your nonresident friends and family know about our South Dakota free fishing weekend. It’s coming up May 21-23. We have some grandkids who are fishing addicts, and I hope to see them. See you next week.