“I’m good, but I’m dizzy,” the Japanese pro said while driving to another tournament. “The last few days have been very, very crazy actually. Lots of phone calls. Every time I talk to one guy, I have like two or three missed calls.”
Omori’s Classic heroics are big news in his native country as well.
“I called my mom and I talked to a couple of sponsors in Japan,” he said. “Mom already knew it because Lucky Craft called her. Sure, she was happy, but I don’t know how much she understands it. But she was excited.
“I’m going back to Japan on Aug. 18th for a big party. They have a big press conference and some type of big congratulations party for Lucky Craft.”
His sponsors in this country are already taking steps to cash in on Omori’s newfound fame. Last week the Texas transplant went to Atlanta to do promotional work for Yamaha.
Bass fishing’s new king has had no time to spend much of the $200,000 prize. But he says wild purchases like a new sports car are not in his future.
“The first thing I bought was I went to the Wal-Mart to get groceries,” he said. “I’m not crazy guy. I‘m just a fisherman.”
A CLASSIC MOMENT. Mike Zlotnicki, outdoors writer for the Raleigh News and Observer, captured North Carolina pro Dustin Wilks’ nice gesture during the recent Classic on Lake Wylie.
“He started fishing the backs of coves without much success.” he wrote. “At one point, we idled past a youngster on a dock fishing with bait. Wilks reached into his tackle locker, grabbed a bag of Culprit worms and tossed them to the boy — shades of Mean Joe Greene and the Coke commercial. It was a classy move seen by nobody.”
CLASSIC MUSIC. One of the more interesting Classic traditions enables the contenders to select the music that accompanies their entry into the arena. Among the choices:
• Laidback Missouri pro Stacey King selected “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood.
• Three pros displayed their hip-hop taste. Jason Quinn and Gerald Swindle chose “Game Over” by Lil’ Flip. “Freak A Leak” by Pete Pablo & Lil’ John was the pick of Skeet Reese.
• Interesting father and son choices: Chad Brauer picked “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams; Denny Brauer called for Toby Keith and Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey for My Men, Beer for The Horses.”
• Takahiro Omori picked “Kung Fu Fighting.”
BAITS FOR BAGDAD. That’s the name of a new effort by anglers fishing the CITGO Bassmaster Northern Opens and others to send fishing lures to military personnel in combat.
“I am collecting baits at tournaments and from tackle companies to be sent to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to try to cheer them up a bit,” said Jim Hanley, a Northern Open pro and television show host in Hamburg, N.Y. “Just to try to get their minds off of the war for even a few minutes.
“The Army Recruiting Office here in Buffalo is going to take the baits collected and send them to the troops overseas. The response so far has been great with many of the pros and co-anglers… I have people tossing baits into my boat at weigh-ins and saying thanks for the effort. We have a marked box or Army Bag for anglers to put their donations in at the CITGO Bassmaster Northern Opens.”
DID YOU KNOW? Takahiro Omori has his own line of lures (T.O. Lures) that are popular in Japan. They are manufactured in Oklahoma.
PRO BIRTHDAYS. Sam Swett (40) of Louisiana and Arkansas’ Mike Wurm (51) share Aug. 15. Massachusetts’ Danny Correia will be 41 on the 19th, while Joe Thomas turns 42 on the same day.
IF I HADN’T BECOME A BASS PRO … 2003 BASS Rookie of the Year Mark Kile says he would likely be “working as a biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish.”
THEY SAID IT. “Sports is argument. Sports is debate. Who's the best? Who's the worst? Who's the goat? Who's the hero? This is just a whole other genre. We'll definitely spark debate in the outdoors community, and we have to try to translate that to the mainstream.” Mark Shapiro, ESPN senior vice president and general manager of programming, on the new Greatest Angler Debate.