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High-quality fishing tackle directly from Japan to worldwide. All prices are in US$.

The report of the International Sport Fishing Show, Japan Fishing Festival 2014 in Yokohama

March 21-23, 2014

Yokohama, Japan

Reporter: Jun Sonoda, Kayo Sonoda

We are reporting the 2014 Japan Fishing Festival ( International Sport Fishing Show,) held in Yokohama, Japan. Another show in Feb in Osaka was the first in 2014 to reveal new models of fishing tackle to Japanese market, yet the show in Yokohama is the largest tackle show held near capital Tokyo. I am well informed for the new tackle especially bait casting reels, and I attended this show with more relaxed attitude, to find something I had missed, and to find something interesting outside of my regular radar range.

The economy of Japan is reported surging due to ABE-nomics, by the help of increased public spending. Will I find any sign of it at the show? I arrived at the show center about 10 min before its opening at 10AM, and about 2,000 people were on line. They are wide range of ages, from babies in strollers and primary school boys to seeming retired old boys, mostly male. I expected to see more ladies, but reality is what I've seen in the past.

The vast show floor is not as much crowded as last year. There is a ballot booth for Fishing Girls, but I found only photos of 10 entrants.

Sport fishing industry total is campaigning to welcome ladies to fishing, and has some talk shows with fishing ladies.

Let's start reporting details with Daiwa. It releases a lot of new bait casting reels, like SS Air, SS SV, Steez Limited TN, Tatula and etc. New spinning reels are also attractive. Daiwa is pushing "Magsealed" very hard, which is a mechanism to shut water out while adding almost no dragging at spinning shafts. New Morethan spinning reels will have 4 Magsealed components to protect mechanicals from saltwater damage.

  Daiwa SS SV  Daiwa SS bait casting reels are made in Japan. This is what I'd like to check as soon as reel is in my hand, because the information is not on catalog. Most of T3 series reels are made at Daiwa oversea factories. The magnesium alloy body makes it freshwater only.
 SS Air Daiwa SS AIR The magnesium alloy body makes it freshwater only. The Air spool is said to be fine to cast from 1gram, as a rep explains. Not sure for 1gram but it is surely fine for 2.0gram.
 Steez TN Daiwa Steez Limited SV TN version
 Steez Ltd Daiwa Steez Limited SV
 Tatula Daiwa Tatula Japan version

Just after I checked new spinning reels, a black bait caster caught my eyes. Um? I haven't seen it before. It is a prototype of Daiwa Morethan PE SV8.1R-TW bait caster, coming out in August 2014. A Daiwa rep explains it is an almost the final prototype. The base is Daiwa Tatula, with drilled body frame with carbon accents and gold metal parts. The ultra light SV spool might make this Morethan a superb reel. I can't wait to see it in this summer. I noticed "Magsealed" letter in red on the body, and it should be the first bait caster to have a magsealed ball bearing.

Daiwa Morethan PE SV8.1R-TW bait caster. Expected in August 2014

Daiwa SLP Works, tuning division offer colorful customized reels.

Daiwa SPL factory, custom paint service offers such pop colored T3 reels. This year it will release 6 colors.

The pink, green and sky blue knobs at the top will be sold soon as regular product.


Another tackle giant Shimano is renewing its high-end spinning reel, Stella. The new Stella reels has a little weird body shape, making me a little concerned, but people will get accustomed to the shape soon. New Stella is quite smooth as I expected.

Shimano exhibits 2014 New Stella. It employs micro-module gears, core-protect water proof technology to line roller, gear box, and one-way clutch bearing, X-SHIP gear system, EI coat and etc to make it smooth and reliable.

Shimano bait casters are still of high quality.

Shimano Calcutta Conquest 100/101/200/201 2014 New Shimano Conquest reels are quite small in hands, and its 200 felt a little smaller than previous 100. Its 100 is smaller than previous 50, and these reels are quite easy to palm. Gears are much smoother and I didn't feel gearing, even at load.
  Shimano Chronarch Cl4+
  Shimano Scorpion 200/200HG

At Jackall Bros. booth, professional anglers demonstrate tactics in its exhibition tank.

Strangely, a carp is in the tank, not a bass. Exotic fish law might be the cause of it.

At YGK booth, I fond a totally new PE braided line, YGK REAL DTEX Premium WX8. It is 2.5 times stronger than YGK WX8 high-end braid lines, in the same diameter. Now it is released only in very thin diameters, Japan line number 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5 or 0.090-0.117mm dia. It is priced so high for about $1.00 for 1 meter (1.1yard) at this moment. Hope YGK release much thicker lines in the series at reasonable prices.

YGK Rep holds new line, YGK Real Dtex Premium WX8, number 0.3, 0.090mm dia.

At Kureha Seaguar booth, I had a good time talking with a rep to find out why Kureha Fluorocarbon lines are better, and how their lines are different from others. Kureha is a chemical company to be able to prepare the polymer of fluorocarbon lines, and it is the only company in Japan. It is the first company to develop fluorocarbon lines, and it is still making them better. I will soon deal with some of their leaders which I've used personally, and I may recommend to my customers. Kureha lines are quite expensive, and needed long-term test to recommend.

The demonstration of tying Japanese traditional Kebari flies with feather in traditional way. These flies are used for Tenkara fishing in streams. The flies are quite tiny, about 5-7mm long.

Another traditional fishing tackle, bamboo rods are displayed.

These bamboo rods are made from whole bamboo, not 6 piece of triangle parts. These traditional rods are popular for minnow fishing in tiny creeks. Hand crafted with natural Japanese lacquer finish, bamboo rods are quite expensive, already hard to obtain because only few craftsman left. Rods from famous craftsman are collectible, traded for $1,000-5,000.

I've tested a 5'6" UL spinning rod. It has a lot of flex and bone, and felt good for 3-5g minnow twitching.

This year, Miya-epoch, a unique motor powered reel manufacturer specialized in super deep sea fishing, holds the second largest booth to Shimano/Daiwa. Its best selling Command Z-20 holds 2,000m of 100lb braid, to catch over 200kg/400lb tuna, or delicious Alfonsin at 500-800m deep. Either of these are beyond my understanding, but I learned anglers are crazy. I am stunned by the size of the reel. It is far larger than my head!

Command Z-20 is popular for super deep fishing, tuna fishing. 24V motor powered

To show my respect to Miyaepoch, I list this photo, 400kg black fin tuna caught with the Command Z-20 by the manager of R&D team at Miyaepoch.

Fuji, guide and reel seat manufacturer, has invented a new ring material, Torzite. It is tougher than SIC for shock, and may be made thinner to make guides lighter. Fuji is the only manufacturer displaying guides at the show. Where is American Tackle or Chinese manufacturers, active at oversea shows?

Alright, Fuji found another way to sell expensive guides. I have trusted the SIC guides for many years, but felt they are too expensive as well. When engineering is used to make inexpensive, high-quality rod guides? Anybody else?

A Fuji rep told me the material composition of Torzite is secret, but it is a little softer than SIC in hardness. I guess he and the company is quite nervous about copy products, from his explanations. The Torzite rings will be only on titanium frames, sold for 20% higher than SIC titanium guides.

The talk session by Mr. Kikumoto at Ever Green booth.

He explains some prefecture in Japan started exotic fish laws to ban releasing bass back to water, and environment for bass fishing is still not easy. I liked his talk about rods, that please do not believe what manufacturers explain about a rod without using it. Now a days, manufacturer offers a rod for one specific usage, but it is determined by a tester, and it may not be true for someone else. Please love a rod, and use it every time till you learn it well.

At the last part of his session, audiences attended paper-rock-scissors rally, to win a box of EverGreen baits.

I missed Megabass, and it was not at the show. I also missed ABU pure fishing. There are too many booth, and I had no time to visit all of them. A lot of talk sessions are held, and many audiences attended. Bass tournament seems to lose its popularity gradually, and instead more individual TV/magazine personalities are getting more influences in the industry. Many lady personalities are also on fishing TV programs.

Is fishing girls ballot a vain effort for sport fishing? I hope it work out to make fishing more lady-friendly activity. There are many problems to overcome to welcome ladies for the sport. For example, most fishing boats have only one toilet each and it is quite hard for ladies to board them.

This year, I didn't notice any strong trend in either freshwater or saltwater fishing. New innovative products are always replacing old ones, and I am quite happy to see many new models are released. I will be busy to chase after these new models, and also to ask tuning manufacturers to develop new tuning parts for them.

Hope you have great fishing seasons.

Jun and Kayo Sonoda