And the winner is…
Osaka, Japan native, Morizo Shimizu, won the ‘Bluegrass Brawl,’ the seventh stop on the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament Trail. After a rough first day of competition, Shimizu sat in 49th with 11 pounds, 7 ounces; not holding out much hope for making the cut, much less a victory. Things began to improve, however, as Shimizu made some decisions that would greatly affect the tournament outcome. Moving from Lake Barkley to Kentucky Lake and staying there for the final days of competition proved to be one of the best moves Shimizu could have made. Through an interpreter, he explained some of his strategy.
“I was fishing in 10 to 16 feet of water,” Shimizu said. “I have fished this lake before with another tournament and I know a lot of fish can be caught far away. Usually, I would run 40 minutes or more to catch fish. But this tournament, I looked for closer areas to catch fish. I pre-fished a tournament two or three years at Moors Creek and had a big fish over there. I had a feeling I would have a big fish again in that area.”
In addition to staying close and fishing deep ledges, Shimizu seemed to find another technique that scored him the win.
“I was waiting for the baitfish to cruise around where I was at,” Shimizu said. “Where I was running a month ago, in pre-fishing, I was thinking where the baitfish would go a month later for this tournament. That’s where I fished.”
A 20-pound sack sealed the deal for Shimizu on Sunday. His excitement couldn’t be contained as he won his first CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series tournament with a four-day total of 66 pounds, 9 ounces.
When asked how he felt, Shimizu had a few words for the crowd.
“Unbelievable and awesome,” he said. “A dream comes true.”