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Interview with Toshinari Namiki (The Machinegun)

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Known for his superb rapid-fire casting skills with absolute accuracy, Toshinari Namiki is no stranger to lure anglers all over the world. Fish On! Magazine catches up with Mr Namiki at the recent Thailand International Tackle Show 2013 for a glimpse into the world of one of the best Japanese bass anglers of all time.

Could you tell us how long have you been fishing?
I have been fishing since I was 9 years old and subsequently caught my first Black Bass (Largemouth Bass – Micropterus salmoides, are known as Black Bass in Japan) at 17. I still remember it was caught on a sinking Jointed Rapala in the GFR colour. I’ve since been lure fishing for more than 30 years, with more than 20 years as a professional bass angler.

You are the first Japanese angler to enter the prestigious US Bassmaster Classic tournaments. Could you tell us your experience when you first set foot in the US?
I spent a total of 8 years fishing in the US. I remember feeling very excited and emotional to have a chance to compete in such a grand tournament. I felt quite worried about language challenges, the different culture and lifestyle when I first arrived in the US. Back then, I was not that well-off and didn’t have a comfortable lifestyle. The prize money for the US Bassmasters then was about USD50,000. These days, the prize money has grown to about USD200,000.

Many Japanese pro anglers usually focus on a specific fishing style. Why did you choose Black Bass over Seabass?
I feel Black Bass is more challenging as it involves many different techniques. Black Bass fishing was fast gaining popularity at that time and I saw it also as an opportunity to enter the tackle industry specifically for Black Bass.

Why do people call you ‘The Machine Gun”?
It’s a nickname people gave me because I was able to cast very quickly and accurately, just like a machine gun. Being able to make as many casts as possible within a specific timeframe is an advantage especially in a bass tournament.

How did you learn to ‘machine gun cast’?
It all started during my college days when I was fishing with a friend from a very small boat. We would often compete with each other to see who could catch more fish, with the loser buying the other dinner. This motivated me to make more and quicker casts. With practice, I was able to make fast, accurate casts with greater distance.

I noticed you cast with your left hand but signed autographs with your right hand. Are you naturally left-handed or right-handed?
(Laughs). You noticed! I am naturally left-handed. When I was young, my mother used to give me a scolding whenever I wrote with my left hand. Therefore I was forced to learn how to write with my right hand. But I draw better with my left hand.

How do you manage to generate the power to pitch lures over long distances? Are there some casting tips you can share with readers?
I am actually not a physically strong person. Power is not generated from physical strength but from timing and technique. Rod specification does play a part though.

Is there an ideal rod length and action that can allow beginners to learn power skipping and power pitching?
A good rod guideline to begin with will be a 6’6” ML (medium-light) rod rating. 16lb or 20lb monofilament line equivalent is ideal. As for the casting practice weights, it is good to have a range from 5 grams to 21 grams so that you can cast with different weights during actual fishing situations.

Based on your machine gun casting style, which braking system do you personally prefer (magnetic or centrifugal)? Why?
I personally prefer the magnetic casting system because it functions well even in wet conditions. Particularly Daiwa’s Magforce technology, which allows me to cast in different conditions without having to change much settings.

(Side Note: Daiwa’s Magforce technology enables the spool inductor to spin into varying magnetic field strengths, offering an effective, yet versatile braking system. Daiwa’s latest Magforce 3D technology featured in its newer reels such as the T3 Air offer up to 60 brake settings.).

Can you share with us what is your secret to consistently catch big fish?
Apart from casting skill, there are also other factors that can help us to successfully catch fish. Casting into hard to reach spots and making more casts has advantages but having knowledge of fish feeding habits, their spawning season, wind and current conditions, understanding fishing conditions for different seasons, what sort of food the fish are feeding and locating underwater structure are also very essential factors. Of course there are other considerations such as hooking and landing techniques and boat handling skills.

How many days you fish in a year and what is your personal record for bass?
I fish about 150 days a year and my official personal best is about 65cm in length. I’ve actually landed a bigger fish during one of the practice sessions, a day before a tournament. I quickly released the fish without measuring it to minimize trauma, so that I could return the next day during the tournament hopefully to catch it again.

Why did you choose to endorse Daiwa products?
I have always loved Daiwa for their innovation since I was young. I used to work for Daiwa and therefore I also have a good working knowledge of their products and ideas. Daiwa has been my sponsor since 1995.

What are your future plans?
I’d love to travel to as many countries to fish for different species as much as possible. However, I still love Black Bass very much and I want to continue learning new techniques for bass fishing. I just can’t stop learning as it is my passion.

Mr Toshinari Namiki’s Website: http://t-namiki.net
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/並木敏成Official-SiteTHIS-IS-Tnamiki更新情報/466844016719214

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