“This feels great!” Fujita said the Japanese angler. “My dream has been to win an Elite Series tournament. My dream came true.”
After placing 10th on Day 1 with 21 pounds, 5 ounces, the Elite rookie added 23 pounds, 14 ounces and took over the Day 2 lead. Fujita held onto the top spot with a Semifinal Sunday limit of 22 pounds, 9 ounces. He closed the deal with his Championship Monday bag that weighed 19 pounds. The win marks his fourth Top 10 for the 2023 Elite season.
A multiple-event winner and four-time Angler of the Year on the Japanese professional bass scene, Fujita edged Yamaha Pro Justin Atkins by 1 pound, 6 ounces.
The week brought a diverse meteorological mix, which included a storm system that postponed Day 2 from Friday to Saturday. Days 1 and 3 brought mostly sunny conditions, while the even number days saw dimmer, cloudy skies. Wind was a constant challenge. Fujita spent his entire event in the Inland Sea where he targeted smallmouth bass that were following schools of baitfish.
Finishing second with 85 pounds, 6 ounces, Atkins kept himself near the top all week. He placed fourth on Day 1 with 22 pounds, 6 ounces, then slipped to sixth after weighing 21 pounds, 6 ounces. Atkins' Day 3 bag of 21 pounds, 3 ounces lifted him to third. His final-round limit weighed 20 pounds, 7 ounces.
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