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Yamaha/Skeeter Angler Kyoya Fujita Captures Bassmaster® Elite Win of 2024 Season on Toledo Bend

Posted 2/26/2024

MANY, La., February 26, 2024 — Yamaha/Skeeter pro angler Kyoya Fujita caught a winning bass total of 100 pounds, 13 ounces to capture the first Bassmaster Elite Series win of the season at Toledo Bend. His victory resulted in the coveted century belt — an exclusive award given to those who catch at least 100 pounds of bass in a four-day event — as well as the $100,000 top prize.

The win reinforces Fujita’s hard-earned nickname “Prince of Japanese Angling.” This is his second Elite Series title in 10 events. He captured his first blue trophy at Lake Champlain last August. Before coming to America, he won four Angler of the Year titles in Japan as well as six major tournaments.

Overall, Yamaha pros took the top four spots in the tournaments. Patrick Walters finished second with 95 pounds, 15 ounces; Pat Schlapper finished third with 95 pounds, 8 ounces; and rookie Robert Gee finished fourth with 90 pounds, 5 ounces.
“I was surprised,” Fujita said with the assistance of a translator. “I am looking to make every Championship Sunday this season. But winning tournaments are really hard things to do. I have been champion in Japan, but I know how hard it is to do. I’m happy with how it worked out. It’s a very good start.”

Entering the final day 6 pounds behind Wisconsin pro Schlapper, Fujita made a comeback in the final round by catching 28-13 — a bag almost entirely made up of 6-pounders, and a total he wasn’t expecting after struggling the previous day.
Most of the week, Fujita stayed in one offshore spot in the mouth of Housen Bay and targeted prespawn bass suspended in deep standing timber. When that spot began to fizzle on Day 3, he moved to the creek right above Housen and caught suspended bass in 10 feet of water using his forward-facing sonar in the mouth of that creek. That spot produced multiple 6-pounders the final two days, several of which he believed to be postspawners.
Fujita took the lead on Day 1 by catching 31-3 — a five-bass limit that earned him $2,000 for as the Rapala CrushCity Monster Bag of the Tournament. He fell to second after a Day 2 bag of 24-3 and then to third after catching 16-10 on Day 3.
Fujita returned to his primary spot to open the final round — and while there weren’t many bass left in the area, he started the morning by landing a 6- and 5-pounder in the first two hours. He caught two more keepers in that area, but he could not manufacture another bite.
After mid-morning, Fujita made a move to his secondary spot and landed another 6-pounder to fill his limit. His day only got better from there as he landed several more 6-pounders in the last three hours to seal his victory.
South Carolina pro Patrick Walters caught 29-0, the biggest bag of the final day, to jump into second place with a four-day total of 95-15. He anchored his big Sunday bag with an 8-4 largemouth that claimed Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the Day honors.
Fujita took the early lead in the Angler of the Year standings with 103 points, followed by Walters in second with 102. Schlapper is third with 101 points, followed by Tennessee Robert Gee in fourth with 100 points.
Fujita earned an extra $4,000 for the Yamaha Power Pay contingency award while Walters earned a $2,500 bonus.
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