Living in a tent on an island
Omori was born in Toyko on Sept. 4, 1970, and his family moved to the country when he was young. He grew up fishing for a variety of saltwater species with his father.
“My dad’s hobby is fishing, but he never bass fished,” Omori said. “When I was about 9, I went fishing with my friends on a pond and caught my first bass.”
The bass bug bit him. Most every weekend, Omori rode his bike to fish an area pond with friends, and he began to soak up everything bass. Basser magazine helped introduce him to the sport, and it was meeting Gary Yamamoto at a fishing tournament in 1985 that put him on his path.
“I was in high school and started fishing those junior tournaments, and that’s where I met him,” Omori said. “I told him I wanted to become a pro fisherman. He told me, if you want to make living in bass fishing, you have to come to America.”
Omori’s father wasn’t going for his plan to fish for a living. Most parents at that time, in Japan and even the United States, did not consider bass fishing a career, and most didn’t want their children to pursue it.
“I guess they kinda gave up on me. It’s just the typical parents – fishing is a hobby,” Omori said. “I had a sister and brother. They went to good university. The best way to have a good life is to go to the best college, so you can get the best jobs.
“I was totally against it. I wanted to be a pro fisherman. I don’t care about making a lot of money, or living in a small house.”
If he wouldn’t attend college, Omori’s father wouldn’t allow Tak to stay in their home. Omori ended up living in a tent on a lake island.
“After I left my parents’ house, I had no place to go, but I wanted to keep fishing,” he said. “That was right after I graduated high school. I never went to college. I was fishing every day, living on this small island.”
On his website, Omori writes that he worked on his craft while living in the middle of Lake Kawaguchi, where much of the surrounding land is developed. He worked a variety of jobs, such as bell hop, dishwasher and waiter, to survive.
“I have a keen passion about fishing, outdoors – I don’t hunt – I like to explore Mother Nature and I have huge passion for competition, so that’s why I fish tournaments to be No. 1,” he said.
Coming to America was bold move
There’s literally been millions of immigrants who came to America because they were told the streets were lined with gold. Omori came for the green, as in the color of largemouth bass. He said he saved about $2,000 for the trip over and arrived in Texas with a tacklebox, a couple fishing rods and a suitcase of clothes.
A stranger in a strange land, Omori knew only one person and didn’t speak much English. He began fishing events in 1992 as a co-angler to learn the ropes. He did make a 15-year plan, which included qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic.
The first year had to be discouraging. He was 304th on Sam Rayburn in his first event, and he didn’t top 256th in his next three. In 1993, in his fifth tournament, he cashed his first B.A.S.S. check, finishing eighth on Lake Eufaula to earn $3,800.
That same year, Japan’s Norio Tanabe won on Kentucky Lake, becoming the first international angler to win a B.A.S.S. event. It was another three years before Omori won his first Bassmaster, the Missouri Central Invitational on Lake of the Ozarks. His payday was $14,000.
Some top finishes in 2001 helped Omori qualify for his first Classic, where he took 26th on the Louisiana Delta. That finish didn’t matter as much as who attended – his parents.
“I took my dad to my first Classic I made in 2001,” Omori said. “Then three days later, when he was back in Japan, he died of a heart attack. He saw me fish my first ever Classic.”
Originally posted on Bassmaster Go to Source
Author: Mike Suchan
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