Twenty Questions With Walleye Pro Ted Takasaki
Ted Takasaki is one of the top competitors in the Walleye world, and was just recently inducted into the "Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame" for his lifetime of work in the sportfishing industry.
Below, Ted shares his thoughts and memories on how he got started fishing, and what it means to him to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
To learn more about Ted with your own "Twenty Questions" please join us Wednesday night, February 17th, at 7PM Central Time, in the Walleye Central chat room, where he will be our guest host for the hour.
Juls: Who is Ted Takasaki?
Ted: Ted Takasaki is just a plain, old fisherman, who loves to compete, promote for his sponsors, and educate other anglers. I've been extremely lucky to have the opportunity to do something that I love to do for a living.
Juls: How old were you when you went fishing for the first time? And, who was it with?
Ted: My father used to take me fishing when I a little guy...probably 3 or 4 years old. At least that's what it looked like from an early picture. I didn't really get serious about fishing until just after college when John Campbell and I would take fishing classes and travel all over the place to fish.
Juls: When did you start fishing tournaments?
Ted: John and I fished our first Masters Walleye Circuit tournament in 1988 on the Illinois River. It was "Mud Bowl 1" and the fishing was very difficult. We didn't catch a fish. We fished the circuit in 1989 and qualified for the championship, which was held on the Mississippi River at Dubuque. That was the tournament which convinced me to strive towards fishing for a living.
Juls: What is your most memorable experience while fishing? (Either tournament or fun fishing...doesn't matter)
Ted: Probably the 3rd day of the 1998 PWT Championship where I finally learned that I had won the tournament. I did a little dance and had some fun with the crowd. After that, the 53.2 pound day on Lake Erie in 2002.
Juls: What does it feel like to win a tournament? What goes through your head when they hand you the winning trophy?
Ted: It's definitely a feeling that cannot be purchased. If it could, it would be worth a million bucks! It's exhilirating when you find out that you have just beaten a bunch of great anglers and is the culmination of a week's worth of hard work.
Juls: Who are your sponsors?
Ted: Lund Boats, Mercury Outboard Engines, Lindy Fishing Tackle, MinnKota Motors, Humminbird Electronics, St. Croix Rods, Ardent Reels, and The Lodge Fish Houses.
Juls: I know you are involved in creating new products for some of your sponsors...what are some of those products, and do you have anything new coming out for 2010?
Ted: Part of our job as professional anglers is to comment and provide feedback on new products. Most of that work is confidential and it is not possible to describe new for 2010 product which has not been introduced as of yet. I was pretty excited about the input which was done for the introduction of the current Lund 208 Pro V GL boat. This boat has been designed right.
Juls: What did you do for a living before you started in this business as a living?
Ted: One thing that I have always done from the beginning was to treat my fishing business as a business...albeit a secondary "job". I worked for Hewlett Packard selling computer systems from 1982 to 1999 before getting the job of President at Lindy-Little Joe in 1999 which I held until just recently. I'm truly "living the dream", because I have always enjoyed my jobs, including the one I have now. Fishing for a Living. It is important for all of us to look inside ourselves and determine what it is that we want out of life and go for it.
Juls: What do you do in the off season?
Ted: What is an "off season"? Sport Shows almost every weekend in the winter rolls into tournaments and photo shoots in the spring through fall. If I am not doing something to further my fishing business, then I feel guilty and find something to do.
Juls: Are there any Boat/Sport Shows left that people can attend to meet you and hear one of your very interesting seminars?
Ted: I will be at Bismarck this coming weekend and Bass Pro Shops in Des Moines and Council Bluffs next weekend. After that, the Northwest Sport Show in Minneapolis is an exciting show where I will be receiving a very special award on Saturday, March 27th.
Juls: A little birdy told me that that very special award was your induction into the "Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame" .... Congratulations! What does that mean to you? How does that make you feel?
Ted: Thank you very much! It's truly an unbelievable feeling and one I will chreish for the rest of my life. There is absolutely nothing that can compare to being in the Fishing Hall of Fame. Itís an honor which is bestowed upon an extremely small percentage of anglers on this planet. To have the vote and confidence of my fellow anglers and peers is an incredible feeling of accomplishment. This is the pinnacle of my career!
Juls: What are your plans for the 2010 season?
Ted: Although I haven't signed up for any tournaments at this point, I will most likely fish most or all of the AIM tournaments and some FLW tournaments.
Juls: When did you get your first "very own" boat?
Ted: John Campbell and I owned a couple of boats together. Our first one was an 18 foot bass boat with a 150 hp engine that we bought in 1986. It went fast, but it wasn't very effective fishing for walleyes as it was difficult to control in high winds and waves. It didn't troll very well either... lol.
Juls: Of all the waters you have fished in your lifetime, what are your top five favorites? What makes them so special to you?
Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana - It is beautiful, desolate, and has big fish in it.
Lake Erie in Ohio - I have had a great tournament record over the years on Lake Erie and has big fish in it.
Red River in Manitoba - This is an easy river to fish, has the most interesting looking walleyes that I have ever seen (Greenbacks) and has big fish in it.
Lake of the Woods in Minnesota - I have caught all kinds of walleyes all throughout the season on this lake in addition to the Rainy River..oh, and it has big fish in it!
Bay of Quinte in Ontario - BIG FISH!!
Juls: Who are some of your fishing idols? Who did you look up to when you first got into tournament fishing?
Ted: Al Lindner, Jim Saric, and the man whom John Campbell and I learned the most from, Spence Petros.
Juls: Do you do any kids events?
Ted: I have worked with kids in many different venues, but the one that comes to mind the first is showing a bunch of 1st graders how to ice fish. They have so much energy!
Juls: What is your favorite presentation to use? What is the most fun for you?
Ted: I feel pretty comfortable in doing whatever it takes to catch fish, so there isn't anything that I lean towards when it comes to a tournament. I truly enjoy catching fish on a jig though. The 1998 PWT Championship was a dream come true, cuz not only did I win the tournament, but I won it using a Fuzz E Grub jig!
Juls: How do you break down a body of water you've never fished before? How do you approach your prefishing?
Ted: First, I take a look at what kind of water it is..river, reservoir, natural lake, or Great Lakes. Then I look at the time of the year and where the fish may be at. Then, I look at a paper map of the lake and start researching it on the internet or calling friends who may have fished the lake. Put together a game plan and get on the water.
Juls: What are you most proud of in your life?
Ted: I believe that I have assisted a lot of anglers in teaching them how to fish and getting them excited to go fishing. Along the way, I have made a lot of friends and have had a great time. Lastly, I am very proud of my daughter who has been a straight A student all of her school life and plans on being a vet.
Juls: If you could only give ONE piece of advice to a new angler who wanted to start fishing tournaments professionally, what would that be?
Ted: Stay in school, keep your day job, keep focused on the end goal, put a plan together, and work hard.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories with our Walleye Central readers, Ted! Best wishes for a successful 2010 fishing season!
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