Megabass's CEO-X Factor : Yuki Ito
||Yuki Ito, CEO Megabass
||The Man Behind Megabass
There are few tackle manufacturers that can rival the mystique and artistry of Megabass Japan. The care and attention to detail that goes into each of their products from the sculpted lines to the exquisite finishes to the products' packaging is astounding. We were recently afforded the rare opportunity to talk to the driving force behind the company. Here now is our interview with Megabass CEO, Yuki Ito.
Yuki Ito, "I design products with the desire to spread Japanese culture to other countries."
TT: Overall design and attention to detail are two of the most unique aspects of Megabass products. As the founder and designer, where did you learn your craft?
Y.Ito: When I was a student, I majored in information technology and industrial engineering, and I have been especially committed to the field of industrial engineering since. Prior to the creation of Megabass, I had been appointed to the research and development division of the camera maker, Nikon, where I was responsible for optical engineering and system design. So as far as fishing tackle is concerned, I was entirely self-taught; it has been my own style, my own sensibilities that have guided each design.
As a Japanese person, I design products with the desire to spread Japanese culture to other countries. What's needed for a good design isn't advanced methodology or the latest designing tools, it's motive - a strong desire in the heart of the designer to communicate (through design) that which is dear to them. Only then can design be meaningful.
The Dog-X is the bait that launched Megabass as an overnight
sensation. The industry was shocked that a resin bait could be made to appear as
if it were handmade.
TT: Not only are your designs very innovative, but the product names you choose hold a certain mystique as well. Can you tell us why so many products have the letter "X" in the name?
Y.Ito: The letter "X" is a code that I'm quite fond of. For me, it evokes the image of unknown potential and previously unknown performance. It also carries the message that my products are not fully complete. The tools I create are combined with the skills and passion of anglers, and only then do they become whole - realizing their full potential and performance. There are no perfect tools in the world. Tools only exhibit true performance when the maker and the user become one.
Megabass Headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan. This is also the
site of Megabass's factory.
TT: Are there any particular manufacturers or angling icons outside of Japan that you personally admire? If so, who are they, and why do you admire them?
Y.Ito: There are many foreign makers that I admire, such as Orvis and Thomas & Thomas, for their handmade fly-fishing equipment. For bass fishing, makers like Heddon and Bagley, and going back even further, Gilmore and Goldeneye. I also like Pflueger and ABU products from about 30 years ago. When I was a kid, I loved Rapala and caught many fish with their products.
There are also many anglers whom I like. My friend Aaron Martens is a great guy, and a meticulous angler, which I respect. When I was young, I was greatly influenced by Douglas Hannon and Bill Dance, who always showed their passion for fishing.
An inside look at the Carrozzeria factory - Megabass's
customization and supertuning laboratory.
TT: What do you do when you aren't fishing? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of the fishing industry?
Y.Ito: There aren't many days where fishing isn't involved somehow! I have two dogs, a Border Collie and a Whippet. Both have competed in the National Disc Dog Championship in Japan, and both hold the title of G1 Champion. So on days when I can't go fishing, I compete in disc dog competitions with them. It's a pretty demanding sport. When I go fishing on my own, they tag along as my companions.
I will find a piece of wood in the field, carve it, add a hook and actually
end up creating the prototype for a new Megabass lure."
TT: Growing up as a child in Japan, what is your first/favorite memory of fishing? Do you remember your setup (rod, reel, lure, etc.), and the type of fish you were trying to catch?
Y.Ito: During summer vacation in high school, I was invited by a teacher to Lake Ikehara, and went with a homemade rod and an ABU 2500C. At Lake Ikehara I did a lot of fishing with homemade lures-lures that later became the basis for the DOG-X and ONETEN. That day I caught a great big bass, and won first place in a tournament held by a local tackle store. That is one of my favorite childhood memories.
My family also ran a fishing inn at Lake Hamana, no less than two meters from its tidal waters. Every day I went saltwater fishing. I had lots of fun catching sea bass, rockfish, mackerel, black bream, etc. For dinner I would often eat the fish I caught as sushi or sashimi with the local fisherman. Those are delicious memories
Yuki Ito's original, hand carved ARMS rod. He build these
rods one by one, by hand out of his one room apartment in Tokyo.
TT: In the United States, and particularly among TackleTour readers, there is a growing trend towards left hand retrieve baitcasting reels. It is our tradition to ask each of our guests: which retrieve style do you prefer, and why?
Y.Ito: When I use fast-moving plugs, I use right hand reels. With jigs, soft plastics, and flipping/pitching, I use left hand reels. Sometimes I use both, depending on the situation. When I was a child, I was left handed, but was eventually corrected to be right handed, as was mandated in school. So I have no discomfort when using left hand or right hand reels. Although, I previously had myself tested at the doctor's, and found out that my left hand had sharper reflexes!
From that point on, I developed an interest in ergonomics, and started matching my strengths to each fishing method.
Yuki Ito's favorite technique is deep cranking. Shown here is
a prototype Z-Crank from the early days of Megabass.
Next Section: Favorite techniques and