Savvy Tournament Anglers Depend on deps Lures Worldwide
In 1992, Japanese angler Kazumasa Okumura started to gain much media attention by breaking the ten pound barrier several times in a row on Japan's famed bass water, Lake Biwa. He used an original design heavy weight spinnerbait, slow-rolling it deep along the bottom, a tactic not practiced much in Japan. However, the lure and technique started Kazumasa's career and legend as one of Japan's foremost big bass experts, and led to his founding of the deps lure company.
Kazumasa loved to fish with big spinnerbaits, and in 1997, at the age of 28, Kazumasa founded the deps company in order to make his now legendary spinnerbait available to other anglers. Kazumasa's habit of catching monster bass, especially when outdoor writers/photographers were fishing with him, helped establish the success of and the aura surrounding deps lures.
Kazumasa's spinnerbait, named the B-Custom, became an immediate sensation in Japan and still ranks as one of the best fish catching lures in Japan today.
But Kazumasa didn't stop there. Kazumasa and deps continued to test and release new products, focusing on big bass, adding up to a full line of hard, soft and hybrid lures, many of which are only available in Japan.
In 2000, swimbaits and the big bait boom got started throughout Japan. Kazumasa and deps began to test and manufacture various styles of big baits not seen before in Japan, or anywhere. Japanese bass anglers typically focused on finesse fishing and light tackle, but the ingenuity of deps new big bass baits grabbed the attention of anglers and bass across Japan.
Released in 2003, one radical new design was a big wake bait named the Buzzjet. It was voted the most popular lure in Japan for 2003 by Lure Magazine readers.
deps Buzzjet 96 and Buzzjet Jr.
Buzzjet Q&A with Mr. Kazumasa Okumura:
Q. How did you think of the Buzzjet prop bait, crankbait lip and fat body bait idea?
A. The idea was not there from the start to combine all three of these styles. In the past I had made a deep crank that was fat in body style and also have made surface style wake baits. I wanted to create a bait that had a strong surface appeal and that was when the idea of combining a fat crank body with a prop style wake bait occurred to me. The toughest part of it was playing around where the weight transfer system should go and how much weight. The key was the left to right weight transfer system to give it that added roll which adds the flash and extra wake.
In 2004, deps released the Basirisky, a hollow rubber frog with a crazy yet brilliant twist. Its unique back legs face forward so that it crawls on the surface creating a huge rollicking ripple behind it.
deps basirisky 60 (left) and bigger basirisky 70 (right).
Basirisky Q&A with Mr. Kazumasa Okumura:
Q. How did you come up with the fluke leg concept on the Basirisky?
A. We were kicking around the idea of coming up with a soft hollow body frog type bait that you could use not just for heavy cover but in open water on a straight retrieve or in open pockets. We built the idea off the Crazy Crawler and started by trial and error with various prototypes, eventually achieving the fluke style legs you see today.
deps Lures Debut in North America
In late 2005, deps lures started to become available in North America. It is really the deps Basirisky (two sizes) plus the deps Buzzjet (two sizes) that have captured the interest of North American anglers.
deps are relativley expensive lures. Nevertheless, across the USA, deps products are mainly being bought by tournament anglers or by otherwise expert anglers who have seen the product videos on the Internet and have been blown away by their unorthodox look and action.
Especially to tournament anglers, the higher price is offset by the hope to win tournaments with deps, and that has proven to be the case for some.
Currently, deps products are most widely used in both north and south California, all over the Potomac area (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland), South Carolina and North Carolina. On the other hand, deps haven't caught on yet in many other regions, including much of the South as well as Texas and Florida. There's still a lot of water where a deps has never been thrown in most states, Canada and Mexico.
An International Phenomena
What's an interesting phenomena and one other region (actually, continent) where many of the deps lures for sale in North America are going is overseas to tournament anglers in Europe, especially France, Italy and Spain. Many European tournament anglers are racking up high scores in competition by depending on deps basirisky and buzzjet lures. The Internet has helped sophisticated French, Spanish and Italian anglers to leapfrog smack dab onto the very cutting edge of new lures and very latest information on what's hot. They're tapping the latest and greatest bass tackle and tactics that have not yet made their way into slower-moving European tackle distribution chains or magazine articles there. Of course, these advanced anglers would like to keep it hush-hush because they're onto a good thing here. The instant Internet access to world class tackle and tactical knowledge can definitely be an advantage to them since they're getting items and information not used by many other anglers in Europe.
Getting back to the states, there's an element of hush-hush about deps too, yet it has been the eventual word of mouth praise that has been the key to deps' growing success in the states. Although guys try to keep it a secret, the deps products popularity grows because anglers share their positive experience with each other.
Captain Karl Bunch
One such angler who is willing to share his deps lure secrets with us is Capt. Karl Bunch. He operates Karl's Bassin' Adventures Guide Service (at karlsbassinadventures.com) on the Potomac River, the Upper Chesapeake Bay headwaters and the Susquehanna River flats.
Capt. Karl Bunch operates Karl's Bassin' Adventures Guide Service
"Several years ago I first heard rumors about the deps products from tournament anglers. Then in early spring 2006 the Basirisky was quickly becoming the whispering topic of tournament anglers on the Potomac River,: says Capt. Karl. "Word got out that finally here is a topwater lure that can be cast long distances back deep, deep into the thickest of grass beds and simply retrieved across the dense grass beds with great success at getting old bucket mouth to attack it. As I started using the Basirisky I found that several of my tournament angler clients who I was guiding, they would not talk about the Basirisky until I pulled one out for them to use. Yes, they were trying to keep the Basirisky a secret as the Basirisky was winning tournaments and anglers were cashing checks in tournaments using the Basirisky."
"But you can't keep a great lure a secret for long and by the summer of 2006 the Basirisky was the must have lure on the Potomac River and Upper Chesapeake Bay/Susquehanna Flats," says Karl.
"It got a little surreal, and a real worry to those who did not have any as tournament anglers were making early morning deals with their fellow anglers for the Basirisky prior to launch time at the tournaments."
"I have found that a good quality 6 foot 6inch to 7 foot medium-heavy fishing rod with 40 to 65 pound test braided line works best for fishing the Basirisky. Give the Basirisky a good long cast deep into the thick grass bed, hold your rod tip at the 10 o' clock position and give it a steady retrieve. As the Basirisky gets to within two feet from the edge of the grass bed, many times I will stop the Basirisky and work it as a popper, and just as the Basirisky clears the edge of the grass bed, I will without pause start the steady retrieve again. I have found this technique to be very effective even on the most reluctant bass with heavy fishing pressure." reveals Karl. "I prefer to use the smaller/lighter 60 series most of the time but on the breezy days when there is a slight chop on the water I will use the bigger/heavier 70 series Basirisky," advises Capt. Karl Bunch.
"The Buzzjet is just getting it's due attention in the region in 2007. The popularity of the Basirisky has helped to get many anglers to give the Buzzjet a go, and this exciting topwater wake bait is rewarding anglers with great success. Recently, Mike Acord of Susquehanna Fishing Tackle in Lancaster, Pennsylvania won the B.A.S.S. Weekend Series Co-Angler side on the Potomac River using the Buzzjet Jr. as one of Mike's key lures during the tournament," says Karl.
"I have found that a good quality 6 foot 6 inch medium-heavy fishing rod with 20 to 40 pound test braided line to work best. Hold the rod tip at the 10 o' clock position with a steady retrieve. I prefer the Buzzjet Jr. on the waters of the Potomac River and Upper Chesapeake Bay as the smaller size more effectively matches our bait fish size. The Buzzjet Jr. is very effective when fished over submerged grass and retrieved parallel along side the edge of the grass beds," says Karl.
Capt. Karl Bunch uses the smaller sizes - Basiriky 60 and Buzzjet Jr. - most often.
"I hope these tips can help you to depend on deps lures for fishing success," concluded Capt. Karl Bunch. You can visit his site at karlsbassinadventures.com.