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Gary Yamamoto to be Inducted into Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame

We wish to congratulate Gary Yamamoto who will be inducted into the Legends Of The Outdoors National Hall Of Fame this Saturday, August 22nd starting at 3 o'clock at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.

This well-deserved award is based on Gary's lifetime of achievements and his many contributions to the great sport of fishing. Gary has had significant impact on the fishing world with his many innovative designs in fishing lures and equipment plus his commitment to help educate and teach anglers. The impact that Gary has had on the sport of fishing around the world is truly significant. We've included Gary Yamamoto's updated bio below, and encourage you to read it.

Garry Mason, Founder of the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame emphasizes that the Induction Banquet this Saturday is open to the public, starting at 3 o'clock giving individuals the opportunity to meet many present and former inductees of the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame as well as witnessing some of these outdoor icons being honored by their peers.

The list of inductees for 2009 includes: Mr. Rob Keck, Ms. Emily Shaffer, Mr. Jim Crumley, Mr. Eddie Salter, Mr. Terry Redlin, Mr. Toxey Haas, Mr. Gary Yamamoto and Mr. Herb Parsons, posthumously.

For more information, go to the Legends website at, or contact Garry Mason, Founder, by email at or phone 731-593-0171 (office) or 731-693-7770 (cell).

Gary Yamamoto's Bio

Gary Yamamoto was born and raised in Hawaii. He started fishing before he was old enough to help work around his family's farm. One of his first chores in life was to catch fresh fish in a nearby river for his family's dinner table.

Yamamoto left Hawaii after finishing high school, to attend university in California. Before graduating, Gary answered his country's call and he served proudly as a medic in the Air Force and a tour of duty in Viet Nam, after which he completed his degree in business administration and landed a job in sales in Los Angeles. But the hustle and bustle of L.A. was not the ideal environment he wanted to raise his young family (Gary has two sons and a daughter).

So in 1976, Yamamoto took a chance to own a campground on a park-like setting near Page, a beautiful resort town in northern Arizona. Page is situated on a famous reservoir, Lake Powell. People say it's the world's most scenic bass lake, and it is visited by millions each year, who journey from across the USA and from many countries to vacation there.

Gary spent many hours on Lake Powell exploring the bountiful fishery for smallmouth, largemouth, stripers, walleye, crappie and more. Soon he began entering local bass tournaments. In fact, he won a major prize, an outboard motor, in the very first tournament he entered. To go with it, Yamamoto bought his first bass boat. As everyone knows, that's the point of no return.

From that day, Yamamoto became a dedicated bass angler, boater and tournament contender with a love for the sport that would last for his lifetime - a love he would pass along to his family, his friends and ultimately, to every bass angler.

As an aspiring tournament angler, Yamamoto spent endless days on the water, always looking for an edge, an advantage, and it came down to lures. Gary realized his tournament success would depend on his ability to customize the lures he had been doing well with. Yamamoto sought more realistic colors, more natural actions in lures, and he found a few sources that would custom produce the lures that Yamamoto wanted to fish with, but he was required to buy wholesale quantities for this privilege. So Gary kept what he wanted and sold the rest to local fishermen. For those who tried them, Gary's new custom baits began winning tournaments. Word soon spread about the guy who had a very keen eye for the styles and colors of lures that attracted fish. It wasn’t long before Gary was selling to tournament anglers in a five state area - Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and California.

It wasn't long either, before an opportunity arose for Gary to acquire one of the companies that was one of his custom bait sources, and he renamed it 'Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits'. Along with the company, he acquired a customer base including major tackle wholesalers in Japan.

Yamamoto's Early and Lasting Success in Japan

With his own company now, Yamamoto stepped up his research and development of unique new bait designs. However, Yamamoto's wholesale customers in Japan were having difficulty moving Gary's new bait designs there. Anglers were unfamiliar with them and unsure how to use them. So Yamamoto decided to travel to Japan to teach Japanese anglers the Western style of finesse fishing first-hand.

Based on Yamamoto's tournament success fishing his lures in the USA, Gary personally and through example taught Japanese anglers how to fish with his bass baits. Of course, once anglers started to connect with their first few fish on these new lures, they couldn't put them down. Their confidence, enthusiasm and ability to learn and to discover new fishing tactics exploded.

Gary was the first to bring a modern high-powered bass boat to Japan. Yamamoto put a twenty-foot 200 horsepower bass boat on a plane and had it flown to Japan. That boat was no doubt the ultimate bass performance machine of its time in the USA. Practically no Japanese angler had seen a modern bass boat before Gary Yamamoto single-handedly set out to show an entire country what bass fishing was all about. Yamamoto paraded his bass boat to all the fishing events and to popular weekend fishing locations across Japan, and then he held a tournament where someone would win it.

That was in the early 1980's. Virtually no one else from the USA was in Japan promoting bass fishing at that time, just Gary.

Fast forward to today, and Japan has become the second largest bass fishing market in the world. What's fascinating is that bass anglers in Japan still adhere very closely to the original Western finesse styles of fishing that Gary Yamamoto first taught them twenty-five years ago. To this day, despite much advancement in the lure industry, Yamamoto's baits remain the unrivaled number one soft baits in Japan. There are so many soft baits in the Japanese market, yet Yamamoto plastics have always been the best sellers in Japan, and still are today.

Yamamoto's International Acclaim

The same is true in many other countries worldwide. Gary Yamamoto had been one of the first professional anglers from the US to fish European waters during the 1990s. He was first to participate in organized tournaments on the old continent especially Italy and Spain where bass fishing is more prominent, and he has helped pioneer and promote fishing tournaments in many other countries, in Canada, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Zimbabwe, South Africa and other places where Gary has had the same charismatic effects on fishermen everywhere he goes. Yamamoto has left his legacy, a blossoming appreciation of and market for his products wherever he's journeyed.

Yamamoto's Success in the USA

Yamamoto's success in the US fishing industry arose relatively recently. Prior to the year 2000, Yamamoto baits were practically unknown outside the western states. So Gary decided to tour across the USA, fishing the top national BASS and FLW tournament trails where he has placed well for approximately the past ten years. Through touring the USA over the past decade, Gary has introduced the USA to his entire product line - some of the best bass baits ever.

It sounds incredible but in less than ten years time, Yamamoto's name and products have spread far and wide across the USA You can ask any bass angler in the USA today who is Gary Yamamoto? Chances are each one will speak of him highly and tell you how Gary's baits are some of the greatest for bass fishing. Gary Yamamoto, his company and products have become a household name among US and worldwide bass anglers.

A biography of Gary Yamamoto wouldn't be complete without mentioning the Yamamoto Senko, Gary's most successful lure design. Many sage observers consider Yamamoto’s Senko to be one of the single most successful and effective bass lures of all time. In all, Gary has designed and offers anglers over 60 models of soft baits, plus he has designed and offers anglers the specific hooks, jig heads, fishing rods and fishing line that work best with his baits, so that anglers have access to the gear, tackle and accessories that work best with Yamamoto baits.

Today, Gary enjoys spending much time with his wife Beverly running their sprawling cattle ranch, dotted with trophy bass ponds, where they live in Athens, Texas. He still tours nation-wide, having fished over a dozen top FLW bass tournaments in 2009 plus international events across the globe.

Gary continues to run and beautify the park-like campground he acquired in Page, Arizona back in 1976. Many vacationing families from all over the world have enjoyed memorable summer vacations at his scenic campground.

His bait company offices are headquartered there, and his factory where all Yamamoto baits are made, lies just down the road.

And that's the story and legend of Gary Yamamoto, the dedicated angler who has a keen eye for the colors, actions and styles of baits that fish like to bite and that are easy to use, so that anglers everywhere may catch more fish and have more fun.






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Last modified: August 20, 2009