Already one week ago a package from overseas arrived – containing all the essential ingredients for an exotic and truly stunning topwater setup. It truly felt as if Christmas had come early! It took a bit more than two months of online research and endless, but enlightening tackle talks with my friend in Tokyo to get everything together, but it was really worth all the effort. Go on, see for yourself…

In previous posts I already tried to outline the challenges and difficulties behind this fascinating task and I’ll try to give you brief glimpse at what came out in the end. Within the last weeks I gained a more detailed insight in to the realms of Japanese surface game and the learning curve constantly went up as the tour progressed. Every now and then there where a few doubts on the way but I was sure this project would ultimately be accomplished.

First of all, I like to give you a more detailed picture of the final combo and it’s components (visit Flickr for more high-res photos).
Topwater Setup
topater_setup_content-big01 topater_setup_content-big02

Rod: Tsunami Lures “Sukiyaki 56”
Grip: Frog Products “Toy’s Grip”
Reel: Shimano Calcutta Conquest 101DC

As I already mentioned before, the reel choice was the most difficult task. Most rod grips are supposed to be pared with classic vintage style reels and the few ones that would fit modern round profiles are really hard to find. Therefore I decided to go the original way and bought a BC731SSS by custom tackle maker Isuzu. As soon as I opened the aluminum case, I was amazed by it’s unique egg shape and delicate form.

Isuzu BC731SSS
Paired with the BC731SSS...
Rod and grip paired with the BC731SSS

After pairing the rod with it’s new counterpart I had second thoughts about wether this would be the perfect match or not and tried to mount a 101DC. The result was just breathtaking! Everything felt right just from the first palm and I was absolutely convinced about this combination immediately. It is not often that you can get the most important aspects together – proper handling qualities, great balance and a truly stunning aesthetic match.
There’s also the fact that Shimano’s silverling is actually one of my favorite reels and sometimes I catch myself preferring the grounding weight and more robust feel over the light-weightness of the dominating Daiwa reels in my boxes.

For the upcoming trip to Spain I’ll give both reels a try, even if the 101DC feels better for the moment. It would be premature to judge the BC731SSS before having tested it in detail. So let’s wait and see how first tests ‘ll turn out.

More details about the rod blank by Tsunami Lures you can find in one of my previous posts.

Topwater Setup 2009

Another interesting task was to select appropriate and eye-catching lures for the new combo. The procedure was quite extraordinary, because of the fact that I found only two topwater stores that where willing to sell and ship to overseas customers. Luckily a friend of a friend is running a small but fine topwater section in his tackle store based in Kanagawa and I got dozens of photos from lure in his his stock that helped a lot to put together a small but fine selection of mostly wooden handmade plugs. I’ll to put together a few more details alongside with some photos in one of my next blogs. In the meantime you can already have a look at the “topwater style” section in the gallery to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

So there she is… the first classic Japanese topwater combo. Perfectly balanced with 5,5 ft in length and a lure-weight of 1 oz (and above) – garnished with some gorgeous handmade lures – eagerly awaiting the first strike, hook-set and fight.

Topwater Setup 2009

Did I already mentioned that my favorite lakes are still covered with ice of 5-10 cm thickness? Anyway, no need to revive winter depression. Only two weeks left until I’m heading off to Spain again. Ten relaxing days of bass fishing with my friends from Cordoba… can’t wait to go!

Finally, I would like to send big hugs to Tsuyoshi and Yuji who did a great job helping me to get this project under way and for spending a lot of time and energy to get together this great and well tuned setup of Japanese topwater tackle.

Related Links

9 thoughts on “Topwater Setup Complete

  1. John wrote on :

    Congratulations on completing your quest!
    Best adventures

  2. CM wrote on :

    How are things over there in New Jersey? :)

    Take care… Christian

  3. Steven wrote on :

    Beautiful setup here. thanks for sharing your documentation and further links. Have fun with your new toys!

  4. CM wrote on :

    Thanks! Glad you like it. Take care… Christian

  5. Chris wrote on :

    Congratulations Christian, quite the set up! The Shimano Conquest 101DC is one of my favorite reels. Super smooth, great digital breaking control – you can cast right into the wind and it’ll brake for you – and it’s the perfect size. Like I said it’s one of my favorite reels. I have one complaint to Shimano though. When you cast w/ that reel it emits a high pitched whistle – the `digital system charging’. Well, at first it’s kind of intruiging and raises an eyebrow. However, I tournament fish – so there’s always someone else on the boat. And I don’t know what Shimano was thinking by not silencing that sound. It can get REALLY irritating for the other person on the boat.

    But from a functionality standpoint it’s absolutlely topnotch. best of luck!

  6. CM wrote on :

    Hi Chris,
    good to hear from you! It’s been ages since our last “talk”. I totally agree with you on the pure class of the 101DC and remember that we already had this “weird sound” topic some months ago. I got used to it in the meantime. :)

    Just came home from a few hours practising with the new setup. Luckily nobody saw me throwing topwater plugs at water temperatures around 6°C… Not really the conditions for topwater angling. ;)

    Lake in the north of Berlin

    Anyway… it was quite fun to cast some wooden topwater lures from the banks of one of these small beautiful lakes in the north of Berlin. As most of them weight in around 5/8 to 1oz, you have really good contact to the lure what enables you to cast with almost pinpoint accuracy.

    The fast taper of the rod blank felt slightly strange in the beginning, but mostly because of the unfamiliar glass-carbon material. At all the rod loads perfectly and the sensitive upper thrid of the rod is great for animating different types of topwater lures. I had to adjust the position of the griptrigger a few times, but think I found the optimum now.

    Can’t wait to test the topwater stuff in “real” conditions! Finally going back to Cordoba next week for ten days of bass fishing with my Andalusian friends. I’ll try to update the blog with photos and brief fishing stories during that time.

    Take care… Christian

  7. jerry wrote on :

    beautiful set up right there!

  8. Anthony wrote on :

    Hi. Beautiful setup. Can you tell me please where l can buy one of the Isuzu BC731SSS reels?
    l think it would be perfect for Australian Bass and freshwater Barramundi.

  9. CM wrote on :

    Hi Anthony,

    completely missed your comment. Sorry for that.
    The BC731SSS is sold out in most shops that I know, but you could try to get in touch with Isuzu directly.

    Below you can find the link to Isuzu’s official page:
    There’s a button “Inquiry Form” next to the Logo.

    Good luck!

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