By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Now, he's an ambassador for his sport. He'd like to see it have more of an international appeal; and the best way to create it is to show the camera some personality.
"That's four," he says, forcing a smile in the direction of the OLN crew behind him. Sunglasses and a baseball cap cover half his face. "Pretty good morning."
Granted, the routine needs work. But he's been a fisherman longer than a Classic champ, so he has time.
Some time. His phone rings constantly in the three weeks after his Classic win. Sponsors want him to appear at demos. The media want his story. Fans want his autograph.
All Omori wants is to fish, which he didn't get to do much of before humping it to Birmingham in August for the Tour Championship. Which might be why the four fish he caught this Thursday morning aren't big. Which might be why he fishes frantically the rest of the day, hitting up maybe 50 spots before heading back to the starting dock at 3 p.m., five small bass in his boat.
He doesn't advance to the Championship's semifinal round. The rest of the weekend, he stays busy, though. Omori signs autographs for fans at the Tour Championship boat show and listens on Friday when Mike Iaconelli pulls him aside to talk about the business plan he should develop for winning the Classic, because after Ike won his Classic, man, he did his business plan right, and it paid off, bro--mad money.
After Ike, there are the guys from Yamaha, who talk about Omori's upcoming two-week trip to Japan, where he'll indulge the Japanese media and tour a Yamaha plant and maybe even see his family.
Suffice it to say Omori doesn't get to take his boat and follow around anglers on the final day of the Tour Championship. But that's all right. He's TiVo-ing the Championship, since he has the money for TiVo now.
And sure, he might not have time in Japan, and Joe Axton wants to throw Omori a party once he gets back in the States, but you can be damn sure Takahiro Omori will watch all the coverage of the FLW Tour Championship sometime before next season. Maybe even watch it twice.
And dissect every move, every lure, every cast--until he figures out why he lost.