The Japanese Connection: Jackall

The Japanese Connection: Jackall

Jan 15, 2012

Seiji Kato, Ty Ono and the team of Jackall

Jackall legend has it that a bookstore owner in Japan gave Seiji Kato a copy of Bassmaster magazine when he was 13 years old “because he knew that I really liked bass fishing.” It wasn’t long before Seiji began to modify and design lures for himself. “After that, I was addicted to bass fishing!” he says.

Before he founded Jackall, Seiji Kato designed the Pointer, Sammy and Bevy Shad for Lucky Craft. He had also designed the sliding weight transfer system for Daiwa’s TD Minnow, a turning point in modern hardbait development.

Kato’s reputation for design innovation was well spread in Japan before he launched Jackall in 1998. He designed the Pointer, Sammy and Bevy Shad for Lucky Craft — three baits that put the name “Lucky Craft” into the American bass angler’s lexicon, too.  Prior to that, he had designed the sliding weight transfer system for Daiwa’s TD Minnow, one of the most significant developments in modern hard bait history.

But Kato hardly works alone. Toshiro “Ty” Ono,  1998 Angler of the Year in Japan, is the Jackall president, and he, too, is on an eternal quest to innovate and improve upon every lure concept the company burrows into. “I think our success boils down simply to Seiji and Ty being accomplished fishermen and knowing how to design products,” says Curt Arakawa, director of marketing and sales for Jackall in the U.S.

Ty Ono, president displays a prototype that is ready to test at the Jackall research center as well as on Lake Biwa, home of Jackall -- and Manabu Kurita’s world record largemouth bass.

Although the company is best known in Japan for its hardbait engineering, soft plastic baits like the Jackall Flick Shake worm and Cross Tail Shad first caught the attention of Jackall products in the U.S., thanks to their respective roles in the tournament success of both Kato and Kota Kiriyama, winner of the 2008 Bassmaster “Empire Chase” on Lake Erie.

Where does the name “Jackall” come from?

Seiji Kato liked the team image of the pack-hunting predator. Jackall state-of-the-art facilities and aggressive team approach has made it one of the Top Three bass lure brands in Japan — and the hottest rising star in the American lure market. (

Kota Kiriyama, winner of “The Empire Chase,” the Bassmaster 2008 Elite Series event on Lake Erie, shown here with Jackall Cross Tail Shad. Kiriyama's association with Jackall dates back to his college days in the U.S. when he served as translator for Seiji Kato.

New Products from Jackall

ASKA 60SR – Japanese lure designers convinced American anglers that their lures were worth their price tags by ironing out long-standing annoyances and perfecting every detail of their creations. Seiji Kato and the Jackall team excel in this game of “advancing perfection.” And perhaps no lure illustrates the point better than the ASKA 60SR crankbait! Five years and 100 prototypes in the making, this silent squarebill crankbait features a fiberglass circuit board lip that displaces more

Jackall Crankbait

water than other squarebills and adds to the wobble and roll of this narrow-bodied bait. They’ve even redesigned the belly hook attachment to virtually eliminate tangles on the cast. And it has no rattles — an ideal choice for when pressured gamefish are whispering: “Quiet! Please!”

Click here to purchase Jackall ASKA 60SR, currently available at Lee’s Global Tackle Connection. Note: Small Waters Fishing viewers receive an additional $1.00 off on this limited time offer. Use discount code   SM_JkAska    at checkout. Discount offer runs from  11/11/2012 – 11/24/2012  only!

So real!

Jackall Clone GillJackall Clone Gill – The “carbon copy of what bass love to eat” made its American debut at ICAST 2011 under the rubric “Clone Gill,” and it’s now ready to storm the market. The eight-member product line of 2.5-inch plastic baits in a classic sunfish shape consists of four bluegill, a baby bass, black crappie, and two shad finishes. Jackall recommends fishing these realistic baits on a drop shot or round jig head.




Perfect Clone

Jackall Clone Fry – The eight-products in this line of realistic three-inch plastics feature an elongated baitfish shape (something like emerald shiners or silversides). The color patterns includefive shad finishes, ghost minnow, baby bass and orange belly bluegill. Naturalistic eyes and color patterns look real to both fish and fishermen. These are gorgeous soft plastics! They were designed to fish on a dropshot or round jighead, but I’ll be fishing them on a Neko rig as well!

“Super” my Cross Tail

Jackall Super Cross Tail Shad – With its rudder tail and the quivering action of its soft hand-poured plastic, the Cross Tail Shad was already a deadly finesse bait before Jackall decided to upscale it with realistic eyes and natural detailed finishes. The
new and improved Super Cross Tail Shad borrows some of the finishes of the Jackall Super PinTail, another deadly finesse bait. They have had this bait available in the Japanese market for several years. I’m glad they’re ready to share it. Lake Michigan smallmouth loved it this summer!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.