Japanese pro Takahiro Omori reeled in some last-minute heriocs to become the 34th annual CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic champion on the waters of Lake Wylie in Charlotte, N.C. Landing his two biggest bass with under five minutes remaining in the competition, the 33-year-old Tokyo native and Emory, Texas resident won the 2004 title, with his five fish limit weighing in at 39 pounds, 2 ounces to post a 2-pound-12 ounce margin of victory over Californian Aaron Martens. Omori earned $200,000 for the victory and became the first foreign angler to win the Classic.

“This is the best day of my life,” said Omori, who pounded the stage repeatedly and cried openly before the 13,200 spectators at the weigh-in at the Charlotte Coliseum. “I've waited 18 years for my dream to come true—since I was 15.”

The CITGO BASSMASTERS Classic, hosted by B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society), is professional bass fishing’s world championship. Qualifiers for the three-day event include the 40 top pros on the CITGO BASSMASTER Tour and the five top-ranked anglers from each of three CITGO BASSMASTER Open circuits. Anglers may weigh only five bass per day and each bass must be at least 12 inches long. Only artificial lures are permitted. The first Classic, held at Lake Mead, Nev. in 1971, was a $10,000 winner-take-all event.

Multiple winners: Rick Clunn (4); George Cochran, Bobby Murray and Hank Parker (2).

Year Weight
1971Bobby Murray, Hot Springs, Ark43-11
1972Don Butler, Tulsa, Okla38-11
1973Rayo Breckenridge, Paragould, Ark52-8
1974Tommy Martin, Hemphill, Tex33-7
1975Jack Hains, Rayne, La45-4
1976Rick Clunn, Montgomery, Tex59-15
1977Rick Clunn, Montgomery, Tex27-7
1978Bobby Murray, Nashville, Tenn37-9
1979Hank Parker, Clover, S.C31-0
1980Bo Dowden, Natchitoches, La54-10
1981Stanley Mitchell, Fitzgerald, Ga35-2
1982Paul Elias, Laurel, Miss32-8
1983Larry Nixon, Hemphill, Tex18-1
1984Rick Clunn, Montgomery, Tex75-9
1985Jack Chancellor, Phenix City, Ala45-0
1986Charlie Reed, Broken Bow, Okla23-9
1987George Cochran, N. Little Rock, Ark15-5
1988Guido Hibdon, Gravois Mills, Mo28-8
1989Hank Parker, Denver, N.C.31-6
1990Rick Clunn, Montgomery, Tex34-5
1991Ken Cook, Meers, Okla33-2
1992Robert Hamilton Jr., Brandon, Miss59-6
1993David Fritts, Lexington, N.C.48-6
1994Bryan Kerchal, Newtown, Conn36-7
1995Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark.47-14
1996George Cochran, Hot Springs, Ark.31-14
1997Dion Hibdon, Stover, Mo.34-13
1998Denny Brauer, Camdenton, Mo.46-3
1999Davy Hite, Prosperity, S.C.55-10
2000Woo Daves, Spring Grove, Va.27-13
2001Kevin Van Dam, Kalamazoo, Mich.32-5
2002Jay Yelas, Tyler, Texas45-13
2003 Michael Iaconelli, Woodbury Heights, N.J.37-14
2004 Takahiro Omori, Emory, Texas39-2

IGFA All-Tackle World RecordsFishing
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