From the outside it looks like a simple black box, with only the bold white branding giving a clue to what might be found inside. But step through the darkened doorway and a whole new world of fishing opens up.
The Zenaq booth at the Osaka Fishing Show earlier this year was unlike any other at the huge trade and consumer event, the structure perfectly reflecting the Japanese company’s avante-garde approach to rod making.
Zenaq field staffer Jonathan Brooks (below) was visiting the Osaka Fishing Show for the first time and confessed to being ‘blown away’ by the design of the booth. “I have never seen anything like it before,” says the well-known YouTuber and prolific vlogger. “It shows what Zenaq is about and why they do different stuff. It is a testament to their brand, the way they do things and the quality of their rods. It was something totally different to every other exhibitor at the show and reflected the ethos behind the brand.”
Zenaq Sales Manager Kenji Sasakura explained that the idea behind the closed booth was to arouse the curiousity of visitors to the show. “For Osaka 2020 we wanted to make something that excited people and made customers feel like they were in a different environment,” he explained.
“Once they came inside the booth we wanted them to forget they were in a fishing show and feel they were in the Zenaq world. “It is not every year that we exhibit at shows. We only do so when we have some cool ideas that express our existence.”
Brooks has generated a large social media following by uploading his experiences on the water in pursuit of freshwater species like barramundi and peacock bass, along with offshore casting for giant trevally and tuna.
He bought his first Zenaq rod – a Defi Muthos – from Fish Head, an online adventure sportfishing tackle store on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Not long after, Zenaq – a 60-year-old business ingrained in the samurai culture – proposed a collaboration that has developed into a social as well as professional relationship.
“I have never seen anything like it before. It shows what Zenaq is about and why they do different stuff.”
“It’s been amazing to become friends with them, share that fishing experience and have such a good time with them,” says Brooks. “They have taken me in like I am one of them, which adds a whole new level that you can believe in a lot more. And they are the best in the world at what they do.”
His engaging, fly-on-the-wall documentary during his visit to Osaka records his thoughts about the show, his close relationship with the Zenaq team and his admiration for the company’s products. Speaking on the video, he says: “I knew that Zenaq do a lot a lot of testing on their rods before launch, but I learned in Osaka that it’s four years before a rod gets into production. That’s why they are so good and is in itself a selling point. It is another cool and different quality aspect that makes Zenaq rods so desirable.
“Having the best gear eliminates so many variables. You know when you hook a fish it’s not going to go badly because you are 100% confident in the gear you are using. That’s why Zenaq is a big thing for me. I know it’s going to do its job.
“You have the best rods and a cool bunch of people that are happy to have you around. That is what I want to be involved in. I can’t see myself using any other rods any time in the future because I love Zenaq.”