Mr. Kazuma Izumi, a 55 year-old Japanese handmade fishing lures legend, has started his lure making career when he was in middle school. He is probably the first guy in the world to start making real-type balsa wood handmade minnows with aluminum foil finish. He tells his traumatic experience for the reason why he has started making this type of lures.
“It was a bad day for fishing. I was trying to get bass using various types of lures but no bite at all. I got bored and changed to a Rapala minnow I picked up at the lake. And guess what, so many bites came to the lure. I was shocked and realized the power of real-type minnows. So if I can make more real minnows than Rapala… That was my start making H.M.K.L lures.” Kazuma named his lure brand as H.M.K.L (Hand Made Kazuma Lure).
In 1980’s, lure fishing got very popular in Japan. At the same time, lure fishers paid big attention to handmade lures since they were good, beautiful, and valuable. H.M.K.L had already been rarely offered in markets at that time due to its popularity and low production, but it became legend when Kazuma published a famous book “The Minnow Making” with other three handmade lure makers in 1984. In this book, he disclosed all the process how to make H.M.K.L without stint. Many people admired his originality and creativity.
Kazuma was also the first Japanese guy to participated in B.A.S.S. in the US (1987 to 1991). You may know him because he made famous “POP-R Izumi Version” at the request of Zell Roland. Also, Gary Klein loved Izumi’s spinerbaits which were the first fish-type spinerbaits with eyes.
Currently Kazuma is operating his own shop in Tokyo and producing plastic H.M.K.L lures. Unfortunately, he rarely makes balsa handmade minnows anymore so his old handmade ones are very difficult to obtain and traded with premium ($300 – $2,000) by collectors.