A Grand Champion Koi of Our Own

Published on June 27, 2024

koi show winners
(Left) Brian Fitzsimmons, Fitz’s Fish Ponds; (Center) Adam Sandler, Polo Reef/Polo Pond;

For the koi dealers at Fitz’s Fish Ponds, this process of selecting, growing & sourcing elite-level koi rings true. While in Japan, we had an excellent customer, Andrew Sandler of Polo Reef, who was looking for a top-tier koi. We were soon on a mission to source a winner. Communication with different breeders began to see who had show-quality, grand-champion level koi that could potentially win the first All American Koi Show. The All American Koi Show is a Japanese style show with all-Japanese judges, including some of the koi breeders themselves. Therefore, we knew we had to find the perfect koi that would bode well in the eyes of the judges.

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Our first call was to Shigeru Manu of Dainichi Koi Farm. We were looking to find a grand-champion level koi for the All American Koi Show and had a customer extremely interested and ready to purchase the right one. He invited us to his koi houses and guided us to a tank that held nine fish. One of these had just won the grand champion title at the Nogyosai Koi Show. Once we realized this, we knew we were truly selecting out of his best tank. He presented us with this beautiful four-step Kohaku with a massive body. Immediately we analyzed it from the perspective of the judges. We examined its body shape, skin quality, coloration, pattern, finnage, size and overall impression, and we knew that we had a grand-champion contender. This stunning Kohaku was the first fish we presented to Sandler, and it very well could have been the only fish we presented. Nothing he saw afterward, although gorgeous fish, was comparable. She was the one!

On her way to the U.S.

Following the purchase, we had to arrange the logistics of safely shipping a koi of this size to the United States so that it would arrive at our farm in perfect condition. Upon its arrival, we had our full Fish Health Team attending to the koi to ensure it remained healthy and strong. After the quarantine period and its acclimation, the koi took its second flight to Las Vegas and was compared with some of the top-tier koi in America, only to be crowned the most prestigious of awards — the grand champion!

Read next: Growing Grand Champion Koi Fish from Start to Finish

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