When Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits officially unveiled the Zako at the 2016 ICAST Show, the fishing world was quick to take notice. Designed by Brett Hite to be the perfect swimbait style trailer for use with vibrating jigs and spinnerbaits, the Zako was an instant sensation. Quietly, members of the Yamamoto Pro Staff had been testing and fishing the Zako with great success for months. Among them was 2002 Bassmaster Champion and FLW Touring Pro, Jay Yelas. Not only was Yelas quick to validate the bait's value as a swimbait, but what he saw in the Zako went far beyond the obvious.
The last few years have been somewhat brutal for me and my writing has reflected that, largely talking about lessons learned but seldom applied. If you have fished tournaments for more than a few years you know that fishing can be streaky and generally good fishing begets good fishing, but start making bad decisions and the next thing you know you are questioning every decision you make.
Right now we are being blessed with an abundance, even an over-abundance, of water out west. In Arizona, most of our central lakes are filled to the brim, and some are even going over the spillways. Our hope is that the powers that be will let the water stay up for the spawn. Meanwhile, fishing can be tough – all that inflow has muddied up the lakes, and most of the incoming water is cold. The spawn is still a ways off, but some fish are already starting to move up. This means that the best thing to use is something that you can fish fast or slow, shallow or deep; in other words, a jig.
We’ve been having quite the cold spell out west for the past few weeks. After a major tournament on Lake Mohave, anglers were referring to it as “Blowhave”, and the other lakes around here haven’t been much better. It’s cold, it’s windy, and it can be hard to throw a light lure or feel anything with your frozen fingers. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish. On the contrary, you can catch a lot of fish if you know how. You do it with spoons.
Some people might argue that anyone who wants to fly at all these days is a glutton for punishment. That may be so, but I believe there are too many distant great places to visit to avoid it altogether. However, if you’re like me and you enjoy traveling long distances specifically to fish, at some point you’re probably going to want to trust your precious rods to the airlines. In that case, you may indeed be a masochist.
Winter can be a tough time for bass fishermen, but no matter how cold and nasty it is out there, somebody always seems to find them. Tai Au is one of those guys, and we went out with him to find out how he manages to boat decent bass during the toughest time of the year. Just to make it extra hard, we met him at Lake Pleasant, just north of Phoenix, AZ, famous for being a tough lake in any season.