For Yamamoto Pro Bub Tosh, his exciting victory at the 2018 WON Bass Lake Mead US Open capped off an amazing string of recent tournament wins including back to back wins on the Wild West Bass Pro Am Trail and a first place finish at the California Bass Nation Delta Qualifier. His two day (Day One was canceled due to high winds) total of 24.94 pounds bested the runner up by more than a half pound.
Tosh spent his practice days graphing the lake and looking for bait. “My dad taught me that in the fall if you’re not fishing the bait, you’re just fishing like everyone else,” said Tosh. While to some it might appear that the shad were the key prey, and this is true to an extent, there was another key factor in play as well. Tosh was able to figure out that while the shad were attracting both stripers and bass, the bass were not targeting the shad, they were in fact feasting on the juvenile stripers.
Rarely is a tournament won with just a single bait and the 2018 US open was no exception. Tosh utilized a number of different baits. The majority of his key fish came on a double soft plastic jerkbait rig featuring a pair of Yamamoto D-Shads that he used to target the schooling activity. “I would get into a shad boil where the stripers were and I would catch a handful of stripers, sometimes three casts in a row would be double hookups, then all of a sudden I would hook a 2.75lb bass,” said Tosh. “I definitely had to weed through them; those bass were under the stripers.”
Tosh manipulated his D-Shads by sweeping his rod and keeping the baits under the surface of the water as he watched his line. Rather than waiting for a topwater blowup, he worked his baits deeper with the hopes that the stripers would leave the baits alone and they would instead draw the attention of a bass.
Rounding out his bait selection were a pair of Paycheck Baits topwaters, (Late Payment and the One), and a small hand carved Japanese crankbait that he fished in between running the shad boils.
The D Shad
The D-Shad is unlike any other soft plastic jerkbait. Not only does it have a highly effective fish catching profile, its unique composition gives it attributes not found in other soft plastic jerkbaits. “The Yamamoto signature plastic adds weight,” explained Tosh. “If you throw another brand’s soft plastic jerkbait, they don’t have the weight built into the bait, so they don’t have the same action. A weightless D-Shad has an action that is similar to the Senko, it wiggles but it glides around too. The little bit of extra weight allows me to cast it a little bit further and keeps the bait under the surface. Once you get subsurface with a soft plastic jerkbait, it has to dart around and look real and wiggle and shimmy.
“A lot of times I would have a striper eat one of the D-Shads and he would take off ripping through the school and that would trigger a bass to grab the other one. On the last day I was fortunate to get a double hook up on two really big bass that were really key for me. One weighed 3.91 lbs, the other 2.75 lbs. That was one of the coolest minute and a half fish catches of my entire life and I will never forget one step of it.”
Bub’s Double D Shad Rig
“I have been fishing a double soft plastic jerkbait rig since I was 10 years old”, said Tosh. “This is not a new thing. I’m 38, so this has obviously been around for a long time. I used a prototype three way swivel that I am working to bring to the market. It basically emulates the standard double jerkbait rig but it does not rub your line, so now when you get a double on it won’t break your line.”
To construct his two leaders, Tosh utilizes 15lb fluorocarbon line and he makes one leader slightly shorter than the other. “The difference in length is about one D-Shad body,” explained Tosh. “The nose of the following bait just touches the tail of the other bait so they track each other perfectly. I never want the longer leader to be more than 18” in length. If it’s any longer than that, the leaders get really twisty and they want to air knot around one another.”
Tosh rigs each D Shad with a 5/0 Gamakatsu Black Nickel Offset Shank Worm Hook. “I’ll run the hook back so that the R Bend of the hook sits up tight against the opening of the hook slot,” he explained. “If you come down just 3/16” or a 1/4” you’ll rip the nose of the bait. The 5/0 hook has a really long shank that fills up the belly of the bait so when a fish eats the D-Shad, you’ll hook’em.”
Another little know modification that Tosh employs is to add a small 1/16oz nail weight to the body of the D-Shad attached to the shorter leader. Not only does aid with casting distance but more importantly it keeps one of the baits running slightly deeper than the other, which decreases the amount of tangles you will get. Tosh noted that this one simple modification meant he was much more efficient as he spent less time untwisting or retying his leaders and more time fishing which is key for any tournament angler.
Tosh relied on Lime Fever (959) and a number of other translucent bait fish colors, but when the water picked up a little color he switched to Pearl (364). “I could see my baits a little better,” offered Tosh. “I could see when a bass was trailing or when I needed to speed up or if one was following it, I would just kill it and let those D-Shads sink. Those fish would come to it at speed, and I would kill it, and those fish would drop down with it while the baits were wiggling. I would look at my braid and it would just start taking off. I would just lean into them and they would be hooked.”
Completing his tackle setup, Tosh utilized a 7’3” MH Irod Crusher Rod matched to a high speed reel casting reel filled with 30lb braided line.
The Double D-Shad Rig is a specific tool and when utilized under the right conditions can yield some amazing fish catching action. Just ask Bub Tosh.