The ninth annual Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge returned to the California Delta over the weekend of May 4th and 5th for two exciting days of big bass and cash prizes.
“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump
Bass fishing in the spring is a whole lot like that quintessential line from the legendary 1994 Tom Hanks movie. On any given day, on any given lake – you never know what you’re gonna get. In a single day, it’s very possible to encounter bass in all three phases of the spawn (pre-spawn, bedding fish, and post-spawners).
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.
A former Bassmaster Classic champion and veteran FLW Tour pro, Jay Yelas is no stranger to big bass. However, the Oregon angler knows that nabbing big bass often means throwing smaller baits. In his view, small swimbaits exemplify this premise.
“Especially on public lakes that get a lot of fishing pressure, most all of the fish have been caught before and you’re trying to recapture the same fish,” he said. “So, having a small, natural profile in your bait makes a big difference, because these are educated fish.
Whether you call it a Chatterbait, a vibrating jig, or a bladed jig, there is no denying that pro angler Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona has had a lot of success on the unique lure which features a metal blade in front of a rubber-skirted jig.
Hite has a BASS Elite Series win (Lake Seminole) and two FLW Tour wins (Toho and Okeechobee) to his credit thanks to a vibrating a jig. Over the years he has perfected every facet of his vibrating jig system except one: the trailer.
I just got home from the Forrest Wood Cup where I finished 11th and missed the final-day top-10 cut by just 8 ounces. Ouch!
Oh well, it was a good tournament for me and the one thing I did want to share with the Inside Line about my week on Wheeler Lake is what I learned about summer time schooling fish on TVA lakes.