By Jay Yelas
Yamamoto Pro Staff
January 25, 2013
I sure am thrilled to be the newest member of the Yamamoto Prostaff! Having been friends with Gary and Beverly for over two decades, I look forward to helping them serve the bass fishermen of America with the finest baits around.
Yamamoto baits has long been recognized as an industry leader in finesse soft plastics. While they earned their legendary status with baits like the Senko, Hula Grub, and Grubs, there is a whole other side to this bait company that has been largely overlooked by many anglers around the country: their soft plastics for power fishing techniques like flippin’ and pitchin’.
Yamamoto has several good baits for flippin’ and pitchin’, including the Flappin’ Hog, Yamamoto Kreature, and Craws. However, I consider the Flappin’ Hog to be the premier heavy cover flippin’ bait in the Yamamoto lineup.
The Flappin’ Hog has all the features I want in a good heavy cover soft plastic bait. Its streamlined shape allows it to punch through the thickest of mats, and it looks very much like the crawdad it is trying to impersonate. What I like best about the Flappin’ Hog is its versatility: I can fish it Texas style, rigged with a punch skirt, or fished as a jig trailer. It’s even a good Carolina Rig bait, but that’s a subject for another day.
I think the reason the Flappin’ Hog works so well on a Texas rig is that it has the right shape and profile, but it also has a thick mid-section that adds bulk and allows the angler to use a large hook which is necessary to pull fish from heavy cover.
I use both the 4.5” and the 3.75” Flappin’ Hog for flipping Texas Rigged. I tend to use the smaller version in clearer water, or in areas that have lots of fishing pressure. Both sizes fish extremely well on any size of bullet weight, and I use them on anywhere from 3/16oz all the way up to 1 1/2oz sinkers. The thick midsection of the bait allows even the 3.75” model to handle up to a 1 ½ oz tungsten sinker for mat punching.
When rigging the Flappin’ Hog for punching mats, the right gear is very important. I start with a 7’ 11” Kister Z Bone Extra Heavy Flipping Stick. I spool my Lews Tournament Pro baitcaster with anywhere from 50-70# braid. First, attach a bobber-stop peg to your main line. This will function as a pegging system for your weight. Then add your sinker. Use whatever amount of weight you feel necessary to punch trough the cover with ease. You want 9 out of 10 flips to penetrate the cover and sink to the bottom, other wise you are wasting a lot of time, so use enough weight to get through that cover easily.
I prefer a Gamakatsu Straight Shank Heavy Cover Worm Hook with this set up. I use a 3/0 hook on the smaller Hog and a 4/0 hook on the larger one. My best two colors are the Black/Blue (021) and Green Pumpkin (297). I usually fish the bait whole but sometimes I alter it by pinching off the bulbous appendage on each side. I do this especially when I am trying to fish the bait through extremely thick cover, as less bulk aids in punching through more easily.
As a jig trailer, the Flappin’ Hog gets some monstrous bites! I usually fish the 4.5” hog as a jig trailer, biting off about a ½ inch of the head of the bait before threading it on the jig hook. If the water is real stained or dirty I don’t alter the bait, but in clear water, I will often trim off the bulbous appendages on each side. I usually go to the 3.75” model as in clearer water. I fish the Flappin’ Hog on all sizes of jigs, from 3/8 oz up to 1 oz. As a general rule, match your Hog color to your jig color. It is a great trailer for all kinds of jig fishing. I use it for skipping docks, flipping tules and other types of emergant vegetation, fishing submerged vegetation like milfoil or hydrilla, or for dragging rocky points.
Stuffing your tackle box with some Yamamoto Flappin’ Hogs would be a wise move before spring. It is one of the best soft plastics on the market for flipping shallow, heavy cover.