By Chris Jones
November 8, 2011
Yamamoto’s new D-Shad incorporates the same magical plastic formula which has made lures like the Senko and the Hula Grub staples for bass fishermen worldwide. This unique consistency sets it apart from all of the competition.
The number one thing that sets this fluke apart from others is that it’s made out of the same plastic and has the same salt content as the rest of the Yamamoto plastics lineup. We all know it’s the plastic recipe that separates Yamamoto bait from all the rest. We’ll call that advantage number one.
Another distinction can be found if you inspect the nose portion of the bait, which is flat, as opposed to the rounded front ends of the competition. Look further down past the split in the belly and you’ll notice that it has an even flatter tail portion. Heading even further toward the back, a close view of the tail itself reveals a raised rib. Doesn’t look like much, but it’s a critical difference maker.
This bait produces a variety of different actions based on how it is rigged. The most popular and common way is to use this bait as a bait fish or shad imitator. A standard Texas rig applies, but with a few little tips you can increase your effectiveness.
I like to use Sugoi fluorocarbon in 12lb test for fishing clear water lakes and when fishing around main lake points. Twelve pound test seems to give the bait a more natural fall. Anything lighter than 12lb is asking for breakoffs when using a 4/0 hook. Use a good quality barrel swivel and favor a saltwater version in chrome or silver to give off some flash. A swivel will also help keep your D Shad just under the water’s surface when worked fast and help in any line twist that may occur. Use one that is maybe just a tad bigger than one you would use for Carolina Rigs, like a size 2 or 3. You want to tie a leader between your hook and the swivel. I cut off about 12 to 16 inches of the fluorocarbon. Anything longetr than about 16" becomes a chore to throw; especially if the conditions are windy. Tie the swivel on the main line and then the leader onto the back of the swivel and hook to the tag end or the leader.
The Yamamoto Sugoi Hook (59-series) in a 4/0 is bar none the best hook for Tex-posing or skin hooking this lure. The hook’s wide gap keeps the bait from balling up which can prevent solid hooksets – remember, there’s a lot of heavy plastic in this bait. Rig the bait as straight as you can. If the bait is even a little off, it’ll hamper your retrieve.
Make long casts over points, across points, standing timber or shoals and start the retrievewith long rod sweeps. Water quality needs to be in the 2 feet visibilty range for this set up to be at its best. Late spring all the way through mid Fall is a great time frame for this pattern and technique. Jerking the bait rapidly works, and it has it's time and place, we’re just doing something a little different for this retrieve. If you’ve ever watched baitfish in their desperate attempt to get away from feeding fish you know that they race away in a straight line, getting the heck out of Dodge. That’s what we’re trying to emulate here.
Take up the slack in your line and put your rod tip near the water at about 4 o'clock. Pull your rod in two-foot motions, reeling up the slack at the end of each pull. Make 2 or 3 sweeps or pulls before you pause. This is where advantage number two comes in.
Remember the flat places on the belly of the D-Shad and the rib on the tail? Those specific designs added to this bait will make it fall in the “Senko wobble,” the wagging, vibrating action that produces more strikes than any other soft stick bait. I only pause for a brief 2 to 3 seconds when fishing this way. No retrieve is magic so by all means add in some jerking and sweeping to see what makes the fish react best. If jerked in the right cadence the bait will do a walk-the-dog under the surface. The bigger swivel will help keep the bait down under the surface of the water and you can fish it faster when fish are schooling. (one of the things we like about our “fluke” is that the heavier plastic density keeps the bait lower in the water column naturally – does his statement take away from that?)
Rig #2 is the old faithful Carolina Rig. Fish that see "C" Rigs have seen every finesse, trick, and curly tail worm there is. Show them the "D" Shad on a C rig for a little change up. Fish don’t need to be chasing shad for this rig to work. Shad colors will catch fish but also try the watermelon and greenpumpkin colors which mimic bream and bluegill patterns. I reccommed warmer months for this pattern, early summer into early fall. Give this a go on main lake points, secondary points, and dropoffs near spawning flats are key places to try. The action of the D-Shad Carolina rigged as it’s pulled over structure and then comes to rest is phenomenal. As the bait starts to settle back to the bottom the “wobble” kicks in. Also, when you pull your big sinker over the structure that bait will dart up off the bottom and come to life. It really looks like it is swimming or trying to flee. Fish can’t stand it. My hands are twitching right now just thinking about it!
Rig #3 is my favorite way to fish the D-Shad and it’s probably the most overlooked, the traditional Texas Rig. I use Yamamoto Sugoi 16lb test fluorocarbon, a 1/8oz tungsten bullet weight ( I will use a 3/16 if the cover is heavy or I’m fishing in water over 10 feet) and a 4/0 Sugoi hook.
Once again, it’s critical to keep that bait straight on the hook. I skin or Tex-pose the hook on the top of the "D" Shad and if I‘m fishing docks and skipping it under things I use a peg or weight stop in front of the weight.
I am typicall not trying to mimic shad with this rig. I am target fishing shallow water and I want my bait to look like a bluegill or bream. My two favorites colors for this setup are 208 (watermelon/blk/red) and 363 (Green Pumpkin/ blue). In spring and summer I dip the tail of the D-Shad into JJ's Magic garlic dip in chartreuse.
When pitching or skipping this rig under and around shallow cover make sure that the bait falls on a controlled, semi-slack line. Once the bait hits the water give it some slack but maintain a feel for what the bait is doing on the way down. The bait has such a unique fall. On the controlled slack line the bait will spiral on the fall almost like it is wandering leisurely to the bottom as the tail wobbles and wags on descent. This bait totally imitates a small bream or bluegill swimming under a dock or around shallow cover.
As you can see there are a number of ways to fish the D-Shad. My next goal is to try this bait on a drop shot or even a lead/darter head. The rigging and techniques could be limitless. The main thing to remember about this bait is that the fall is going to be different from other baits of this same design. The flat places on the nose and belly and the rib on the tail portion set this bait and it's action apart from all others.