August 30, 2005 - Vol. 6 No. 23
ROLLING ON THE RIVER - JUST FISHIN'
Story by Mike Whitten, Yamamoto Pro-Staff
It was a day that will live in my memory for years to come.
My great and good friend, Gary Harlan, the guy who is my
tournament partner, the guy who is always ready to go and
put up with me for 12 hours in a boat, and who will fix
whatever breaks in the boat or at the house, went fishing
So what—why is that any different that any other tournament
day, or prefish? Because it wasn’t a tournament, and we
weren’t prefishing for anything. We just WENT FISHING. We
simply agreed to “count pulls”. Everything counts ONE. No
shaking off fish, no bending down hooks. They bite, we jerk,
let the best critter win!
With one of autumn's many tropical storms on the way, we
figured fish had to bite somewhere, so we decided to head to
a nearby river lake that we had both fished for years,
starting when we were kids. We agreed to fish the way we
like to fish, topwater, shallow square bill crank baits and
pitching plastics. No C-rigs, no hair jigs, no drop shot, no
West Coast other world stuff. Just Harry n’ Charlie, cross
their eyes, close quarter combat.
There is something magical about a river oxbow, when the
main river has dropped out of it, bank edges are accessible,
and cover is limited. This is object fishing at it best, and
something that my buddy Gary and I do very, very well. Kinda
like Barry Bonds getting a shot at a pitcher who only throws
fast balls. You know what is coming you just have to pick
the right pitch—Pun Intended!
As I said, it was one of those magical days that reminds you
why you chase these little green critters. Five minutes into
the day, a 4-plus eats my little topwater popper. Five
minutes later, a 5 pounder shows up for breakfast. Gary
reminds me why Big O’s were such a great lure when you reel
it down a laydown willow log, 4-pound Mississippi River bass
get a serious ‘tude when the bluegill they just ate grows hooks.
Every hundred yards or so a laydown tree held 3- to 4-pound
bass that would swim off with a soft plastic creature bait
and dare you to swing back. Best part of the day was
watching Gary set up on a bass, and forgetting that the rod
he picked up had only 12-pound line. Amazing how little
things add up to a train wreck. 250-pound man, 5-pound bass,
12-pound line - Mass times Velocity = Busted Line.
When the smoke cleared and the salve was applied to bleeding
thumbs, we had 32 in the boat (over 50 pulls counted) that
weighed just over 80 pounds, with best 5 at 21.25 on a
digital scale (well, we do still fish tournaments). And the
scale doesn’t begin to tally the memories of good friends,
bets on “Dollar Fish,” friendly insults on bad casts and
missed fish, and the bond that is made even stronger.
Sometimes, every once in a while, you just need to go fishing.
LEARN MORE ABOUT YAMAMOTO BAITS IN NASHVILLE
Want to learn more about rigging and fishing Yamamoto Baits?
Joe Jones of Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits will be at Bass Pro
Shop's Outdoor World, Nashville, TN on Saturday, September 3
at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.
Joe will demonstrate rigging techniques and how to fish
Yamamoto plastics. There will be give-aways and a drawing
for a Bass Pro Baitcasting reel for those in attendance. Do
not be surprised to see a Country Music Legend or two there also!
HULA TIPPIN' TIME ~ Timely hula grub tips by Bob Lester and
Mike DelVisco, Yamamoto Pro-Staffers
Bob Lester: In late summer and early fall, there is no
better way to get bites from picky, pressured bass than with
a hula grub. This bait is a great way to gain confidence in
an area and locate bass. It is also likely to land a big
bass as well.
Mike DelVisco: Hula grubs have really changed the way I jig
fish. The hula grub is more versitile than a jig and pig (or
plastic chunk) combination. You can fish a hula grub both
deep and shallow and around all kinds of cover. It also
works well swimming it through cover.
Bob Lester on Tackle: The rod, reel and line are very
important parts of hula jigging. For open sand, rocks and
sparse vegetation, I prefer a 7’6” Loomis medium action
spinning rod, Shimano Symetre 4000 and 8 pound test
fluorocarbon line. This is a rather light set-up, and 3/16
to 1/4 oz. jig heads seem to be the perfect size for such
light tackle. Yamamoto’s hula grub heads (35 series) work
well as do Stan Sloan's Zorro jig heads. For snaggier or
very weedy conditions, I switch to a 6’6” medium heavy
spinning rod and 10 to 12 pound test fluorocarbon.
Mike DelVisco on Tackle: I favor a lighter tip 7 foot
baitcasting rod for hula grubs (medium or even medium light
actions), and 12-17 pound test mono or flourocarbon line.
The lighter tip rods help me shake the bait in place without
moving it much. A heavier action rod will move the bait too
much, you will also miss some light striking fish with a
heavier rod as well. For jigs, I use the Yamamoto 66 series
heads exclusively in either 1/4 or 3/8 sizes. The 66 is an
Arkie style jig head with a weedless fiberguard. Simply
thread the hula grub on the jig head all the way up so the
hook point come out just above the tails.
Bob Lester on Tactics: The retrieve is simple. Make as long
a cast as possible. The clearer the water; the farther the
cast. Many of the bites occur on the initial fall, so pay
close attention to any slack in the line or a sudden jump in
the line before the jig even hits bottom. Once on the
bottom, sweep the bait a few feet and then shake it. Bites
happen as you go to start dragging the bait again. On slower
days, deadsticking and letting the bait soak in one place a
long time can be very productive. Watch for active fish that
follow the bait right to the boat. If you see them, drop the
bait and let it sit on the bottom. If you can just wait
patiently, it is most likely the fish will be yours.
Mike Delvisco on Tactics: Most of the time the retreive is
what I call the shake/check method. I like to shake it in
place with my rod tip 4 or 5 times and then slightly tighten
up on my line and "check" the bait. Many times the shake
will attract or entice the fish and the check will alert you
of the bite. Sometimes this is just a mushy feel or the fish
will swim off with it or even thump it. Keep repeating this
shake/check process for the entire retrieve
Bob Lester on Water Color: Always keep a chartreuse marker
handy to add color to the tails. My favorite colors for
CLEAR water are: watermelon pepper (194) with added
chartreuse tail; smoke pepper (150); simply smoke (002);
cinnamon with green (140); and baby bass (305). For STAINED
water, my picks are: smoke pepper (150) again, but with
added chartreuse tail; smoke with silver (135) and the old
standby, green pumpkin pepper (297). For very MURKY
conditions, add a glass rattle to the hula grub and fish it
the same way as above.
Mike DelVisco on Water Color: I have fished almost every
color hula grub available and they all catch fish, but I do
have some favorites. In CLEAR to LIGHTLY STAINED water it's
hard to beat watermelon pepper with red (208) and green
pumpkin with green and purple flake (301). Iin DINGY water,
I like smoke pepper with purple (157) and smoke pepper
bluegill (214). In truly DARK or MUDDY water you can't beat
grape with blue and silver (184).
Bob Lester: Before you go out, marinate your hula grubs in a
good fish formula. Megastrike and Powerbait are reliable marinades.
MIKE DELVISCO'S PLASTICS TACTICS DVD SPECIAL OFFER
This special offer just came in from Team Yamamoto member
Due to the success of Mike DelVisco's Plastic Tactics DVD,
for a limited time when you order you will receive the DVD
and a free gift. For each order of Plastic Tactics
(including in combination with other DVDs) you will receive
a free bottle of PRO's Soft~Bait Fishing Glue®, a $9.99
value. Mike DelVisco says this product is his choice to
repair, attach or customize all soft plastic baits. It also
works great for repairing crankbait lips and many other
applications, says Mike.
To order Mike's Plastic Tactics DVD is easy. Just visit
www.bassbytes.tv or call toll free 877-865-1616.