Sunday, September 25, 2011

In Gary I Trust

One of my first casts using a Yamamoto Senko worm.
I have written on here about a few “go-to” lures such as Zoom lizards and Zoom brush hogs.  Both are great lures that have worked very well for me in a variety of local watering holes, farm ponds and rivers.  I stand by my past entries praising them and still have them in my tackle box.  That being said… I have not used either in 2 months and it all started with a little stream magic and a local named Hank.

I still cannot remember his exact name (I am horrible at that) so I’ll call him ‘Hank.’  I was fishing a local hot spot; a medium sized drainage pond in a local Home Depot shopping center and was having no luck with the fish.  After about an hour’s worth of work with only a little nibble I started thinking about bugging out to grab a beer and enjoy the rest of the short weekend.  Before I could turn around and step out of the lake (I was wadding about ten feet from the bank) I noticed someone walking down from the parking lot towards me.

Hank seemed like any other average Joe armed with a spinning rod except he did not have a tackle box with him.  Aside from his keys all he had was a bag of worms sticking out of his pocket.  "OK I thought - this guy just hit the local sporting goods store and got roped into buying a $10 bag of super worms.  Better steer clear as he'll be asking me in about five minutes about all of the tackle I have in my bag and what works." After saying brief hellos Hank made a left and setup about 20 feet down the bank from me fishing right in front of a storm culvert that fed into the lake.  Now I knew this guy was amateur hour as that area was shallow as hell with zero cover and a lot of floating junk from the recent rain storm.

As I turned around and tried a few more casts before bugging out and giving Hank the lake to himself I heard a loud splash.  OK - Hank got lucky with a smalley I thought.  Yah... I was dead wrong.  He just landed a 5 lb large mouth bass, a monster fish for this suburban drainage lake.  Hank caught me staring as he was freeing the hook, smiled and cast again.  BOOM.... another fish.  This one was smaller but around 3 lbs.  OK I thought, no way he can get a hat trick....BOOM.  This guy caught three fish, all over 3 lbs on three casts in an area I covered previously and never caught jack shit.

I couldn't help it - I HAD TO KNOW.  After swallowing my pride I walked over to Hank and asked him what in the world he was using.  This is when I was introduced to Gary Yamamoto... and I haven't fished anything since.

Gary has been a leader in the fishing industry for years.  If you want the full skinny on his incredible story check out his website.  Just Google his name and you'll get thousands of hits including testimonials from fishing pro's how they never compete without his products in the boat.  This guy is the shit and his Senko worm does a day's work.  The 3 inch Senko is what Hank was using the day our paths crossed.  

Back to the story - after talking for about 10 minutes I learned that Hank is a retired pro bass fisherman who now works as a federal contractor.  A few years back on the tour he discovered the Gary Yamamoto Senko worm and he rarley used anything else.  Once he handed me a few plus some of the hooks he used on his particular rig I too agree this lure is the new "go-to" for me.  When fished right it is deadly on fish, all kinds of fish - not just large mouth bass.

Below is a quick timeline of one particular cast when Hank was showing me how he fished the 3" Senko.  According to Hank this particular size and color Senko is THE BEST bass lure for East coast freshwater.  After using it for two months I beleive him.

STEP 1:  Worm selection.  Use the 3" Senko worm in Watermelon Seed (top) or Watermelon Magic (below).  The Watermelon Seed has little black flakes in it while the Watermelon Magic has little black and silver flakes in it.  Both mimic a variety of forage that all fish eat. 

STEP 2: Hook selection.  Hank's recipe calls for a Size 1, G-Lock worm hook from Gamakatsu.  This is the PERFECT size which allows the lure to fall horizontally like wounded prey.  THIS IS KEY!  Do not use anything bigger with the 3" Senko worm.  Believe me - this hook has caught all sizes and its chemically sharpened so be careful with the pointy end as it'll stick real good.
STEP 3: Attach the worm to hook.  I use a Carolina Rig with no weight.  Although you can use split shot weight when casting out from shore I prefer the weightless rig as the worm falls better (a key for fishing this rig).
STEP 4: Presentation.  When presenting a weightless Senko shoot for a zone between the bank and about 10 - 12 feet out (area circled in red above).  It really helps if there is high cover like the trees above as this will help shield the sun and cool the water.  This zone is great.  Above Hank is on his 9th fish in as many casts. 
STEP 4: Presentation (Continued).  When you cast out the worm, as soon as it hits the water have the rod at the 10 o'clock position and let the worm fall naturally (don't work the lure or start the retrieve - just let it fall).  During this initial fall is when a majority of the hits occur.  Having the rod tip at 10 o'clock gives you the best chance to set the hook. 

STEP 4: Presentation (Continued).  After the initial fall if you do not get a strike, gently lift the rod to get the worm off bottom, slowly crank the reel a few turns and let it fall.  Again, you do not want to work the lure, jig it, etc.  It's all about the fall.
Not bad Hank!  He was working fish this size all day - I've never seen anything like it.
Now it was my turn with the Senko.  After catching 12 fish in 40 minutes I ran out of Senko worms and had to bug out.  That is the one draw back to using these guys.  The plastic component they are made out of is super soft which helps the swim/ fall action in the water.  The problem is that fish tear them up really quickly.  When they hit these things they hit hard - I mean really hard.  Its very easy to go through a pack of 10 in a few hours - even more so when you loan a few out to jealous anglers like me.  If you get a chance, get your self a pack with the hooks described above and see for yourself.  I have steered four people to these lures, all with different fishing skill sets and the results have all been the same - outstanding!

After a brief stop by Dicks Sporting Goods on the way home.  I have gone through about 9 of these packs in the last 2 months. To be fair I have loaned out a few to friends and family.
All sizes of fish love these things.  It is a great lure to use when teaching young kids how to bass fish as the chances they'll catch something is almost a given.
Next cast after catching the baby bass.


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