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Snappin’ Skinny Water Panfish- by Mark Maule

May 30th ,2019

As the water warms to 60 Degrees in the spring, we as anglers often times find ourselves faced with the great dilemma of what kind of fish we should chase. During this time of year many fishing seasons are opening and a lot of attention is rightfully given to northern pike, walleyes, muskies, and bass. While these are all terrific species to pursue, don’t forget about panfish. It is in the late spring when big bull bluegills and colossal crappies begin roaming the shallows looking for forage and preparing themselves for their respective spawns.

One of my favorite lures during the pre-spawn for crappies and bluegills is the Yo-Zuri Snap Bean. It is arguably one of the most versatile panfish lures that I use because it can be casted, trolled, or used under a bobber. During the late spring when I am fishing the dark shallow bays on the north end of a lake as bluegills and crappies begin moving in, I will use a very specific cadence (explained in the upcoming paragraphs) in order to ensure that I not only catch fish, but that I also avoid as many snags in the 1-2’ of water that I am fishing.
When using the Snap Bean, I usually recommend 6 lb Yo-Zuri Hybrid line as it is inevitable that if you have panfish in your system, then there will be a time when a bass or northern will munch your bait. Generally speaking, I tip the Snap Bean treble with some kind of plastic grub that is less than an inch long. The next item that I choose for this set up is a clip on bobber which I place 6-12” above the Snap Bean depending on the depth of the water. If it is only 12” deep, then go with 6” for the bobber placement. If the water is 2’ deep, then go with 12” for the bobber placement.


After you are rigged and ready to go, the next piece of the puzzle is probably the most critical to consider when fishing with the Snap Bean. Cast the bobber out and then pause for 3-5 seconds as the Snap Bean sinks slowly. Many times bluegills and crappies will grab the lure while it is in this sinking motion. If no fish bites in the first 3-5 seconds, then begin reeling SLOW. When I say SLOW, I mean slow to the point that you have your rod tip high in the air and you reel the bobber just slow enough so that it stays afloat skimming the top of the water throughout the entire retrieve. If the bobber goes beneath the surface, then you are reeling too fast. This cadence allows you to see your bobber, but because you have a constant slight tension on the line, you are also able to feel bites when reeling it up. When you can feel the bite, you may be more apt to hook up more times than if just waiting for a fish to bite a bait under a relatively stationary bobber.

While there are a multitude of ways to catch bluegills and crappies in spring, it is arguable that the Yo-Zuri Snap Bean is one of the most effective and enjoyable lures for catching large fish. It is a morsel that big bulls and slabs just can’t pass up as it cruises through the shallows on the end of your line. If you want to catch more panfish this spring, stock up on the assortment of Yo-Zuri Snap Bean colors available today.

Walleye Season 2019 is FINALLY Here!!! by Marc Tremblay

May 17th ,2019

This week marks the start of the 2019 Walleye season up north and we checked in with Yo-Zuri Prostaff angler Marc Tremblay in how he attacks early season.

Primary Technique: Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye DD
Marc always starts with when early season walleye fishing is trolling a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Walleye Deep Diver in a shallow area (rock structure-weed line-edge of pool)

“I try to put the bait very close to the bottom. The fish are often relating to a rocky bottom because the the most heat will be held here. Typically if I am not hitting the bottom then I am not in good position to get bit”, says Marc.

The trolling speed in cold water is around 0.8 and 1.2mph, this allows the Crystal Minnow Walleye DD to have great action while not being too fast. The walleye are cold and lazy after the ice melt and may not seem as aggressive as they will be in a month.
Marc prefers a seven foot trolling rod medium heavy extra fast action. This rod also the bait to work the best action and is not too stiff whenever a walleye bites.


“I use Yo-Zuri SuperBraid 20 pound. I prefer the smaller diameter to help the lure to go to the bottom faster and less restriction. I also tie on a 6 foot Yo-Zuri TopKnot Mainline fluorocarbon leader. My method to the madness is simple: Dark color in cloudy water (Zombie, Midnight) and light color for a sunny day.”

Secondary Technique: Jigging a Rattl’N Vibe
Marc mostly uses conventional jig equipment with a Yo-Zuri Vibe, preferably the 1/2oz size.
“I prefer this technique when fishing around a lot of current. The tight wobble and loud sound of the Vibe seems to really make a difference. I use a 6 foot heavy jigging rod with 10 pound SuperBraid mainline and 8 pound HD Carbon leader.”

Marc says for the best action to use the bait without a clip and try to fish in areas where there is a discrepancy in the current. Finding a small calm current break can be the most successful. The walleye this time of year again are lazy and would rather find areas in current where the bait will naturally appear in their face without having to chase it down. This also means not being afraid to make multiple casts.

Trolling for Trophy Salmon using the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow – by Marc Tremblay

April 26th ,2019

Winter in the northern months is harsh and miserable, but it’s our lifestyle up here and we love it. The fishing however in the winter can be pretty tough, especially when it requires getting out on the ice; but hey you have to do what you have to do in order to continue feeding that desire to cast a line. However, as cold as it gets in Canada, it eventually does warm up to where we have a few months of open water and the fishing is phenomenal. Salmon, musky, bass, walleye, perch, you name it we have it up here in Canada and we have some of the most world renowned places to capture the trophy of a life time.

Recently, my son and I embarked on one the best salmon trips I’ve ever taken and we made memories that will last a lifetime. The water is starting to open up which means one thing; HUNGRY FISH!!! We decided to take the trolling boat out and highlight the best time to catch the salmon run using down riggers and one of my favorite baits of all time: Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows.

We caught several keepers throughout the day and were constantly around good fish, were able to do this by using a great mapping and down-scan unit in the boat. Once we found the fish we dropped the down rigger with the larger sized Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Freshwater in Real Smelt and Real Blue Back Herring down to them in about 30 feet of water. Another successful way to catch them is with a side planer. This is a little more tricky but very effective. I like to run a planner 40 feet from the boat, and then attach a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye 75 feet behind the planer. The best colors we have found that salmon cannot resist are Hot Tiger, Banana Peel, and Perch. Finally, the last way my son and I were able to catch a few more extra fish were running a Crystal Minnow 3D Deep Diver 150 feet behind the boat, doing this actually helped us catch a few bigger salmon also. I use the same colors here as the Crystal Minnow Walleye. The best trolling speed we found this time was 2.3-2.5 mph.

My typical trolling set-up consists of 7ft to 9ft trolling rods, 30lb Yo-Zuri Hybrid for a mainline, and 20lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Leader.

The weather plays a huge factor in the success of a trip this time of year, although the water just melted, the better days are when its cloudy and heavy forecast. Right now the water temperatures are in the low 40s and the fish are actively feeding after a brutal winter of solid ice. Once the ice melts the bait goes crazy and so does the metabolism of the fish getting ready for the run to spawn.

The salmon are out there and calling your name, grab your family and hit the water while the bite is the best. You will make memories that will last a life-time.

Yo-Zuri Prostaff angler Brandon Cobb Captures his first W

April 17th ,2019

Fishing as a professional bass fisherman comes with a lot at stake. It can be financially trying, emotionally exhausting, physically demanding, but can all pay off when the plan comes together. Every angler out there has one goal in mind; to WIN! But what if you are in front of your hometown crowd? The people that saw you grow-up, the friends you’ve known your whole life, your wife, your parents and grandparents, all your family, what if you were the angler everyone had their eye on through-out the week? Does the stakes of winning get higher? Is there more added stress? Do you expect more from yourself? Well that was exactly the cards dealt to Yo-Zuri Prostaff angler Brandon Cobb last week on Lake Hartwell for the Bassmaster Elites Series event in South Carolina.
How did Brandon do? He never even flinched and got the job done; winning his first Bassmaster Elite Series event in his career and taking home a $100,000 payday.

Brandon grew up in South Carolina and has fished Lake Hartwell his whole life, so knowing the lake was no problem. Making sure he didn’t let history interfere with his ability to fish clean and strong to capture the win; that was the difficult task. The Yo-Zuri pro knew he needed to stick to one area of the lake that was notorious for big bedding fish. He stuck to his plan and stayed calm.


Brandon is a well-known angler that prefers to burn the bank and cover as much water as he could throwing moving baits. But, when the springtime hits and water is clear; the best way to catch them is with a spinning rod. Brandon threw a wacky worm throughout the tournament but still managed to cover as much fishable water as he could, even at times revisiting areas through-out the tournament days as fish continued to move up in his primary areas.


Brandon’s arsenal of attack was a 6’10 medium action spinning rod, 2500 size spinning reel, Yo-Zuri 10lb SuperBraid with a 10lb Yo-Zuri Topknot Fluorocarbon leader. Brandon was using this set up to throw a wacky worm to make long casts and catch cruising largemouth in bedding areas. Occasionally he would slow down and throw a shaky head for fish that were locked onto a bed, but most of the fish he weighed in were cruising shallow.

Spring is Coming and that Means….OPEN WATER!!!

March 20th ,2019

One of the best times of year to catch Northern Pike is in the post-spawn and early spring when water temperatures warm to 45-55 degrees. The post-spawn and early spring is one of those special times of the year when you can land some of the largest Northern Pike of the open water season. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Yo-Zuri hard baits are all Olympic winners when chasing big Pike during this time.

Gold: One of my favorite “go-to” lures during the post-spawn and early spring for Northern Pike is the Yo-Zuri Golden Shiner 3DR Jerkbait. The Jerkbait is a lure that that works especially well for Northern Pike during this time of year because it can be effectively twitched in 2-5’ of water which they often frequent. Old bulrushes, rock and sand points, and shallow bays are all prime spots to try with the 3DR Jerkbait.

Silver: Another great option during the post-spawn and early spring for large Northern Pike is the Yo-Zuri Prism Silver Black 3DB Vibe. The Prism Silver Black Vibe works great when fished with a sporadic cadence along the first drop-off in a lake. The drop-off approach with the Vibe gives large Northern Pike a perfect vantage point for ambushing bait with minimal effort to feed. Ideally, I look for drop-offs in the 5-8’ range so that I can let the lure sink as needed to generate reaction strikes. It may be necessary to go this route when fish are lethargic and not yet feeding heavily due to recent spawning activity.

Bronze: The last lure choice that I want to discuss which I rely on for large post-spawn and early spring Northern Pike is the 4 3/8” Yo-Zuri Holographic Bronze Shiner Crystal Minnow (Floating or Suspending). One of my favorite ways to fish the Holographic Bronze Shiner Crystal Minnow is to use it as a search bait via trolling. When trolling the Crystal Minnow from my kayak, I change paddling speeds frequently and twitch the rod occasionally to emulate an injured or dying baitfish. Trolling with the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow works great on flats as shallow as 4’, the first drop-off from a bay, and points that drop into 10’ or more of water.

Choosing a Yo-Zuri Jerkbait, Vibe, or Crystal Minnow can be a great way to increase your odds of catching more fish. Go for the Gold, Silver, or Bronze during the post-spawn and early spring and you may end up netting your largest pike of the open water season.

Braxton Setzer is Runner-Up at Seminole!!!

March 12th ,2019


The FLW Tour held their third stop of the 2019 season this past weekend on Lake Seminole in Georgia. Among the angler’s that made a strong fight for the win was Yo-Zuri Prostaff angler Braxton Setzer. In what was one of the most electrifying final day performances, followed by a very emotional final day weigh-in, when the smoke cleared Braxton achieved his best finish on the FLW Tour.

“Second Place is not that bad at all, although it does sting, it was not my time and now I really feel like my time is coming,” says the 31 year old angler competing in his fourth year on the FLW Tour. “Practice was terrible on me as with the rest of the field, everyone was talking about how tough the fishing was during the meeting. If you told me I would have finished second I probably would have laughed at you”.

Braxton had very little confidence after practice and it took slowing down with a worm and swimbait to get those key bites during the tournament. In the grass were little highways and that is eventually what Braxton knew he found with locating a clean spot where he was catching his fish. The fish seemed to be suspended in 10 feet of water where the water was 12 feet deep.


“During practice I was looking for flat areas that had a healthy amount of grass in it leading into spawning areas. The lake had just experience a cold front during the early part of the week and I felt like as the week went on it would get better,” reported Braxton. “The area where I caught 25lbs the first day and 23lbs the second I actually found casting around a Yo-Zuri 3/8oz Vibe. I got a bit with a keeper fish and then scanned around using my electronics and was able to locate a clean spot within the grass and I knew the transition would be useful throughout the tournament. It is also the only place I had confidence in.”

That magical spot really did pay off for Braxton, but it took all the way until the final day of the tournament to key in the exact presentation and cast.
“It really was a fun tournament and I am still in shock that I was able to crack the top-5. Definitely another key to my success was Yo-Zuri TopKnot fluorocarbon. I hardly had to retie all week never broke a fish off. One thing I will add about using the fluorocarbon that most anglers don’t do; I never change my line out every day of fishing. I’ve never had an issue with using the line multiple tournament days and multiple events. The line really holds up and is the quality anglers are demanding, for me it is dependent on my career.”

SHARKS ON THE BEACH!!!!!! –by Chris Bishop

March 5th ,2019

Fishing for sharks anyone? As crazy as this may sound; this is often one of my favorite species to target and the time to target them is now. Now, we are not talking about filming the next episode of JAWS, we are talking about fishing the surf and going after the Black Tips and Spinner Shark species.

How do you locate sharks that are catchable? Well, remember sharks are predators like most other species of saltwater fish. Therefore, find the bait and you find the sharks. Common bait you want to look for is Bluefish, small Jack Crevalle, Pompano, and Spanish Mackerel. It is not hard to find them because you’ll see the Spinner Sharks jumping out of the water and also busting the top after schools of bait. Overcast weather conditions seem to be the most favored, however sometimes the weather does not make a difference, sharks are hungry no matter what time of day it is. Usually the migration period for the Black Tip Sharks and Spinner Sharks is January through March.

Topwater baits are the guaranteed best bait to throw for feeding sharks. Again, a topwater mimics a wounded bait fish and creates a large water displacement. The sharks will locate the lure based on sound and motion. For the best choice in topwaters; try using the Yo-Zuri Surface Cruiser or Hydro Popper. Common colors to consider are Red Head, Pearl Yellow Pink, Dorado, and Sardine. Also, another important aspect to think about is your rod and reel setup. I would recommend using a spinning reel that can carry up to 300 yards of 50lb Yo-Zuri SuperBraid. A 20-50lb spinning rod is a strong enough rod to fight the sharks and is long enough to increase casting distance from the beach. The most critical component of this operation is the leader. I use 100lb-130lb TopKnot Leader and you want to use a really long leader. There are two reasons for this: sharks will jump and spin wrapping themselves up in the line, sharks have sharp fins and tails that can cut the line if it is too small. Another tip is to replace the treble hooks with inline J hooks; this makes it easier for unhooking the sharks once you reel them to land.


Shark fishing is not something for the faint at heart, however can definitely be something to cross off the bucket list not many anglers get to try. If you’re vacationing in south Florida in the winter months and want to catch a bizarre species not many people attempt look into land-based shark fishing!!!

“Sometimes, you just have to go fishing”- by Bassmaster Elite Series angler Clent Davis

February 26th ,2019

Clent Davis, a native to Alabama and one of the original grassroots anglers to the college fishing program, found himself doing a lot of soul searching leading into the 2018 season. Coming off a couple rough patch years and redirecting his focus to the FLW Tour, he simply “had to just go fishing again.” Fast-forward to August 12th, 2018; Clent’s career took a 360° turn when he posted the biggest come back in FLW history to become the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup Champion. Joined by his wife, daughter, and mom on stage in Hot Springs, Arkansas; Clent looked like a little kid again on the playground without a worry in the world. Fast-forward to February 2019, Clent has accepted a new opportunity with the Bassmaster Elite Series and his accomplishments are still piling up.

“Coming back to the Elite Series was definitely a decision that was hard to make. With the support of my family, friends, and sponsors I felt like I was making a conscious decision,” says Clent. “The first tournament in Florida kept my reputation in Florida the same ‘terrible’ but coming to Lake Lanier I knew I could put together a great opportunity.”

In practice he found himself struggling again to establish a pattern to go with. Not having a definitive game plan in place, he put 20 rods on the deck and went junk fishing.

“I knew I could catch some fish off docks, and I had some areas I felt confident in. But I couldn’t tell you how I was going to do it or where I was going to finish.”

Lake Lanier is a renowned spotted bass fishery, probably on the bucket list of many anglers out there as it should be. Multiple top level tournaments and championships have been held on the lake over the years. It is also where some of the best drop shotting anglers and spotted bass anglers cut their teeth learning everything they did. However, putting a mixture of all the new swimbait and finesse techniques that are popular today; it is almost like taking a knife to a gun fight. But no one out there is going to back down from the challenge, especially Clent Davis.

“Even with all the rods on my deck, I weighed in most of my fish on the Hardcore Flat Minnow 110 and then using a finesse technique. Without a doubt the best technique I had going for me was throwing the jerkbait around docks. I really didn’t think it was going to pan out however, because the weather did not cooperate the way I had hoped.”


photocredit: Bassmaster.com

The element that played the most into Clent’s favor is consistency. The first day many of the anglers really caught them, but day 2 and into the weekend things changed. Clent was able to stay consistent and put together strong enough weight to post his first Top-10 finish of the 2019 season on the Bassmaster Elite Series. He spent most of his time covering as many docks as he could throughout most of the four days in the tournament throwing the jerkbait. His set up included:
-7’1’’ Phenix Feather ML rod
-6.4:1 Shimano Curado K reel
-12lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Mainline 100% Fluorocarbon
-Hardcore Flat Minnow 110 (Ghost Pro Blue)

“It feels really good to keep the ball rolling that I got on at the Cup. I spent a lot of time in the off season with my family and in the deer woods. That gave me a break and allowed me to be comfortable going into 2019. I am happy to have gotten my first top-10 early on in the season. Hopefully this will propel me into the remainder and lead me straight into the Bassmaster Classic.”

Late Winter Offshore Mahi Bite Picking Up!!! –Matt George

February 19th ,2019


Matt George, one of the craziest but respected personalities to the Yo-Zuri family. Matt grew up in the northeast US, but has called Florida home for several years now. When not traveling for business all over the world, he spends his down time wisely fishing inshore and offshore.
“To me, I don’t care what I am catching as long as I am on the water. But lately the offshore bite has been really picking up. Following a strong pattern lately is turning into more success on the water. Let the birds help you find the bait, let the bait be your GPS, and bring on the exhilarating fight that lies before you.”

Recently, Matt is spending more time chasing the offshore bite as it is picking up. As winter is coming to a close in south Florida, the bait abundance is increasing and so is the bite.
“Right now I am hitting the water as early as possible and making a 8-12 mile run out. The key depth is anywhere between 100-200 feet. That may seem like a lot, but in your search for lurking Mahi it is easy to eliminate water quickly. Once you find that sweet spot, it is all easy pickings at that point.”

To duplicate what Matt is doing, you have to find the water that will most likely have bait, again Mahi have huge appetites and are predators. Once you find the bait you can find the fish. Along with the right amount of depth, Matt suggests looking for the temperature changes. This little subtlety could be key, but also the any irregularities in the water. Weed lines, cleaner water, dirties water, whatever may appear different out in the ocean could be the ticket. From there just find the bait which is usually accompanied by diving birds.
“The added bonus right now is on top of the Mahi I am catching, I am also finding a mix of Sailfish, again one of favorite species to target. Recent trips I am averaging 3-4 keeper Mahi and about the same number of sails. The days out there have been really fortunate and exciting!”

Matt is using a 2-way approach to targeting his catch. The traditional trolling method and topwater have paid off the best. For the trolling methods, he is rigging live bait on 30lb Yo-Zuri Blue SuperBraid with 30lb TopKnot Fluorocarbon Leader. The topwater he has been using is the Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper on a spinning outfit with the same line and leader. For the popper, Matt emphasizes to always use a loop knot when adjoining your leader to a topwater bait. This always creates the best action on the water.

FLW Tour Lake Toho Top-20 Finish Recap- by Mike Surman

February 12th ,2019

The older I get in this sport the more a good finish means to me. With the changing technology, industry curves, and constant new talent making their way into the tour level; the harder it is for me compete against fellow anglers. However this past weekend in my current home state of Florida at Lake Toho, Mickey Mouse must have given me a little magic being so close to Disney World because everything came together.
The fishing in Florida has been really off so far this year. Between the low water in all the lakes, the Red Tide issues the entire state faced last year, and it still being early in the year the best fishing is still yet to come. This last week I was really able to pinpoint a good amount of fish that were pre-spawning and spawning. I used my local knowledge of the lake to lock into Lake Kissimmee and fish staging areas leading into spawning areas with good, healthy grass around it. With water temperatures in the mid-60s I knew as the week processed the fish would continue to move up.

In practice I was really able to capitalize on a morning pattern and then an afternoon pattern, a key to my success knowing I could stay calm throughout the day and capitalize on the different patterns when they were at their best. In the mornings I was catching fishing on a 1/4oz Black and Blue 3DB Knucklebait with a soft plastic swimbait trailer. I was able to catch a couple really good fish on this and thought it would be a key bait for me throughout the tournament. I was throwing the Knucklebait over submerged grass around staging areas. As the afternoon took place and the sun got high I was able to pitch to hydrilla mats and dollar pads with a soft plastic stickworm catching spawning fish.

In the tournament, the morning Knucklebait bite had died but I was still able to capitalize catching these same fish using a 3DB Pencil in Bone color. For this technique I was throwing 20lb Yo-Zuri Hybrid line, and I was making short casts with it. I think the bait has better action when making shorter casts and not having so much stretch in the line. In the afternoons I was able to again capitalize again on the plastic stickworm bite. I was fishing the worm on a little [1/16oz] weight and throwing it on 16lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Mainline Fluorocarbon.
One of the last factors that helped me was covering water in an area. I was fishing a massive area of Lake Kissimmee and it seemed like covering water and then breaking down an area once I got a bite was the key to capitalizing on water holding fish.

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