For a full time kayak fisherman like myself, one of the most sought after characteristics in a lure is versatility. Given the confined space of a kayak, you don’t have the option of bringing boxes and boxes of tackle with you so it’s good to have a few “go to” lures that can be used in a variety of ways. The number one lure on my list is Yo-Zuri’s Crystal Minnow.
The short billed Crystal Minnow comes in several different sizes and can be fished in a myriad of techniques and presentations to appeal to just about any fish in the water. I always have a Crystal Minnow behind the boat when I’m trolling out to my spots and it is typically the first lure that I throw when I get where I’m going.
Whether presenting the lure fast or slow, smooth or with jerks or twitches, there is almost always a way to fish these lures that will trigger a bite. My favorite presentation is a brisk “stop and go” with the “go’s” in the form of aggressive rips. This presentation resembles what I do with a big popper (just sub-surface) and typically gets the same type of bites as a popper. The same presentation can be slowed to trigger bites from more cautious feeders like Snook and Snapper or you can speed it up to appeal to aggressive feeders like Roosters, Tuna, Mahi, etc. The CM also works well on a steady retrieve but I find that I usually get a better bite percentage when adding some light rhythmic action. I have found that with the Crystal Minnow, no matter what I am targeting, there is a presentation that will work. All I have to do is keep giving them different looks until they get hungry enough or angry enough to take what I’m offering.
Whether you are a kayak or beach fisherman looking for a minimalistic approach to your tackle options or a full blown gear head that just wants the best, the Crystal Minnow should occupy a very high position in your lure selection. It has been my bread and butter lure for years and will likely remain so for years to come.
-Lance Clinton, Yo-Zuri Ambassador
Fall fishing is one of the most diverse times to fish for bass. Bass in the fall can be found from deep water to super shallow water and everywhere in between. They don’t stay in one area long this time of year because they are always on the move in the fall. The reason why bass move so much this time of year is because they are chasing shad that are migrating from their deep water, main lake, summertime haunts to the shallows of creeks and rivers. This time of year I really try to target shallow water in creeks because I like fishing areas where I know more bass are coming.
Anytime I’m fishing shallow water creeks in the fall, I love covering water and catching active fish. Two of my favorite baits for this situation are Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil and a Hardcore Crank 2+. I like bone color for the 3DB Pencil and gizzard shad color for the Crank 2+. The key this time of year is putting the trolling motor down and covering miles of bank. The only time I slow down is when I come to any piece of wood cover. If I’m seeing lots of surface activity like shad flickering on the surface or bass chasing bait, I will throw the 3DB Pencil. When I’m not seeing much surface activity, that tells me that the shad are closer to the bottom and then I lean on the Crank 2+ more.
I use the same rod and reel for both baits, and the only thing that is different is the line selection. An Abu Garcia Veritas rod (7′ medium) paired with an Abu Garcia Revo MGX reel (8.0:1) gets the nod for both techniques. I use 40lb Yo-Zuri Super Braid for the 3DB Pencil and 12lb Yo-Zuri TopKnot Fluorocarbon for the Hardcore Crank 2+.
This is the time of the year for small crankbaits. The baitfish are small, and the bass all over the country are tuned in to these tiny baitfish as their primary food source. This time of year, I like to pick up small, baits like the Yo-Zuri 3DR and 3DS Midcrankbaits and cover some water. My favorite colors are Real Gizzard Shad and Tennessee Shad.
These baits are so effective, that I’ve nicknamed them my “Auto Bass” baits, because it always catches ‘em. The 3DR and 3DS Mid crankbaits run about six-feet-deep and even though they have a small profile, they make their presence known in the water with a fairly wide wobble that gets their attention.
I like to fish them in the fall by running to the backs of creeks and pockets and covering the bank. Shad typically move towards the backs of creeks in the fall, and making those moves myself makes the most sense. I use a 7’1” Medium-Light Phenix Feather rod and a 6.2:1 retrieve speed Shimano Curado200K reel spooled with 10-pound-test Yo-Zuri Top Knot Fluorocarbon.
I always start with a nice medium speed retrieve, speeding up and slowing down to get a feel for how aggressive the fish are. But, I am careful to not let myself get in too much of a rhythm with my retrieve. It’s really important to make the lure deflect off of rocks, stumps, docks or anything in the water that will cause the lure to change directions; that’s what really causes the fish to react.