Have you ever had one of those mornings where you just don’t want to wake up or get out of bed? Of course! We have all had that experience at some time. During the immediate post spawn period, it can seem like the big bass in a lake have one of those mornings for an entire week. However, even when they are lethargic and not feeding heavily as can be the case in the immediate post spawn period, there are still some opportunities to “Wake” them up and get them to bite.
One of my favorite lures during this transitional phase is the Yo-Zuri 3DB Wake Bait. At 2.75”, this lure has a solid tight wobbling motion. Like other Yo-Zuri products, the 3DB Wake Bait has a rattle that can draw fish in from a long way off. The Yo-Zuri 3DB Wake Bait can be fished right beneath the surface leaving disrupted water behind it as it is reeled in, or it can be fished effectively up to about 1.5’ below the top of the water.
Using the 3DB Wake Bait during the post spawn can be especially effective early in the morning or late in the day when the sun is lower. Add some wind up to about 5 mph hour, and this lure can be cranked for bass on any given lake. The Prism Ayu is one of my favorite colors during the immediate post spawn for bass because it emulates the baitfish that the fish are feeding on or will be feeding on soon and elicits reaction strikes. Prism Ayu is a great pattern choice to use in clear water especially as bass will come to the surface from 15’ down to engulf this lure as the cadence is changed with every crank of the reel handle. Generally speaking, I start in 3-6’ of water when using the 3DB Wake Bait, and then work my way out deeper if necessary. Another alternative in cloudy conditions during the Bluegill spawn is the same size of Yo-Zuri Wakebait in the 3DR series is the Real Bluegill.
So if you are facing some cranky bass right after the post spawn that don’t seem to want to move, much less eat a bait, “Wake” them up with the Yo-Zuri 3B Wake Bait.
The Striper fishing out in the west coast is on FIRE!!!! Want to increase your chances at have a day on the water that will make memories for a lifetime, here is some helpful tips on what I prefer to do and the set up I rely on!
My rod and reel choices are the following:
Rod is a 7’6″ heavy in power with a fast action tip.
The reel is a 300 size conventional reel with a line counter. Line counters are a must because this helps us out as a guide to know how far everyone’s line or lures are.I prefer to spool it up with 30lb Yo-Zuri SuperBraid in the Blue color pattern.
Weather conditions that are most favorable are Mid-March thru early summer, but this year throughout April and May the weather was normal morning temp 45 degrees and a high temp of 74 degrees throughout the day but the main issue we have faced is the water temperatures of 50 to 52 degrees. Our normal water temperatures are 55 degrees in mid-March and approximately 60 degrees in mid-April. It took a while to figure it out, we had Spring weather temperatures but winter water temperatures due to all the snowpack in the Sierra’s.
Most effective techniques were drifting upstream with deep diving floating Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow lures or the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye series lure. I recommend trolling upstream at 3 to 4 MPH. Trolling at higher speeds make these stripers react to our lures, and with the colder water temps you had to get the lures right in their face because they were lethargic.
Hot baits were the standard deep diving floating Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow in Redhead/White body. This lure, for many years, has been the ‘go-to’ it comes to catching stripers. In the freshwater Deep Diver Crystal Minnow Walleye series lures the solid white has been hot for us. The bite is so good that it is almost like the stripers have never seen this lure before and they flat out couldn’t resist it! I believe the very tight wiggle the Crystal Minnow action has in the water mimics most live bait in many bodies of water such as Shad, or Pike Minnow. Another hot suggestion is the Deep Diver Walleye Series in the Hot Tiger color.
One tip I can pass on to anglers that will help them be successful is to remove the split ring that comes in the package tie a size 54 duo snap lock to your braid the attach it directly to the bait. This helps the lure run true, plus it makes easier to change out your lures as well. Also, make sure you add a trailer worm to your trailing center hook; it helps the lure get an even tighter wiggle.
It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since my friend taught me how to drop-shot. Lessons started in his garage, over his boat. A lot of plastics and hooks, but only one line to choose. He shared his favorite choice of line to use for drop-shotting. It is the only line I’ll use on my drop-shot. I am speaking of Yo-Zuri Hybrid Line.
I am amazed at how well the Hybrid Line works. When you look at how it is made, you can better understand the qualities that give the line its strength and sensitivity, both important for fishing. “Yo-Zuri’s Hybrid Line is a co-polymer consisting of fluorocarbon and nylon making it abrasion resistant and has the sensitivity of fluorocarbon and the flexibility and stretch of nylon.”
For choosing which pound test to use for drop-shotting, I fish with eight pound test Yo-Zuri Hybrid Line. In our area of South Carolina, we have some pretty clear lakes and the eight pound test works great. As for being able to land big fish, my friend and teacher, caught a nice eight pound bass, on eight pound test Yo-Zuri Hybrid Line. Yes, the line works!
Drop-Shotting is one of my favorite techniques for catching bass. I love seeing a school of bass on my electronics and dropping my bait down below the school, watching the bass chase the bait down, and then hooking up.
The Drop-Shot works well on clearer bodies of water. As for time of year, summer and winter, when the bass are suspended in deeper water, often relating to schools of baitfish are great for the drop-shot.
Where to start looking for that school of bass. Check out creek channel swings and big, long, tapering points that run way out to the channel. If you have baitfish in the area, you are in the right spot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!!!