It is October and fall may be starting everywhere else, but not here in South Florida. At Okeechobee the fish are still in their summer patterns. First thing in the morning, the bass are chasing shad in the Kissimmee grass all around the lake. My favorite search bait is the new
Yo-Zuri Knuckle Bait. I’ve learned a lot about this new bait and how to fish it. The bait fishes a lot like a swim jig, even though it looks like a spinnerbait. You don’t feel much thump, but that ball just keeps on dancing as you reel. All summer long, we have been able to catch 25-30 fish in the first few hours. I have been burning the bait on the outside grass lines and crushing them. WE found that burning the bait almost doubled our strikes compared to slow rolling.
My “go to” set up is a 7’2” Witch Doctor Surman 50G rod in the medium heavy action. I combine the rod with a Lew’s 6:3 to 1 reel. I then add 20 lb. Top Knot Yo-Zuri fluorocarbon mainline and start slinging!
The bait is in the grass and the bass are actively feeding for the first few hours. My two favorite colors have been black/blue Knuckle Bait teamed with a Gambler Little EZ in the black and blue color. My other favorite color is the white Knuckle Bait with a pearl white Gambler Little EZ. The shad are relatively small, so my most effective size Knuckle Bait is ¼ oz.
Don’t pick up this bait expecting the vibration and thump of a spinnerbait or chatterbait. Even though you can’t feel what the ball is doing, it’s driving the fish wild.
Give it a try, and I promise you will love it just like I do.
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
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.