RATTL’N VIBE Fishing Lures

One of the most popular lipless bass fishing lures is the Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe. This lure has been around for more than a decade and is the “go to” lure for our Bass Pro Staff members.

The Rattl’N Vibe is a very diverse lure, which can be fished in multiple ways. It has the ability, due to its unique design, to out fish other lipless bass lures.  This is true in most any water or air conditions you may find yourself in as it weighs 5/8 of an ounce, so wind will not affect your ability to cast it with great accuracy and distance.

The Rattl’N Vibe lures can be fished in rivers, on the flats in saltwater, of course in lakes, and even through the ice, which most people don’t know. It has the ability to be fished fast, slow, stop-n-go, for trolling, burned over weedbeds, and even jigged vertically.  The reason that the Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe can be fished vertically is due to the shape and balance of it. This allows the Rattl’N Vibe to fall straight down and rock back and forth like a real dying shad does. It will not “helicopter” on the fall like most other lipless vibrating lures do. This is a more natural presentation, which gives you the ability to fish it through the ice, over deep humps, or over rock piles with great success.

In the springtime the Rattl’N Vibe is a terrific search bait which helps you to faster find the more aggressive feeding bass.  Find the area you wish to fish and then fan cast the Rattl’N Vibe out. The best method that I have found is to put your left hand out and spread your fingers.  Now make your cast where your pinky finger extends out to.  This is your first cast. Continue to the right to each finger making your casts long and extending out from the next finger. Keep doing this until you reach your thumb or catch a fish. If you catch a fish off your ring finger continue to cast to that area. Use this same technique for both hands, as this method allows you to cover all areas of the water in an organized fashion while eliminating dead water.

Make sure that you try each of the aforementioned techniques to determine how the bass are feeding. Try a slow consistent retrieve first then a fast retrieve and do not forget the stop-n-go method. If there is a weedbed or submerged grasses try to burn the Rattl’N Vibe over the top of it. This is a very productive method in the summertime and has caught some lunker Largemouth bass. One of the best Rattl’N Vibe colors to use is the Pumpkinseed as it appears to be a fleeing panfish, which bass cannot resist.

So the next time you are confused as to which bass fishing lures to use tie on a Yo-Zuri Rattl’N Vibe and Go Catching!

To learn more about the Rattl’N Vibe go to http://yo-zuri.com

Remember to “Fish The Best”! Fish Yo-Zuri!

Saltwater Fishing Lures that Catch Big Fish

We all want to catch big fish and some of the best places to catch them are in saltwater. Now you have to figure out the saltwater lures which will best increase your chances of catching that next monster fish you are after. If you are going to target big saltwater fish there are two main areas you should concentrate on and they are deep water bottom fishing or trolling for pelagic species. For the purpose of this article we will spend our time on how to catch these desired fish, trolling or casting, since bottom fishing consist of mainly dropping fresh dead or live baitfish down into the depths to tempt a big Grouper, Amberjack, or other species that inhabit wrecks or reefs.

First you must define exactly what a big saltwater fish is for you since we all have our own personal standards of measurements. A 1000 pound Black Marlin is huge but few of us have the opportunity to go after such a beast. On the other hand a 60 pound Dorado is generally considered a trophy catch for this species. Therefore, “big” is relative to the species you are fishing for with your saltwater fishing lures.

Yo-Zuri offers many saltwater lures for you to choose from that can be used for off-shore or in-shore fishing. For the pelagic species which swim off-shore the standard method of fishing is to troll while casting is a definite possibility. It is best to troll to find the fish. Then, once you find them, you can drift and cast.

For your trolling lures you should give one of the most popular saltwater lures ever made a try. This would be Yo-Zuri’s Sashimi Bonita, which is a saltwater lure designed for Wahoo and Tuna, though they catch many of the other pelagic species found in all oceans of the world.

Another complete series of saltwater fishing lures from Yo-Zuri is the Sashimi 3D which can be used for trolling or casting. The four styles offered are the Sashimi 3D Pencil, Sashimi 3D Popper, Sashimi 3D Squirt, and two Sashimi 3D Magnums, (one deep diver and the other a sinking version for high speed trolling).

All these saltwater lures mentioned above offer three international patents: their color changing attributes, their internal 3D prism, and the wave motion ribs on the body of the lure. All three of these patents have a very specific purpose to help you catch big fish. The color change aspect allows your lure to look and act like a real school of baitfish which have been documented to change colors when they change direction to confuse feeding gamefish.  Sashimi lures do just that, change colors when they change direction. The 3D internal prism allows light to be reflected in all direction which imitate falling scales from baitfish. And finally, the ribs on the body of the Sashimi 3D saltwater fishing lures create multiple vibrations which fish can sense with their lateral line and will come in to investigate.

All of these give you, the angler, an increased chance of catching the fish of a lifetime and have proven themselves again and again to catch big fish!

Remember to “Fish The Best”! Fish Yo-Zuri!

The Development of Fishing Tackle

Today’s fishing tackle is a far cry from what we fished with back in the 1970’s, never mind the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, or 1960’s.

At that time fishing rods were mainly manufactured from hardwoods or bamboo. When fiberglass came on the scene it took over as the main material used in fishing rods.

Then, time passed, the materials to build fishing rods advanced and E-Glass became more widely used until graphite and Kevlar came into use. These are still the main materials used in today’s rod building.

Early fishing reels were primarily Spin-casting or spinning. The Spin-casting reels were the main stay for younger anglers to use especially when first learning to fish. This was due to their ease of use, which was basically the push button method. As you progressed in your casting ability and learned how to use your fishing tackle more efficiently you moved up to the very popular spinning reels which are still around today.

The first bait-casting reels did not have all the new-fangled drag systems, which help an angler virtually eliminate any back lashes, commonly known as birds nests. Therefore bait-casting reels were not as widespread as the Spin-casting or spinning reels due to the difficulty in learning how to educate your thumb.

Technological advances in materials and designs have made today’s fishing tackle easier to use, lighter, stronger, and more effective than ever before. As they say, fishing tackle today is not your fathers’ fishing tackle. It is the most advanced ever made and will continue to progress as new materials and manufacturing technology are developed.

Every year at the annual ICAST show new fishing tackle products are unveiled to the trade. And each year we are amazed at how much things can change in such a short period of time, especially in the rod and reel category.

Yet, even with new guide systems, rod blanks, and reel drags the fishing tackle we use today will be obsolete in just a few short years.

It is difficult to stay on top of all these advances for the weekend warrior but with the Internet it does make this task easier to do. To try to upgrade your fishing tackle every year is not possible in these economic times. However, if you can try to upgrade every other year then you will stay current and be able to impress your fishing buddies with your new fishing tackle. Remember to ask during those birthday and gift giving holidays for your new favorite rod or reel and you may be surprised to see what you’ve been missing once you fish with them.

Now, of course we will always have our special fishing tackle we will never give up using even if it is out dated.  Like an old pair of blue jeans we become attached to it and it becomes hard to give up and move on. So, when on the water most of us use both the latest and greatest and the tried but true.

Remember to ….“FISH THE BEST”

Use Yo-Zuri fishing tackle!

Bass Fishing Lures by Yo-Zuri America

When discussing the topic of bass lures the hair on the back of my neck stands up as if touched by an electric field. The reason is simple; this was my passion as a boy growing up fishing with my father. Our days spent in the leaky wood rowboat casting endlessly are burned into my memory for a lifetime. This is where I learned the whys and hows of bass fishing lures.

Over my formative years I studied all aspects of bass fishing lures from top to bottom. I gained my wisdom from practical application as well as from the masters of their time such as A.J. McClane or Buck Perry, to name two of the all time greats. As I grew up my passion never wavered through high school or college. In fact, my interest grew by leaps and bounds as I had the chance to fish new waters.

Today some of the most productive new lures on the market are from Yo-Zuri America, the high tech Japanese lure maker. The new 3DB series of bass lures has brought in the boat some of the biggest bass in my life. I’m talking fish over ten pounds, which is the holy grail of anyone’s bass fishing lifetime.

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Nowadays anyone can go to a known big bass fishing destination, like Lake Okeechobee in Florida, and dunk a Golden Shiner into thick weed beds and catch a ten-pound bass. While there is nothing wrong with that, to catch a ten-pound bass on bass fishing lures is the true accomplishment. To be able to fool a large bass into eating an imitation made of hard plastic and worked to perfection to catch a bass of this magnitude requires skill, luck and the right bass lures.

Yo-Zuri has recently introduced the 3DB bass fishing lures, which have two International Patents incorporated into them. These lures are not only easy to use but also very lifelike in finish, action, and colors.

There are two International patents issued to this series. The first is the “ribs” on the belly of the bass lures. These “ribs” send out multiple vibrations into the water column which bass sense with their Lateral Line. The other patent is the 3D prism built into the inside of these bass fishing lures. The prism reflects light out like the facets of a diamond, looking like scales falling off of a dying baitfish.

The 3DB series of bass fishing lures are made up of 9 styles that cover all aspects and techniques to meet your bass fishing needs.

They are broken down into three main categories: topwater, sub-surface, and diving crankbaits.

The topwater bass lures consist of a Popper, Propbait, and Pencil that is a “walk-the-dog style bass fishing lure.

The sub-surface bass lures consist of the following: a floating/diving minnow, a suspending jerkbait, and a suspending shad.

The next category is made up of floating/diving round bodied crankbaits in three specific styles. They are the square lipped shallow crankbait, the medium diving crankbait, and a deep diving crankbait.

This is just the basic information for these styles. To  gain more knowledge on each specific style of these dynamic bass fishing lures check out http://yo-zuri.com.

Next time your looking to try the latest and greatest, tie on a 3DB by Yo-Zuri America and . . . Go Catching!

Remember to FISH THE BEST!  FISH YO-ZURI!

Trout Lures – Choices Made Easy

Trout lures have been around for centuries. Once, trout fishing was even a sport which only royalty could enjoy. Over time, however, it has evolved into a sport that is experienced by everyday people worldwide, even children. During this time trout lures have evolved into elaborate designs made from the simplest materials up to the most advanced space aged materials available today.

In the early days most of the trout fishing lures were made from natural fibers harvested from local animals, both domestic and wild. These were used primarily with Fly Fishing equipment and have stood the test of time, eventually evolving into the use of synthetic materials to conserve the harvest of wild animals for this use. However, the largest segment of trout lures are made from hard bodied materials called polycarbonates. This is a very durable space aged plastic that can be molded into any shape desired, in order to attract trout.

Some of the top producing trout fishing lures over the past several decades are the Pins Minnows made by Yo-Zuri America. These beautifully painted, slender minnow trout lures come in several styles and a plethora of colors and patterns. This variety of trout fishing lures is offered to imitate most any baitfish or juvenile trout that you will come across anywhere in the world.

These trout lures are offered in two basic styles, floating and sinking, and in several sizes from as small as 2 inches up to 3 ½ inches.

Some of these have the patented Yo-Zuri “magnetic weight transfer system” incorporated inside. This feature will increase your casting distance with these miniature lures, even in windy conditions.

Within this family of trout  lures there are over 20 unique colors to “match the hatch” which will fool even the wariest of trout. Since there are so many water types where trout live, including lakes, rivers, streams, reservoirs and even small farm ponds, you must have a variety of sizes and colors to choose from in order to be successful.

This past summer we had the chance to go out to the Rocky Mountains and field test these innovative trout lures and had excellent results with them on Rainbows, Browns, Cutthroats, Brookies and even the Hybrid Splake Trout. The areas we choose to fish in were high mountain lakes as well as cold, fast flowing rivers of the beautiful western part of the United States.

We had a most enjoyable experience and even learned a few things along the way.

Here are few of the fishing techniques that produced for us: slow trolling, casting then retrieving fast with a steady pace, cast & retrieve with very strong jerks while retrieving, cast-jerk-pause-jerk and casting upstream then twitching them as we reeled back in with and across the current. Hopefully you, too, can experience the way these feisty trout slam these very productive trout fishing lures.

Learn more for yourself by taking these trout fishing lures with you on your next fishing adventure or by visiting http://yo-zuri.com.

Remember to . . . “FISH THE BEST” . . .  FISH YO-ZURI!

Fishing Tackle and Lures, Create your Tackle Box Now

When we think about the topic of fishing lures and fishing tackle we can easily get confused, as there are a multitude of choices on today’s market. It is easy to understand why so many people are intimidated trying to make the best choice.

As you walk down the aisle of any sporting goods store you are confronted by row after row of lures in every size and color imaginable. How do you go about choosing the right fishing lure for your use? This is an important question and the best way to demonstrate how to accomplish this daunting task is to set up a virtual tackle box.

Let me show you how you would go about setting up a tackle box for both freshwater and saltwater use. For freshwater fishing let’s use Large & Small Month Bass as the example.

Starting with bass fishing lures that are used for these feisty fish can pose a dilemma as the habitats, which these fish live in, are varied from still water lakes and ponds to swift flowing water where Smallmouth’s live. However, there are some short cuts you can take and still cover all your bases with a few styles of lures.

Let’s face it, you can get very carried away with all the choices that are available so to whittle it down to a few you need to know some basics about fishing lures.

Fishing tackle, especially fishing lures only come in several types known throughout the fishing world. They MUST do one of the following things: float, suspend or sink when in the water. Anything else besides these three attributes is secondary from the basic principles of fishing lures made to imitate a live source of food to the fish.

Of course, you would want to include the action, size, color and material the lures are made from into your equation; yet in the end they all float, sink or suspend. Therefore our tackle box for bass fishing will consist of these three types of lures:

Floating -These types of lures are designed to sit on top of the water and create some type of commotion.

Suspending -These types of lures are designed to be “neutral buoyancy” which simple means that they do not float nor sink when in the water.

Sinking -This is self-explanatory; these lures sink when put into water.

Let’s first take a look at a few of the more popular floating style of fishing lures.

Poppers – This style is a fishing lure that sits high on the water and has a carved out open mouth that creates a loud “pop” when jerked with your rod tip. It simulates a dying baitfish struggling at the surface of the water and is deadly. There are many different types of mouth designs used for different purposes.

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Minnows – Use these “minnow” style lures as twitch bait, simulating the minnow struggling for life, on or near the surface, by lily pads or over a submerged grass bed.

“Walk-The-Dog”- When retrieved properly, these oval or cigar shaped lures sway back and forth with a steady rhythm and loud cadences rattle to attract big bass.

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Buzzers -There are two main types of buzzers, a metal propped blade with a plastic skirt that rotates when reeled in at a fast speed making all kinds of noise on the surface and traditional “prop baits” such as the Yo-Zuri 3DB Prop.

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Cranks -These fishing lures are designed to float when at rest and then dive to a specific depth once the retrieve begins. This type lure dives faster when reeled in at an accelerated speed.

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Be sure to add one of each of these floating styled lures to your selection. Now your topwater lures are complete.

Next let’s pick a few of the more common suspending styles.

In this category you have jerkbaits, swimbaits and shad styled lures to add to your growing arsenal. The one common attribute to all of them is their ability to hover at a certain depth, attracting fish in all seasons. This is known as a neutral buoyancy type of lure and is a must have in you tackle box. The factor that is different is their shape. You have a few basic shapes and they are minnow, shad and panfish.

Jerkbaits – these are more elongated and torpedoed shaped than the other lures.

Swimbaits – these are a larger profiled shaped; similar to a frying pan hence the name “panfish”. The Sashimi Jointed and the 3DB Crankbaits best imitate this baitfish profile.

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Shad – these are shaped more oval, the same as a natural shad.

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The last in the three main types of fishing lures is the sinking type. Some of the sinking types are lipless crankbaits, metal jigs, or elongated minnow shaped lures.

The Rattlin’ Vibe & Sashimi Rattlin’ Vibe are a classic example of lipless sinking lures.

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When these lures are cast out they start to sink immediately, so you must vary your retrieval speed accordingly in order not to get “snagged” on some obstruction along the bottom.

Now that we have established the three types of lures you will be adding to your tackle box, lets breakdown some of the ways to simplify the choosing of colors.

The most basic rule is to use a lure that is the same as the conditions you are fishing in when referencing light. That is, when it is bright out use a brightly colored lure, when it is darker out use a darker colored lure. For example, if you are nighttime fishing for bass in the summer you would start off by using dark colored fishing lures, especially black. Yet, if you were fishing in the daytime in clear water you might choose to use a natural colored lure like a shad imitation in Ghost color.

You can break down colors into these categories: Natural, Attractor and a mix of the two. In clear water use natural colored fishing lures such as the Chameleon Shad in dirty water use brightly colored fishing lures such as Firetiger.

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Here are a few of the basics in a quick guide for your reference.

You need to have the following colors in the styles discussed above in order to be properly equipped for your new bass fishing tackle box: Black Chrome, Blue Chrome, Firetiger, Crawfish, Perch, Shad, Koi, Baby Bass, Clown, Frog, Bluegill and Ghost Shad.

These are the styles and colors that will lead to your success on the water. Whether fishing from the shore or boat you will have the proper fishing lures in your TACKLE BOX. Have fun, and good luck in your competition. Please remember when you’re on the water to respect our resources and practice CPR Catch, Photo, and Release!

Always…………Fish The Best: Fish Yo-Zuri!

Top of the World Trout

There we were, standing above tree line with all of our fishing gear in our packs, gazing down upon an Emerald colored lake, knowing that our quarry were swimming happily below.

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We hand choose our fishing tackle the night before, based on previous experience and the baitfish population in this high altitude mountain lake. We knew the trout below us could and would be caught using hard bodied fishing lures shaped like a slender minnow and colored like a juvenile trout. Trout are cannibals, so they do feed on each other’s babies or imitations of these brightly colored tasty morsels. Most people think that you can only catch these beautiful fish by fly-fishing, as the trout’s primary forage is the varied insect life that abounds in these waters. However, many of us do not fly-fish and still would like to enjoy catching these trout and even bringing home breakfast or dinner for the family. A few of the fish we caught were smoked to eat later with a healthy spinach salad.

Our fishing tackle and fishing lures had to match the conditions we would be fishing in. The water conditions could go from crystal clear to a greenish color.This color change is due to a warm summertime season that causes an algae bloom, which the wind blows across the far side of the cove. On any part of this massive lake we would encounter some muddy water that was created by the wind coming down off the Divide creating a definitive break line in which the trout would cruise back and forth looking to ambush their prey. As we hiked around the lake we would come across every type of water condition you could imagine so we would have to constantly change out the color and depth of our Yo-Zuri lures in order to get the trout to respond to our offering. We rigged our fishing reels with the clear colored Yo-Zuri Hybrid line in 2 through 6-pound test on our UL spinning reels and then we matched it with a new Yo-Zuri Pins Minnow lure in the new Purple Brown Trout color and pattern.

The majority of these high altitude mountain lakes appear to have an emerald green color to a deep blue in color depending on the sunlight and shadows created by the clouds at any given time. The rocky shorelines with deep boulders and broken rocks hold a variety of forage such as nymphs, dace, minnows and juvenile trout for trout to feed on. The majority of these lakes are fed by summer rains and underwater springs that run very cold all year long, not to mention that they are kept full by the winter snow pack runoff from the long cold winters in the Rocky Mountains.

When you are up in the high country you need to be prepared for everything that Mother Nature has in store for you. We encountered rain, blazing heat, wind and even a mid-August hail storm that lasted for over an hour and left two inches of a snowy sleet on the ground.

This gave way to bright sunny skies and aggressive trout that were now cruising near the shoreline looking for another meal to satisfy their hunger.

The high country of the United States and Canada has much to offer fisherman. From New Mexico north to Montana and Colorado west to California the mountain lakes, rivers and streams have a variety of the most colorful trout species that anyone could imagine in their wildest dreams.

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From the mighty Lake Trout, known as the Mackinaw, to the smallest of the trout’s, the Brook, with Rainbows, Cutthroats, Goldens and Browns mixed in to complete the plethora of these gorgeous fish are available for anglers of all ages.

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Some of these waters hold a genetically mixed or Hybrid trout called a Splake, which come from the mix of Lake and Brook Trout families. Even the brightly colored Arctic Grayling is available for fisherman in the higher colder waters of the Rocky Mountains, although rare. We did not encounter any of these unique fish here, however we have caught them in Alaska; but that’s another story for another time.

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The fishing lures that we used to catch these fish were as varied as the trout themselves; we used three sizes of the Pins Minnows & Pins Minnow Magnet lures, two sizes of the Crystal Minnows lures as well as two styles of the innovative Sashimi Jerkbait & Minnow lures in the 2 ¾”, ¼ ounce size. These fishing lures come in a variety of colors to suit the most discriminating angler and to “match the hatch”, to reference a fly-fishing term, of the local baitfish and par, which is the first of the year trout offspring, that the trout were feeding on.

Many fishermen, mostly the inexperienced or children used some form of bait, such as worms or dough bait to catch their limit. This method is very productive even if it is not as challenging as Fly-Fishing or Spin-Fishing with artificial fishing lures. Be reminded that the majority of the high altitude lakes and rivers do not allow any type of bait, so be sure to check the regulations of the body of water you intend to fish. Also, at this altitude the fish’s growth rate is extremely slow. Therefore we released the large majority of the fish we were fortunate enough to catch. Many areas even enforce a barbless hook rule, regardless of the method you are using.

We used Circlehooks as well as barbed and barbless fishhooks on our Yo-Zuri fishing lures. In fact, Yo-Zuri is the only fishing lure company to offer single Circlehooks pre-rigged on their Sashimi hard bait lures. All of the fish we caught on these lures did get hooked in the corner of their mouth, which is how these lures work. This allows the fish to be released unharmed, to swim another day.

The surroundings above 10,000 feet are awe-inspiring. At this altitude you are literally at the same level as the clouds. One of the lakes we fished is surrounded by the Continental Divide Mountains where the earth meets the sky and the water is cold and essential for life to exist.

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This resource supports a wide variety of terrestrial and ariel animals that use the reservoir in many different ways in order to survive. The innovativeness of all the creatures great and small that Mother Nature has devised is simply incredible. This was observed from the air, where the Eagles and Hawks circled high above the lake looking for an easy meal, to the top of the mountain where the elusive Rocky Mt. Rams dwelled at impressive heights.

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The ground creatures were made up of the small Two Striped Chipmunk or the larger more charismatic cousin the Golden Marmoset, as well as the larger grazers, the undulates, which are made up of Deer, Moose and Elk, to name a few. There were plenty of signs of Mountain Lions. However, it is very rare to see them, especially during day light hours.

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Yet it was the underwater creatures, primarily the fishes that we were after, namely; Brookies, Browns, Rainbows and the Native Cutthroat Trout. These are the primary species of fish that swim in the depths of this idyllic lake. The fish are absolutely beautiful!

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The fish’s coloration and markings match any painter’s pallet while their spirit and fight on such light fishing gear is a thing of beauty to be admired and respected by any fisherman or nature lover.

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Our approach to the lake was simple, we were going to hike around its beautiful circumference and fish the most obvious spots. Admiring the gorgeous surroundings that we found ourselves in, it was almost motion picture like as the day unfolded from the sunrise to mid day and then on into the magnificent sunsets. We concentrated on the points of the shoreline as it entered into the water tapering off into the abyss. You did not need a depth finder to define the structure hidden below the surface of the water. We used the surrounding shoreline to help us find the drop offs or long tapering points to cast our fishing lures in, around and over.

We fan casted our small stick baits out into the open water and varied our retrieve on any given time from a fast stop and go retrieve to a slow down deep along the bottom twitch and crawl. Each of these types of retrieves worked for us, yet we were not able to establish a true pattern on how the fish wanted us to reel our fishing lures in.

The trout were, at times, very cooperative while at other times they did not care or know we even existed.,  When they did hit the Sashimi Jerkbait fishing lures they took it hard and swam off fast with it in their mouths giving you barley enough time to set the hook before they went aerial.

Other times when we used the sinking version of the famous Pins Minnow fishing lures we would let it sink and then swim it very fast while twitching it aggressively and they would absolutely cream them. We had to vary our technique and retrieve each day and adjust them several times a day depending on the current conditions. We did this consistently in order to entice the trout into hitting our offerings.

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At times, bigger trout were chasing smaller trout from the previous year’s hatch, which hugged the shoreline at our feet for protection. Other times the trout would want larger elongated minnow shaped fishing lures and yet other times they would not feed on any of our lures but could be seen sipping the hatch of the day from the meniscus of the water. Memisus is the surface tension where air meets water, usually late in the afternoon after the predictable rain storm each day that began around 2 PM and can last from only a few minuets to over two hours.

One day the rain turned into a hard sleet/snow storm that actually hurt us when the sleet pelted us in the head and face This sent us hiking fast for the nearest cover to hole up for over an hour.

Out in the open country it is hard to find cover, especially in blinding sleet, so since there were no trees around the lake we trekked back into the forest to find some large pine trees for cover.

Most of the time the storms passed within a half hour or less but the strong winds had started in the mountains and swept down onto the lake staying long after the storm passed. This made fishing with light fishing tackle and fishing lures that much more difficult.  Once the storm did pass the sun would shine and the hatch would begin a feeding frenzy, which would encourage us to hike back to the lake and start free casting our Sashimi Jerkbaits fishing lures to see if they were hitting where we left off.  Sometimes they picked right up where we stopped and hit our fishing lures with reckless abandon. Other times we would downsize to smaller Pins Minnows lures to entice them to feed. Either way we were always in the action within a half an hour of the storm.

While fishing in new waters we always like to try different approaches to the usual techniques.

On top of the world the most popular approach is to fish with flies as there is always some sort of hatch going on whether it is above the surface, on the surface or under the surface. The most basic of the three types of flies that are used at this altitude are Dry, Nymphs and Wooly Buggers. Of course, there are many different types of flies such as Wet, Streamers, Midges, Egg and Scud patterns to name but a few. However, if you concentrate on the basics, either with a fly rod or the spinning rod alternative, the fly & bubble, you will be successful in landing a limit of tasty trout for the frying pan and say that you caught them on flies.

We did not pursue these magnificent fish with any of the fly options presented above but choose to spend our time trying to temp them with hard bait fishing lures. Your deftness with the light fishing equipment is difficult to master as every cast is met with a stiff wind, always from the wrong direction, of course.  The light weight of the Classic Pins Minnows fishing lures were not up to the test of these strong winds so we switched out for the newer and more diverse Pins Minnow Magnet series; which are enhanced with the original internal magnetic weight transfer system. This allowed us to cast directly into the wind with accuracy and ease. It was very important to be able to get long casts in order to cover the water column.

We encountered trout at every level of the water from the surface of the mirrored lake, into the rocky bottom, then along the mud break lines. Many times as you were reeling in you would “hook up” at mid depth while in full retrieve.

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Other times you would “get bit” right off your rod tip close to the edge.

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One time, as soon as my lure hit the water a few big rainbows fought over it and I “was on” before I even turned the reel handle once to engage the bail.

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Tempting trout high above tree line with artificial fishing lures is a special style of fishing. With on the water experience you can learn to master quickly, while at the same time you will appreciate the conditions in which these fish live and call home.

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We used a diverse assortment such as Floating, Sinking and Suspending lures and combined them with our Ultra- Light fishing tackle with our 4-pound test, which we found to be the perfect pound test for these feisty fish. The Yo-Zuri Hybrid line is a unique fishing line that is made up of a combination of Yo-Zuri’s proprietary nylon and proprietary Fluorocarbon pellet material, which is a unique blend of sensitive and strong in one fishing line.

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The sensitivity of the line is a must when fishing for such light feeders therefore the diameter is very small which increases the sensitivity. Like sensitivity, strength of the line is imperative when fishing in Rocky Mountain lakes, rivers or streams. The combination of these two traits is found only in Yo-Zuri Hybrid line and a must have in order to catch these fish.

The trout would strike softly and just mouth the fishing lure and swim off with it.  So, as your line swims off in any direction during your retrieve you need to swiftly but smoothly swing back to set the hook, being careful not to put too much pressure on them as to not rip the hook free from their soft mouths.  When the trout were feeding aggressively they would attack the fishing lure and jump before you even know that you had a strike. At these times you did not have time to think about setting the hook, you just had to keep up with the fish as they jumped wildly in every direction. This fat Rainbow trout fell to a Pins Minnow Sinking version of fishing lure in the new Hot Pink Rainbow color. It jumped over five times before coming to a soft shoreline landing. On such light line it is just a thrill to experience the hit but when you do hook up to a fatty like this you can truly appreciate their stamina. Fishing in this pristine environment while catching these vibrant multi-colored trout is an experience that lives beyond words to describe.  You either get it or you never will.

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The coloration of the trout depends on the time of year and species that you are catching. Certain species of trout spawn at different times of the year. Rainbows are spring spawners while Browns and Brookies spawn in the fall. During this time of the year the colors on the side and back of the fish become more vibrant, at the same time the tail and fins change coloration making them a living painting. The worm like markings appear to be put on them with very deliberate attention to detail, never missing a spot. These colors and markings serve to let it be known to all interested fishes that it is spawning time.  At the same time the colors become prominent the upper jaw of the male trout changes shape and develops what is known as a kype. That is; an enlarged head with a hooked jaw that has over-sized teeth that looks to be exaggerated and protruding from their jawbone. This impressive display of nature during the spawn is a sight to behold. Most species of Salmoninae, trout are a part of this family, experience this kind of metamorphosis during the spawn.

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The fall is a terrific time of the year to be fishing this high up as the Aspen leaves change from green to gold, the Elk are defending their territory in order to get the right to mate and the colors of the fish are exaggerated beyond belief and what the photos of them can show.  The crisp fall air allows one’s metabolism to kick into high gear. Mix that with the thin air and natural adrenaline rush you wake up with every day and in every way your senses begin to come alive again.

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Once removed from the day-to-day stress that life brings upon us all and you are able to reduce the “white noise” to the simple chirping of birds or the distant sound of the water running down the mountain you become renewed again. The water feels like it is running through your body cleansing you to start over fresh once again. Water meditations are one of the most powerful to experience in nature. Whether it be water falls, a river flowing at it’s own pace or the ocean, waters power and properties are life giving and life saving. You can appreciate it in this arid air and land, which we have now become a part of these past fourteen days.

Overall, we enjoyed our few weeks in the Colorado Mountains and we’ll be back again on another adventure in this unbridled wilderness of North American big game animals and the wily trout. Too, we will have other fishing adventures to be shared as we travel around our beautiful world.  Until then enjoy your time outdoors and remember to bring Yo-Zuri fishing tackle and fishing lures along.

Blue Skies & Tightlines…………………

FIN-TASTIC CLARION ISLANDS

It was a bright and sunny, yet very windy day, as the magnificent yacht pulled slowly and deliberately out of port from the well-known Cabo San Lucas harbor dock. All of our fishing tackle, fishing rods, fishing lures and fishing line were loaded and stored on this luxurious yacht.

This beautiful harbor is surrounded on three sides by mountains, condos and white sand beaches. All types of activities abound in this watery playground, including surfing, wind sailing, jet skiing, swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling to name a few of the relaxing pastimes that tourist and native participate in everyday. At times, you can enjoy feeding the Pelicans or the local Sea Lions. The local fish and wildlife officials do not encourage this activity, however these unafraid, almost domesticated “wild” animals will take your offerings with no hesitation.

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You have the opportunity to walk, dine and shop till you drop right on the boardwalk that wraps around the harbor. There is a plethora of street vendors selling everything from Cuban cigars to sunglasses and hats to keep you cool. You can also stop for a cold afternoon cocktail or fresh Sushi appetizer.

Once we cleared the myriad of boats that were docked, sitting in wait, for their next venture into these rich, fish filled waters; we pulled up to the fuel dock and filled the vessel’s tanks to the maximum for our long trip to the fishing grounds. The total length we would be out to sea would last for 10 magical days.

Our Gladiator yacht effortlessly glided by the instantly identifiable and internationally famous, towering rocks which greeted us as we exited the mouth of the choppy inlet.  At that point, we were able to see just how windy it was as the open ocean was full of white caps and seas reaching four to six feet with swells every two to three seconds. This was not a sight we wanted to see at the beginning of our long journey into the blue. However we pushed onward to the seldom fished and world famous fishing grounds where the Tuna and Wahoo live.

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The anticipation of catching a fish would have to wait for a while as prior to getting to our destination we would have a thirty-six hour ride before we were able to wet a line as well as whet our fishing appetite.

We were going to fish a “permit only” zone in the rich Mexican waters, which only a few fortunate people ever have a chance to fish in their lifetime.  The permit was issued by the Mexican Government and one not easily obtained, I might add. I was an invited guest, by Editor in Chief of Sportfishing Magazine, Mr. Doug Olander.  One of the Captains, a Yo-Zuri Pro Staff and close friend, Captain Josh Temple, was able to secure the permit for the week, which enabled us to fish these protected and secluded waters.

The fishing tackle that we used was a variety of conventional, spinning and even light baitcasting outfits to fish for a multitude of fish species. Our fishing lures were designed to stand up to these big, strong, fast and aggressive feeders. Our main quarry was Yellowfin Tuna however we also had shots at Wahoo, Marlin and Dorado and took time out for some bottom fishing for several species of Grouper, Blue Trevally and a variety of many other beautifully colored types of reef fishes.

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The type of fishing lures that we used consisted of trolling lures, casting lures and jigging lures. A few of the most productive trolling fishing lures we used consisted of the Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bonita, Sashimi 3D Magnum, and the new Crystal 3D Deep Diving Minnow.  All of these fishing lures have a built in through-wire construction in order to hold onto bigger fish without the fear of the lure or hooks breaking off, like other inferior built fishing lures do. The most productive casting fishing lures we used were the Sashimi Bull Popper, Sashimi Slider, Sashimi 3D Popper and Sashimi 3D Squirt.

IMG_0463 IMG_0503 IMG_0614 Of course, our most exciting technique, at least for me, was the topwater action, which was provided by many different sized Yellowfin Tuna, from schoolies to footballs up to a magnificent 275 plus pounder. I will always remember the one that got away, as it inhaled my full sized 8” Sashimi Bull Popper and kept on going with no chance of me slowing her down with my out matched lighter spinning tackle. At times we would switch out gear as smaller Tuna or Mackerel moved in.  This would give your arms a rest from the larger more appropriate fishing tackle we needed to use if we were to land the behemoths that swim in these waters.

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We even had Wahoo chase our Sashimi Slider fishing lures back to the boat. At one point one of the guys took the hooks off the Sashimi Slider and had Wahoo and Tuna hit and hold onto it during the fight, sometimes fighting all the way back to the boat. Once they finally realized they were not hooked the fish would simply open their mouths and swim off free to fight another day.

Vertical jigs are what we used for our bottom fishing. These are known as “speed jigs and butterfly jigs”, which come in a variety of weights, lengths, colors, sizes and shapes. Although you can catch Tuna and Wahoo on these jigs, we used them mainly for vertical jigging over the reefs for Grouper, Blue Trevally and Pargo (Snapper), to name a few of the species.

It was humbling and inspiring at the same time to be able to be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no other boats in sight.  Then, for us to have short bursts of open feeding frenzies by these acrobatic pelagic swimmers was just amazing.

Of course, this was then followed by endless hours of nothing going on but sea birds and porpoises flying and swimming around us on their daily migrating routine. This gave us time to enjoy lunch everyday from one very good chef. We all ate well and enjoyed our Tuna Sushi Hurricanes as an appetizer and then a thick Tuna or Wahoo steak for dinner each night. These meals were first class and equal to a 5 star meal anywhere in the world, all served in surroundings that were unmatched by anyone’s imagination.

Of course, at times, we used live baitfish, as well as the fishing lures. The only issue was that we would have to leave our “hot spot” to travel over 60 miles to an island where we were able to “make bait”.  During this run to the baitfish grounds we were privileged to a picture show of a magnificently different volcanic island, where the ash created veins caused by wind and water erosion at the foundation of the island. The main baitfish was the Goggle-eye, which we were able to duplicate perfectly with our Sashimi Bonita, Sashimi Slider and Sashimi Bull Popper fishing lures. Once we made it back to the fishing grounds it was Game-On as the fish seem to have a magic dinner bell that Captain Dan had timed perfectly everyday.

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This routine went on for 10 days, from sunrise to sunset.  As each day unfolded we knew that it would be special and different from the day before. So our expectations were high every morning at breakfast as to what we would see and who would catch the “fish of the day”.

One day the gigantic Oceanic White Tip Sharks were molesting our baits so that the Tuna could not get anywhere near them. One of us would volunteer to keep the sharks “entertained” while the others tried to hook the Tuna swimming and milling around in our slick. These huge Sharks are terrific fighters and were big, powerful and never gave up the fight, even after hours of being hooked. After one full day of fighting so many of these giants of the deep, I went to sleep with my hands and arms locked into a bent position and woke up the same way the following morning. Once I had a restful night of sleep on the open ocean, I had to have help stretching out my forearms, hands and fingers in order to get them back into fishing condition for that day on the water. If you have ever had the duty of fighting these Sharks you would understand just how strong they are and how many can come into your chum slick to eat and harass the other species you are trying to catch.

Enough about the Sharks because we were there to catch Tuna in as many ways as possible including live bait, dead bait, casting under water Sliders, trolling, casting big poppers into the boils and vertical jigging. About the only way that we did not try to catch them was with live bait on kites, as we did not need to resort to this technique.

Every day we would try something different in order to develop new techniques, use tried and true ones, as well as testing new prototype fishing lures just to see what limitations we would have with our fishing tackle, if any. These fish tested our tackle and our mettle, both physical and mental, to their limits. In our 6 full days of fishing we did not experience any fishing tackle failure thanks to a well-prepared Captain, 1st Mate and Crew of the Gladiator, not to mention the high quality fishing gear, which we brought along with us. The gear, which we used, is made by Yo-Zuri America – fishing lures and lines, AFTCO – gloves and belts, Quantum and Van Stall – fishing rods and fishing reels.

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We had a blast using the Van Stall bail-less spinning reels, which as the name dictates, have no bail to fail when casting heavy duty Sashimi Big Game fishing lures long distances. The drag system performed flawlessly during many long hard fought battles with burning runs as well as sustained deep dives that kept the pressure on the fishing tackle and us.

Every afternoon when the sun was low on the horizon we would cast Sashimi Poppers out to the boiling fish, which were a mix of Tuna and Wahoo. This is one of the most exciting and enjoyable sights you will ever see as the whole ecosystem is reveled to us humans in their natural environment. The full food chain and circle of life unfolds in front of your eyes and you become immersed into their world. To be a witness to this is truly a blessing and something that needs to be experienced by every angler, if the chance presents itself. This is also when the Yo-Zuri fishing lures turned fishing into catching!

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At these times, we tested some of the new prototype fishing lures and fishing tackle for the next model year. We also had a contest trying to see who could keep a fish on the longest without hooks on their lures. After a few hours of this we all determined that it was a tie since we all had success bringing fish to the boat unhooked. So by now you think the fish would just commit suicide, which at times it seemed like. However, this is far from reality, as we did have to work to temp the fish to eat our Yo-Zuri fishing lures. Of course, during the trip we had times that the feeding blitz was on and fishing was easier.

Once, we landed a few Yellowfin Tunas and they would throw-up some small crustaceans, which turned out to be Pelagic Crabs. It is amazing how fish so big would eat something so small and fill themselves up with them. Their stomachs were filled with these high protein shellfish. However, this would not stop them from crashing our fishing lures time and time again. From topwater lures to deep divers we were able to fish an endless variety of techniques and lure styles to see what worked best. At the end of the trip we had these fish dialed in as to what the best colors, styles and techniques were, which we will use during other trips for Tuna and Wahoo as our starting point. This will allow us to save time and get to catching bigger fish faster.

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It was a terrific respite from the modern world of everyday life with traffic jams, phone calls and other responsibilities and obligations that society puts on us each day. This trip is one that will be cherished for many years to come as we all made new friends and had the chance to catch up and spend quality time with some long time friends. This is a true paradise in an unspoiled part of the world.

During our stay on this classy yacht in the Pacific Ocean we saw only two other boats, a sailboat and another Sport fisher that was not even fishing but just driving by on its way back to port. We were treated to a spectacular sunset each evening as the seas settled down for the nighttime and the creatures that live here found their own resting spot. Some of the sea faring birds would rest up on our crows nest for the night since no other solid ground was anywhere in sight. As the darkness took hold of the sky and seas, the night shift of ocean creatures started to stir. After dinner we would catch Squid, Grouper, Mackerel and other nocturnal feeders on light fishing tackle. Others would read or download the pictures from that day while the rest of us would get to bed early to rest for the start of another day.

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This drama would play out over and over again for the week until it was time to leave this unique place on our planet. We took the long slow ride back to Cabo, which was smoother and more comfortable than the ride to the famous “Roco-Patida” as known by the local Mexican people, which means partition rock in Spanish. If you ever have the chance to fish out of Cabo San Lucas, you owe it to yourself to experience one of the premier fishing destinations the world has to offer. Do not let this prolific place go un-fished by you; you will regret it.

Until our next fishing excursion, “Tight Lines and Blue Skies”!

Remember to “FISH THE BEST” fish Yo-Zuri!

 

 

 

 

El Salto Bass Duel/Yo-Zuri Shootout

The plans were made, the flights were booked, the Yo-Zuri fishing lures, bass fishing rods, extra Hybrid fishing line and Fluorocarbon Leaders were all packed, the table was set and now the guests had arrived for the 1st Annual Duel/Yo-Zuri Bass Shootout. This bass fishing contest was being held at the world famous Anglers Inn resort on beautiful Lake El Salto.

The premise for this fishing challenge was for the Yo-Zuri America Team to fish against the R & D Team from the Duel Company in Japan. So we invited several of the prominent fishermen from Duel and a Japanese Bass Fishing celebrity, appropriately named, Bass Ninja!

The rules were simple; go Catch Big Bass!

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Oh, yes, there was one more rule; the Yo-Zuri Team could only use Yo-Zuri Bass fishing lures and the Duel Team could only use Duel Bass fishing lures.

So, we set out to have some fun and use some of the most innovative bass fishing lures on the planet. The fishermen who were with us had helped in the development of these designs, which are not only creative, but extremely productive, as we were to find out.

After our arrival we took a short and uneventful 90-minute drive from the airport in Mazatlan, Mexico to the gates where a bass fisherman’s dream lodge awaited us. A cool, authentic Mexican Margarita, smiles and a welcomed helping hand greeted us.

 

 

 

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This idyllic lake is situated between two large mountains that hover above the lake like sleeping giants. The owner and good friend of ours is Billy Chapman Jr., a famous fishing enthusiast who has fished around the world. He has fished North American waters as well as South American Rivers extensively for the past 35 years. Billy is responsible for the introduction of Florida strain Largemouth Bass that were stocked in the lake back in the 80’s. He certainly has done a yeoman’s job of creating a world-class sustainable bass fishery.

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Lake El Salto was flooded many years ago and there are many interesting sites along the shoreline and below the surface. The features that we fished were very diverse indeed and included flooded tress, rip rap, deep boulders, below a dam, over weed beds, on top of hyacinth, over weed humps in the middle of coves, around telephone poles, along barbed wire fence lines and most interesting of all the cemetery area that was under water. Needless to say we caught and released so many bass in these spots we all lost count.

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Lake El Salto is that productive. However, when we did concentrate on what we call “The Spot on the Spot”, this is when the Bigger Bass were caught. It takes time and understanding to find these spots, which hold large concentrations of fish as well as the giants, we were all attempting to coax with our artificial offerings.

The fish were tempted with a variety of fishing lures and fishing techniques: Topwater baits, Jerk baits, Crank baits, Rattlin’ Vibe Lipless baits, Minnow baits, Suspending Shad baits and Jointed Swim baits.

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Okay, so now your thinking that the fish we’re after will strike anything we could cast at them. While at times this is true, the devil is in the details when it comes to catching the largest bass on the spot you are fishing, which is what El Salto is known for. Imagine, the lake record is 16 Pounds!

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Each of the techniques were presented in a very specific way depending on the environmental factors at that moment, such as time of year, wind, water temperature, PH, Barometric Pressure Readings and all the rest of what makes a bass feed or not — you get the idea. In addition to all of the conditions that we faced, which can change at any moment, each of us needed to rely on our own knowledge of which lure to use, when to use it and what color or pattern to use as well as where and how we intended to present them to our quarry. These were intimidating conditions for the fisherman from Japan, as at home they do not have many lakes with this type of diverse cover. Yet, they all managed to catch fish throughout their stay and each of us learned something new from each other by fishing together.

Within the group we had decades of bass fishing experience from both hemispheres yet each contestant had their own specific idea of how to catch the trophy fish we were all after.

For each of us that milestone varied. Some of us had never caught a bass over 5 pounds, some of us had never caught one over 8 pounds and many of us had never caught that magic10 pounder!  By the time we were finished with our contest most of us would reach a new personal “best” for the biggest bass we have ever caught in our fishing lives.

The food sources that the bass feed upon varies from season to season, and location to location on the lake. Crayfish that roam the bottom, and leeches, snakes, frogs, small minnows, gizzard or threadfin shad and larger Tilapia or Bluegills all help make the big fish belly heavy and their eyes bulge out of their head.

So the fishing lures we tied onto the end of our Yo-Zuri Powercarbon Leader needed to imitate the size, color and swimming action of these major food sources.

As we took a slow ride around the islands close to the camp we saw some of the best cover and structure in any lake on the planet. There are so many places for the fish to hide, spawn, feed and just live carefree lives to a ripe old age that we could spend years fishing here and not fish the same spot twice. We saw tell tale signs of bass all around us. Fish were breaking on the surface. There were boils around small schools of baitfish and locals bringing in their days catch of Tilapia sported a small bass or two in their nets now and then.

During the days we were on the water there were times that the beauty and serenity overtook us and our concentration slipped to admiration of the nature all around us and then . . . suddenly . . . we were brought back to reality when schools of 3 to 6 pound fish would come up to the surface boiling in a feeding frenzy chasing baitfish in all directions.

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We found out quickly that if you do not “match the hatch” you will be left behind and miss out on the action. They can be some of the most finicky bass anywhere in any body of water where they live. This is hard to fathom since the population of bass in this lake is ridiculously dense.  Every class of fish is represented in the lake from small fingerlings to schools of marauding 3 pound fish, not to mention the multiple 6, 7, 8 & 9 pound fish that we were catching.

At times, the schoolie bass were eating everything in their path. They swam in open water chasing shad or worked a ball of baitfish down the bank of a cove pinning them against the shoreline. Sometimes a larger female bass would come in and break up the frenzy. Of course, these were the fish we targeted; all the while the smaller bass were aggressively feeding on the shad with no escape.

A typical start of our day before we took to the water would go something like this:

A half-hour before sunrise, an inviting knock at your door was a wakeup call. Then you were greeted in bed with your choice of hot coffee or tea and then off to breakfast. Once we completed receiving our nourishment to begin our day on the water, we would gather our gear and jump into the trailer for a short ride, well within walking distance, which brought us to the lake shoreline where our guides and boats waited. While most guides did not speak very good English they did have a great working knowledge of the lake and the types of fishing lures that are the most productive for each of the spots they would take you to. So they knew the difference between crankbaits and topwater lures and would help you use the correct fishing lure in any situation. They especially understood color selection for the area they were fishing in and would communicate that to you if you asked.

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We were at the first spot of the day as the sun slowly made its way over the mountain-scape. As the water birds took to the sky and the resident cattle began to stir, we choose our favorite topwater fishing lures to get us started on our day. The lures that made up our morning arsenal were the Sashimi Popper and the Sashimi Pencil, which are a “walk-the-dog” style topwater lure.

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These two topwater style of fishing lures create a commotion on the surface of the water which fish perceive to be baitfish. To a wary big bass this means breakfast and an opportunity to feed on something substantial. The thrilling strike of a topwater lure brings back childhood memories of nighttime fishing in the summertime on a frog filled lake with a fly rod popper. There is something about largemouth bass attacking topwater baits that is timeless and gets your adrenalin going.

Each fisherman from the US or Japan had their own way of rigging these phenomenal topwater fishing lures made by both Yo-Zuri & Duel. No matter the type of knot, loop or otherwise, everyone would be tied up to Yo-Zuri Fluorocarbon Leader material. Some of us used the H.D. Carbon in Disappearing Pink and others would use the newer clear Powercarbon, which has a lower light re-fraction index to the color of water than most other fluorocarbon leader material on the market.  To say that the surface fishing was as fun as it gets just would not do it justice. Cast after cast, your heart would be in your throat, waiting with anticipation for bass to explode on your Sashimi lure with reckless abandon. Just as it did, seconds earlier, on your partners lure, which he is fighting as you look on him with one eye and your own lure with the other, to be sure not to miss your own strike.

We would work in tandem, one of us with a Sashimi Pencil, which is a “walk-the-dog” style lure and the other with the Sashimi Popper.

These lures have two International Patents issued to them, one for their color changing feature known as Chameleon and the other for their Wave Motion Ribs which send out vibrations into the water column. Big bass sense the lure with their Lateral Line and then come in for a closer look to investigate the baitfish in distress vibrations being sent out from the ribs. The bass’s Lateral Line is one of the major ways that they find prey to feed upon. Additionally, they use their sight and sense of smell depending on water clarity, light and other conditions.

The back & forth action of the Sashimi Pencil showed the full range in which the colors changed each time the lure abruptly switched directions. You could see how realistic looking the fishing lure appeared. All the while we collectively held our breath just waiting for, the sure to come, vicious strike from those large, aggressive bass.

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They would explode from under logjams way in the back of those idyllic coves practically giving you a heart attack from scaring you half to death! When a big ole lunker wants to eat a topwater lure, you best get out of her way as she comes fast & hard and usually inhales your lure deep down her maw. We had no fear of hurting them as we were using the Sashimi Pencil rigged with Circle Hooks so each fish was perfectly hooked in the corner of the mouth and released safely back into the water. Yo-Zuri is the only lure company that offers pre-rigged hardbaits for bass that come with Circle Hooks right out of the package.

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El Salto practices a catch and release policy. However, you can always get a replica of that Trophy Bass you caught and let her swim free to spawn another day and provide the thrill of a lifetime for another angler.

The lake offers a place to fish & style of fishing for anyone, amateur or pro. If you prefer to fish with Crawfish patterned crankbaits along the dam, they have it; cast Rattlin’ Vibes in standing trees, of course; Jerkbaits over stumps fields, awesome; twitch a minnow bait over a weedbed, heart stopping; or “walk” your way to an 8 pound bass on the surface, the choices are endless and up to you.

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Different techniques would define how the larger fish in a particular area preferred to feed. With a constant back and forth movement of the Sashimi Pencil or a pop-n-stop-n-pause technique of the Sashimi Popper the topwater fishing was just awesome. All of this pre and post sunrise action took place along the shorelines and around the tress. There are several types of wood cover that we fished; tall standing ones, in log jams or over the tops of the submerged trees which were full of bass suspending in the limbs and branches.

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As you can see, one way or the other we were assured of a fish — small, medium or large.

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The morning bite ends way too soon for us, so we reluctantly transition into some shallow running fishing lures like the Sashimi Minnow, Sashimi Jerkbait Sashimi Shallow Crank and Sashimi Jointed Swimbait.

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We would sometimes be forced to downsize our fishing lures to match the small shad they were feeding on. Our Sashimi Jerkbait did the trick for us, as it is almost an exact replica of these bite-sized morsels they were gorging themselves on. It is amazing just how big a fish you can catch on small lure as time and again we switched out to smaller baitfish imitations.  Yet, at other times the bigger bass hit the larger profiled fishing lures like the Yo-Zuri Sashimi Jointed Swimbait.  This lure suspends. Therefore we were able to keep it in the strike zone for a longer period of time to allow the larger bass to hone in on a bigger profiled fishing lure and inhale it.

From what we observed and Bass Ninja told us over dinner (this was through the use of an interpreter since he did not speak English), the Duel Team were fishing with Hardcore Poppers and Noi-Z Propbait, which is jointed, in the AM and like us switched over to subsurface lures like the Hardcore Crankbaits, Hardcore XX Flat Minnows and Hardcore XX Shads as the sun increased its angle in the sky and the fish began to feed below the surface.

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Bass Ninja has fished for bass in all regions and prefectures in Japan, he also fishes for saltwater species when time allows. He has a great sense of humor and when he felt that he did not have a good day on the water he would come back into shore and get on his knees and bow down in his own disgrace. Then he would get up and say “tomorrow revenge” we will get them, let’s have a “margarita”. He learned that word fast during our stay.

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At this point you’ll have fished three or four different spots with a diverse assortment of techniques and lure selection, so you head back to the lodge for some refreshments and a well prepared lunch, which changes every day. Most times lunch is traditional Mexican fare such as Tacos or Burritos; with an all you can eat policy. You will then sleep like a baby during your three-hour fishing hiatus. Of course this is in your air-conditioned room with TV and your own private bathroom.

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After your relaxing siesta you’re off to the lake again for the afternoon fishing session. This time the fishing lures that we were rigged with were the Sashimi Deep Diving Crankbaits, Sashimi Flat Cranks, Sashimi Suspending Jointed Swimbait and the Sashimi Rattlin’ Vibe. This selection of lures, which we carefully chose, all go down deeper to the cooler water temperature, otherwise known as the Thermocline in the summertime. This zone in the water column is represented on your graph or temperature meter by a line that is well below the surface yet above the bottom of the lake. This contains the highest oxygen level and cooler water temperature that bass seek out in the summertime. The Salmon & Trout fishermen in the Great Lakes live by this area in order to put fish in the boat during the hot summer days.

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The color changing attributes and wave motion vibration from the ribs of the Sashimi Bass series really made a difference in the size of the fish we caught. Standard lures, which are smooth on the body and cannot change colors, caught smaller bass over the four-day trip. With the Sashimi lures we were able to catch several fish over ten pounds with numerous fish in the 6 to 8 pound range. It was not about the size of these bass it was their attitude. They are just downright mean, and built to survive.

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We varied our color selection depending on the water depth we were fishing in. For our Crankbait fishing in deeper water we used the Chameleon Parrot. In the timber we used the Metallic Tennessee Shad and along the rocks we used the Chameleon Copper Craw color.

For the lipless Sashimi Rattln’ Vibe we used more flashy attractive colors and patterns such as the Chameleon Pearl Blue or the Chameleon Shad or Bleeding Shad with red hooks. These colors served us well during our mid afternoon foray into the Mexican wilderness that this is lake surrounded by.

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Over the years we’ve come to intimately know Lake El Salto and enjoy each time we come back to fish a favorite spot. Even if you do not catch that fish of a lifetime, which you caught here many years ago, you know that you will have another chance at her again tomorrow. As we cast countless times along this magnificent shoreline I was reminded just how lucky we are as citizens of America to be able to come and experience the beauty of another country.

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At the end of the trip the tally was calculated and by a slim margin Team Yo-Zuri USA, with the help of Komatsu San, outlasted Team Duel from Japan. Many big bass were caught on a variety of fishing lures with light fishing equipment and heavy fishing gear, in open water or from deep cover, at dawn or high noon. At the right time it did not matter as long as we were prepared to switch techniques as required by the fish.  Now we are planning the “Revenge” trip on another body of water for yet another species of fish somewhere around the world.

Stay tuned for our next Fishing Challenge……………………………….<:”}}}><

Once in a Blue Moon

There is an old saying that you may be familiar with and it goes like this: “Once in a Blue Moon”!

This phrase is very apropos for this story for many reasons; the first of which was that I had the chance of a lifetime recently, to be able to fish with the World Famous Fisherman, Author, WWII Navy Pilot, Storyteller and all around Gentleman, Mr. Stu Apte. The second reason was that we would be staying on a mother ship deep in the Florida Everglades, and the third was that we were at the start of the annual migration of some serious sized Tarpon coming in from the Gulf of Mexico.

So, for all of these things to come together at the same time it truly was “Once in a Blue Moon”!

Oh, by the way, the name of the mother ship is, well you probably guessed it by now, Blue Moon!

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We were to meet at Flamingo, Florida deep into Everglades National Park. The dock and last sign of civilization was 38 miles from the entrance into the park, so if you did not want to spend $30.00 for a six pack of beer, by the way neither of us drink beer, you are to bring everything you will need, except food & drink as this was all on the mother ship, for a week in the Florida wilderness.

The week before I spent hours preparing our fishing tackle which included our fishing rods, fishing reels, fishing lures, fishing leaders and of course all of our clothing for yet another adventure.

We would have some of the 2014 prototype Yo-Zuri fishing lures that were to be tested to their limits, as well as the newest additions for the 2013 fishing season, which will be available by the time you read this.

As we prepared our fishing lures we paid close attention to the size, patterns and colors of the lures that we were going to use as we wanted to ensure that we covered all of our bases.

Far from usual in Southern Florida, the weatherman predicted a cold front at the beginning of the week, then a slow warming trend by the end of the week. Needless to say we would have our work cut out for us early on and then hopefully as it warmed back up we would be able to intercept them and have a legitimate shot at catching one of these ancient, magnificent and beautiful, Silver Kings as they are known worldwide.

We loaded all of our fishing tackle into the brand new Beavertail flats boat that Stu just received the Friday before. The true professional that Stu is, he had the boat rigged perfectly for our fishing trip from the Lenco trim tabs to the Powerpole, as well as a stealthy Minn Kota electric trolling motor. So, all of our fishing equipment was in tiptop shape and ready for whatever the fish Gods had in store for us that week.

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Now for those of you that may not be familiar with this area of the world the Florida Everglades is one of the most diverse fisheries anywhere on our blue planet.

There are many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and of course our main quarry fish.

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Many of these species are not indigenous to Florida and are wrecking havoc on the ecosystem. Particularly the snakes and fish that have been released into the wild because of careless people after their “pets” have turned into what nature intended them to be; big, fierce, hungry and not domesticated. So without any thought process what-so-ever people let them go, so that they can be “free” and do not kill them, without knowing that those same creatures are killing everything in the everglades. This is because the indigenous animals have not developed any defense mechanisms against these creatures over the eons of time that it would take to protect them from being eaten by these unwanted invaders.

What is unique about the fishery here is that you can catch Largemouth Bass, Snook, Redfish, Sea trout and Tarpon all in the same day in the same areas on the same Yo-Zuri fishing lures. Not to mention that the Gulf of Mexico is feeding this diverse fishery and you can also catch Cobia, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel and Bluefish. We were even surprised by a Black Grouper, that put up quite a fight on the light spinning gear we were using. On any given day you never know what you might catch here!

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However, our target species were Tarpon with Snook and Redfish on the side menu when the Tarpon were not in the area or did not cooperate, which, if you fish for Tarpon, can be most of the time.

We started each day with a hearty breakfast, prepared by Chef Mark who is an excellent Chef that prepared delicious dinners for us each night. I think that I even gained weight on this trip despite casting hard for 8 hours each day.

Our host Shafter Johnson and his wife Amy and son Shafter were the definition of hospitality.

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Blue Moon Expeditions is one of the best at what they do, which is to make you feel at home, feed you like it is Thanksgiving and guide you to some of the hot spots that you dream about and keep you safe while doing so.

In the morning Shafter would get the Beavertail ready with all the necessities for a full day on the water.

We headed across Whitewater Bay to our fishing spot each morning as the sun was rising above the horizon. Since the Tarpon feed better in low light cloudy conditions, especially in the AM and PM, we wanted to be in our spot casting before the sun came up.

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We would have several rods rigged with different Yo-Zuri fishing lures to cover the water column and the species that we were in search of that day. One of the most productive lures was the Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow, which has, an “Attack” point under the belly hook as well as Ultra Violet colors and natural baitfish patterns.

This series of lures, Crystal 3D Minnows, are offered in many different styles for every application; Jointed “Waker” for shallow water fishing, Floating/Diving, Sinking, Magnums for big fish, Deep Divers for trolling and Crystal 3D Shrimp for a subtle natural presentation.

We also used two of the newer 2013 Sashimi style fishing lures, which caught one oversized Snook, the very productive Sashimi Larger Topwater Pencil & Jerkbait. These lures have the innovative color change feature, as well as, the patented Wave Motion Technology that gives off multiple vibrations into the water column that fish sense with their Lateral Line.

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We would set up on the side of a migratory path which the Tarpon were using to get to & from their feeding or resting places and cast into one of the “slicks” that the Tarpon seemed to be feeding in.

We would continually cast into these zones, all the while, concentrating on the surface of the water for rolling and feeding Tarpon. The primary baitfish they were feeding upon were Mullet and Pilchards. Of course, there are many other baitfish’s’, which they will eat, such as Greenies, Shrimp, Paola Worms, Ladyfish and even Catfish as part of their varied diet.

We would, to use a phrase from Fly Fishing terminology, “match the hatch”, with our Yo-Zuri fishing lures. The water is Tannic, which means, as the mangrove leaves decompose in the water, they turn the water a brownish color releasing the tannins from the leaves. Therefore, we would make sure that our fishing lures matched the food source and water color we were fishing in.

A few of the more productive colors were Bunker, Mullet, Gold/Black, or the Yo-Zuri exclusive HAY color which is a baitfish from Japan called Ayu.

After a few days the air warmed, the wind settled down and the water temps started to increase. This is when we started to catch more fish consistently on our dialed in, perfected technique, properly sized and colored fishing lures. We caught many schoolie Redfish, Medium to Larger Snook and Tarpon of a size range of 50 pounds up to upper mid 100 pounders on a variety of Yo-Zuri lures.

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However, the highlight of this trip was when the Tarpon would cooperate and hit our lures on the retrieve. We found that they would sometimes strike with a consistent medium to fast retrieve or when we slow rolled our fishing lures close to the surface looking like a dying mullet.

Our success speaks for itself by this beautiful 100 plus pound tarpon caught by Stu on the Crystal 3D Minnow Magnum lure.

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Stu is a master at fighting huge fish by using the butt section of his rod, not the tip, as he could get “down and dirty”, by putting maximum pressure on the fish. The reason for this is to be able to land them as quickly as possible to ensure their survival after we released them to swim freely and fight another day.

If you enjoy being on the water in a pristine environment surrounded by nature with some of the most pleasant people you could ever be around then Blue Moon Expeditions is for you. Each night the sun would set over the Gulf of Mexico which you would witness from the bay that the mother ship was anchored in.

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With a cold drink in one hand and sore arms from the day on the water pulling on fish, we would be immersed in this peaceful and tranquil setting prior to dinner. This multi species fishery is something that you want to add to your bucket list and experience firsthand as there are few places left in the USA to be isolated from society and the day-to-day grind we all face in the office every week.

Remember to bring along the most productive fishing lures for this dynamic fishing destination, Yo-Zuri – Fish The Best!

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