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Friday, July 8, 2005
Updated: July 15, 2:49 PM ET
Tips & tactics

By Keith Jackson
BASS Times, July 2005

Soft plastic stickbaits have become the weapons of choice for an increasing number of avid bass fishermen. The reason, of course, is that these lures are extremely versatile in terms of how they can be fished, where they'll catch bass, and when they're effective.

The versatility of the "soft stick" is so great that even the most dedicated fishermen are often surprised.

Take bass fishing legend Bill Dance, for example, whose first exposure to the YUM Dinger happened under the most trying circumstances — post-frontal conditions in the late fall when bass were suspended.

"In those kinds of conditions, catching fish is tougher than a week-old pork frog," Dance quipped.

"I've found that I can catch more of these suspended fish by fishing through them with a lure that glides in kind of a horizontal, sinking motion. With the Dinger, since it's a sinking bait, I had to make a little pocket in it with a heated nail. In the pocket, I put a matchstick, the idea being that a little more flotation would slow its fall and get me the horizontal motion I wanted."

The modification has worked according to plan, said Dance. In fact, he said it helped him catch fish that would ordinarily have been tough to entice.

Ken Cook has been enthralled with Berkley's Sinking Minnow, another soft stickbait patterned after the Senko, the Gary Yamamoto plastic that ushered in the current craze.

"The Sinking Minnow has been my go-to lure for Carolina rigging in cold water conditions," says the former Classic champion from Oklahoma.

"It's just so good an imitation of a little darter or some kind of bottom dwelling fish. You pull them, and they dart and head toward the bottom, and to me that is ideal."

The lure that ushered in the current soft plastic stickbait craze was the Yamamoto Senko, of course. Russ Comeau, a spokesman for Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, recently added another rigging option for die-hard stickbait fans. Comeau calls it the "roller rig," and it performs as advertised, spinning through the water column much like a swimming worm presentation. Best of all, the rigging technique makes the Senko weedless.

"What I do is run a 12-inch leader behind a ball bearing swivel, and rig it with a tungsten worm weight and glass bead. I like to use as small a hook as I can," explained Comeau.

"The key to the roller rig is to hook the Senko so that it has a slight hump, caused by putting the hook too far back or by twisting the Senko as I hook it. Both methods produce a bait that will twist and roll when retrieved."

The ball bearing swivel is a key component because it reduces potential line twist, particularly important when using spinning tackle.

Two other rigging methods bear experimentation. The first was shown to Comeau by a Yamamoto customer from Japan who has been rigging the 4-inch 9S Senko wacky-style. Using 8-pound-test line, he "walks" the soft stickbait on the surface, using his rod to manipulate the action.

"The neat thing," Comeau said, "is that when a fish would blow up on the bait, he only had to let it sink to get bit. He doesn't need a follow-up plastic because the Senko is the soft plastic."

In contrast, Tommy Cauley, a guide from Bee Branch, Ark., uses YUM Dingers and Right Bite Cinkos with 1-ounce weights. "I cast to a brushpile, drag the rig into it, and bang the sinker into limbs and branches. I let the sinker fall, and then I bang it as hard as I can and go on doing that until a fish hits. A lot of times this will trigger the fish to bite, and you can set in one spot and catch a limit."

Cauley added that this rigging method has saved the day more than once when he knew the fish were there but just not biting. Help | PR Media Kit | Sales Media Kit | Contact Us | News Archive | Site Map | Shop | Jobs at ESPN | Supplier Information
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