Former Bassmaster Elite Series pro Greg Gutierrez checked in with some insight, tips and rigging suggestions to cash in on the 2018 Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge, blasting off on the California Delta this coming weekend April 14 and 15.
#1 YAMAMOTO SANSHOUO
#WASJig Rig | Nose hooked application with a Frenzy Baits Wacky Saddle (Size Large) and Wack-A-Sack Jig (2/0 hook 3/16-ounce weight)
This is the time of year when there are going to be a lot of fish moving up to spawn.
Targets: With the current water temps and the way the fish are positioning, there a lot of fish that have moved up to that last staging area before the spawning flats. A large wave has moved past that first staging area (at the first river break/channel break) and they are in between that first drop, just before the shallows.
I would focus on these areas, looking for isolated targets or pockets. If the dirty water situation doesn’t clear out, I would stay on the grass hops and pockets that are created by the vegetation.
Presentation: A key would be to present it in a flat position, which is why I would use the Wack-A-Sack jig, keeping it nose heavy. The weight of the Sanshouo and the lighter weight jig will fall slightly nose first, allowing the tail action to continue after the head reaches the bottom. The head drop allows an extended time for the tail to flutter as it settles down. The body is salted, so will weight itself down; but the setup of the Wack-A-Sack will allow the body to slowly descend once the weight anchors to the bottom.
The articulating hook of the Wack-A-Sack jig allows this floating descent as opposed to a regular jig head or a bullet head, which will immediately pin to the bottom.
It is the time of year that the fish will pick up the tail of a bait and move it off. This can lead to an attempted hookset that never makes contact with the fish, as the tail is the only thing in their mouth. A Wacky Saddle on the nose of the Sanshouo will prevent you from pulling your bait off your hook, while the fish as the tail in its mouth and nothing else. Frequently his rigging setup with the Saddle and the Wack-A-Sack on the nose allows the fish to pull on the tail and my bait to stay intact. If I pull the bait away from the fish and it is still secure, I can drop back into the same location and get the fish to react to the bait again.
Colors: I do like black and blue and black and red color patterns for the darker water; however, for whatever reason I tend to do well with watermelon red with black flake or red and black flake have always been comfortable colors for me (even with dirtier water).
#2 YAMAMOTO NEKO WORM OR SENKO
#NailedIt | Neko Worm (shown) Or Senko on a Frenzy Baits Nail 3/16-ounce
The Nail has really opened my eyes to fishing a standup jig on the Delta. I’ve gotten my largest fish, so far at 13-pounds on the Delta using the Nail and I got it at this time of year.
The Senko is always an awesome bait, and can be fished very effectively on the Nail; but for a different presentation rig it with the Yamamoto/Daiwa Neko worm. Adding a Nail to the Neko worm, with its stand-up style appearance and bumping and moving it along, keeps the fluttery tail of the Neko wormmoving through water column.
The Nail’s barbed bait keeper secures the Senko or Neko worm, giving the plastics longer lives.
Target: I like to work the “Nailed” plastic worm over rocks or through tules, pockets next to tules or in the sparse tules.
I like to look for harder bottom, which can usually be found in the tules next to islands – places where the water has been cleaned it out a little bit more, leaving the firmer bottom.
I will also fish the sparse tules in little flats, coming off of clumps, like what you would find in Frank’s Tract.
Not to mention, I will throw it right up to the riprap and walk it right down the rock into the first grass line.
Presentation: I let it fall straight down, start shaking it and let it walk right on through the targeted area.
Colors: Black and blue is always a good color on the Delta, especially in the dirty water.
#3 YAMAMOTO SENKO
#NedNail | Modified Senko on a 3/16 Nail
With all of the bites a Senko is going to get, eventually they are going to get torn up. Don’t throw those ends away. Keep ‘em and later you can nub those things off and fish them as a Ned rig.
Target: The good thing about a Ned rig is even though it is a smaller bait, big fish eat it. The bad thing about a Ned Rig is the standard rig is not a weedless setup; but with the Nail, you can fish it through the heaviest of cover or brush and in and around areas that you wouldn’t normally throw an open-hook Ned Rig.
Presentation: This would be a presentation that I would look to for the productive, highly pressured areas that many anglers typically target. I wouldn’t be afraid to follow up an area that a guy has already flipped though; but I would come back at it with a Senko Ned-Rigged on a Nail with 8- or 10-pound-test line.
You will pick up baits that the other guys haven’t gotten. The big bass that sit back and haven’t succumbed to the other baits can be persuaded by that little Ned Rig.
Colors: My color choices are typically the same black and blue, green pumpkin, etc. I would also like to add in root beer/green and cinnamon purple with or without black flake.
#4 YAMAMOTO/DAIWA NEKO WORM
#WASJig | Neko Worm with a Wacky Saddle (Size Small) With a Wack-A-Sack Jig (2/0 Trapper Elite Wack-A-Sack or Round Bend Wack-A-Sack 3/16-ounce weight)
This rig is shown on the Daiwa/Yamamoto Neko straight worm; but could also be presented with a Yamamoto Cali Roll, Cut Tail or Pro Senko – each with a more slender profile. Again, I add the Saddle to keep the baits pinned in position and I don’t have to worry about rippin’ the bait off when the little ones grab the tail. My team partner and I have caught up to 19 fish on one Cali Roll using the Saddle.
Target: I would pitch this around tules that have a little bit more of a drop in the 2- to 3-feet range, where I can get a little wiggle out of the worm as it falls.
I will also key on riprap with this rig.
Presentation: The Wack-A-Sack jig head allows a good wiggle on the fall and on a wacky-rigged worm it acts as a weed guard, keeping the open hook straight up and down, allowing you to pull the lure through the grass and the tules. I would move it a foot or so, reel it up and just keep covering the country.
When fishing riprap, I will throw to the rocks and fish it down to the edge of the first weedline. This is especially good in a higher tide.
Colors: My color selection is the same as the Senkos.
The annual Yamamoto Big Bass Challenge is one of the most exciting bass fishing formats created with hourly payouts for multiple big bass. Only Yamamoto Baits can be used. These tips from Double G can help you rack up some Big Bass cash.