Home field advantage has been good to Major League Fishing pro Roy Hawk. The Lake Havasu City, Ariz. angler has had a lucrative “offseason” after wrapping up the tour season with a big win at the Wild West Bass Trail Arizona Team Championship and a second place in the WON Bass U.S. Open, both on Lake Mead.
The Wild West win allowed him and teammate Mark White to walk away with a brand new Bass Cat Margay. Helping the cause that tournament was a Yamamoto Mermaid, a bait that Hawk relies on when he needs a big bite.
Feeling the Momentum
During the recent Arizona Team Championship on Lake Mead, Hawk and White were catching fish and knew the opportunity to catch a big one was coming.
“We were starting to catch some fish and knew the momentum was in our favor because the fish were biting,” Hawk recalled. “I picked up the Mermaid and started pitching it to rocks, bushes, dark spots, and anything I thought fish could be next to. That allowed us to catch one of our biggest fish.”
The team weighed a 15.88-pound bag, a mega bag on Mead and rode that to a seven-pound lead on an extremely tough fishery.
Hawk fished the Mermaid on a Texas-Rig setup with a ½ ounce weight on 20-pound Sugoi fluorocarbon.
Photo: Inside Line
A Big Bass Bait
The Lake Mead event was a case in point, proving that the Mermaid is a big fish bait and Hawk says that is the case everywhere he goes across the country while fishing the Bass Pro Tour.
“I use it on lakes that have a good population of fish over three pounds,” Hawk says. “It works great down in Florida and the only major difference is that I would be using braided line. It is also a great punch bait because it is so streamlined and even though it is a bigger bait, it still goes right through the cover. I like that it doesn’t get stuck on the mat because it slides right through.”
Florida is a perfect example of where Hawk trusts the Mermaid, but the same holds for California waters with big bass like Clear Lake and the Delta.
“It is a good way to catch numbers of quality fish and if you know you there is a good population of three-pound or bigger fish, it is a great bait for that lake,” Hawk says.
Most anglers fish the Mermaid with a Texas-Rig and either flip, pitch, or punch it. Hawk does all of those but says it is the ultimate Carolina-Rig bait for big bass and helps locate fish-holding areas.
“I use it a bunch in clear water with 16-pound Sugoi fluorocarbon with a leader of 14-pound,” Hawk shares. “I like a 24” leader and use a ¾-ounce weight as a starting point and will go up or down based on the depth.”
One reason that he likes it on a Carolina-Rig is how quickly he can cover ground with it.
“It is a great bait to fish on a Carolina-Rig because you can fish it fast or slowly,” he says. “I like to pull it and then stop. If you fish it fast, you can cover a ton of water and either catch the active fish or locate structure with it.”
If he feels a promising hard spot or brush, he’ll switch gears and fish it with a drop-shot or jig and slow down.
“I will fish a drop-shot with a bigger bait like a 4” Senko, wacky-rigged Slim Senko, or Kut Tail,” says the Arizona pro. “I’ll also slow down and fish a Pepper Custom Baits jig with a 4” or 5” Yamamoto Double Tail as the trailer. I like the original Pepper Jig in thicker cover and the Casting jig in open water because it has a lighter wire hook.”
Mermaid Color Selection
As Hawk travels across the country, he can’t keep every Yamamoto color in stock in the boat or back of his truck, so he keeps things simple.
“There are some lakes and situations where subtle color changes can make a difference, but I can’t bring it all with me,” he says. “I have a few staples that I use everywhere in all of the Yamamoto baits.”
To no one’s surprise, Hawk is a fan of the Green Pumpkin shades, but he also has a few other favorites.
“I like Green Pumpkin and Green Pumpkin with Red Flake and then Black and Blue for dark water situations,” he says. “Two other really good ones are #926 (Green Pumpkin Red Watermelon Laminate) and #953 (Smoke Purple Blue Watermelon Blue Laminate). Having a few of those colors will cover the bases for you.”
When Roy Hawk needs a big bite, the Yamamoto Cowboy comes through for him. It is something that has earned his trust and it has paid dividends for him in the form of big paydays and large bass.