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Robert Yamamoto captured two Angler of the Year (AOY) titles during the 2023 season. He earned AOY in both the Central Valley Kayak Fishing (CVKF) and the Slay Nation circuits. The caliber of fishermen in each circuit is some of the best anglers in California’s Kayak community. Yamamoto fished a total of 12 tournaments, Slay Nation had 8 events and CVKF had 4 events.
“I make goals to finish in the top ten at each event.” said Yamamoto, “I never thought I would win two AOY.”
The Slay Nation circuit Yamamoto didn’t do so well at the beginning but ended the year with enough points to win AOY. The Slay Nation circuit started at Lake McClure during a cold windy winter day. There Yamamoto finished in 13th place. His main lure for the Mc Clure event was a hula grub. The next event was at Lake Millerton where he finished in 6th place and once again the hula grub was his lure of choice. The third event was at Eastman Lake where he finished in 13th place. At Eastman Lake, Yamamoto used an underspin paired with a Keitech fishing windy rock points. Don Pedro was the next event where he finished in 5th place. Yamamoto knew that it was important to get a limit for this event, so he used a drop-shot to catch his fish. After Don Pedro, Yamamoto knew that he had a chance to capture AOY. New Melones he found the right fish and placed in 2nd. The second-place finish pushed Yamamoto into the top five for AOY.
“I knew after the New Melones event that I had a chance to win AOY for Slay Nation.” said Yamamoto.
Slay Nation then returned to Eastman Lake where Yamamoto had another great finished in 6th place. He knew that getting a limit at every event was critical, so Yamamoto turned to a limit lure, his drop-shot. Yamamoto paired his drop-shot with a 4” Zoom Trick worm or a MMIII Robo worm. Tulloch lake was his worst finish at 17th place, because of his deficient finish, Pua Yang and Yamamoto where now even in points for AOY. The final event was at the bass factory Clear Lake and once again Yamamoto had another great event with a 4th place finish. There he used a drop-shot, crank bait and a spinnerbait to catch his fish.
“Clear Lake was insane, the fish were on docks and schooled up.” said Yamamoto, “It was so fun catching so many big fish in one small area.”
The Red Bud area was the best location that Yamamoto had found those big schools of big bass.
“It was nonstop action all day long.” said Yamamoto, “There were about 7 docks where the schools were located. I was throwing back 17” fish because it didn’t help, they were 3-to-3.5-pound fish.”
“Clear Lake was the game changer; it came down to the last event to win the AOY title for Slay Nation.”
CVKF only had four events; however, even though there were not many tournaments, placing high at each event was significant to capture the AOY title. Eastman event was his worst event, finishing in 7th place. Pine Flat and Kaweah Yamamoto finished in third place and the last event at Success, he finished in second place. Yamamoto dominated the AOY title with the CVKF circuit by 20 points. Yamamoto used a drop-shot Zoom Trick worm at each event. Besides at Pine Flat, he used a hula grub and an underspin paired with a Keitech. CVKF prize for capturing the AOY was a New Port NK 180 motor that was donated by Romel.
Yamamoto’s plan to do so well at all these events was the utilization of the drop-shot technique. His proficiency with the drop-shot proved to be his key to capturing both AOY titles.
“I practiced before each event except for Mc Clure due to the weather.” said Yamamoto, “I knew that getting a limit was important at each event, so I used the drop-shot with a 4” Zoom Trick worm, this accounted for the majority of my fish.”
Yamamoto thanked his fiancée for holding down the fort and taking care of our two kids. There are a lot of sacrifices to achieve two AOY titles being away from the family while practicing and tournament days. Thank you for being so supportive all year and helping me capture two AOY’s. Woo Lures and Yak Rods for all their support. A big shout out to my network of fishermen that have helped out all year long. Max Lee was extremely helpful with traveling and talking about what the fish are doing.
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