Until recently, tackle manufacturers rarely created soft-plastic baits for Midwest finesse anglers. So for years on end, Midwest finesse anglers have been customizing all kinds of soft-plastic baits so that they could affix them to their small mushroom-style jigs.
Customization still lies at the heart of many Midwest finesse tactics, and at the 2017 Bassmaster Classic, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits and Daiwa introduced a new soft-plastic bait that has caught the eyes of several veteran customizers.
It is called the Daiwa Yamamoto Neko Fat Worm. The folks at Daiwa were instrumental in its design. The folks at Yamamoto manufacture it.
It features a thick torso, which is similar to Yamamoto's classic Senko. It is endowed with a bulbous tail, which provokes alluring undulations and quivers as anglers retrieve it.
Its thorax, abdomen, and tail are encircled with small ribs. Its clitellum is devoid of those ribs, and it smooth-skinned. Its head or nose is flat.
It is five inches long, which is two inches too long for most Midwest finesse applications. In the eyes of Midwest finesse anglers, it is a power angler's finesse tool, and the folks at Daiwa agree with that observation by saying it allows anglers to use heavy gear.
Power anglers employ it two ways: as a weightless rig or with a nail inserted into its head. Both tactics employ a wacky-style rigging. When it is a weightless rig, the hook is inserted near the middle of the Neko Fat Worm or around its smooth-skinned clitellum. When there is a nail inserted into its head, the hook can be inserted in various spots along its torso. When anglers work with a wacky rigging, it is recommended that they use an O-ring to help affix the hook to the torso.
When the nail is inserted into the head, it is called a Neko rig. Neko is the Japanese word for cat. And a Neko rig moves the way a cat uses one of its front paws to move litter in a litter box.
Weightless rigs and Neko rigs are part of the Midwest finesse repertoire. But the Neko Fat Worm can be easily customized into a Midwest finesse bait by amputating two or 2 1/2 inches from the head portions of the torso, and the tail section will fit perfectly onto a small mushroom-style jig. In fact, Midwest finesse anglers have been customizing similar kinds of bulbous or fat-tailed Senko-style baits for a number of years, and there are periods throughout the calendar year when a fat- or bulbous-tail Senko-style bait is much more effective than the straight-tailed one.
By the way, the 2 1/2-inch head section can be affixed to a small mushroom-style jig, making it a straight-tail Senko-style rig. And by creating two baits for the price of one, it will appeal to the frugal nature of many Midwest finesse anglers.
It is available in the following colors: Baby Bass, Black with Blue Flake, Blue Pearl with Silver Flake, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin with Green and Purple Flake, Green Pumpkin Watermelon Laminate, Non-fading Watermelon, Red Shad (Black and Red Laminate), Watermelon and White Laminate, and Watermelon Red Flake. It is impregnated with salt.
A package of 10 can be purchased for $7.49.
(1) Here is a link to Daiwa's website: http://www.daiwa.com/us/contents/lure/neko/index.html.