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Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits - Zako Swimbait

Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Zako Swimbait

Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Zako Swimbait is a power-angler's tool. And Zako is the Japanese word for small fish.

This soft-plastic version of a small fish was created by Brett Hite of Phoenix, Arizona, who is a Bassmaster Elite and FLW Tour professional angler. In this endeavor, Hite was helped by Ron Colby of Page, Arizona, who is the Vice President of Operations at Yamamoto.

Hite's initial intent was to create a soft-plastic trailer that he could use on a chatter-style bait, which some folks call a vibrating jig and others call it a blade bait.

It was introduced to the angling world at the 2016 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show.


Even though it was designed for power anglers, a few Midwest finesse anglers think that it might be a bait that they can occasionally use to inveigle largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that are foraging upon small bluegill, green sunfish, and gizzard shad. When Midwest finesse anglers employ it, they will affix it to a relatively small jig, such as a 3/32- or 1/8-ounce one, and they will use it the same way that they have used a four-inch grub for years on end.


1c187803_4f67_4753_b5fc_8a8431c7e839The Zako exhibits an abstract profile of a bluegill, green sunfish, and gizzard shad.  Hite said that he has worked with nearly every style of soft-plastic trailer in the piscatorial world, and until he and Colby fabricated the Zako, he never found one that worked the way he wanted it to work.  From his many trials and tribulations, he noticed that some of them exhibited too much action, which would overpower a chatter-style bait. Others would need to be customized so that they would work correctly. And others were not durable enough.

A no-feel action is one of the principal characteristics of Midwest finesse fishing, and this is why the Zako might eventually become part of some Midwest finesse anglers' repertoire. In other words, they tend to shun boot-tail baits that create too much feel. They want the do-nothing and restrained motif that mirrors the way a small bluegill, green sunfish, and gizzard shad hovers and subtly swims. And according to Hite, the Zako Swimbait is not one of those swimbaits that exhibits too much thump and power.

Because Midwest finesse anglers focus on catching vast numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass, the durability of a soft-plastic bait has become an important feature of the baits that they use. They do not want to work with a soft-plastic bait that will become tattered and torn after a couple of donnybrooks with a largemouth bass or smallmouth bass or spotted bass. Consequently, some Midwest finesse anglers were heartened to learn that Hite convinced Colby to experiment with different blends of plastic that were not impregnated with salt. Ultimately, Colby created a more durable one.

Because Midwest finesse anglers focus on catching vast numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass, the durability of a soft-plastic bait has become an important feature of the baits that they use. They do not want to work with a soft-plastic bait that will become tattered and torn after a couple of donnybrooks with a largemouth bass or smallmouth bass or spotted bass. Consequently, some Midwest finesse anglers were heartened to learn that Hite convinced Colby to experiment with different blends of plastic that were not impregnated with salt. Ultimately, Colby created a more durable one.


In addition to rigging it on a chatter-style bait, Hite accidentally found that it replicates the subtle gliding style of a tube when he rigs it Texas-style on a slip-sinker rig. Since that discovery, he has used it as a flipping bait around varieties of aquatic vegetation or flooded terrestrial vegetation during the spawning season or whenever the black bass are abiding in those kinds of shallow-water haunts. Of course, a tube is one of the tools in the repertoire of Midwest finesse fishing since Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, taught many decades ago about the manifold virtues of a tube.

The Zako Swimbait's torso possesses a modified elliptical configuration.

From the tip of its head to about the middle of its torso, it is encircled with 24 tiny rips. The portion of the torso from its eighth rib to its twenty-fourth rib is bulbous, replicating what Colby and Hite call the belly of a bluegill or a gizzard shad. Between the sixth rib and its twenty-second rib, there is a hook slot along its belly. Along a portion of its back, there is a groove or seam.


From the end of the section of tiny ribs to the junction of its tail, the torso becomes segmented with three significant ribs. Colby and Hite say that it replicates an accordion, and Hite finds that this accordion feature facilitates the hooking of a black bass, too.

Its tail is forked or V-shaped. The interior or inside portion of the fork or V possesses a flange. The exterior portion of the V-shaped tail is not flanged. The flange minimizes the tail's movement in order to replicate the way a bluegill and a gizzard shad move their tails.

Another one of the virtues of the Zako, in Hite's eyes, is that it is easy to rig onto a hook. The rigging is facilitated by the seam or groove that runs along the top and center of its back, which allows an angler to thread the Zako onto the hook exactly in the correct spot and allows it to run straight as an arrow. Therefore, he does not have to thread and rethread it several times before it is correctly situated on the hook  especially when it is rigged Texas-style on a split-shot rig. And because its torso is the perfect size and style, he does not have to spend time trimming and cutting it.  (But most Midwest finesse anglers are inveterate customizers, and thus, it is likely some of them who elect to work with the Zako Swimbait will customize it a tad.)

It is available in the following hues: Black Blue Flake, Chartreuse Shad, Cream White, Disco Green, Electric Shad, Green Pumpkin 192 Laminate, Green Pumpkin White Laminate, Green Pumpkin Black Flake, Laminate Watermelon Lemon, Rainbow Shad, Sight Flash, Tennessee Shad, Watermelon Black Flake, Watermelon Copper Orange Red, and Zako.

A package of six costs $6.49.

Endnotes

(1) Here is the link to Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits' website: http://www.baits.com/.

(2) When and if Midwest finesse anglers use the Zako Swimbait, we would appreciate receiving reports from them, telling us about how, when, and where it was used, and how many black bass it inveigled per hour. Those reports can be posted in the comment section below this gear guide.


 

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