Since March, Jackall Lures' Yammy Fish has caught the eye of several Midwest finesse anglers. And one of them noted that Jeff Gusfatson of Kenora, Ontario, Canada, posted a note and two photographs on his Facebook site on June 20 about the Yammyfish.
Gustafson wrote: "I've fished the new Jackall Lures' Yammy Fish quite a bit over the past couple weeks around home and IT WORKS! It'll definitely be tied on a rod for me next week at St. Clair!"
Several Facebook readers commented. One of them wrote: "Looks like the torn worm I threw in the bottom of the boat when I replaced it. Then ran out and started using the pieces. Someone went nuts thinking they invented some new bait—And Gustafson responded: "All I care about is if it catches fish." Another one wrote: Looks like a crappie jig." And Gustafson responded: "It does, but it's deadly"
In April 24, 2016, we published a Midwest Finesse column entitled "Jeff Gustafson's Introduction to Midwest Finesse." Since then, we have worked with him several times, and we have garnered and published a number of his astute and instructive piscatorial insights. Upon seeing his observations about the Yammy Fish, we implored him to help us publish a gear guide about it, and he agreed to give us a hand.
In essence, the Yammy Fish is similar to most of the new-generation soft-plastic stickbaits that tackle manufacturers began creating shortly after the beginning of the third millennium.
The first stickbait in the repertoire of Midwest finesse anglers was the one that the late Chuck Woods of Kansas City, Missouri, created back in the late 1950s from a tattered and torn soft-plastic worm made by Nick Creme of Akron, Ohio. Creme's worm was called a Scoundrel. Woods' shortened it to make a stickbait and graced it with a small V-shaped tail. Bass Buster Lure Company of Amsterdam, Missouri, began manufacturing them in the 1960s. It was called a Beetle, and it was affixed to a small jig. Woods was always fascinated with jig spinners, and he often affixed a jig spinner to it, which became the Beetle Spin.
Jackall Lures' Yammy Fish is 2 7/8 inches long and devoid of the Beetle's V-shaped tail. Instead, its tail is pointed or bullet-shaped, and the tip of its tail is about an eighth of an inch wide.
Its torso is about seven-sixteenths of an inch wide at the widest spot with a circumference of about 1 1/4 inches.
Most soft-plastic stickbaits are cylinder shaped, but the Yammy Fish's torso possesses somewhat of an oval shape. Its pelvic area is graced with a minor ridge, and its dorsal area is devoid of a ridge.
According to one of Jackall Lures' press releases, it is constructed from a high-density soft plastic and graced with a straight-tail design. It is described as possessing "an ultra-compact design," and when it is rigged weightless, it drops from the surface of the water towards the bottom with a horizontal motif and exhibiting "a seductive quivering action."
Its torso has what Jackall describes as a textured-scale pattern with a molded lateral line. Some anglers would describe the textured scale pattern as being a series of minute ribs.
Its head is embellished with a pair of small eyes, and its surface or skin is smooth. Unlike its torso, it is cylinder shaped. It is about three-eighths of an inch wide at its widest spot with a circumference of about one and one-eighth inches. The tip of its head is about three-sixteenths of an inch wide, and it is adorned with a tiny concaved mouth.
Even though it is heavily impregnated with salt and designed to be fished weightless, Gustafson likes to rig it Midwest-finesse style on a 1/1o-ounce to a 1/5-ounce mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook. His jigs sport either a No. 1 or a 1/0 hook. He prefers hooks that are manufactured by either Gamakatsu or Owner.
Because the tip of the Yammy Fish's head is concaved and not totally flat, Gustafson flattens it by trimming a tad of the soft-plastic from the head so that it is flat, and this allows the back of the mushroom-style jig to fit flush to the Yammyfish. The beauty of this rig, Gustafson says, is its small profile, and it abstractly replicates crayfish, larvae, nymphs, and small fish.
Gustafson wields it on a G. Loomis NRX 852 spinning rod and Shimano Stradic Ci4 reel that is spooled with eight-pound-test Power Pro braided line with an eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leader that is six to eight feet long. He prefers to work with a braided line that is highly visible, which allows him to see more strikes on the initial drop of the Yammyfish. What's more, the highly visible line allows him to know immediately when the Yammyfish hits the bottom, which helps prevent it from becoming snagged and not waste any time in beginning his retrieves.
On his home waters around the Lake of the Woods in June, he caught an impressive array of smallmouth bass on the Yammyfish by fishing it around the shallow-water boulders that grace the lake's rock-laden and sand-laden areas. Because the water is so clear and when he is fishing along the shorelines in June, he is able to focus on plying isolated boulders.
When he catches a smallmouth bass around the isolated boulders, it normally engulfs the Yammy Fish before it reaches the bottom. If he fails to elicit a strike on the initial drop of the Yammyfish, he employs a bouncing retrieve along the bottom until the rig is about a third of the way back to the boat. Then, he quickly reels it in, and then makes a cast that is aimed at another isolated boulder. He describes it as "a speedy way to fish a finesse bait."
At the FLW Tour event at Lake Lanier, Georgia, on Mar. 8-11, he caught 20 spotted bass that weighed 62-3 pounds. He finished in seventh place and won $17,000. He caught many of them in 25 to 35 feet of water on a Yammy Fish affixed to a 1/5-ounce mushroom-style jig with a vertical presentation, and he used his sonar devices to pinpoint the whereabouts of the deep-water spotted bass. The ones that he found that were four to five feet above the bottom were the easiest ones for him to catch. But to catch them, he had to allow the Yammyfish rig to plummet past them and hit the bottom, and if a spotted bass followed it to the bottom, it usually engulfed the Yammyfish rig. To catch the suspended and deep-water smallmouth bass at the Lake of the Woods, however, Gustafson has found that it is imperative that the Yammyfish is presented above them, noting that it is ineffective once it plummets below them.
He primarily works with a Green Pumpkin Fish Yammy Fish, but there have been spells when the Golden Shiner one has been effective.
He has found that the color of the head of the jig is not an important factor. Most of the time, he affixes the green-pumpkin-fish Yammyfish to a green-pumpkin mushroom-style jig, but at times, he has used either a black or an unpainted one.
At the Lake of the Woods and other northern waterways, he never dyes the tip of the Yammy Fish's tail, but when he pursues spotted bass in some southern waterways, he sometimes dyes it with a chartreuse dye.
Because it is heavily impregnated with salt, its durability is somewhat compromised. But Gustafson has determined that the salt is an important ingredient, and he thinks that it has helped to beguile a significant number of smallmouth bass and spotted bass that he has caught while using the Yammy fish.
It is available in the following colors: BM Shiner, Chartreuse Green Pumpkin, Golden Shiner, Green Pumpkin Fish, Melon Copper, Natural Baitfish, Oxblood, and Red Cola.
A package of seven costs $4.77.
(1) Here are links to other Midwest Finesse publications that feature Jeff Gustafson's piscatorial insights: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/jeff-gustafsons-introduction-to-midwest-finesse/ ; https://www.in-fisherman.com/gear-accessories/the-marabou-jig-according-to-jeff-gustafson/; https://www.in-fisherman.com/gear-accessories/northlands-impulse-smelt-minnow/#ixzz4bax5E3TY.
(2) Here is a link to Jackall Lures' website: http://www.jackall-lures.com/.
(3) Many Midwest finesse anglers possess a powerful sense of frugality, and when they use a Yammy Fish and its head becomes too tattered and torn to remain affixed to a jig, they will reverse it and affix the tail of the Yammy Fish to the jig.