I re-worked this one Jared... had to change a couple of things. More to come!
Also, I have pictures that go with this - I will e-mail them to you
Innovate: Don't Imitate
by Mike McKay
(Inspired by Gene Cochran)
I do not know one serious fisherman who has not caught fish using a Senko. Hate it or love it, the baits catch fish as well as any soft plastic ever created. That is the simple fact. People have won just as many tournaments than any other bait since its creation in 2000. People are hooked on it, mostly because of its versatility. You can fish the bait so many different ways, you can throw it weightless, with a tube-head, with a bullet sinker, on a drop-shot rig, heck even under a bobber and you will probably catch a fish. So what is it about this bait, that can allow fishermen to throw it out, sit back eating a sandwich, and win a tournament? Well, that is probably the question that fisherman SHOULD be asking themselves, isn’t it? Well to tell the truth, the average fisherman, even at a higher level of competition, is not asking themselves that question. Instead they are buying all of these Senko baits at 5.99 a bag, in about 14.7 million different colors (roughly). The way I see it, why spend all of that money unless you know what you are buying. And if you know what you are buying, and WHY you are buying it, would you really be buying it to begin with? Lets find out.
Why Does It Work?
Lets explore the reasons that a Senko can catch fish that seem to know every lure that they have ever seen by heart. Why will a Senko outfish just about any other lure thrown right next to it, in almost all conditions? Well there are a few reasons. Let me first start out by saying that Gary Yamamoto is a genius. He has created a bait that is so amazing, it does not need to even be marketed for fishermen to come into a retail store and fill carts with it. How does this happen? Were we missing something for the last 50 years? 41 of which, I wasn’t even alive? Well, maybe. Gary Yamamoto is an innovator. He took all of his knowledge gained from many years of professional fisherman, and he created one of the timeless molds that will be around for a very long period of time. I know this because no matter how many times those dang fish get caught on this lure, they keep hitting it. And hitting it. And eating it. They have not even come close to getting sick of it yet, and this writer does not believe that they will. The basic principles I have come up with are these: the Senko works so well, because it is a long, slightly fatter bait, made from incredibly soft plastic material. These baits are salt impregnated, which is a key because if you are a fish that bites into the Senko, you get that burst of salt into your mouth (trust me, I’ve bitten into a few in my day) this is what makes the fish hold on. Fish will sometimes even swallow the bait before you even realize he is there. Then the fun begins.
Somebody once said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. In this case, imitation is probably the highest form of money making. It is mind-boggling the amount of bait companies, even some well-known bait companies that have come out with their own type of Senko type bait. However because the baits have incredible amounts of patents on them, they cannot make the exact same bait and sell it as their own. Which is why none of them catch fish quite like a Senko. Also, it is why none of them can sell like a Senko, even at half the price. The closest of course is the Kenami Flash, which of course can make the exact same bait and sell it for cents less because it is all in the family. It is a direct branch from Gary Yamamoto. But to name a few others, we have the Yum Dinger, the Venom Salty Sling, the Gulp! Sinking Minnow, the Waveman Tiki Stik, the Chomper Salty Sinker, the Bass Pro Shops Stik-O!, the Netbait Salt Stick, the Strike King Zero, the Zoom Z-Nail, the Culprit Stinger, the KidLizard Kid Sticks, and the Food Source Food Sticks. It is unimaginable to have that many imitations of one bait!
As fisherman, it is my FIRM belief that we should be smarter than this! INNOVATE, don’t IMITATE! We all know exactly, word for word, why the Senko catches more fish than any other bait. So why not explore with this concept? If there is one thing that everybody needs to learn, it is that not one lure will catch every fish in the lake. Also, you have to know that no matter what there will ALWAYS be a way to catch more fish. Even if it is something you would normally never ever do. If people did not shake things up once in a while, would we even have a Senko to begin with? Absolutely not. The innovators are the ones in this sport making money, and I bet that Gary Yamamoto has made more money on his bait than all of the imitators combined. Some of the best baits ever made have come from something stupid and unimaginable. Something that nobody wanted to try, until somebody else did. Maybe we would catch more fish and be more successful if we were more like Gary Yamamoto and did something revolutionary. And even now, seeing what works on the water, why not innovate other baits to do the same thing? Do you want to tell me that a fish will not hit a very slow falling jig-n-pig with a slight wobble? I highly doubt it, and tip that jig with some salt impregnation and we are in serious business. Break from the mold, and catch more and bigger bass.
Some fisherman probably already have all the baits that they think they will ever need. Some modify baits, and catch so many fish that they do not want to share it with their fellow fishermen for fear of getting beat by it. This does happen, and amen for the fishermen who does not expect a lure to catch fish right out of the bag or box the first time that they use it. Here are some quick modifications that any fisherman can do to baits. First off, don’t ever be afraid to experiment with colors. Take a hi-liter and tip the tails of your brush hog. Take some dyes and dip your baits in them. Switch the front hooks of your crankbaits to red, slightly larger trebles. This could throw the wobble a little bit wider and make the fish appear just a bit more wounded. Also, do not be afraid to move things on a crankbait. If you want more weight, add it to the hooks using weight wraps. Make the bait suspend if it does not suspend. Make it float if it does not float. Switch hooks, add or remove split rings. Little things that could make the bass decide in that split second decision period that he wants your bait will ultimately make you a more successful angler in the long run. Think about every time you have ever fished, think what if you had caught one more bass every time on the water? How many tournaments would you have won? How many times would you have beaten the crap out of siblings? Innovation is about applying what you know and what you learn to what you are using to catch fish. You can be the most knowledgeable person in the world when it comes to Bass and Bass behavior, but if you are not putting fish in the boat, then what does it really matter?
Do not be afraid to break from the mold. One pattern is NOT going to work every time you step onto the deck of your boat. Gary Yamamoto is an innovator, and it is almost like cause and affect the way he is imitated.
Cause: Gary Yamamoto took what he knows about bass and bass fishing, and applied it and created a bait that fisherman are literally saving up to buy in bulk, that will not stay on the shelves, and has won more money for anglers than any other bait in the last five years.
Effect: Every lure making company in the entire world has their own, slightly worse, version of that same bait in hopes of making a fraction of the money that GYCB makes every single day. Imitation being profitable, but who is making the real money here, the imitator, or the innovator?