Talkin’ Texas - Four Ways to Lasso and Hog-tie a Yamamoto Bait
Tex-Skin on Top
Texas rig, Carolina rig, Mojo rig, with a screw-in sinker, a split- shot or dropshot, weightless or wacky rig? A Senko or Kut-Tail can be effective all these ways as can most of our soft baits. Ex- cept wacky rig or using our Split Shot hook, you often start out the same by putting the offset eye portion of a hook through the nose of a bait and out the chin. Then with the point end of the hook, do one of the following, depending on how heavy the bass-holding cover is at any given moment.
For moderate cover, follow the directions for Tex-Exposing the hook. Then, insert the hook point and barb just under the skin on the plastic bait’s back. You have to pull the plastic in front of where the hook comes out the top of the bait, and stretch it forward a bit. While it is still stretched, insert the point just under the skin, and then push the stretched plastic back to cover the barb area. The only way to describe it is that the hook point should appear just under the bait’s skin exactly as if you got a splinter in your thumb, just under your skin.
Tex-Skin on Side
For the heaviest cover, the only option may be to put the point in through the bottom of the bait, and not have it come out the top surface. Works best with the thinner-bodied baits where you do not have to drive the hook through a big wad of plastic on a hookset. Many anglers under- estimate the gear required for this. Texas rigging is not a light or medium line-rod technique. A heavy rod, reel and line are required to drive the hook through the plastic. (Sidenote: For flipping and pitching short distances, Gary Yamamoto prefers the solid hooksets he feels are provided by Texas rigging with a straight shank hook. For casting weightless baits or distances, he opts for an offset shank to help keep the bait in place during a long cast.)
For moderate cover. In this variation, you do not insert the hook through the bottom of the bait. Instead, let the hook dangle down with the hook bend under- neath the bait’s body, and the hook point alongside the bait. Now scrunch the bait forward a bit with your fingers, insert the hook point into the side of the bait, then slide the bait back so that the point and barb are under the skin on the bait’s side. This is often used with light tackle, since the hookset is easier to break out of the plastic this way.
Above all, you need to leave some slack in the body of the lure when you rig it. You can- not have the bait stretched too tightly onto the hook. Tautness in the lure body is what makes for poor hook- setting. You have to leave the slightest amount of slack in the body between the hook eye and the embed- ded point. The slackness makes for a good hookset. This is a feel that only comes with doing it right. Leaving slack does not mean that the lure should look like it has a bend or curve caused by the way you rigged it - it should look perfectly straight - but when you press down on it with your index finger, right where you want the fish to bite it, there should be some looseness, some slack give in the lure body. You want the fish’s mouth to depress the bait’s body down easily in the section ahead of where the hook point is waiting. Once the hook point starts to grab hold in the fish’s mouth, you really want the entire bait to easily pull down off the front portion of the hook and out of the way where it won’t interfere with a good hookset. This is kind of hard to describe, but very recognizable once you get the hang of doing it.
For open water or thin cover, put the point into the bot- tom of the bait and all the way out the top of the bait. The barb on some hooks like the Yamamoto Sugoi an- gle downward, so the point will hug flat on top of the bait. This is called “Tex-Exposed,” mean- ing it is an exposed point Texas rig. Applications are where the water is mostly open, with few snags and sparse weed patch- es. Tex-Exposed works a bit better on big, fat-bodied grubs or on wide-bodied lizards where there is some girth that tends to bump the Tex-Exposed point away from any snags.