Take it from a Bassmaster Elite pro bass fisherman who is serious about his drop-shot and finesse worm fishing: three soft plastics introduced by YUM Baits at the 2014 ICast are going to be deadly tantalizing to bass from California to his home state of Florida.
YUM’s Kill Shot, Warning Shot and Sharp Shooter are sure to make a difference this year for Terry Scroggins of San Mateo, Fla., and however many other bass anglers can get their hands on them in 2015.
Scroggins, 46, has had five wins and 46 Top 10 finishes on his way to a career earnings total of $1.7 million.
And he knows how effective drop-shotting can be, proving it for the umpteenth time while fishing with a drop-shot worm “very similar” to the ones introduced last summer by YUM and hooking and boating a 9-pound, 12-ounce bass the last time he went to Toledo Bend.
He can’t wait to fish with them consistently on the circuit.
“All three baits are designed to generate bites,” Scroggins said. “We just haven’t been faced with the right conditions yet. When we go up north or even Kentucky Lake if they stop pulling the water, we will use them there.”
However, those new YUM soft plastics have a place on the business end of his fishing line just about wherever he goes, including the California Delta — the sprawling site of a Bassmaster Elite series tournament that began April 30 on the Sacramento River at Sacramento, California.
After his first day of prefishing on April 27, he already was thinking about fishing the “tullies” (or “tules”) — thick, rounded vegetation with green stems — with the Sharp Shooter, which is produced in two lengths — 4 ¼ inches and 6 inches.
He expects the Sharp Shooter to be at its best drop-shotting or fished Texas-rigged around docks, lily pads, etc.
It features qualities of a hand-poured lure — soft, supple plastic with a flat bottom that provides a horizontal profile on the hook, and a flat, thin tail flare.
Its thin diameter enhances a wiggle that triggers strikes, and a spear-like tail moves with every twitch of a rod tip.
The Sharp Shooter is his baby, naturally, because he had most of the input into its design. It can be “nose hooked” or Texas-rigged, the latter which Scroggins planned to do around the tullies and various underwater vegetation on the California Delta.
Whichever way he hooks the Sharp Shooter, it is impaled on a No. 1 Gamakatsu Short Shank Hook, usually 12 to 15 inches above a 3/16- or 3/8-ounce weight with a Snell knot, which he runs the tail end through much like a Palomar.
“What it does is make the hook stand out more,” he said.
About the size of the weight, he said, sharing a secret to his drop shotting success, “You want a weight that allows the bait to fall free to the bottom — as little (weight) as possible.”
The 3 ¾-inch-long ribbed Warning Shot and the 3 ¾-inch-long Kill Shot are designed mostly to target smallmouth bass and Kentucky bass, Scroggins said.
But largemouth bass find them hard to resist as well, he said.
“They’re the two smaller worms. I know they’re going to work. The setup’s the same, except you need to use the nose hook,” Scroggins said.
Warning Shots and Kill Shots can be cast or dropped whenever you see fish on the marine electronics screen, he said.
“A lot of people, when they consider drop-shotting, always think of vertical fishing,” Scroggins said. “But the drop-shot technique is very good during the spawn, too, and you can catch on a drop shot in 2 feet of water or 60 feet of water.”
YUM’s new soft plastics also work in dirty water, mostly because a bass angler can practically freeze them in one spot.
“Shake it. Shake it. Shake it. You can generate a lot of action but not even move the bait out of the strike zone. A lot of times when you fish finicky fish, that’s a great way to trigger a strike,” Scroggins said.
He believes the Warning Shot, with a design heavily influenced by fellow bass fishing pro Jason Christie, just might be the most successful of the three new soft plastics from YUM.
“Jason Christie designed the one with the vertical tail. It’ll probably be the best one, just looking at the action at it,” he said.
Another veteran bass fisherman was partial to the Kill Shot, as he said recently in a video on BassResource.com.
“I think it’s going to be a real good, big fish-catching bait because of the unique tail its got,” said pro bass angler Cliff Prince.
Scroggins wields a drop shot/finesse rig with a spinning rod and reel combination loaded with 10-pound-test braided line and 10 to 15 feet of 6-pound-test fluorocarbon line as a leader (to connect the two different lines, he uses a Red Phillips Knot, which, if you don’t know it, he recommended Googling).
That way he still can get as much distance as he wants with each cast, plus braided line doesn’t twist on the spool as monofilament line does.
For more information on the Sharp Shooter, Kill Shot and Warning Shot, go to yumbaits.com.