Gary Yamamoto Interview | Bass Fishing
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Gary Yamamoto Interview | Bass Fishing

January 14, 2020

Glenn: Hey folks, Glenn May with
and you’ll never guess who I’m with. You all know Yamamoto baits, you’ve heard
of the Senko. I’m with the man, Gary Yamamoto. This is the guy who started it all. Thanks for being with us today, Gary. Gary: Oh, you’re very welcome, it’s a pleasure
to be on your show and maybe we can show or teach something or show somebody something
about what we’ve done. Glenn: Well you guys have done a lot. You’ve been around for a long, long time. Tell me a little bit about how you got started. Gary: Well, the basic start was that I was
at Lake Powell, and fishing on weekends and I started throwing this little grub, and Mister
Twister was probably the only grub available. And they had really three colors: black, white
and chartreuse. And so I called Gene Larew at that time and
I said, “Hey, can you make me different colors of bait?” And Gene’s happy as can be, “Yeah, I can make
you anything you want! And you only have to buy 5,000 of each color.” I said, “Are you kidding me?” But as the story goes, I was stupid enough
to buy 25,000 grubs, 5 different colors, but that was the start of my business. I had to sell it because I bought so many,
and I sold it at my campground store, and I sold it out west, and probably fortune was
in it because Japan was just getting started into bass fishing. And they were looking at the western magazines
and my advertisement they saw and they contacted me and wanted to take my baits to Japan. Glenn: Now about what year was this? Right around what time? Gary: 1983 I believe, ’83, ’84. And then I had a buddy that was fishing with
me and he says, “You know, if we welded this skirt onto the grub, it’ll make it shine better,
or more attractive.” So that’s how the Hula Grub started. So I was buying products from Gene Larew,
and I was buying products from Twin Tees. And all of a sudden Twin Tees is going out
of business, bankruptcy. “Oh my goodness.” I just got started, you know? So I had to buy that company. And once I bought Twin Tees, I got the full
line of bass fishing products, from spinner baits, buzz baits, all kinds of worms and
what have you, and the manufacturing capability. And so I moved. I was driving from Page, Arizona to Los Angeles
every week to go to work at the plant. And I said, “This is not gonna do.” Glenn: That’s a long drive! Gary: So I moved it to Page, and when I started
off I rented two rental garage units, storage units, and built that as my factory. And then as things went on I bought another
building and then it grew some more, so I had to buy a bigger building. So now we’ve got a pretty large facility. Glenn: Now I’ve been fishing since I was a
kid out west, so I was using Yamamoto products before they really became huge out in the
market. And I remember some of those products, I actually
used some of those, especially when finesse fishing first started coming out, split shot
in particular. It was a huge deal to always have a grub on
the back. But then, right about in the early 90’s, out
came this bait that looked like nothing. It was just this stick. And we were expected to fish this thing. I’m like, “C’mon, this can’t catch fish, it
doesn’t have any appendages, it has no action, how can a fish want this?” But my buddy, I was in a tournament, he had
a bag of it, I didn’t, and he kicked my butt while fishing it. I’m like, “What are these things?” He goes, “This is the Senko, you gotta have
this.” So, and I did and it’s turned out to be, it
wasn’t a flash in the pan kind of deal, this has been a phenom. People…every bass angler now has tried a
Senko, they’ve all used it, and many of them use it consistently every day. But the design, the idea behind it, that’s
what’s really fascinating. Tell me a little bit about where the idea
came from, how you came up with the Senko. Gary: Well the Senko was my effort to emulate
the Slug-Go. I was in Florida and people cast that Slug-Go
and jerk it around and we’d get hit. But it was really difficult to catch the fish
on it because it was so hard, and so I said I wanted something that would be soft and
my plastic that I could jerk around. So it was designed as a jerkbait. And it works. But then a buddy of mine says, all you have
to do is cast it and let it sit and they’ll come and eat it. You can’t be… So the next tournament I fished was at Toledo
Bend, and I saw a bed and a bass on it. I said, “All right, I’m gonna get him,” and
so I cast and I missed the bed by four feet. I said, “Oh my goodness, what are you gonna
do?” The bait fell down, hit the side of his bed,
not even in his bed, and I saw that fish come out, eat it, or pick it up, and go back to
his bed. Hey this is something else. And no other bait will do that. So that’s where I got my confidence in it,
and now there is a… I guess a bass angler doesn’t have a Senko
in his tackle box he’s really hasn’t fished very much at all. Glenn: Right. And there’s so many ways to fish it now. Wacky rig is probably the most popular and
well-known, but you can drop shot it, you can put it behind a split shot, you can put
it on a jig head, there’s so many different ways. You can put it on a trailer on some baits,
I mean it’s like the more you experiment with it, the more ways you find bass really are
attracted to it. It’s become an extremely popular bait. But you’re not stopping there. You have more products that are coming out
now, so tell me a little bit about what’s coming out pretty soon for the consumer from
Yamamoto. Gary: Well really I’m not too much involved
anymore with the new stuff. I have a time just trying to keep my own head
and designs going, but I play around with the jig heads, and I spend quite a bit of
time in saltwater, so I’ve played with the speckle trout and the red fish, and it doesn’t
matter whether it’s a red fish or a bass, they’ll eat those plastic baits. And so that’s what I play around with and
I have a big staff of people that are trying to design new things so they still think “new
products, new sales.” But the basis of all this company is that
we sell the Hula Grub, which was one of my starting baits, the grub, the Senko. They’re still the primary part of my business. And it’s amazing, I travel all over and you
see people saying, “Oh, I use the Senko and I love it.” And then the other guy down the way says,
“The Hula Grub caught me all these fish.” And so I guess I’m fortunate my lures are
not a come-and-go type of deal, they are for hopefully eternity, you know? Glenn: Well, Gary, you sure have established
that you’re…the Yamamoto brand in the bass fishing community and other types of species
that are out there, I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. It’s still some of the most popular baits
that are out there. I just want to thank you for making such an
impact on the industry, and helping anglers out there catch fish and enjoy the sport more
and more, making it so easy. You’ve done a great job. Thank you so much for being with us today. Guys, Gary Yamamoto. You gotta use his products, you have to, because
if you’re not, then you’re not catching fish.


  • Reply Nathan Cross March 19, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Wow, that was awesome. I've only been fishing for about a year, and the senko is pretty much my go-to lure for all situations. I've always got one ready to go on at least one rod. He's truly a living legend.

  • Reply Eastern Angling March 19, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Nothing beats a wacky rig senko!

  • Reply James Robinson March 19, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Yep that’s awesome the senko is so versatile you can use it in so many different ways but my personal favorite is weightless πŸŽ£πŸ‘

  • Reply packinaglock March 19, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    The Yamamoto swim Senkos are literally bass magnets for me.

  • Reply Larry Moffatt March 19, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Hey Glenn and Gary: Thanks for all you do for fishing!!!

  • Reply Carrie Cates March 19, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Long live Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! Thank you, Sir, for all you have contributed to bass fishing and serving our country!

  • Reply B Davis March 19, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    A legend! What an honor it must have been

  • Reply Scott louis March 19, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    Sounds like par for things to work out

  • Reply Bass The North March 19, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Awesome vid … Love hearing the stories behind lures and legends.

  • Reply Old Lady Angler March 19, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Awesome interview, Glen. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Reply Pappa Squally March 19, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Gary is a LEGEND!

  • Reply Jaime Martinez March 19, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Good interview πŸ‘

  • Reply Enthusiastic Fisherman March 19, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    Gary Yamamoto is awesome!

  • Reply michael shoffner March 19, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    Roland Martin's video on the senko made me start fishing with it and it is awesome on the texas rig

  • Reply Fish man 1 March 19, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Come down on the prices just a little Gary!!!!

  • Reply 12ernie March 19, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Great interview!

  • Reply Stephanie R March 20, 2019 at 12:40 am

    A true legend.

  • Reply RJ8891 V March 20, 2019 at 9:34 am

    The 5" grubs are my #1 confidence bait. I've pulled as many fish on a Texas rigged grub as I have a dropshot rig. In California, that's saying something.

  • Reply FiremanDan March 20, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Great story, I got my start in pro bass fishing from Gene Larew , Cape Fair MO Table Rock Lake. Around the same time.

  • Reply Dustin Chaon March 20, 2019 at 2:32 pm


  • Reply Corey Sage March 20, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Humble man

  • Reply Robert Jacobs March 20, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Most of the money I have won in tournaments came on Yamamoto baits. Price is a bit of an issue here in South Africa but they work!

  • Reply Jerry Chapman March 20, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    No doubt one of my favorite stories,great job Gary!

  • Reply DJ Cartwright March 20, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Great to hear from a legend and innovator in the sport.

  • Reply Steve's Favorites March 21, 2019 at 12:56 am

    What a great interview. Thanks, Gary, for your countless contributions to bass fishing.

  • Reply B4 freedomfighter March 28, 2019 at 1:50 am

    The one bait that will catch fish year round in any water in the world.

  • Reply Ken Mccarthy Fishing March 28, 2019 at 9:29 am

    WOW what an Incredible history lesson,thank you Glenn πŸ‘ŠπŸ‘ŠπŸΊπŸ»

  • Reply Toadstkr June 24, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    I use the grub in pumpkin with pepper flake and idk what he puts in it but bass literally will eat it off the bottom and run with where other worms and grubs I don’t get even close to that kind of action

  • Reply Lux James July 4, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    Black with red flake is my go to.

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