Gary Yamamoto Interview | Bass Fishing

Glenn: Hey folks, Glenn May with BassResource. com
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 orteach 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 andI 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 colorsof 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, butthat was the start of my business. I had to sell it because I bought so many,
and I sold it at my campground store, andI sold it out west, and probably fortune was
in it because Japan was just getting startedinto bass fishing. And they were looking at the western magazines
and my advertisement they saw and they contactedme 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 thisskirt 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 spinnerbaits, 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, storageunits, and built that as my factory. And then as things went on I bought another
building and then it grew some more, so Ihad 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 productsbefore they really became huge out in the
market. And I remember some of those products, I actually
used some of those, especially when finessefishing 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 buttwhile 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, thishas been a phenom. People. . . every bass angler now has tried a
Senko, they’ve all used it, and many of themuse 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 saidI 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’llcome 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 comeout, 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 fishedvery 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, youcan put it behind a split shot, you can put
it on a jig head, there’s so many differentways. You can put it on a trailer on some baits,
I mean it’s like the more you experiment withit, 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’scoming 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 withthe jig heads, and I spend quite a bit of
time in saltwater, so I’ve played with thespeckle 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 tryingto 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 mystarting 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 andI 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 forhopefully eternity, you know?Glenn: Well, Gary, you sure have established
that you’re. . . the Yamamoto brand in the bassfishing community and other types of species
that are out there, I don’t think it’s goinganywhere 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 anglersout 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 catchingfish.

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