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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

• Big Bite Baits Yo Mama

The family of creature baits is a diverse one, full of both revolutionary innovations and subtle modifications. Among creature baits, a relatively new design has come into its own with numerous copy cats following the trend in hopes of having their own success story grace the pages of fishing history. I am, of course, talking about the beaver bait.

My research for this post revealed the story behind the lure that started this craze. Andre Moore, a FLW tournament angler, gets most of the credit as the guy who developed the original back in 2002. After his win on Beaver Lake, the body of water for which the lure was named, the Sweet Beaver hit the soft plastics market and soon became a sensation. Reaction Innovations unleashed their Sweet Beaver onto the market in 2003. My first introduction to these kinds of baits was actually Gambler's Ugly Otter, but I never actually tried it. Since then, the Sweet Beaver has remained the standard to which all other beaver baits are compared.

I didn't spring for the Sweet Beaver. Instead, I came across a slightly more inexpensive look-alike made by Big Bite Baits called the Yo Mama. I can tell you're already laughing at the name. Humor will have to wait. Let me talk about the Yo Mama design first. While I believe the Yo Mama looks more like a crawfish, other anglers will tell you a beaver bait resembles a baitfish or frog. Much like other beaver baits, the Yo Mama features flapping craw-like appendages with hair-like projections, two short arms, and a short wide body lined with unidirectional ridges. Aside from those ridges, the body itself is relatively flat and tapers into a blunt tip at one end and a flat head with two small eyes at the other. I'd say the Yo Mama has a very straight forward design. Nothing too extravagant.

Now that we are clear on exactly what we are looking at, let me discuss the structure-function relationship. With the exception of the eyes, most features molded into this lure serve a purpose. Those ridges on its body influence how the lure glides by providing points of resistance, slowing the lure as it falls. The broad, yet sleek flapping claws allow for a much more gradual gliding descent. The paucity of side appendages make this lure ideal for working through thicker weeds. You might also notice that the flat surface of each claw has four small round bumps on both sides. I've seen this sort of design before on my V&M Baby V-Chunks. I believe these bumps enhance movement in the same way by altering the total surface area of the bait. The same can probably be said for the hair-like projections on the claws. Like other BBB products, there is a hook recess molded into the back and each lure is scented with the pungent and patented Bite Juice which smells a lot like anise. The overall design remains true to the beaver bait trend and gives anglers one more choice in this niche of soft plastics.

Big Bite Baits sells the Yo Mama in 3" and 4" versions and even introduced a special biodegradable Biobait Yo Mama in the same two sizes. The 4" version is available in 21 different colors, some with more familiar names than others. I bought a pack of 4" regular plastic Yo Mamas in Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Seed Laminate and Black Neon. Packs of regular Yo Mamas go for $2.09 at the nearby Academy Sports, but $4.49 on their web site. Each pack contains eight individual lures. Pretty good deal if you ask me. Can't find Sweet Beavers at that price.

Conventional rigging:
The beaver bait has traditionally been a pitching or flipping lure, Texas rigged with a bullet weight. The Yo Mama can accommodate a 3/0 or 4/0 hook comfortably. A 5/0 hook will fit, but the hook point will stick through the thin and less protected section of the body. A light wire hook may be a better choice in terms of getting what you want out of this lure, but a heavier hook will do just fine, especially if you find yourself hauling in some hawgs. I prefer a 3/0 VMC Needle Point EWG hook with an offset, but it appears most anglers like rigging beaver baits on a straight shank hook like the Reaction Innovations BMF hook, a straight shank hook with a molded plastic keeper around the shank. The keeper holds beaver baits in place and prevents slippage, although I've written about my own inexpensive solution using a small barrel swivel. When adding a weight, consider how you want the lure to behave. I like 1/4oz bullet weights, but there's nothing wrong with going as light as 1/8oz for a more subtle approach or as heavy as 1 or 2 ounces to punch through grass. I leave the weight free to slide back and forth on the line, but the convention seems to be to peg the weight against the nose of the lure. Rigging a beaver bait with a bullet weight is just common practice. There are other less traditional rigging methods I will discuss in a moment.

Use:
Before using the Yo Mama, make sure to separate the claws joined by three narrow stretches of extra soft plastic. When pitching a weighted Yo Mama, find your intended target, and make your cast. Watch the line in case a fish hits it on the fall. Once the lure hits bottom, you have a few options. Let it sit or shake it a few times. Wait for the bite. If you don't get bit, you have two choices. You can do what I do and reel in and repeat OR you can slowly work it back to the boat. It seems like more anglers fish beaver baits in the former fashion rather than the latter. Lures like lizards and craws typically draw out strikes as I drag them across the bottom. I'll reserve those lures for that approach and keep the Yo Mama ready for quick pitches to specific targets.

Picking targets is pretty easy. I think you'll probably see most anglers on TV pitching beaver baits to reeds or cattails. I do that too, but there are more cypress trees on the lakes I fish. Any kind of laydown or overhang deserves attention. Docks are also not out of the question.

Alternative rigging:
The Yo Mama can be used other ways. Although when pitching and flipping, I like adding a bullet weight, a Yo Mama can also be rigged weightless, allowing for a much slower fall rate for finicky or suspended bass. The next alternative is to thread the plastic lure onto a jig as a trailer, whether you're fishing on the bottom or swimming a jig. Seeing as how a swim jig benefits from a beaver bait, a swimblade might also work well with one too. Regular jigs aren't the only lures worth trying. Shaky heads and slider jigs are unique alternatives as well. I've also read about anglers using beaver baits on a Carolina rig with some success. While the convention is to Texas rig these lures, keep an open mind. You never know what else will work with a bait like this.

My experience:
I have yet to catch a fish on a Yo Mama, but since I know the beaver bait craze has shown these lures do in fact produce, I'm sold on the idea and refuse to give up. Although I had a much similar experience with the BBB Dean Rojas Fighting Frog, the Yo Mama has that extra weight the Fighting Frog did not. With baitcasting gear, I'm prepared to handle the Yo Mama without blinking.

In terms of action, I'm not quite sure what I should expect out of this style of bait. It behaves in much the same way as the Fighting Frog under water. The claws don't flap as much as you would think. They tend to scissor in opposite directions. Sometimes one can overlap onto the other. Both subtle and even more intentional twitches cause both claws to spread apart and the arms on the side to wobble back and forth. Unlike a tube, it will not descend in a spiral fashion. Depending on how the lure enters the water, it may glide smoothly towards the bottom or plummet straight down. If you peg the bullet weight, there is a good chance it will do a nosedive. While there is a slight stiff quality to the action, the experience is far better than what the Fighting Frog had to offer.

So casting is easy. Action gets a passing score. What about durability?

Like other plastics, the hook eventually wears a wide hole through both contact points, but Texsposing the hook point and securing the lure with a BMF hook or a barrel swivel helps remedy this problem. Although the flapping legs are somewhat thick, they are still vulnerable to damage. Cast with ease and if you get a bite, allow the fish to take the lure. Otherwise, you may get your Yo Mama back minus one claw.

So that's my take on the Big Bite Baits Yo Mama. They are definitely worth trying, especially at the price. Now if only I can get bit on one.

If you subscribe to Bassmaster Magazine, have a look at the February 2009 issue, Volume 42 No. 2. They wrote up a quick article on beaver baits with added input from Tommy Biffle and some other pro anglers. Even Ike chimed in with his two cents. Sadly, the Yo Mama was not featured in that article, but the same tips and tactics can be applied to this bait.




I'm hoping to put this lure up against late fall, winter, and early spring bass. If anything significant happens, I'll post an update here. I know beaver baits are popular locally, so maybe the bass here are tired of seeing these things.

Original Yo Mama
http://bigbitebaits.com/yomamamain.htm

Yo Mama Bio Bait
http://bigbitebaits.com/BioSite/bioyomamasizes.htm


Related Posts:
Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog
Big Bite Baits Review

4 comments:

LarryB said...

This is a well written and informative post. :-) Now I have to go out and look for, Yo Mama! :-) lb

MDTolic said...

The more I see from Big Bite Baits the more I’m getting interested in them again. My first experience was with the swimbaits and, to be honest, I still have a few that will undoubtedly go unused. I had pretty much decided that I was going to stay with original Sweet Beavers and then a little hand poured co. (Cache) for my beaver baits from now on. But, at $2.09 a bag, I will have to try these out. Another nice review. Thanks.

Bass Fishing said...

Yo Mama! Great post. Keep going.

Anonymous said...

I love Beaver baits, and used the Yo Mama for a couple of months in 2009. While the BBB version will catch fish, it is nowhere near as productive as other models I have fished. The primary reason I can find for this is in the flappers. Even though they are fairly thick, they tend to be very limp. This causes the claws to fall against the sides of the bait once it reaches the lake bottom. I have had the most success with the Yum Wooly Bug, but find others to be successful as well. As much as I like most of BBB's designs, I would strongly recommend trying out other brands, even though they are more expensive.