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Fishing the Shad Shape Worm

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By Shane Beilue

Southern Staff Writer

At first glance, the Yamamoto Shad Shape worm would appear to have about as much fish-enticing action as a pencil eraser. There is no curly tail or twirling appendage to imitate a struggling baitfish, yet never judge a book by its cover -- or a worm by its tail! This little piece of plastic transforms into the perfect minnow imitation when fished above a drop shot weight.

First, consider that the 3.75” length of the Shad Shape Worm is almost perfect to match the hatch of most forage minnows in almost every body of water.

The slight keel to the belly and subtle taper in the tail of the worm gives just the right minnow profile in the water. The tail is simply a straight design, but observe the movement of a minnow or shad as it cruises: rarely does it flail aggressively in the water, even when fleeing an attacking bass. Instead, the tail flicks ever so slightly as it moves through the water, which is the same action imparted by the Shad Shape Worm.

The real key to the action with this bait is its flat top with slightly concave edges that allows the bait to dart slightly left or right on the upstroke of a drop shot rig. Therefore, as you lift the worm, it planes softly to one side or the other, drifts momentarily and then slowly begins to nose downward – the perfect wounded baitfish imitation in a bite-sized package! Subtle, quick lifts of the rod tip are all that is required to make the worm glide left or right.

Experiment with the Shad Shape worm in clear, shallow water to see how the bait responds to different lifts of the rod tip. This darting action is unique when compared to a traditional round profile worm on a drop shot, which will have the typical vertical tail flutter when lifted and dropped. You may even find bass bite the Shad Shape Worm when held perfectly still in the water column, so vary your presentation.

My hook preference is a light wire Gamakatsu offset rigged with the point of the hook lying slightly exposed along the flat top of the worm, which reduces snags around woody cover. The light wire adds just enough weight to the nose of the worm to allow a slow nose dive to the bottom on semi-slack line, but doesn’t kill the action.
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Try this set up on the 6’6” Yamamoto Drop Shot spinning rod (22-SDS-3). This rod is very well balanced, has a soft tip that is sensitive, but cushions the surge of a fish in conjunction with the reel’s drag. Six or eight pound fluorocarbon will not inhibit the action of the worm and provides optimum sensitivity for deep water strike detection.

Other Applications
The Shad Shape Worm also excels for a finesse presentation behind a split-shot rig, or even a Carolina rig. Again, its profile and short length is the perfect size and shape for finicky bass. The success of the French-fry style worms for these presentations gives credence to the do-nothing action of the Shad Shape Worm when a subtle presentation is required.

I’m starting to experiment with the “Scrounger” jig heads as yet another subtle shad imitation. The appeal of this style of jig head is the wobble action imparted by the short plastic bill when pulled through the water. The Shad Shape Worm will be a nice addition to the 1/8 – 1/4 oz jig-head along rocky and gravel points this fall, or when bass are suspended under docks or tire reefs.

I recently read where some Japanese pros have developed a worm presentation with absolutely no action when pulled through the water. A short, minnow-shaped worm is nose-hooked on a lead-head jig and simply reeled slowly through the water to imitate a cruising, unthreatened minnow or shad.

It seems wise to listen when the Japanese anglers develop a successful technique, as their lakes are extremely pressured and a true proving ground for fooling bass that have “seen it all”. I’ve not seen this particular method in practice; however, I can envision the Shad Shape Worm as the perfect fit for this technique – particularly for ultra-clear water and highly pressured lakes.

The Shad Shape Worm comes in a variety of great colors, but shades of green or olive almost always work for any soft plastic. Try shades of watermelon or green pumpkin with the metal flake of your choice to fit most applications, or the shad colors such as pearl, natural shad or baby bass in very clear water.
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I can see a killer here.........

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