Chikara crankbaits

The Yamamoto Chikara is designed to run true right out of the box, and the attention to details — right down to the eyes — is stunning.

Give bass the ‘evil eye’ with this lure

Bass fishermen are tying on a hot product from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. Surprisingly, it isn’t a soft plastic like the ever-popular Senko. In fact, it’s a hard bait with an attitude.

FLW pro Jay Yelas, the former Texas resident and accomplished bass-fishing pro who now lives in Oregon, has been giving the bass the “evil eye” with a new product from what many people regard as the manufacturing king of quality soft plastics, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits.

Yelas has been catching bass on the Chikara crankbait, which was part of a two-year project to introduce a line of hard baits to the lure manufacturing company that gave us Senkos.

The Chikara (which means “power” in Japanese) crankbait and three other hard baits introduced at last year’s ICAST show feature the familiar Yamamoto emblem easily recognizable in each eye. The holographic image gives it kind of an angry look, and lets bass and other anglers know you are fishing with the best in the business.

Yelas is partial to the Chikara, which has high-end qualities at an affordable price, he said.

“That’s my favorite one,” Yelas said. “That’s a good little crankbait. It’s going to catch a lot of fish.

“What’s good about these is they run to the right depths for Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. It’s got a good side-to-side wobble, fish-catching action, and it’s got all of these colors — unique color patterns.”

The Chikara’s 3-D effect is what makes the new crankbaits so appealing to bass, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ Ron Colby said. Much of the appearance has to do with the crystal-clear plastic and “second-surface depth” to it — a translucent look, if you will.

“We had a lot more colors but, again, we kept it simple,” Colby said. “The 16 colors are being well-received.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty exciting to have good, quality hard baits now to go along with the soft plastics we’ve had over the years,” Yelas said. “It’s just like anything that has the Yamamoto name on them — quality.”

Colby agreed.

“It had to be high quality because Gary’s name was going on it,” he said.

Prerequisites included that it had to run right fresh out of the box, it had to have good action and it had to have top-notch color combinations, he said.

Manufacturers added something extra, too, to his delight, when they suggested and the company agreed to the idea of the Yamamoto imprint in each eye of the crankbait. Colby called it the “evil eye” look, a crankbait with an attitude.

Yamamoto’s Chikara crankbait is available in three models — 100, 200 and 300, which dive 4 feet, 8 feet and 10 feet, respectively. Each model has the same body shape.

They also are armed with Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks.

The Chikaras have acoustically customized sound chambers, too.

Gary Yamamoto, the innovative and personable artificial lure manufacturer, is proud of the new line of premium hard baits.

“I think it’s going to be a tremendous line (of lures),” Yamamoto said about the Chikara crankbait, the Tenkuu (“sky” in Japanese), a jerkbait; the Tate (pronounced tah-teh and which means “dance” in Japanese), a topwater born to walk-the-dog, and the Shibuki (“splash” in Japanese), a concave-faced popper.

“It’s going to take some getting used to,” Yamamoto said in a promotional video in which he fishes with the company’s new crankbait.

“This is well made, and I’m proud to put my name on it,” Yamamoto said. “Now that we are offering this hard bait, I guess I’m going to have to learn to use it, also, and become familiar with it.”

Yelas is very familiar with the new lures, especially the Chikaras.

“After I first saw them last September at the ICAST show, I got my hands on them right away,” he said.

Yelas has been thrilled with the results. He used the 300 model to catch limits of fish last year during the FLW tournament Aug. 15-18 on the Red River in Louisiana.

“It’s just like anything that has the Yamamoto name on them — quality,” he said.

For more information on Chikara crankbaits and other Gary Yamamoto hard bait products, call 800-645-2248 or go to

JOIN THE CLUB, get unlimited access for $2.99/month

Become the most informed Sportsman you know, with a membership to the Carolina Sportsman Magazine and

About Don Shoopman 78 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply