Creature Fever: The Yamamoto Hula Swimmer is a short skirted enticer!
Total Score: 7.58 -
Yamamoto bait company has achieved nothing short of legendary status in the Bass
fishing world, aided along years ago by their release of the original Senko. It
didn't take long for the rest of the nation, and the world for that matter, to
take notice that the Senko was indeed a special product. Since then, Yamamoto
has released several variations of this amazing bait, including the popular Swim
Senko. Taking the design of this bait one step further is the Hula Swimmer,
which incorporates a 4.5” Swim Senko style body with a short hula-skirt head.
Will this mop-top bait prove to be another winner?
Armed and ready with 3 bags of Yamamoto Hula Swimmers
you ever fished a Swim Senko but wished it had a little something extra to get
noticed or entice a strike? The Hula Swimmer offers just that, featuring a 4.5”
Swim Senko style body and a 12 point hula-skirt head. The body and head are all
one single piece, so rigging is a snap. Right out of the bag this bait strikes
you as one that will catch fish. The colors, size, and just overall “fishy”
look of the bait inspire confidence before the first cast is even made. Like
other Senko style baits, it is also infused with a generous amount of salt for
even more appeal. 12 standard colors are available, as well as several special
order combos available on the Gary Yamamoto website. This allows the customer
to choose their own skirt and body color combination for a truly custom bait.
Rigged up on a 5/0 keel weighted swimbait hook
Testing with the Hula Swimmer took place on a variety of south Florida ponds,
lakes, and canals. 14Lb monofilament, as well as 20lb braid were the lines of
choice. Though this bait can be used as a trailer on a lure like a swim jig, I
elected to test it alone rigged Texas style with a bullet weight, and with a
keel-weighted swimbait hook.
A closer look at the 12 point hula skirt head
all baits in the Senko family, these have a nice density to them which allows
for effortless casting with just a light added weight. I really enjoyed tossing
the Hula Swimmer in shallow water with just enough weight to keep it down in the
strike zone. While the hula-skirt head adds a tiny amount of wind resistance to
the bait, I found it wasn't a concern whatsoever during casting, even into the
wind. If the skirt was both longer and thicker, it would likely then pose more
of a problem. Any rod that you like to fish Senkos on will be perfect to cast
this bait. I personally prefer a 7'-7'3” M to MH rod for fishing them.
A TackleTour autopsy of sorts, a well worn bait is cut open to reveal the salty
Hula Swimmer is a very easy bait to fish. My best success comes when slow
rolling it like a spinnerbait, with an occasional speed variance or twitch
during retrieve. The bait has a nice feel coming through the water, and does so
with just a minimal resistance. It's a killer tool for probing around, through,
or tickling the tops of submerged weeds. Since it is weedless and pretty thin,
it comes through cover easily. While the tail portion has fantastic kicking
action, you can't really feel any of it's vibration during the retrieve. The
paddle tail is relatively small and thin, so this is not really a surprise.
Though undetectable, the action of the bait is impressive, as it truly does have
a very lively look with it's kicking action and undulating head. The head also
causes the bait to push a bit more water than a standard Swim Senko, which in
turn allows Bass to find it easier in dirtier water.
Slow rolling the bait through a bit deeper water with an occasional twitch and
found the durability to be just ok. The bulky first half of the body is
basically a Senko, so it's pretty chunky and fairly durable. The problem I
encountered had to do with the rear tail half of the bait. Nearing the tail,
the bait flattens and narrows substantially, tapering down to a thin weak point
before the paddle tail. This design definitely improves swimming action, but at
the cost of durability. Several baits had their tails sheared clean off by very
small Bass that chomped or pecked at the bait during retrieve.
Frustration set in when several baits had their tails sheared clean off by small
fish chomping and pecking at the tail during retrieve
The bags used
for packaging seem to be of very good quality and have an equally good zip
closure at the top. Bags like these are great as I can simply toss a bunch of
them in my tackle bag for the day and not have to worry about lugging a worm
binder around. Each bag contains 7 Hula Swimmers at a cost of $7.49-$7.99.
Compared to a similarly sized 4”-5” Senko, the price is comparable except that
you get 3 less Hula Swimmers per bag. It would be nothing to go through a whole
bag of these baits during a good fishing day, which could get a bit costly
Top view of the tail portion. The thinnest section in the middle wasn't solely
to blame as the bite-offs occurred along the entire tail portion.
ratings standard for
2008 and have
included a key at
the bottom of the
following matrix as
to be a
: 2 =
poor : 3
: 4 =
: 5 =
: 6 =
fair : 7
= good :
: 10 =
Pluses and Minuses:
With low water, high temps, and light wind each day, big fish were absent during
testing but willing 2lbers filled the void
Fever in full swing here at TackleTour, one cannot think of plastic baits
without the Yamamoto name immediately coming to mind. The Hula Swimmer joins
their ever-expanding lineup of Senko-based offerings, all made with the
signature quality and triggering qualities Yamamoto has built a reputation on.
For Bass anglers, especially those favoring shallow water, these are a bait
worth looking into. For fish that have “seen it all”, sometimes showing them
something even slightly different is all it takes!
Looking for the Yamamoto Hula Swimmer?