Before Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits’ Cowboy soft plastic creature bait was unveiled at the 2018 Bassmaster Classic in South Carolina, a few bass anglers were fortunate to have Ron Colby’s latest creation.
And Tai Au of Glendale, Arizona — the No. 2 all-time money winner on the Wild West Bass Trail — was one of them.
“I know the lure just came out, but I’ve caught over 100 fish on it already,” Au said earlier this spring.
“I was looking for something the fish haven’t seen,” the 34-year-old GYCB rep said — and he got it from Colby.
“If I didn’t work for Yamamoto, I probably wouldn’t tell anybody,” Au said.
Distinguishing the Cowboy from the rest are the two large, J-shaped wide profile legs — the tail — under the body. It also features two sets of small, flapping appendages that give it secondary action.
The 4-inch long Cowboy can be Texas-rigged, Carolina-rigged or used as a trailer on a football head jig, a swivel head jig and even a bladed jig like a ChatterBait.
“What’s unique about the bait is there are no other creature baits on the market that I know of with a tail that moves so much. The tail’s so big it moves perfectly through the water. It doesn’t have any erratic action,” Au said. “If you pitch a lot, you need a lure with more action, more movement. You need it to fall where it flutters. It’s awesome to do that.”
Before winter hit Arizona, Au caught consistently with the lure on a few trips he made in October, November and December.
At the 2017 WON U.S. Open on Lake Mead in mid-October, won by Phoenix’s Justin Patti with 36.3 pounds, Au was in the Top 10 after Day 1 using the Cowboy.
His first fish was a 3 ½-pounder (“An absolute giant for Lake Mead,” he said) that bit the Cowboy he had tied to 70-pound braid under a 3/8-ounce worm weight.
“I went through every single pack. Long story short, I ran out of Cowboys,” he said, noting he had five bags.
In December, which was unseasonably mild, Au took the Cowboy out for a test ride at Saguaro Lake, 41 miles from Phoenix. He punched the milfoil and had the kind of day bass anglers dream about, one that was recorded and can be seen on YouTube.
“Anyway, my biggest five would have went 25 pounds,” he said.
He repeated those results the next day after Colby, who lives in Page, Arizona — home of GYCB since its inception in 1983 — drove over to fish with him on Saguaro Lake.
Best of both worlds
Au also is a big fan of the GYCB Flappin’ Hog, another soft plastic creature bait that was his favorite before the introduction of the Cowboy.
“This one (Cowboy) gives me the best of both,” he said.
That was the goal, said Colby, GYCB vice president of operations who celebrated his 16th year with the company in December. He had been tinkering with something like it for a few years but got serious when pro staffers kept bringing it up.
“I had been working on it for a while. Guys were asking for a bait with more vibration, something with a bigger kick and a pretty big profile,” Colby said.
“But when they put the pressure on me, put the screws to me, I committed. I’m pretty excited about it. It was in demand.”
The Cowboy design he eventually came up with combined popular characteristics of the Flappin’ Hog’s shape and appendages with the wide profile legs of GYCB’s Hula Grub.
“I beefed up the legs. I kept working with it a little bit until it put a lot of vibration out there. It seems to be doing the job,” Colby said.
“What I like about it, too, is they changed the formula,” Au said. “It’s a little tougher, lasts a little longer.”
He averages three or four bass on one Cowboy, he said.
For more information on the Cowboy and other GYCB artificial lures, go to www.yamamoto.baits.com or call (800) 645-2248.