Yamamoto’s 4.5 Xl Tiny IKA has plenty of fishing uses

Yamamoto’s latest creation can be rigged in almost every fashion

When Gary Yamamoto wanted a superior, solid tube with a skirt, he went to work and came up with the 4.5-inch XL Tiny Ika.

Yamamoto, a 77-year-old lure designer from Palestine, Texas, loves to fish as much or more than he loves to design and manufacture soft plastics. His latest design may be the perfect artificial for finesse fishing, as well as power fishing.

Yamamoto, who started Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits in 1983, has been catching plenty of fish on the XL Tiny Ika all winter around his camp near the coast at Fourchon, west of Grand Isle. The fish aren’t green, either.

Frank Roberts with a nice Reggio speckled trout.

“I primarily use the Ika for speckled trout,” Yamamoto said. “I’ve had tremendous luck with Ikas. 

“There are several ways of working it. Yesterday was a prime example,” he said. “There was a real good bite after a cold front. I was working the Ika on a light jighead, letting it fall. You can cast it out and let it sink. People like heavy jigs, but it seems like on the lighter jighead, it flutters better when you let it fall to the bottom.”

Yamamoto caught trout after trout on a mid-December day when other anglers came in with few, if any, specks.

Naturally, the XL Tiny Ika’s prowess in Yamamoto’s favorite canal at his camp is catching on with the neighbors. Its popularity grows as the word spreads.

“This community is learning about it,” he said. “I play with it in the canals. As years go by, I’m learning more about fishing around here. This year has been a banner year. I guess after 20 years, I’ve figured how to catch them.” 


The top color combinations are any that look like a mullet, he said. One of his favorites for specks is a two-toned model with clear and black/silver speckles on the top and a dark color on the bottom, Yamamoto said. 

A special plastic formula that makes the soft plastic glow in the dark enhances the appeal of the 3.5-inch Saltwater Ika, Yamamoto said, adding, “We’ve done that quite a lot.”

The XL Tiny Ika has a slightly bigger, solid, grub-style body and a longer tail than Yamamoto’s original Tiny Ika, which has been the scourge of crappie populations everywhere. The tail is comprised of six skirted, flat tentacles. Hence the name. Ika in Japanese means “squid.”

“It’s a subtle bait” that doesn’t have a big tail that swashes around, Yamamoto said. The bait was originally designed as a flipping bait for bass in large bodies of water. Its applications have grown by leaps and bounds.

Bass fishing

For those who target bass, Yamamoto and so many others know the most-recent XL Tiny Ika stands out as a drop-shot plastic and when rigged on a finesse jighead, like a Ned Rig. It’s at its best as it comes through the water with a very subtle, swimming action on a steady retrieve and quivers side-to-side when it falls on a slack line.

Also, Yamamoto pointed out, it has been effective on a shaky head, as well as a Carolina-rigged soft plastic and on a light Texas rig. The bait’s affinity for a Texas rig is the worst-kept secret among many bass pros and other aficionados. 

Yamamoto 4.5” XL Tiny Ika in black/blue flake.

The XL Tiny Ika rigged backwards and weedless on an EWG hook suckers both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Rigged skirt up and weedless, it has a unique, backward falling action. Many anglers fish it in place of a Senko when bass are aggressive and want a faster fall, particularly around ridges, humps and other distinctive bottom features.

Yamamoto also shared a secret on how to Texas-rig it. He uses a short piece of solder and pushes it into the lure’s body to fish it Texas-rigged around boat docks and piers.

Some of the top colors for bass fishing presentations include goby, black/blue flake, watermelon/black/red, baby bass, green pumpkin and smoke/black/purple.

For more information about the 4.5-inch XL Tiny Ika and other GYCB products, call 800-645-22481 or go to www.baits.com.

About Don Shoopman 563 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.