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Yamamoto Yama Craw Review

Today, we’ll be talking about one of the latest creations from Yamamoto, the Yama Craw. But first it makes sense to give you a little background on Gary Yamamoto and his famed lure company that have long been the world-renowned leader in the soft plastic stick bait genre. In fact, they basically invented the soft stick bait category and definitely propelled it to a level of never-before-seen popularity.

Yamamoto’s 5-inch Senko, a seemingly unimpressive soft plastic shape, shifted the entire sport of bass fishing and inspired dozens of look-alike lures from other companies. This one lure was so impactful and original, that all baits like it from all brands are often referred to as Senkos, though there is only one original Senko.

But I felt the need to reference their Senko in the introduction for one primary reason; the Senko is so well-known that assumptions are subconsciously made about the other baits in the Yamamoto lineup. Assuming these two baits are made from the same material for example, would be a mistake. So let’s start there.

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yama craw in water


One of the key characteristic of the Yamamoto Senko is the heavy salt content used in that particular soft plastic bait. The weight of the salt allows the bait to sink, shimmying to and fro slightly on the fall. But, the Yama Craw is made from an entirely different material, using a whole new formula—Yamamoto’s Mega Floater Formula.

You can tell right away upon picking up one of the Yama Craws that it has unique feel to it compared to the traditional soft plastics from Yamamoto. The bait is a little softer and much spongier. It’s durable, but not super stretchy like the ElaZtech material used by Z-Man to make their well-known soft plastics float.

The Yama Craw can still be torn, but it is as durable as most other soft plastics, if not a little more durable. Definitely far more durable than hand-poured soft plastics.

yamamoto yama craw floating


As the name implies, the Mega Floater Formula used to create the Yama Craw is very buoyant. This makes the Yama Craw a great bait for Texas rigging, wobble heads and magnum shaky heads. It also means this bait will work extremely well as a jig trailer.

Whether flipping a jig, dragging a football jig or using the Yama Craw for any of these other techniques, the buoyancy of the material allows the claws of the craw to float up in a defensive posture. This perfectly mimics what a crawfish does in nature when it senses danger, making the Yama Craw great for bottom hopping baits.

The buoyancy of a Yama Craw can really change the presentation as a whole when using this bait with a Tokyo rig or Carolina rig, when the entire bait can float up out of the silt and off the bottom, putting it right in the face of a bass on the prowl.

I’ve only begun to scratch the surface personally when it comes to ways to take advantage of Yamamoto’s use of their Mega Floating Formula in the Yama Craw. Putting this bait on the back of a swim jig, for instance, should allow me to fish the same jig slower or increase the weight of my jig (thus increasing my casting range), while keeping the bait at the same level in the water column on the retrieve.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the Yama Craw will work wonders during the spawn too, with its claws floating right up in a bedding bass’s face.

yama craw packaging


At first glance, the Yama Craw no doubt reminded me of one of the all-time classic baits in the craw genre, the Strike King Rage Tail Craw. The baits are both 4-inches long, come in clamshell packages and use raised flanges along the tips of the claws to help the bait generate a lot of action on the fall, and when being reeled through the water.

The Yama Craw does have a little more detail to it, with little bumps and grooves and appendages scattered about. But the real difference maker when it comes to these two baits is the Mega Floater Formula. Based solely on appearances, the two are very similar. But the buoyancy of the Yama Craw is enough for it to create and fill a new niche in the genre all its own.

Yamamoto Yama Craw bass


The price point of $7.99 is pretty good, especially considering these baits come packaged well, ensuring they’ll maintain their shape up until the moment they’re pulled from the pack and rigged up. We’ve touched on the buoyancy of this bait multiple times, but it is certainly what sets this lure apart from others like it.

The action is awesome. And, with the Yama Craw available in a wide variety of 20 different colors, there’s something in this lineup for every conceivable technique a soft plastic craw could be used for.

Finding ways to take advantage of Yamamoto’s new Mega Floating Formula will give me fresh strategies for targeting bass that are becoming more and more pressured by the year. Anytime a bait comes along that is able to do things another isn’t, it’s an easy one to add to my box.

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