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Yamamoto Zako Swimbait Review

Fishing lures and anglers sometimes become synonymous. Jimmy Houston and the spinnerbait. Zell Rowland the popper. Denny Brauer flipping a jig. For a while Bryan Thrift was tied to the Chatterbait. Now it seems that more people think of Brett Hite when they think of vibrating jigs, as he’s won so many events on them now. Hite recently got together with Yamamoto Baits to create the Zako swimbait for his major fishing prowess — fishing grass with vibrating jigs.

The Yamamoto Zako is not a typical swimbait, but it was designed specifically by Hite to be the perfect vibrating jig trailer, at one of the most proven forage sizes of 4 inches. I got some early samples in June of 2016 and caught several big bass on vibrating jigs with the Zako as a trailer. So, I thought I would share my thoughts with those interested in this new offering from Yamamoto Custom Baits.

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Dense plastic comprises the head of the Zako that tapers into a unique forked tail with wedge fins to give it a different kick. The segmented body coupled with the wedge tail make for a very tight wobbling swimbait that holds really well to a hook, which means more fish on a single bait. The density of the head gives the Zako a bit more weight which makes it easier to cast and rig in multiple ways on lighter heads for fishing around grass without sacrificing casting accuracy.



I really like their electric shad, green pumpkin, Tennessee shad and Zako colors on the new swimbait. It of course comes in most of the signature colors you would expect from Yamamoto. And the colors don’t appear to bleed much as I mixed several different ones into the sample packs on fishing trips around the country.


On the water

The Zako swims well on a Chatterbait or swim jig. In fact, we have selected it as the top choice in our best Chatterbait trailers article. The skirt doesn’t impeded the action which can sometimes happen when rigging lighter swimbaits as trailers. The flat body of the swimbait and denser head also seems to help with skipping a chatterbait. I was able to skip it under docks, under branches and into shallow cover very nicely. I think because this design makes for a very compact offering.

I did fish it some on a jighead and weighted swimbait hook. I liked it on both, but I probably wouldn’t trade my other staple options there. But I would definitely trade in some of my trailers on a Chatterbait for this option. My first fish on the Chatterbait / Zako combo happened to be a 6-pounder. My second one was a 4-pounder. Then I caught 3 more in 3 casts. That spot might have been a fluke that day and I just hit it perfect where there was a wolf pack of bass actively feeding, but I picked off 5 bass in my first 15 minutes fishing the Zako as a trailer on Kentucky Lake.


The Zako comes 6 to a pack, and they are available now at and other retailers carrying Yamamoto Baits. I’d recommend you get a couple minnow colors and couple bluegill type colors and let us know how they work for you!

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