Free Shipping: Orders Over $35

YUM Baits Critical to Top Finishes in 2022 Bassmaster Classic

Learn about the YUM Bait Company lures that made a critical difference in the Bassmaster Classic for Jason Christie, Stetson Blaylock and Luke Palmer.

If you watched the Bassmaster Classic weigh-in and were paying attention during the final portion, you heard the name YUM repeatedly. There is good reason for that, and not just one of anglers thanking sponsors. YUM Baits were critical to the strategies of three of the top six finishers in this year’s classic, including Bassmaster Classic Champion Jason Christie.

Let’s take a closer look at the YUM Baits Jason Christie, Stetson Blaylock and Luke Palmer used for their top finishes, examining why they chose these baits and how they used them.

Jason Christie, 1st Place

Jason Christie landing bassJason Christie landing bass
Photo courtesy of BASS


Jason Christie of Park Hill, Oklahoma used two approaches exclusively to weigh 54 pounds over three days, earning him the Bassmaster Classic champion title and $300,000. He began each day fishing a deep-water drain, using a prototype YUM bait to get fish in the box and build confidence. He then moved to shallow docks, which he fished with a War Eagle Jiu-Jigsu Jig and a YUM Craw Chunk trailer.

Details about the YUM prototype bait remain under wrap for now, but it is called an FF Sonar Minnow, with the FF standing for Forward Facing. Christie and YUM have been working together on this bait for about five years as he has perfected the associated technique on Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma. Tenkiller has plentiful deep, clear water and mirrors the situation Christie found in the deep-water drain at Lake Hartwell.

Christie fished the FF Sonar Minnow on a 3/16-ounce jighead on spinning tackle, with 15-pound braided line 8-pound Sunline leader, working primarily around 30 feet deep.

It has been well documented that Christie’s shallow bait, which produced the larger portion of his winning weight, was a War Eagle Jiu-Jigsu Jig. The trailer is an important piece of the puzzle with a jig, though, and his trailer of choice was a Green Pumpkin 2.75-inch YUM Craw Chunk.

The Craw Chunk is Christie’s go-to trailer for jig fishing early in the year, when he wants to create a crawfish look but does not want a lot of claw action. He opted for the 2.75-inch Craw Chunk, which is the smallest of three sizes, because he wanted a compact profile to allow his jig to fall as quickly as possible.

Christie chose green pumpkin because it’s natural and complemented his jig, which was GP Orange Craw on Days 1 and 2, and straight Green Pumpkin on Day 3.

Stetson Blaylock, 3rd Place

Stetson Blaylock fighting bassStetson Blaylock fighting bass
Photo courtesy of BASS

Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Arkansas used various baits that ranged from a YUM Finesse Worm to assorted moving baits to amass a three-day weight of 53 pounds, 5 ounces, earning him 3rd place and $40,000

However, his key presentation on Days 2 and 3 and the bait that produced the biggest share of that weight was a 5-inch Dirt Purple YUM Dinger, wacky rigged, with a 1/32-ounce nail weight inserted in the Dinger.

Dirt Purple, which is part of the YUM Custom Soft Plastic Baits program, was included in the initial release of custom color YUM Dingers by Blaylock’s request. For him, it’s a confidence color and one that looks a little different than the Green Pumpkin that bass so often see. It’s also a color he particularly likes for spotted bass, which are an important part of the equation at Lake Hartwell.

Blaylock used the Dinger for a couple of applications. It was his “go back” bait that he would throw when fish would follow a moving bait but not commit. He could cast the YUM Dinger back to the spot, and the fish couldn’t resist it.

He mostly used the Dinger to target fish he was seeing with on LiveScope. Fish that had been on Points on the first day moved just off the points to adjacent flats and were holding 10 to 15 feet down. He could cast to the fish and let the Dinger fall right in front of them.

Blaylock believes the Dinger’s profile and the fast fall achieved with a larger nail weight than he often uses were important for triggering strikes. He used a No. 1 Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot hook.

Luke Palmer, 6th Place

Luke Palmer with Bassmaster Classic BaitsLuke Palmer with Bassmaster Classic Baits

Luke Palmer of Coalgate, Oklahoma used two YUM Baits for his entire catch of 48 pounds, 2 ounces, which earned him 6th place and a $22,0000 check. Sticking with a strategy he devise before the tournament began, he used a YUM Scottsboro Swimbait to target fish that were relating to blueback herring in the morning and a 5-inch YUM Dinger to target shallow largemouths though the rest of each day.

Palmer chose a 3-inch Rainbow Shad YUM Scottsboro Swimbait for his herring fish because he felt like it was the best imitation of the forage. A few bass he caught in practice spit up herring, and the Rainbow Shad color and 3-inch size offered an excellent match.

Palmer fished the YUM Scottsboro Swimbait on a 3/8-ounce jighead, which was heavy enough for a fairly fast fall rate and allowed him to swim it quickly, not allowing the bass too long a look. He was casting to fish he was seeing on electronics, so he was able to gauge reactions. He focused on the herring fish until mid-morning, each day, before switching strategies to begin culling.

To target bigger largemouths, Palmer chose a Green Pumpkin Purple Flake YUM Dinger, which he wacky rigged, with no added weight, working docks in 6 to 10 feet. He would skip the Dinger as far back as possible and let it sink.

Some fish hit the Dinger as soon as it hit the water. For many, though, he had to let it sink and then dead stick it on the bottom, sometimes for up to a minute. He was using forward facing sonar and watching fish look at his bait, which gave him the patience to leave it sitting there.

Interestingly, while Blaylock found a fast fall essential to trigger Dinger bites, Palmer found the opposite to be true for the shallower fish he was targeting. He felt like the slow fall achieved with weightless rigging was important to his success.

Common denominator for all three anglers? YUM is the word!