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Fishing the Senko
By Ryan Otto 


Senkos are one of the most versatile baits in your boat.  From pre-spawn bass to deepwater bass they will consistently catch fish.  They can be crawled through the thickest cover or dead stick and do either equally well.  The slow descent is something a bass can rarely pass on.

There are a couple of basic ways I rig a senko.  One is a basic texas rig with a 3/0 Gamakatsu hook and a small tungsten weight.  I use this to probe mats of vegetation.  When doing this I simply allow the bait to fall to the bottom, reel it up and pitch it in another spot.  I fish it quickly trying to locate fish.  The slender profile of the bait is great for; this it rarely hangs up and looks very natural free falling through the canopy.  If I am probing pockets in the vegetation or fishing timber I will skip the weight allowing the bait to fall slower and more naturally.  This works great because it gives less active bass more of a chance to react to the bait.  Another great area to fish this is in lily pads.  When doing this I flip the lure onto a pad and slowly drag it off trying not to create much of a disturbance.  I then allow the bait to free fall to the bottom.  I found that when the disturbance of a frog wont get them to bite this can be very effective.   water

The other way that I fish this lure is wacky rigging it.  This is my favorite way to fish a senko especially on post frontal conditions.  For this I use a 2/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook and 8 lb fluorocarbon in open water and 20 lb spyderwire stealth around docks and heavier cover.  When rigging the worm I bend it touching the two ends and stick the hook through the middle.  I then check to make sure it hangs on the hook balanced.  When fishing this lure in post frontal conditions I am looking for areas along a deep weed line where Bass will gather.  Points, pockets, bottom changes, or even just a change in the type of weed growing are key areas.  I make casts trying to drop the lure as closely as I can down the face of the weeds.  The slow wobbling descent will pull them out of the cover when nothing else will.  I have used this technique in water as deep as 20.  It takes patience and excellent boat control, but is very effective.  Another place I like to use a wacky rig is around boat docks.  The lure skips amazingly well and can get to the farthest back corners of a dock.  Its slow descent works perfect when the bass are suspended under the docks.  Often times the bass will hit it within 6-12 of the surface.  When I fish a dock I skip the bait as far back as I can get it, allow it to sink to the bottom and then pull it out a few feet while shaking the rod.  This gives the worm an undulating effect that can trigger some very aggressive strikes. 

The toughest part of fishing a senko can be detecting the bite.  The simple nature of allowing a bait to freefall on slack line causes this.  The best way to do this is watch the line and keep just enough slack in it to allow the bait to freefall.  Any movement in the line or change in rate of descent and you should set the hook.  If you are faced with windy conditions watching the line can be very difficult.  When faced with this situation I allow the bait to fall most of the way to the bottom and then reel up the slack and check for extra weight.  If you feel extra weight set the hook. If you dont pull the bait a few feet and allow it to fall again.

Next time you head out try a few of these ideas.  Im sure they will help you put more fish in the boat.  Maybe you can come up with a few of your own variations of this very versatile bait.


Ryan Otto Pro-Staff