Man holding a big largemouth bass on a kayak in water.

How To Fish Senkos For Largemouth Bass

If you fish tournaments or would love to get more bites when nothing else works, you should learn how to fish senkos, stick baits, straight worms, straight tail worms, or stick worms. All of these describe the exact same bait body. The worm that works. Anglers as well as mankind, in general, have used worms to catch fish for a very long time. Modern technology has capitalized on this past success from earlier history. Trial and error made soft plastics a staple everywhere.

Time would lead one man to create an artificial lure that catches fish just as effectively if not better than the real thing. These are the golden standard of soft plastic fishing lures and the one you count on to produce when nothing else will. It is the bait you try when nothing else seems to be working. This design is by far one of the absolute best lures in bass fishing as a sport.

Professional anglers think so too. One of the most interesting things about these great worm lures is how you fish it. You just let it fall. Nobody even considered this as a way of actual fishing until this worm came onto the scene. The subtle but effective shimmy action on the fall gives this style of lure a hot reputation and a fierce bite. All the credit goes to Gary Yamamoto for developing a lure style that is heavily replicated for one reason only. It flat out catches fish.

It catches them so well that it seems like cheating to some. Who wouldn’t want to throw something that is that effective? Few lures have such bragging rights. You would be doing yourself a great disservice if you decided to never try out this awesome style of soft plastic. Fishing a senko is a technique you need to learn because it can really increase your catch.

Understanding The Definition of What A Senko Worm Is

First of all, what on planet earth is a senko and why is it important to know? To be quite honest, this term is thrown around the fishing community quite often by people who have accepted it as a lure style. First of all, it isn’t a type of lure, or at least, it wasn’t originally. This term was coined by anglers who used the original lure called the Yamasenko. This is the one from which all duplicates arose. They were invented by Gary Yamamoto. That was then. Then, it was one bait.

Now is pretty different comparing it to then. Since many people believe the Yamasenko to be the best one available after many have copied the design, the word now refers to the style of bait. Today, it is just another name for stick bait, stick worm, straight worm, or straight tail worm and it doesn’t refer to the brand name. The reason for this is because a lot of lure companies make a version or personal copy of it. This is important because it confuses many beginners.

Competing models from popular companies include the Shim-e stick, the stik-o, the ocho, the dinger, and the general. This is just to name a few too. All of these are similar. These are all just brand specific duplicates of the original. The shim-e stick is one of Strike King’s many models of stick worm. Strike King also makes the ocho with help from Kevin VanDam, which is hexagonal instead of round. It also is infused with salt and coffee. Bass Pro Shops makes the stik-o worm which is just a basic copy of the original with the Bass Pro Shops logo on it. They all work.

The dinger is made by Yum Lures and it carries a lower price tag than many. It uses a slightly firmer plastic in the molding process. All are technically classified as a stick worm, therefore, they receive the Gary Yamamoto label by default by many people. It is important to understand that rigging and fishing all of these baits is essentially the same as it relates to fishing any stick worm, regardless of brand name or manufacturer. Call it whatever you want. It doesn’t matter to much.

The same tactics can be used for all of them. The reason that it is important to know is that you are not completely limited to the Gary Yamamoto brand, just because of its label. You can use whichever one you would like to use because they are all very similar in design, action, and effectiveness. Subtle but possibly important differences will exist from brand to brand. It is your choice to decide what brand of worm to use. They all differ in different ways. You have to pick.

How To Rig A Senko For Maximum Action – Methods

The very first step before you even get started is to decide on how you will rig it. Yes, I know it sounds odd and complicated, but stay with me. Soft plastics are different from hard lures like crankbaits and spinnerbaits in that you must first equip them with terminal tackle for them to be effective. You cannot just tie a worm onto the end of your line, blindly cast, and catch fish on them. It just doesn’t work that way. They don’t come with hooks and that is for a reason.

The reason is to give you the option of how you want to present the lure. For instance, there is no one right or wrong way to fish them. Likewise, the sheer amount of ways it can be done are many. You can use a spinning rod to cast lighter worms or you can fish bigger ones for trophy fish. Different rigs as well as the way you rig it will have a huge impact on how it behaves in the water. Using different hooks as well as hooking methods will modify the action and its appeal.

1. Weightless Texas Rigged – Yamamoto’s Best Method

The most effective and versatile way to present a stick bait is to throw it weightless on a Texas rig. The original inventor of the Yamasenko, Gary Yamamoto, says this directly and specifically. Since he invented the first one, he should be the first one you listen to right? Originally, the Texas rig consists of a bullet sinker on the nose of the bait. Sometimes, a plastic bead or other stop is used to prevent the bullet sinker from traveling too far up the main line. Its extra tackle.

When you throw it weightless, you remove both and end up with just the lure and the hook placed a certain way. It’s a very unique design because of the way the hook penetrates the plastic. It allows for the point of the hook to be hidden inside. This completely removes the hook’s ability to snag on anything such as grass, weeds, rocks, and boat docks or piers. It allows you to get into the nasty stuff where the big spawning females love to make their nests and hide. Being able to get your bait into all of that cover is the key to catching those tournament winning bass. This is impossible when you are throwing a lure with exposed treble hooks.

How To Texas Rig A Senko Weightless – The Basic Method

The very first step to Texas rig a soft plastic correctly is to identify the action end of it and insert the hook through the other end. The action end is nothing more than the back. You want to look at the worm and identify the end of it that is fatter and flat-nosed. This is the end where you will insert your hook. Take your extra-wide gap worm hook and pierce the flat end in the nose.

Force the hook inside until the plastic reaches the bend. Turn the hook and force the hook point out the side. Pull the hook through the lure and up the shank until it gets to the first bend of the eye. Now, spin the hook while pulling it so the eye is lined up in the center of the worm. Next, set the hook on the side of it to remember where it should out. Take note of where the hook rests. This is where you will pierce the worm once more. After you have that spot in mind, bend the worm a little and poke the hook back through the same place, until the hook comes out.

2. Wacky Rigged – How To Hook A Stick Bait Wacky Style

The wacky rig is another very effective way to present the stick bait. As the name implies, the way it sits on the hook is a bit wacky. The wacky rig consists of keeping the hook in the middle of the bait with the lure turned sideways. When cast out, the weight of the hook makes both sides of it shimmy down to the bottom with a very slow and subtle shaking motion. You are using an exposed hook most of the time so this is more for open water than the very heavy thick grass mats capable with the Texas rig. It is a rig that can catch some of the biggest fish.

You can always use a hook with a weed guard or even purchase kits and other terminal tackle used exclusively for this purpose. Either way, it is still a very nice method to catch fish on if done right. You can also work the edge of the cover or docks with it if you are good at casting. You can effectively catch some of the biggest fish with this one if you match the color and size of lure accordingly. The action is nothing short of incredible and is almost irresistible to the monsters. It shows the fish something new and can really produce big strikes on certain days.

How To Rig The Wacky Rig For More Successful Hooking

The wacky rig is done in a few different ways. There are some anglers who just prefer to take the worm and just hook it in the middle before fishing with it. Although that can work for some, our experience has been that you lose bodies every other fish. Instead, we highly recommend trying to hook through a crisscrossed plastic ring. First, it requires a wacky tool and some plastic rings.

Slide the rings onto the wacky tool if you haven’t already and slide the worm inside of the tool. Slide a ring down the base and onto the worm. Now, Do it again with another ring. Now you have two rings. Crisscross them until they intersect. Now put your hook under one ring, through the lure, and out the other. You should be left with a very secure wacky rig that will rip the bait in half before it comes off the hook. This is just one of many ways to wacky rig any worm body.

3. On A Jighead, Shaky Head, Or Other Similar Hooks

Another very popular way is to mount it on a lead or tungsten jighead. The weight at the front makes the worm work better. It makes the action amplified. Take a 3/16 ounce jighead and mount the lure on it. You can use it for most applications but vertical structures are the best for it. You do need to be careful about where you throw it and how accurate you are.

This is because that exposed hook can hang up. Since you are using an exposed hook instead of burying it, that means that your hookup ratio is higher though. Try throwing it in slightly more open water especially when the visibility is lower. It will also work in clear scenarios, which may require you to use a smaller jighead, fluorocarbon, or work it slower.

How To Rig Senkos On Jigheads And Shaky Heads

Aside from sliding the worm up the body of the jig onto the bait keeper, there is not much else you need to do besides this. Slide it on your favorite jig head and let her fly. A very popular way of doing this is to get the ones with the screw-lock instead of the bait collar. Softer plastic always rips easier no matter what you do. If you screw it on instead, your lure will last so much longer and you can often get much fish off of the same one before you have to replace it. There have been many times when others have been out on a trip and used the exact same lure all day with no signs of it ripping. Your success may vary depending on what jighead you decide to use.

4. Drop Shot Rigged – For Very Clear Water Fishing

Although not near as traditional, the drop shot is becoming the rig of choice for many seasoned professionals and for a good reason. Not staying true to the rise and fall technique, the drop shot will create a situation that never allows the lure to even get close to the bottom. It is helpful to catch suspended fish as well as everything in-between as well as senko bank fishing.

The action is extremely natural. The rig also allows you to keep the bait at one level instead of it being so erratic. Also, it will allow you to catch more than one fish if you decide to attach more than once hook. The drop shot is more finesse in its presentation and it excels in catching big behemoths in even the clearest of waters. It is even helpful for targeting them when the water is half frozen. The drop shot is normally used with other worms such as ribbon tail versions. Mounting a straight body on one will give it an action unlike no other as the tail does its thing.

How to Rig A Drop Shot Worm

Before you mount the lure on, you first need to set up a basic drop shot rig. You will need a drop shot finesse hook and a drop shot weight. First, tie the hook onto your main fishing line with a Palomar knot and purposely leave a very long tag end. Next, pass the end of the long tag end back through the eye of the hook facing down. This will make the hook stand up horizontally adjacent to the line. At the end of the tag end, tie on your weight and clip off what’s left. This is a basic drop shot ready for lures. Next, take your favorite stick bait and nose hook it. That’s it. Now you are ready to give this a cast and hold on tight!

How To Fish Senkos For Largemouth Bass

There are usually many questions from many people about the actual commitment on their part.  There is a big step after they are rigged up. How do you fish a senko? What are you supposed to do once that lure touches that water? Sit and wait? Actually, the method is pretty simple. All you need to do is let it fall on a slack line and let the lure work for you.

Usually, you should practice and see what works. Then the inevitable question is always “how do I do it properly though? How do you do it? To answer that, we have gone over ways that these rigs are normally fished by myself as well as by many other fishermen the world over. Putting these tactics to work is sure to get you some catches you might not have otherwise found. Put them to use. They have spelled success for many people. Even though the weather affects fishing somewhat, you can never fish these to slow however, it is very easy to go to fast.

How To Fish The Texas Rig – Try It In Very Weedy Areas

To fish the Texas Rig properly, just follow a few simple steps. The very first thing you want to do is look for cover where you believe fish may be hiding. Cast your rod a few feet beyond where you think the fish are. When you are done making your cast, close your bail on your spinning rod or re-engage your reel. Then, just to let it fall. Let it fall all the way to the bottom. During this process, we don’t want you to touch it. As it falls, it will do a very subtle shimmy to the bottom.

The action is barely anything but the fish will rip it to shreds if you do it right. Once the lure touches the bottom, wait a few seconds and lift your rod tip up vertically to make the worm rise in the water by a few feet. Let it fall again. Pick up some of the slack with the reel.Always make sure to have some slack in the line as you’re doing this. You want the line to be semi-slack.

You don’t want to retrieve it. Just let it work. Let it do the work for you. You can also experiment on how fast or slow to work it based on the wants of the fish. Let them tell you what they want. If you get a bite, wait for 2 to 3 seconds, and really drive that hook home. You want to set the hook hard enough to pierce the worm if it has to.

How To Fish The Wacky Rig

Fishing the wacky rigged worm is pretty straightforward but there are a few things to be aware of. First, you may miss a few fish because if the way the hook is presented but don’t worry. It happens. Next, you will want to try fishing it around the vertical structure as that is where this rig really shines. Aside from that, here is how to do it. First, cast it out into the water a few feet or yards past where you think fish are. Next, leave a little bit of slack in the line, and wait for it to fall to the bottom. The weight of the hook and plastic rings really make that worm come alive. When it does, give it a good yank with your rod vertical and let it fall back down to rest. Pick up the remaining slack with your reel. Repeat all the way to the boat or bank. Try casting in different spots, but be slow. Don’t work it fast and don’t make any noise.

How To Fish The Jig Head Worm

Although it may seem different and contrary to the traditional way these are fished, this is actually a time where you don’t lift and let it fall. This is actually going to be a method that you actually work and retrieve your lure back to the boat. Try this. Cast it to a boat dock, a tree, a submerged brush pile, or other structure, let it fall to the bottom, shake it a few times and start to retrieve with your reel. The result is something that looks like it is dying. After a few seconds, let it fall and shake it again. That tail shakes around and gives off the impression that a dying worm, caterpillar, or other larvae are trying to swim away from something. You can also vary this retrieve to suit the fish’s wants. Sometimes they want it faster or slower. With more action or less action, it is up to them. It really just depends on the day as well as the time of day, the water clarity, the sun, and many other things. If you get bit doing it a certain way, repeat that and you should get bit again. Only modify it a little. Never change what is working.

How To Fish The Drop Shot Worm

As similar to the last method, the drop shot shatters the normal lift and fall methodology traditionally used with fishing these baits. With this one, you should cast it out, wait for the sinker to touch the bottom, and start reeling it in with a basic retrieve. The sinker needs to touch the bottom. Not the worm. Also, this is a scenario where you can modify the action if you so choose. Give your rod some shakes, twitches, and lifts if you are feeling it. Always try to fish it with the sinker on the bottom if you can, only because you get the most sensitivity this way. Try your luck in the clearest and coldest waters, every time of the year. Try catching spawning females during the mating season or move it very aggressively for fierce reaction strikes from big fish in the warmer months. Experiment with it. This rig is very versatile and you can use it for a lot of things.

To Sum It All Up

They are a great lure style to use regardless of whether you call it a Senko, a stick bait, a stick worm, or some other name. You can always be more successful on them if you learn to properly rig them but more importantly, how to fish with them. The rig you decide to use will also affect how you should fish it. Always remember to choose the right rig and impart the correct type of action.

 

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