By Mike Whitten
It is no secret that the Yamamoto Senko is one of the most versatile lures to ever hit the bass fishing scene. If you polled the guys making a living on the Elite and FLW tour circuits, (and could get them all to be totally honest) I think you would find that almost all of them rely, at some point during the year, on the fishing catching ability of the Senko.
It is also no big secret that one of the hottest new presentations over the past couple of seasons has been the advent of the “Swing Jig”—basically a football head leadhead with a free-swinging EWG style 3/0 or 4/0 hook attached by a fixed ring. This head style has proven effective with a variety of soft plastic lures, but has been principally associated with creature style baits, like the Yamamoto Kreature or the Flappin' Hog. But, as I’ve come to realize over the past couple of months, this head works wonders when coupled with other plastic body styles.
My first inkling of the range of options with the head came when I rigged the ¾ and 1 oz heads with the big 10” Yamamoto KutTail and the 12” Curly Tail worms and fished them on deep ledges at Pickwick, Wilson and Bay Springs—all lakes known for their deep ledge fishing. Believe me, it works—and it shows fish a presentation with giant plastics that they’ve not seen before.
From there, I started experimenting, trying to find a combination that worked well in other situations. It is no secret to those who have read my past articles that I love to fish a jig/worm combination, and have a special fondness for the 6.5” KutTail. I also fish a ton of 5 and 6 inch Senkos, and do very well on them. So, it was a natural evolution to rig a 6” Senko on the back of a 5/16 Swing head jig, and give it a rip. The results were off the charts.
The very first time I fished the combo, I caught 45 bass, with the top 5 over 20 pounds, and the top 10 in excess of 30. Now that might not turn heads on some bodies of water, but in my redneck environs, that is a braggin’ rights day, anytime, anywhere. And, it is so stinking easy to fish! This rig is truly the closest thing to a “chunk n wind” soft plastic rig that I’ve ever fished. Fish bite this combo on a slack line fall, they bite it dragging, they bite it shaking, and surprisingly, they bite it fished on a straight reel—just like you might think of fishing a swim jig. The 6” Senko has a surprisingly subtle action on this head, just reeling. My first time out, I caught 3 fish over 4 pounds on this technique. And it is very effective around scattered and submerged grass. The combo displaces a lot of water, and comes through all but the thickest grass with great ease.
Tackle for this presentation is standard power fishing---I use a 6’10” 5 power Falcon Cara jig rod, a 6.2:1 Shimano Chronarch reel, with 15-17# fluorocarbon line. I much prefer the fluorocarbon for this technique, as some of the bite will be very light, and I’ve found that fish take this weighted lure just like they do an unweighted Senko—one soft “Tap”, and it just swims off. I guess a Senko is still a Senko!
Colors are whatever works for you---mine are shades of green pumpkin and watermelon, with my special favorite being 297.
So far, I’ve only found one problem with “Swinging the Big Six Inch”---it is making me want to put down the shakey head and 6.5 inch KutTail that has caught me so many fish over the years!