By Gary Dobyns
January 10, 2013
Most of you know I do a lot of seminars out West and I get a lot of questions.
” What’s your big fish bait?”
“What bait have you won the most on?”
And most recently, “What bait could you not afford to give up?”
That last question’s easy: the SENKO. I started recalling tournaments I’d fished the last few years and many times the Senko was what accounted for many of my fish, some of them big ones. When it gets tough, a Senko is my first go-to bait. Many times I weight it so I’m not fishing slow at all, and I’m not necessarily fishing shallow either.
The Senko is my best confidence bait. I’ll be honest, I have more fun throwing jerk baits, spinnerbaits, top water, swimbaits and flipping, but I don’t think I’ve fished a tournament in the last 10 years that I did not have at least one Senko rod rigged.
I’ve written a lot about Senkos (and you’ve probably read your fair share of articles about Senkos) but I’ve learned a few tricks since then. It’s important to be reminded of just how versatile this one bait can be.
That’s how everybody fished Senkos in the beginning. We Texas rigged them and let them free fall. This is still a great way to fish them. Then “wacky” rigging came along - we simply hooked the bait in the center and let it free fall for a completely different action. Wacky fishing a Senko lets you get that great action out of both ends of the bait. You can throw this rig anywhere. Tip: Gamakatsu put a weed guard on their splitshot/dropshot hook. It’s been a great hook for years but this modification was made for wacky fishing. Also, Gammy built the hooks up to a 3/0 size for baits like the bigger Senkos.
Also called the “Neko” rig along with dozens of other names. I simply call it a nail-weighted Senko. I throw this rig a bunch. It gets on the bottom quickly and I can fish it fast. It seems plain goofy but this rig has replaced a bunch of my jig fishing over the years. They simply eat them.
Texas rigged with bullet weight
I’ve done this a few times and had great luck, but a Texas tournament on Amistad really opened my eyes. If you peg your weight and fish a Senko, it falls like a bullet in the water. It goes down through brush better than any bait I’ve fished. The bulky Senko rigged with a weight, is simply outstanding.
Just like it sounds. Simply rig a Senko on a big leader and start C-Rigging with it. You might be surprised. I tend to use 6” and 7” Senkos a lot for this. It sounds crazy but try it.
There are some guys trying to keep this quiet but think about it: There is nothing on a Senko to hang up on the weeds or leaves of cover. The sleek profile of the bait just follows the weight right through the cover. In many cases it allows you to use less weight if you want, too. In some of our western waters we get debris pockets of floating wood and logs. This method is deadly in situations like that. Again, it just follows the weight right through the cover. It’s awesome.
I’ve seen Senkos used as jig trailers and fished in a wild variety of ways, but the bottom line is they simply catch fish. There are so many highly productive ways to fish a Senko which is why it makes it my one and only bait if I could only pick one.
As far as color selection goes, well, they all work. Whatever your favorite color is, throw it. I’ve netted fish on some of the craziest colors going. A couple of times I’ve thought my partners were crazy, but at the end of the day, I’ve found myself at the local pro shop buying that “crazy” color. My personal favorites are Green Pumpkin, Baby bass, Natural shad, and Green Pumpkin/watermelon laminate.
If any of the above rigging methods are new to you and Senkos, give one a try on your next trip.