By Taylor Parsons
Western Staff Writer
June 1, 2010
One of the most effective, all-around fish-catching techniques is the weightless five-inch Senko fished wacky style. But there are times when you just can’t effectively cover enough water or fish deep enough with the weightless Senko.
There are a few techniques, though, that will allow you to present a Senko in much deeper water or at a faster pace. These techniques are: the
My set-ups vary from lake to lake and also depend on the cover and structure I target within a particular body of water.
For example, in a clear water, spotted bass fishery I always throw the rig on spinning gear. I like to use a 7’ to 7’3” medium action rod with an extra fast tip and a 2500-size spinning reel loaded with 6 or 8 pound fluorocarbon. If the water is extremely clear and I feel I’m not getting as many bites as I should I’ll go with the 6 pound, but most of the time I feel 8 pound gets the job done fine.
With spinning gear I feel it’s really important to use a finesse-style light wire hook such as the Gamakatsu split shot / dropshot hook or the Owner mosquito hook, both in a size 1.
In dirtier water lakes that have more cover and line size doesn’t matter as much, I throw the rig on a baitcasting set up. Again, I like to use a 7’ to 7’3” medium action rod with a fast tip rated for 8- to 12-pound line. A good quality baitcasting reel is important in order to maximize casting distance. Ten- to twelve-pound fluorocarbon seems to work best in most situations, and with the heavier rod and line I upgrade to a heavier hook as well, usually the 1/0 Gamakatsu split shot/dropshot hook or the 1/0 Octopus hook.
Setting up and fishing the nail weight Senko
The Senko is a heavy bait in itself so you don’t need as much weight to get it into the strike zone. In most clear water lakes I fish the rig in less than 30 feet of water throughout the year. Most of the time, I can get by using a 1/16th ounce nail weight. However, if it’s windy and I’m having trouble keeping in contact with my bait, I’ll step up to an 1/8th or a 3/16th ounce nail weight.
The important thing here is to use the lightest amount of weight you can get away with. In my experience the slower the fall the more bites you’ll get, especially in clear water situations when the fish are suspended. There are times in clear water, spotted bass lakes when I’ll throw a 1/16-ounce, or even a lighter, in 60-plus feet of water. This is when I’m targeting fish that are suspended in that 20- to 40-foot range. This technique seems to work well when the fish won’t eat a spoon or a dropshot.
One of the keys to this rig is the way it sinks in the water. Instead of the bait sinking in a horizontal fashion, its head and tail shimmying back and forth, the bait will fall much like a tube, in a wide spiral. It’s that spiraling action that makes the fish bite.
The diameter of the spiral is dependant on where the hook is placed on the Senko. The further the hook is towards the head of the bait, where the weight is located, the slower and wider the spiral fall will be. Generally I rig the hook halfway between the head and the middle of the Senko and I always use an O- ring. If I find I need the bait to fall slower, I’ll rig the hook closer to the head.
When I’m fishing points and rock piles I usually throw up into 10 feet of water (or less) and work it out until the bait’s roughly 30 feet deep, depending on where I’m getting my bites or graphing the most fish. The great thing about fishing this rig is there really is no wrong way to fish it. Most of my bites seem to come on the initial fall. If I don’t get bit on the fall, I work the bait back to the boat along the bottom, slowly, just by shaking the slack out of the line. When you do get bit, take your time to reel down to the fish, slowly sweep the rod and just start cranking. Remember, it doesn’t take much with a sharp, exposed hook to get a solid hookup.
As far as color selection for this rig, I like to keep it pretty simple. It’s really easy to get carried away with the amount of colors available, so I like to base my color selection on basically two things; water clarity, and the available forage in the body of water you are fishing.
I have four main colors I stick with if I’m fishing a clear-water lake. Initially, my go-to colors are natural shad and green pumpkin. But, if I’m fishing for suspended fish, I always go with colors that mimic a baitfish, like natural shad and smoke with black flake. When I’m fishing the bank or rock piles I use green pumpkin or cinnamon colors, like 176, because it mimics the color of a crawdad better.
For dirty or stained water I keep it just as simple. As a general rule, the dirtier the water, the darker the Senko I will use. Darker colors like Junebug and black with blue flake put off a better silhouette in the dark water than a color like natural shad, which makes them easier for the bass to find.
The nail-weighted Senko catches fish year round and on all bodies of water. I’ve found that it catches largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass equally well. The best thing about the rig is it allows you to utilize the Senkos natural fish catching action at all depths. Remember, there are no rules in bass fishing and it’s important to let the fish tell you what they want. If you are not getting bit switch something up and use past experiences to help clue you in on what you can do to improve your odds. Sometimes all you need to do to upgrade from 10 bites to 30 bites is add a little weight or use a little less weight. Something as simple as switching colors might change your odds, but you never know unless you try it out.