One of the guides I trust most at El Salto has recently been texting me pictures of clients with big fish caught on 7-inch Senkos. I fish the 6-inch models quite a bit down there, and despite the number of huge fish that live in the lake, I’ve seen times when they preferred the 5-inch model, but I’ve rarely thrown the big one (I’ll spare you Jeff Kriet's nickname for it).
While they produce lots of bass down there, I probably don’t throw Senkos of any size nearly enough. It’s too tempting to throw a 10XD, which I never use at home, or a Whopper Plopper (the most fun you can have with your clothes on), versus a Texas-rigged or Wacky-rigged Senko, which has been my number one lure on local waters for the better part of a decade.
Complicating matters with the 7-inch model is the fact that I’ve yet to find the right hook for it, or at least one that I have confidence in. The bait is so much bulkier than even the 6-inch size, that I know I’ll need a lot of gap to keep it balling up on the hook. Thus my default has been the 6/0 Gamakatsu Superline EWG, and it performs well when I use braid, but when I want to use fluorocarbon I don’t always feel like I get the hookset that I desire. A 5/0 or 6/0 (regular) EWG might work, but it feels like there has to be a better solution. I’ve seen that Owner recently came out with their Jungle Wide Gap hook in sizes up to 7/0, but again that uses their 4X wire – is it too much for fluoro to push through the mouth of a fire-breathing Mexican bass? I’ve tried their longneck oversize worm hook in both 7/0 and 11/0 sizes but I didn’t feel that either was ideal. Maybe I already have the solution, but it doesn’t feel like it.
*From the Editor: We completely understand Pete's struggle with our big 7" Senko and petitioned Ron Colby, VP of Operations, for some suggestions on possible rigging scenarios. Here is his reply:
We understand your frustration and I have some answers, but then the answers will raise a few more questions ... Here are a few solutions to your dilemma, but first let me offer to the readers a tip for one of the most common questions we get asked:
Q: What hook should I use?
A: Most of our baits have a smooth surface area and the ideal hook size is one that will reach that area but not go past it. Texas rigging a 4” Senko, we suggest you use a 3/0 or 4/0, and on a 5” Senko, we suggest you use a 4/0 or 5/0. I usually vary to size according to the fish I’m catching. If you use too small of a hook the bait tends to fly off into never never land because of all the added weight behind the hook. If you use too big of a hook, the action/wiggle is hindered and you don’t catch as many fish. Hook size and hook style are very important.
Let’s address a few of your specific concerns, Pete.
What hook size should you use for the 7” Senko? Again, a large gap hook will be needed but the answer is not necessarily found using an EWG style hook. A straight shank worm hook like the Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Worm will give you the gap you want and the wire strength to hold big fish. The hook angle will actually increase your hookups on bulky baits like the 7” Senko. When using Fluorocarbon lines, try a lighter wire straight shank hook and I bet you’ll like the results.
Now, if you want to use an EWG style hook, Gamakatsu has one that is perfect for the 7” Senko: The Oversized G-Mag http://www.gamakatsu.com/fishing-hooks.php?pid=1038.
This 8/0 (yes, 8/0!) heavy wire, oversized hook will help you wrestle any Mexico bass into the boat.