For numbers of fish and a shot at a big one, tie on a Senko
I understand why April is probably the most-popular fishing month for most fishermen that aren’t bass pros. It’s one of the few months when everything is biting — crappie, catfish, bass, everything. The water temperature is optimum, in the high 60s to low 70s, and it’s just a great time to be on the water.
April is one of my favorite months to catch good numbers of bass — and still have a chance to catch a big fish. And topwater starts to become a factor. And everybody knows how much I love to throw topwater.
But my favorite bait this month is going to be a Senko. You can catch so many fish on it because you can rig it so many different ways for different circumstances. You can Texas-rig it weightless, because it’s so heavy, or you can rig it wacky style. And because it comes in three different sizes, you can rig it for different applications, and it’s not difficult to fish. You cast it out there and let it fall, and that little shimmy takes care of everything else.
Senko provides its own action
I probably fish it more rigged weedless and weightless than anything else. I fish it like we’ve all fished a floating worm for years, but it’s so much better. I’ll cast it out, work it back, keeping it close enough to the surface to stay in sight, working it with the rod tip. If a fish flares on it and misses it, instead of having to reel in a floating worm and throw back in there, you just kill it, it falls, and they hit it on the fall. That’s when the bait’s incredible action takes care of everything.
Because I need to see the bait as I work it, I like to fish it either in black or in a really bright color like white — the same colors you’d choose if you were fishing a floating worm.
Small, medium, large
I will fish all three sizes of the Senko this way: the 4-inch, 5-inch and 6-inch. I’ll fish the 4-inch on spinning tackle — a 6-foot-6, medium-action Bass Pro Shops Carbonlite rod and Johnny Morris signature series reel spooled with 12- to 15-pound braid and an 8- to 10-pound fluorocarbon leader, with a 2/0 or 3/0 wide-gap VMC hook. I like to fish the smaller Senko in really clear water, or if I’m in a really tight spot.
Most of the time, I fish the 5-inch version. But I’ll fish the 6-inch if I really want to upsize to a big bait. I fish those two Senkos on a 6-foot-6 BPS Carbonlite baitcaster with 12- to 15-pound braid and a flouro or mono leader, and a 3/0 or 4/0 hook for the 5-inch bait and a 5/0 hook for the 6-inch bait.
One thing to remember: there’s an awful lot of plastic in a Senko. It’s very different from a lot of other plastic worms. So don’t try to downsize too much.
The second way to fish a Senko is rigged wacky style, with the hook in the middle of the worm. Both ends wobble as the bait falls through the water. It is very, very effective, especially when you can see bass on the beds and target them. They can’t stand to have that bait fall into the bed with them. If I’m wacky rigging the 5-inch Senko, I’m fishing it most of the time on spinning tackle, with 15-pound braid on the reel and a 10-pound fluoro leader and a 2/0 or 3/0 VMC Neko hook. I don’t put a nail in the head like a lot of fishermen. And with the Neko hook, you rig it weedless. I also use an O-ring to slide the point of the hook between it and the worm, instead of sticking the hook point through the Senko.
If I’ve got an idea where bass might be spawning, I fish a Senko rigged wacky style. Even if I can’t see them, I can pinpoint the kind of cover they’re spawning around. I can fish it in those places, when I don’t need to cover much water. I just keep the bait in the likely strike zone for the longest period of time.
There are no secrets about how to fish it wacky rigged. You just pitch it at a target and let it fall. And you can pitch it around vegetation — maybe a hole in some grass — or you can fish it around docks very effectively. A lot of bass with spawn around docks, and you can drop it down next to a pier post. You’re keeping the bait in a spot where you expect a fish to be for a longer period of time.
The only other way to fish it is Texas-rigged with a weight, maybe on a light shaky head jig. I like to do this when fish are down in thicker cover, like a brush pile, and they aren’t aggressive enough to come up and get it.
When I’m fishing a Senko, I can get in an area and fish it around anything. I don’t really have to run the spawn and try to stay in an area where all the fish are spawning, or where all the fish are prespawn or post-spawn, because it will catch them all. The only time I’ll really target spawning fish is when I can actually see them on the beds, and I can catch ‘em on a wacky rigged Senko.
So, tie them on a few rods on the deck of your boat and use them as search or target baits. They will really catch fish.