April 07, 2016
If you’re a bass fisherman, chances are you probably own at least a couple of bags of Senkos or stickbait soft plastics. If you don’t have any in your tackle box, heed this article and then plan a trip to your local tackle supplier.
Simply put, stick-type plastics put bass in the boat. Given the fish-catching ability of these baits, I like to use them in different presentations. Here are six to try.
One of the most common ways to fish soft plastic is a Texas rig. Fishing a weightless Texas-rigged Senko causes it to fall slowly through the water column with an enticing wobbling action. I'll throw it with a 1/8-ounce bullet weight if it's a bit windy. Fish the Texas-rigged Senko anywhere inshallow water. Pitch it to holes in grass, over the top of rip rap, next to laydowns or even on do-nothing banks. If fish are there, they’ll likely eat it.
Senkos also work great on a shaky head. While a number of other plastics pair well with this presentation, the Senko is my go-to choice. While one can fish a lighter shaky head in shallow water, I like to work heavier shaky heads paired with a Senko on deep structure.
Let’s say I'm working a point in 20 feet of water. I’ll use a 3/8- to 1/2-ounce shaky head and make long casts, letting the rig sink to the bottom. I’ll slowly shake my rod tip while dragging the bait across the bottom. It’s not the best presentation to cover water with, but if I’ve located numbers of fish, this is a great way to clean out the fishing hole.
This is another presentation commonly fished weightless, but I actually prefer using weighted wacky hooks. One of my favorite ways to fish a wacky-rigged Senko is to pitch it to docks. I will usually pitch a jig or beaver-type plastic to docks, but there are times when fish prefer a moresubtle presentation.
I’ll make a pitch, let the bait sink to the bottom, shake it in place a few times, and reel up and make my next cast. I find making as many casts to as many targets as you can is the key to this presentation, and the weighted wacky hook allows me to cover more water than fishing a Senkoweightless.
The drop-shot rig is an effective technique to use on high pressure days in clear water reservoirs. A 3- or 4-inch Senko is a great option to pair with a drop-shot. It’s a very neutral presentation that basically does nothing when sitting still in the water column. It does have enough wobble when you shake it to entice cautious fish into biting. Downsizing from the normal 5-inch Senko is critical for this presentation. I only pull out the drop-shot when fishing is tough. When fishing is tough, bass will eat a smaller bait before they will a larger one.
This little presentation has taken the Midwest by storm in recent years, and its popularity is increasing throughout the US. The Ned rig is simple: half a Senko superglued to a 1/32- to 1/8-ounce jighead. The rig is most effective fished on spinning tackle with light line.
When things get tough, pull out the Ned rig. Shake it, swim it, drag it, hop it; there are a number of ways to retrieve it effectively. If you haven’t tried this one yet, give it a shot. You’ll be happy you did.
As a Trailer
Occasionally, there are times where fish prefer a more subtle trailer fixed to your jig, chatterbait, or spinnerbait. When the bite is a little tougher than normal, I like to fix half a Senko as a trailer to avariety of baits. I’ve found that it really shines as a chatterbait trailer.
If there’s one complaint about Senko-type plastics, it’s that they are not very durable. For this reason, I’ll save used Senkos for trailers. You’ll save a couple of bucks and give the fish a different look.