The Senko is the best-selling bass lure of all-time, and for good reason. It flat out catches bass all year, on every type of water. It works on lowland lakes, highland lakes, natural lakes, farm ponds, and rivers. After 32 years as a professional bass fisherman, it is my go-to bait from North to South, and East to West.
Let’s start with size and color selection. As I travel America competing on the Bassmaster Elite Series, my best bait is the 5-inch Senko in two colors: green pumpkin and black with blue flake. These two colors will catch fish anywhere, anytime. I prefer green pumpkin in clearer water and on sunny days, and black/blue in dirty water and on dark days. I use the 6-inch Senko in these same two colors as well, particularly if I am targeting larger bass.
Although a Senko will catch fish anywhere, you will need to modify how you present the lure based on time of year, water clarity, and depth the bass are using. So, here are my five most productive ways to rig the Senko:
1. Weightless, Texas Rigged
Use a 5/0 offset shank EWG hook on the 5-inch Senko, and a 6/0 on the 6-inch Senko. A weightless, Texas-rigged Senko is perfect for fishing around shallow, heavy cover where the big bass live. It fishes well in weed beds, pads, brush and under docks.
2. Weightless, Wacky Rigged
Use a 3/0 octopus hook, and hook the Senko in the middle of the bait. This wacky rigged presentation allows the Senko to have the most action, and is the preferred presentation in open water or around sparse cover. Because you have an exposed hook, it will snag in heavy cover areas. Again, since the bait is weightless, it is most effective in shallow water situations.
3. Weighted, Texas Rigged
You always want to use the lightest weight possible to get the most bites with a Senko. If the cover is thick, or if you are in wind or current, a light bullet weight will help you penetrate the cover and maintain your feel of the bait. I use 1/8-ounce a lot, and seldom use over 3/8 ounce. Pick your bullet weight based on the depth or density of cover you are facing, but always use the lightest weight possible.
4. Shaky Head
A round ball head jig, or “shaky head,” is an excellent way to present the Senko around sparse cover and rocky bottoms. Be sure to use a jig head with a 4/0 or 5/0 hook, then rig the Senko weedless. A slow bottom-crawling presentation is deadly.
5. Ned Rig
This is the perfect, open-water, bottom-crawling presentation for clear water. Trim an inch or two off the top of a 5-inch Senko and thread it on a jig head with an exposed 3/0 hook. I usually present it slowly across the bottom. That said, you can also catch fish by swimming it slowly through the water column.
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6. The Presentation
With all of these five ways to rig the Senko, the presentation is the same. Let the bait fall all the way to the bottom on the initial cast, then inch it slowly along the bottom. With the weightless versions, most of the bites come in the fall, before the bait hits bottom. With the weighted versions, most bites come as the Senko crawls along the lake floor.