How to Rig and Use a Senko Worm: America’s Number One Soft-plastic Lure
Gary Yamamoto’s genius Senko Worms proved themselves more than worthy to any fisherman who uses them. There’s not a lot that goes into fishing these babies, but there’s some DEFINITE do’s and don’t’s that you should be aware of if you plan on catching some really big fish. I’ve broken all of my personal fishing records on Senko’s and Senko’s alone and so have many others, so do yourself a favor and learn how to use them the right way instead of relying chance and luck.
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Gary Yamamoto knew what he was doing when he started his growing line of custom baits, and they’ve become all the craze. I’ve even become a pretty big fan of his oh-so-simple yet deadly-effective products that I might as well be wearing the advertising. The thing about Senko worms is that they simply work, even if you don’t know how to use them correctly, they just WORK. There’s no magic here, just a touch of professional genius mixed with the beauty of simplicity.
Okay, so you’re ready to get out on the lake and put something new on the end of your line, and you’ve decide to pick up a pack of Senko’s, but the most important part of using these correctly is choosing the correct hook. If you’ve picked up a pack of the smaller 4-inch Senko’s, a 1/0 – 2/0 straight-shank hook is probably your best bet, and if you’ve gone with a Senko in the 5-7-inch range, you should go with a 3/0 – 4/0 straight-shank or wide-gap offset hook. Anything bigger than that should be coupled with a 5/0 offset wide-gap or straight-shank hook. A straight-shank hook leaves less gap between the worm and hook for weeds and such to become tangled on, as you will be fishing these in mostly heavy cover. I honestly end up using 5/0 offset wide-gaps a lot on, even the 4-inchers, I know I shouldn’t but I’ve caught fish this way just fine.
Next thing you should be concerned with is the color or colors you choose. My personal favorites happen to be the white, clear with speckles and flakes, brown, and black with yellow tip colored Senko’s, but a good gauge to go by for choosing a color according to where you fish is simply the color of the water. What color is the water today? If it’s clear, go with white or translucent colored worms, if it’s murky, go with a more natural color like brown or green. I always seem to have the most luck on the 7-inch white colored worms regardless, and a close runner-up I would have to say is the 5-inch chartreuse with the white belly. If whatever store you buy your fishing equipment from sells Gary Yamamoto products, there’s a good chance they carry the 40-piece Senko worm kit, which I usually see priced for around $20-$23. A very good deal considering Senko’s are a tad on the pricey side, if you buy them like I do that is. Although I buy single color packs of Senko worms most of the time, I still inevitably find myself picking up one of these kits every now and again, they’re just convenient and the array of colors is that come with it are typically my favorites anyhow.
Chances are if you’re a bass fisherman, you already a heavy enough rod and line so that all you need to do from here is tie on a hook and Texas-Rig one of these babies. But, for you who are just getting into this, a good quality 10-15lb test line is what you’re going to want for pulling those hogs out of the brush, although if you have 8lb test or higher on your reel and you don’t feel like buying new line, that will be fine for the time being if you’re feeling lazy. You will want to invest in some stronger line come your next line change if you don’t feel like losing so many of these costly little bass-magnets every time you get snagged on weeds or branches. So as for the rod goes, a good medium-heavy to heavy action will work best, because again, you will be fishing these in mostly heavy cover to target the big ones. The keepers!
When you’re ready to get started, tie on your hook with the “Improved Clinch” knot or the “Palomar” knot, these two knots are some of the strongest and easiest to use. Something to remember: the “Improved Clinch” knot has been recently discovered to work at about 90% of it’s strength when tied using five wraps around the line rather than six or four. Next thing you’re going to want to do, or learn if you’ve never done this, is to rig this Texas style with no weight; hence Weightless Texas-Rigged. If you’re not familiar with Texas-Rigging, see my Texas-rigging lesson “How To Texas-Rig A Lure”.
If you made it through the Texas-Rigging lesson, then you’re ready to cast out. On your first few casts, work your lure just off to the side of your target, and if you’re not getting any bites work your way in closer and closer ’til you’re coming right through the cover. Simply target those classic bass hangouts: downed trees, weeds, stumps, logs, lily-pads, etc. To avoid spooking any fish, cast slightly beyond your target. As soon as your lure hits the water, immediately reel up any slack in the line, leaving just enough so when your pole is in the “2-o’clock” position, you have a slight bend in the line leading to where your lure is in relation to where it sank; this is what you want from the time your lure hits the water to the time you get your lure back. When you reel in the slack without swimming your lure, you let the Senko do what it does best, and that’s falling horizontally in the water, wiggling and waving as it makes it painfully slow decent into the depths. Here’s where having a slight slack in the line also comes into play, as a lot of times bass will strike these lures on their slow decent, so if you happen to see your line stop abruptly as the lure falls, it’s worth testing to see if there’s some weight on the line and setting the hook if so. If nothing happens on the decent, simply bring up the rod tip gently about a foot or two, let the lure fall on slack line, wait about 30-seconds and repeat.
It’s that simple when weightless Texas-rigged, and slight variations can be added to this presentation. I personally like to cast it out, and once the lure hits the water and drops about one foot, I give the rod tip a few quick but gentle upward twitches just to put a little extra life into it. After those few twitches, I basically just let it finish falling to the bottom, wait about 10-seconds, and give it a few more upward twitches. BUT, the trick to the way I twitch my Senko is once I make that quick upward twitch, I immediately return the rod-tip back to its original position. Doing this allows the lure to bounce up real quick on the twitch, and on the return of the rod-tip the Senko will move in an unpredictable direction and begin it’s slow fall once again. Practice this up close to shore and you will see what I mean about the lure darting in different directions.
One last thing I should mention before you set your hooks: give the fish a few solid seconds before you set the hook to make sure it actually swallowed enough of the lure that it has the HOOK in it’s mouth and not just the plastic. Many a bass have gotten away from people who try to set the hook too fast and end up yanking the lure right out of the bass’ mouth. Take your time if you think you have a bite. Reel in softly and slowly at first, try to feel if there’s some weight on the line, watch the line in the water to see if it’s moving. If you can tell that it is actually in the fish’s mouth, especially if the fish starts taking off with it, give the rod a nice solid pull in the opposite direction to set that hook.