Senko Fishing - 4" Yamasenkos!
Easy To Fish, Plus They Work....
Designed to be fished slowly with many strikes happening as it free falls seductively while sinking, Senkos are easy to fish plus they work where others fail.
Senkos are soft plastic baits designed by fishing professional Gary Yamamoto. They are heavily impregnated with salt and sink when dropped in the water. Their weight also allows for easier casting.
Senkos come in a variety of colors, lengths, and styles. In particular is the 4" Yamasenko in Watermelon with Black and Red Flakes. It is a favorite of the City of Allen Fishing (COAF) Field Team and has been a consistent producer in our local ponds.
Moreover, Senkos (especially the 4" Yamasenko) are a "must have" lure for Bass fishermen. Do keep them handy in your tackle box!
To assist others in their pursuit of Bass, the sections below provide a brief summary of how we fish Senkos - specifically:
- Location and Casting
- Retrieve and Hook Set
- Playing and Landing
- Before the Next Cast
- Key Points to Remember
- Sample Videos from the Field Team
Also, we posted a brief video clip in the section above to show how we rig our Senkos. We favor the Weightless Texas-Rigged Yamasenko over others as it is virtually weedless.
Good luck and good fishing!
Example - Location and Casting
Location and Casting
Once we have rigged our Senko, we determine a location to fish. We do this using polarized sunglasses and walking the bank.
- As we typically fish small community lakes and ponds that see heavy fishing pressure, the Bass tend to see many lures and are readily spooked. So, when we are walking the bank, we stand-off about 10'-15' away from the bank.
- As we walk the bank, we scan the water looking for "fishy looking areas" as well as fish lurking in the area. Surprisingly, the Bass in our area tend to lurk close to shore out to about 30' depending on the season.
- "Fishy looking areas" can be Bass beds during the spawn, changes in the shading/color of the water which could mean a depression on the bottom, a rock, or an open area in the algae/moss.
- Also, other "fishy looking areas" include sunken logs, shady areas under trees that overhang the water, weed lines, and drainage culverts that may be hidden from view.
- In addition, don't pass up areas that have water flowing like where a feeder creek enters the pond, or waterfalls, canals, and water fountains. Bass may be lurking in these areas especially in the heat of summer when temps are rising and the fish are looking for cooler water.
- And, along with the polarized sunglasses, we review our field notes. In this case, we use the Field Team's weblog to review what was biting for a given lake, pond, or month. Using the search function as well as the archives, we are able to get an idea of what was biting, what they were biting on, and where they were biting. It does not work all the time but it does provide a good starting point.
Now that we have determined the location, we cast our Senko either casting it past the "fishy looking area" or right on top of the "fishy looking area". As a general rule:
- When fishing blind, we will cast past the "fishy looking area" as we assume the fish are easily spooked.
- If we notice they are tending to strike as soon as the Senko lands on the water, we will start casting closer to the "fishy looking area" and eventually dropping it right on top of the area.
- If the Bass are reacting to the splash of the Senko when it hits the water, we will cast the lure in a higher arc to make a bigger splash.
- When working an area, we will begin casting to locations nearest the bank, then work our way out further from the bank until we are perpendicular to the bank.
- If limited in time, we will work the area parallel to the bank to about 10'-15" and/or concentrate on the Bass fisherman's favorite word - "structure, structure, structure."
- Finally, we will begin casting standing 10'-15' away from the bank so as not to spook Bass lurking in the shallows. As we fish the area, we will then step closer to the bank and step lightly as we work our way along the pond's shoreline.
Example - Retrieve and Hook Set
Retrieve and Hook Set
After casting the Senko, we then work on the retrieve and presentation. This step may be short like when the Bass strikes as soon as the lure hits the water, or it may be longer when the Bass are finicky and tend to follow the Senko instead of striking. As a general rule:
- We don't retrieve initially, letting the Senko sink slowly and free fall to the bottom, taking advantage of the "do nothing presentation" that the lure is known for.
- After a 5-10 second count, depending on the water depth, we begin a reel and stop retrieve, quickly reeling several turns and then stopping completely. We do this until we either get a strike or the lure is within 5'-10' away from us, then we reel in the remainder of the line.
- If the reel and stop retrieve does not work, then we will try twitching the lure as we retrieve it steadily. This tends to work when Bass are following the Senko but just don't want to strike it.
- Anytime the Senko is sinking, we pay close attention to the line. We are looking for any twitch, hesitation, or movement that could mean a Bass has taken the lure.
- If the Bass are striking the lure lightly and running away from us, we allow the Bass to take up the slack, and then set the hook.
- If the Bass are striking the lure lightly and coming toward us, we quickly reel in the slack, and then set the hook.
- If the Bass are striking the lure hard, then most times the Bass has already set the hook for you.
- If we keep missing the hook set, then we will let the Bass run longer before setting the hook. If this does not work, then we will change to a smaller hook size going from a 2/0 to 1/0.
Example - Playing and Landing
Playing and Landing
Once the hook is set, now comes the fun part - playing and landing the fish. Some days almost every fish is landed; other days more fish are lost than landed. Keeping things simple, the following suggestions should increase the chance of landing a fish:
- Maintain line pressure to prevent the hook from coming loose. Simple to say tough to follow especially when the Bass decides to jump in attempt to shake the hook.
- Use the rod to fight the fish; don't use the reel to winch the fish in. The rod's flex will help keep pressure on the line, and if it is a lunker Bass winching the fish may cause the line to break.
- Work the Bass to shore and move if needed along the bank to maintain pressure and tire the fish out. Standing in one spot when a big one strikes may also cause a break-off.
- Once the Bass is close to shore, there is no need to reel the Senko to the rod tip. Instead, reel in enough line to where you can "lip" the Bass or net it while allowing for control of the rod in case it has one last burst of energy and makes another run.
Before the Next Cast
After landing the Bass and before our next cast, here are a few things we check out of habit:
- Check the Fishing Line. Since we tend to use light mono-filament (4 pound test), the line may have been damaged when the Bass took the Senko. This tends to happen when the Bass is hooked deep allowing the line to rub against the rough part of the mouth. So before casting, check the fishing line for damage starting from the hook to about a 1-2 feet by running it between your fingers. If you feel any roughness, cut the damaged section and then re-tie the hook.
- Check the Senko. After checking the line, we check the Senko for damage. After catching a few fish, you will likely see cuts and rips in the Senko. If we see any, we will either re-hook the Senko from another point on the lure, use Super Glue to repair the damage, or replace it.
- Check the Reel. Once we know our line and Senko are good, we check the reel. This is mainly when we are using an Ultralight Spinning Reel as the line tends to wrap around the spool, reel body, and/or handle while fishing.
- Check the Next Location. Finally, we check the next location we are going to fish. Can we reach it from where we are standing, is there an obstruction like a tree limb that may tangle us, do we need to adjust the cast due to the wind, and if we cannot reach it from where we stand, can we approach it without spooking the fish.
We do these checks out of habit as we like catching fish and do not like break-offs, missed strikes, tangled lines, and spooked fish.
Key Points To Remember
Some key points to remember when Senko Fishing:
- Use light mono-filament or braided line when fishing heavily pressured areas or when fish are easily spooked.
- Tread lightly and start working an area by casting 10'-15' away from the bank so as not to spook Bass lurking close to shore.
- Wear polarized glasses. They help see "fishy looking areas" as well as provide a better view of the line as a Bass lightly strikes the lure.
- Check the line and the Senko for damage before the next cast, and remove damaged line and use Super Glue to repair a Senko if able, else replace it with a new one.
- Bring a camera to take pictures of the Bass!
Below are sample videos from the Field Team fishing with our favorite Senko - the 4" Yamasenko!