Savvy anglers have taken an easy-to-use lure, the senko style bait, and turned it into a multipurpose bait capable of tricking bass several ways.
Stick worms such as the Yamamoto Senko have become so popular because the baits are simple to use. You can simply rig it straight on the hook (weightless), cast it out and let it sink. The lure’s slow fall and tantalizing tail wiggle triggers strikes without any effort on your part.
While this simple setup catches plenty of bass, there are other ways to rig the soft plastic stick worm to increase its effectiveness.
Here’s a look at five of the best senko rigging tactics that will help you catch more bass on stick worms.
1. Texas Rigged Senko
When you need this lure to dive nose first into heavy cover, try Texas-rigging the senko for the best results. Impale the worm on a 3/0 or 4/0 hook and match it with a 1/8- or 3/16-ounce screw-on weight.
This tactic is ideal for flipping and pitching to bushes, brush piles and holes in matted vegetation. The weedless qualities of the Texas rig allow you to slide the stick worm in and out of the cover without hanging up in limbs or bogging down in the weeds.
2. Jighead Senko
A senko generates plenty of action on its own, but its action intensifies if you put the lure on a jighead. The stick worm will shake on its own behind the jighead, so it takes a lot less effort to make the bait continuously work itself.
The jig-and-worm rig is a great finesse tactic in heavily pressured waters or during the postspawn. The versatility of this rig lets you fish it in 6 inches of water or 30 to 40 feet of water.
Varying the size of the jighead allows you to present this finesse bait at different depths. A 3/16-ounce jighead works best for most presentations, but you should scale down to a 1/8-ounce model for suspended fish.
The jig-and-worm combo can be worked around various types of cover and structure, but a prime target for this tactic is a boat dock. Let the worm fall to the bottom next to a dock and then steadily shake the lure in place for a while before retrieving it. When fishing a break about 20 feet deep where the fish are suspended at about 10 feet, cast out the jig-and-worm and count down the lure to the right depth. Then shake and reel the worm all the way back to the boat.
3. Wacky Style Senko
Rigging the senko style bait wacky style gives the lure a different look and causes it to fall in a pulsating motion that mimics the breathing action of baitfish.
Rig the stick worm wacky style by holding the worm with your index finger and thumb to find the lure’s center point of gravity. After finding the center, push a 4/0 wide gap offset hook through the middle of the lure and leave the hook point exposed.
One of the most effective wacky style retrieves is to mimic a crippled shad by raising and lowering the stick worm a couple of feet and letting it slowly fall, but never letting it touch the bottom. You might want to pop it a couple of times to give it a herky-jerky action and then go back to the subtle crippled shad look.
This tactic is especially effective when bass suspend under docks. The wacky style rigging causes the stick worm to fall sideways, which permits it to glide under pier platforms or the foam flotation of docks where bass are lurking in the shadows.
4. Carolina Rigged Senko
Attaching a stick worm on a Carolina rig will allow you to present a stick worm in deeper water. This tactic produces best in the prespawn and postspawn when bigger bass are staging in front of spawning banks about 6 to 10 feet deep. Attach a 5- or 6-inch stick worm in green pumpkin with purple flake, watermelon candy or cotton candy hues to a 4/0 worm hook and slowly drag it behind a 1-ounce tungsten weight to tempt the bigger fish into biting. Using about a 4-foot leader line of 12-pound fluorocarbon allows the stick worm to fall slowly despite being pulled behind the heavy weight.
5. Drop Shot Senko
Try a 3-inch senko style bait on a 2/0 straight shank hook with a drop shot rig for aggressive bass in deep water. Hook the worm in the weedless Texas style or exposed wacky fashion with a 1/4- to 3/16-ounce weight positioned about 1 foot below the lure.
After locating balls of baitfish with your electronics, drop the rig down to the depth of the bait and shake it to trigger strikes. This is a productive summertime tactic for vertical jigging a senko along bluffs and ledges.