Pro’s tips: Make the most of Senkos

Elite Series pro gives options for different uses of deadly lure

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Davy Hite makes no bones about the fact that his favorite lure is a Buckeye Mop Jig, but when it comes to springtime fishing for prespawn bass, he’s going to have one lure tied on for sure, and that’s a Senko.

How it will be tied on, well, that’s where things get interesting.

Hite, the 1999 Bassmaster Classic champion, has three different ways he fishes a Senko, all for different situations depending on the kind of cover he’s fishing and the stage of the spawn.  Here they are:

• Texas-rigged — “I’ll Texas-rig a Senko using a little weight, from 1/16- to 1/4-ounce, but usually 1/8-ounce,” Hite said. “I don’t fish it with a heavy sinker.

“I fish a Senko this way if I think fish are around specific pieces of cover — a stump, a dock piling, a willow bush — and I want the bait to get down and fall vertically.

“It’s going to have a different action, better action, than other Texas-rigged worms. I love to fish a Senko this way in April, expecially in early April.”

Hite’s favorite colors are more natural colors like green pumpkin.

• Weedless/weightless — Hite likes a Senko as his No. 1 search bait in the spring when he’s got relatively clear water. He wants to fish it the same way many anglers fish a floating worm: casting it and retrieving it with a twitching, stop-and-go action just a few inches below the surface.

“I will rig it weedless, like a Texas rig, but without a weight, with a 3/0 to 5/0 VMC offset hook, depending on the size of the Senko. If the water is real clear and I’m fishing sparse cover, I may go with a 4- or 5-inch Senko and rig it on a 3/0 hook. If the cover is heavier, I’ll go with a 6- or 7-inch bait and rig it on a 5/0 hook.

“I like to rig it this way if I need to skip it back under a dock or through some thick pads. I fish it like most guys fish a plastic worm: keep it jerking along, just under the surface.”

Hite likes brighter colors when he’s fishing a Senko like a floating worm: bubble gum, white and yellow.

He said he’ll catch prespawn bass on a weightless Senko, and if he happens to run his bait past a bed that he can’t see, if a big female is home and she doesn’t eat it, she may at least take a swipe at it and reveal her location. When that happens, he goes to Senko-rig No. 3.

• Wacky style — Hite doesn’t hesitate to fish a Senko this way; in fact, it’s probably his favorite way to fish a Senko.

First, he gets a small, rubber washer or O-ring, or even a tiny rubber band, and he slides one end of the Senko through it, positioning it approximately in the middle of the bait. Next, he slides the point of a VMC Wacky hook through the rubber ring, leaving the hook exposed.

“It is really effective when bass are on the bed,” Hite said, “or when they have been pressured a lot or you’re fishing cold-front conditions. The bait has an appealing fall with no sinker and the hook in the middle.

“When you pop your rod tip a little to twitch the bait, instead of moving the bait toward you like it would if it was Texas-rigged, it’s going to keep falling straight down; you’re not pulling it away from your target.”

Hite said he likes to fish green pumpkin or purple/green flake when he’s wacky-rigging a Senko. He does, however, have to make a slight adjustment in the rod he uses when he’s fishing it this way.

“I will use a rod with a softer tip when I’m wacky-rigging a Senko. “A little softer action makes it easier for you to give it a little twitch.”

Hite uses a medium-light BPS Carbonlite baitcasting rod and a BPS Johnny Morris baitcasting reel spooled with 10-pound XPS fluorocarbon. He uses a medium-action rod when he fishes a Senko Texas-rigged weightless and with a weight.

“When you are wacky-rigging a Senko with the hook exposed, you don’t need a big hookset; you can just reel-set into a fish,” he said. “You can hook him that way almost every time, and 10-pound test is about right.”

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