If you are a bass angler, you have probably heard talk about stick worms, stick baits, or more commonly known Senkos. There is a lot of hype about these style of baits, for good reason… they catch fish!
I have personally been using Gary Yamamoto Senkos for about nine years now. It all started with me winning a pack of them in a giveaway. I had no clue on how to fish them or what they even were, so I hit a local farm pond and started to use them Texas rigged on a 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG worm hook. I noticed immediately that there was something special about these baits, because when I bent the bait slightly, there was a large amount of salt that surfaced from the soft plastic body. Now, there are a lot of baits on the market that contain salt, but these have far more than other baits that I have fished. After only a few casts, I felt the line go taught, and I hooked and landed a great 3-pound largemouth. I was hooked on these baits immediately!
Most recently, I have preferred the wacky rigged style of fishing these baits with a small o-ring, and a 2/0 Gamakatsu finesse wide gap hook. These baits are deadly for aggressive river smallmouth in the Pittsburgh, PA area, and also on smallmouth throughout the Great Lakes region. These baits are heavy due to their salt filled plastic, and they sink at a fairly fast rate compared to other soft plastics. When wacky rigged, these baits sink with an enticing flutter action that bass cannot resist. Not only does wacky rigging create an enticing action, but by using the small o-ring when rigging, the baits actually last much longer than rigged straight to the hook. The most productive colors for me with these baits have to do with the water clarity. For clear water conditions, green pumpkin with black flake produces best, while in slightly cloudy water, the watermelon with black flake produces better. In stained or muddy water, black with blue flake outperforms the other colors available. I typically fish the 5-inch models of these baits, and use a 7-foot medium action spinning rod with 8lb fluorocarbon line.
Though these baits are exceptional for bass, I have also caught many other species on accident on these baits while fishing for bass. I have caught small musky, northern pike, walleye, sauger, suckers, catfish, and a variety of panfish. These baits are perfect for someone just getting into fishing soft plastics because they require very little movement of the rod. These baits can basically be cast out and left to sink because of their fluttering action.
In short, the Gary Yamamoto Senko is a versatile bait that can be used in many situations by anglers of any skill level. These baits, though slightly more expensive, will outfish the other baits in their category in most every situation. I highly recommend these baits to everyone from a beginner all the way to a tournament bass angler.