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.”