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If you’ve been reading any of my other articles about bass fishing, then you know that I have a pretty strong opinion that bass fishing doesn’t have to be overly difficult...as a matter of fact, I really believe that anyone can learn to fish for bass!
With that said, I feel that fishing Senko worms is the best and simplest bass fishing technique people can use to start catching bass right away. I even mention in my article, Bass Fishing For Beginners, that the number one bass bait people just getting into the sport should use are Senko worms.
But if you’re new to bass fishing, then you may be wondering how to fish senko worms. Well you’ve come to the right place.In this post, we’re not just going to talk about how to use a Senko worm, but we’ll also go over the most popular fishing techniques for using senko worms. This way you can get out there right now and start fishing for bass.
What Are Senko Worms?
Senko worms are a worm-like plastic bait that are the brainchild and creation of pro bass fisherman, Gary Yamamoto. Senko baits, as they’re frequently called are long, narrow plastic bass baits that closely resemble a worm. Except like many plastic bass worms, Senkos don’t have the trademark curly tail that you usually might think of when talking about plastic worms.
Yamamoto Senko baits may appear overly simplistic when you see them, but there’s one thing in particular that sets them apart and elevates them to a whole other level compared to regular plastic bass worms. And what is that difference?
It’s the way they can be fished. Unlike standard plastic worms which typically sink nose down and fast, Senko worms sink slow and fall horizontally through the water. And as the Senko worm falls through the water column, it has a unique ability to “quiver” as it travels, giving an irresistible presentation to any bass that might be lurking nearby.
This slow horizontal descent to the bottom is much more representative of how a real worm would naturally fall through the water. And the bass know it...and they can’t help themselves!
How To Fish Senko Worms
Gary Yamamoto knew exactly what he was doing when he designed the Senko worm and its unique ability to sink horizontally through the water with “...a continual vibration”. It’s because of the unique characteristics of the Senko worm that it just can’t be fished like any other plastic bass worm.
But don’t worry, it’s not completely new territory if you’ve never fished a Senko. As a matter of fact, you probably already know how to rig a Senko if you’ve been using plastic worms in the past.
But even if you haven’t, I still think Senko worms are the best all around bass baits for new and experienced bass fishermen.
I’ve found that there are 3 ways to fish a Senko worm that will definitely catch bass. The three ways I like to fish Senkos are with these three rigs:
- Wacky Rig
- Texas Rig
- Mojo Rig
Keep reading to learn how to rig a Senko worm with each of these techniques.
How To Rig Senko Worms
1. How To Wacky Rig A Senko Worm
Fishing a Senko bait in a wacky rig setup is my personal go to technique and is how I typically start my day out on the water. Even though the Senko worm will quiver as it travels through the water column regardless of how you rig it, I believe fishing the Senko wacky style will give it the most quiver action. This is a result of both ends of the worm moving freely as it moves through the water.
It’s incredibly easy to rig a senko worm wacky style. Here’s what you need to do:
I like to use a 1/0 weedless wacky hook for this rig. Simply pass the point of the hook through the “egg sack”, or the smooth mid section of the Senko worm. Continue to pass the hook through until the worm is resting in the curve of the hook.
Pro Tip: The wacky rig senko is a killer rig. The only problem is that the worm won’t survive going through the fight of more than one fish. So while this is a great rig and you will catch fish with it, this method of fishing a Senko will make you go through a lot of bait. So what can you do to make your Senko worm last longer?
To make the bait last longer, place a small “O” ring like these that are available on Amazon, around the egg sack of the worm, right where your hook would normally go through. And instead of passing the hook through the worm, pass the hook underneath the “O” ring...between the worm and the ring itself. This way the worm is never punctured and you’ll get more than one bass out of a single worm.
Recommended Wacky Rig Supplies
2. How To Texas Rig A Senko Worm
Fishing a Texas rigged Senko is my next favorite way to fish a Senko bait. Here’s how to hook a Senko worm in a Texas rig setup. You won’t be using any weights for this rig, so many people will just call it a weightless Texas rig.
With a 3/0 offset wide gap worm hook, push the tip of the hook through the center of the front end of the worm (the front is the fat end of the Senko bait).
Push the hook in about half an inch before bringing it back out.
Slide the worm up to the offset section of the hook. Try to stop at the point where the offset, hook eyelet and knot are all covered and hidden inside the worm.
Place the Senko worm next to the hook noting where the hook comes up on and crosses the worm. Pinch the worm at this point to mark this location.
Now push the point of the hook straight up through the worm at this “pinch point” and work the worm up onto the hook so the worm is in a nice straight position and the point of the hook is facing the front of the worm. When done correctly, the Senko worm will be straight and the point of the hook will be resting nice and close to the worms body.
Pro Tip: For a little extra protection against snagging on underwater grass, weeds and moss tuck the point of the hook just inside the body of the worm. This will prevent the hook from snagging on any of those frustrating underwater snaggable vegetations.
Recommend Texas Rig Supplies
3. How To Mojo Rig A Senko Worm
Senko fishing isn’t only limited to the Texas rig and the Wacky rig. The Mojo rig is another really great way to fish a Senko worm.
The Mojo rig is really similar to the Texas rig, and that’s exactly what you’ll do to start setting up this particular bass fishing rig.
Before you tie on your hook, slip a lightweight finesse weight approximately 18 inches above where the hook will be tied on. Depending on the type of weight you use, you may need to use a bobber stopper to prevent the weight from sliding down the line.
Once the weight is positioned on the line, tie on a 3/0 offset wide gap hook and set up a weightless Texas rig with your Senko bait.
That’s all there is to the Mojo rig. But be warned! Many fisherman claim the Mojo rig with a Senko worm is an absolute bass slayer!
Recommended Mojo Rig Supplies
How To Fish Senko Worms
The fun thing about learning how to fish a Senko worm is that people of all skill levels can fish this bass bait. But you should know that bass, especially largemouth bass are known to inhale the Senko worm, making it at times incredibly difficult to feel the strike at all. But bass are also known to strike this bait hard as it slowly falls through the water column, which makes it a great bait for beginners to use as well.
I’ve caught a lot of bass on Senko worms and to be completely honest, most of them I’ve had no trouble feeling the bass strike. Sure, some of the strikes were very subtle, but with practice, you should be able to easily tell the difference between weeds, rocks and other bottom structures and the subtle strikes of a largemouth or smallmouth bass.
Fishing a Senko worm however, isn’t as easy as just throwing it out there and reeling it back in. Even though fishing a Senko is easy...there’s just a little more to it.
Follow these steps on how to fish a Senko bait and you’ll find yourself fishing with a new favorite bass lure.
Use Slack Line To Your Advantage
As you know, the Yamamoto Senko worm is designed to sink slowly in a horizontal position through the water column, quivering as it goes. If you keep a tight line while it does this, the tension from the line will interrupt that slow horizontal fall.
So the key in fishing a senko worm is to keep the line slack enough that the worm can fall freely through the water, while at the same time keeping a very close eye on the loose line as it trails the bait and goes into the water. The trick here is to not let the line get too loose. Because you still want to be able to set the hook when the bass takes in the bait.
After you cast and the Senko splashes into the water and begins to sink, your loose fishing line will lie on top of the surface of the water. You can watch the fishing line slowly go down after the sinking Senko worm.
This movement of the fishing line eventually becomes very predictable once you’ve watched it over and over again. So you want to pay very close attention to the pattern of that loose line on the surface as it enters the water. Any unnatural movements or movements that don’t follow the usual pattern, set the hook! Because a bass just took the Senko worm into its mouth!
More times than I can count, I’ve had bass take the bait during this period of time while it sinks to the bottom. And usually, the only way I knew a fish took it was because I was watching the line. I didn’t feel it...I saw it.
So keep the line loose, watch it as if falls, and be ready to set that hook!
Leave It On The Bottom
Once the Senko worm has made its way to the bottom, carefully reel in the slack and leave the worm sitting on the bottom. Everyone has their own idea of how long to wait before starting the retrieval process, but I always wait at least for a full “10-Mississippi” count.
The initial fall of the worm might be when many strikes occur, but this 10 seconds or so spent at the bottom might be a very close second to when the most strikes happen. So again, be ready.
Pay close attention because these strikes can oftentimes be almost imperceptible.
Pro Tip: In addition the just getting out there and practicing fishing with a Senko, the number one thing that will help you catch more bass with a Senko worm is to focus and pay attention to what you’re doing. Eliminate the distractions and put your eyes on that line. If you focus and pay attention to your line, you’ll catch more fish than your distracted fishing buddy...guaranteed!
Lift And Retrieve
After the bait has been sitting on the bottom for at least 10 seconds, it’s time to start bringing it back in.
Bring the tip of your rod up two quick times, bringing the worm up off the bottom. Then let the worm slowly fall back down to the bottom, carefully reeling in the slack line. Go ahead and let the Senko bait sit on the bottom for a few seconds before doing this again.
Continue this process until the Senko bait has made its way all the way back to you.
Keep a close eye on how tight or how loose your line is, because you don’t want to impede the natural fall of the worm, but you also don’t want to miss a strike because the line was too loose.
Tips For Fishing Yamamoto Senko Worms
What about bullet nose weights?
With the exception of the Mojo rig, go ahead and leave your weights at home! Senko worms are heavy enough that they can be cast in a variety of ways, some people even claiming that it casts like a rock.
The design and shape of the Senko worm not only allows you to cast it exactly where you need it and to also sink on its own. But remember that the Senko bait sinks quite slow, so you’ll need to be very patient with this bass bait.
If you feel that weight is required, then you’ll want to be careful about how much weight you add and where you place the weight. This is because the Senko worm is designed to sink under its own weight in a horizontal fashion. If weight is added to the nose of the worm, then it’s going to fall through the water nose down and too fast.
The Best Hooks For Senko Worms
If I had to choose only one hook as the best hook for Senko worms, in my opinion the best hook would be the 3/0 offset extra wide gap hook that we talked about earlier.
The reason is because the design of these hooks are fairly versatile. Most commonly, you can use them to Texas Rig your Senko, concealing the point of the hook and making a bait that won’t easily snag weeds, etc.
But you can also use the 3/0 offset EWG hook as a wacky worm hook if you had to. It’s not the first hook I would choose for a wacky rig with a Senko, but if I could only grab one pack of hooks to take along with me, I could make the 3/0 work for any Senko rig, and so could you.
The Best Size Senko Worm For Bass
The Yamamoto Senko Worms are available in a variety of sizes. You can find them as short as 3 inches and as large as 7 inches. But which size is the best?
The best size for me has been the 5 inch Senko baits. This is also the most popular size of Senko worms. If you’re just starting out, then I’d recommend starting with the 5 inch worms. If that size is unavailable, then grab a pack in the next size up. I wouldn’t go smaller than 5 inches unless I had to, or that’s all that was available.
And once you start learning how to fish a Senko bait, then you’ll start to understand the circumstances where you might want to use a smaller Senko, such as when fishing clear water.
How To Make Senko Worms Last Longer
All the techniques I shared with you on how to fish a Senko worm are all great ways to catch bass. Especially the wacky rig. The only problem is with the Wacky rig, the worm probably won’t survive the fight of catching more than one fish. So while this is a great rig and you’ll catch fish , this method of fishing a Senko will make you go through a lot of bait over the course of a day. So what can you do to make your Senko bait last longer?
To make your Senko worms last longer, place a small “O” ring around the egg sack of the worm, right where your hook would normally go through. And instead of passing the hook through the worm itself, pass the hook underneath the “O” ring...between the worm and the ring. This way the worm is never punctured and you’ll get more than one bass out of a single worm.
When Bass Strike While Fishing With A Senko
Senko fishing any of these rigs that I shared with you will catch fish. But you should also know that bass usually only strike during certain times during this process. Here’s when I’ve found to be the times when bass most commonly strike the Senko.
1. Splashdown And The Descent
The majority of the time, you find that bass hit the Senko worm before it ever reaches the bottom. A bass will either hit the worm as soon as it splashes, or during its initial descent to the bottom. I’m not sure why, but this is when the majority of strikes occur.
One time I was bass fishing the lily pads in a slough on the Willamette River in Oregon with my son.
Most of the bass we caught in that slough was on a Senko worm. The reason I remember that fish so well is because I’m not even sure the Senko hit the water before that Willamette River largemouth bass struck that worm. And he hit it hard!
So be ready! The majority of your strikes will come at either splashdown or during the slow descent.
2. While On The Bottom
The next most common time bass strike the Senko bait is during that period of time it’s just sitting on the bottom. Remember the “10 Mississippi” count you’re supposed to do after the first cast while the bait is sitting on the bottom? This is another very common time that bass will bite. So be patient, and be ready. These bites on the bottom are much more subtle, so pay close attention.
You’ll probably find that bass will bite the Senko during these two parts of the cast around 90% of the time. You’ll still get bass to bite during the retrieval as well, but just not as frequent as these other two phases.
Where To Buy Senko Worms
Chances are you can pick up a pack of Senko worms at your local Walmart or other big box store. If there’s a Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop nearby, then they’ll definitely have a much larger selection of colors and sizes.
Fishing Senko worms is a great way to fish for bass. As a matter of fact, it has become the favorite method for bass fishermen all over the world.
That’s because they work! They catch fish!
So why not get out there and start giving it a try? You should. What’s there to lose, besides that largemouth or smallmouth bass that’s just waiting to be caught?
Have a favorite Senko technique you’d like to share? Leave a comment and let us hear about it? And be sure to share this article with your fishing buddies if you found it helpful!
1. Bass Fishing For Beginners