The Yamamoto Senko has taken the fishing world by storm.
It doesn’t look like much, and it doesn’t seem to do much, but one thing it does do is catch fish.
It is so good that versions of it are made by several other companies such as Zoom, Gulp, Yum and Berkley. Many have speculated on why this lure works so well. Some say it is because it is usually fished weightless and sinks slow, keeping it in the Strike Zone longer. Others say it feels like real food in a bass mouth.
Whatever the reason, fish seem to like them.
What is a Senko Worm?
The Senko Worm was created by Gary Yamamoto sometime around the late 1990s. He was dissatisfied with the popular Sluggo Worms, which were popular at that time. He made his Senko Worm with softer plastic for better action.
The Senko Worm is simply a 4” – 5” plastic worm made with soft plastic. It has no flip tail, or curly tail, or anything to give it any action on its own.
Many other companies now make their own versions of Senkos, with the Yum Dinger being very popular. They are usually fished weightless and sink very slow.
They can be rigged and fished in many ways. Here are the most effective ways to rig a Senko worm…
Basic Senko Rig
The Senko is usually fished with a weightless Texas Rig to make it weedless.
The lure is cast to likely places, especially in cover, and allowed to sink for a good bit. It is then slowly worked in by raising the rod tip a foot or so, then taking in the slack as the lure falls once again.
This is repeated all the way back to the starting point, at which time it is cast back out if no fish is caught, and the process is started over again.
This has proved to be a very effective method, particularly on suspending fish.
Straight Texas Rig
This is similar to the Basic Rig, but Rigged Texas-Style with a light (⅛ oz.) slip sinker at the head.
This makes the Senko fall head-down every time it is twitched.
This is great when fish are holding a little deeper, and it often results in vicious strikes. It is also very effective when fished around docks, bridge pilings, ripraps, and sunken timber.
The key is to fish it as slow as you can stand it. It will bounce over logs, rocks and other structures, keeping its head-down attitude, which drives fish crazy.
The advantage of the Jighead Rig is that you can use any style jighead you like, such as walking jigs, standup jigs, or just plain roundhead jigs. You should keep them light, no more than ⅛ oz.
You will want to use collared jigheads with a bait keeper spur on them.
Simply rig the jig head Texas-Style. You can cast this rig out or fish it vertically. The Senko will stand on its head and make enticing moves every time you twitch it.
A lot of the time, the strikes will be on the fall, so keep slack out of your line as much as possible.
This rig is unusual but very effective at times. It is fished weightless. Using a wide-gap hook, locate the center of gravity of the Senko, then run the hook through at that point.
Slide the Senko to the middle of the hook bend, and you are ready to go. Cast the Senko near structure (keep in mind that this rig is not weedless).
As it slowly sinks, give it a mild twitch every so often.
This makes the ends of the worm flap like wings and does a good job of simulating an annelid in distress.
Keep your twitches as light as possible.
To Rig a Senko Worm Carolina-Style, thread a slip sinker on your line and attach a swivel.
Tie on a 12” – 14” leader to the other end of the swivel and tie on a suitably sized worm hook to the terminal end.
Now Texas-Rig hook the Senko, and you are ready to fish. This gets the lure down deep while still allowing it to fall slowly on the retrieve. Instead of twitching this rig, you just drag the Senko behind the sinker.
It will climb and dive slowly as you retrieve it.
Drop Shot Rig
This is great for fishing directly in heavy cover.
Senkos can be deadly when fished on a Drop Shot Rig. Tie on a ¼ oz. bell sinker to the terminal end of your line. About 14” above that, tie on a suitably sized worm hook to the main line, with no leader.
Hook the Senko Texas-Style. You can cast this out into cover, or fish it vertically.
When the sinker hits bottom, take up the slack and tightline. Jiggle the line every so ofter to make the worm wiggle, without changing the position of the sinker. If nothing happens after a while, reel in and drop it in another location.
There are countless ways to rig and fish Senko-Style worms. You are limited only by your imagination….