5-inch Senko Rigging Guide – Pro’s Choice

Video how to wacky rig a senko

By TJ Maglio

There are very few baits responsible for more big bass, big limits, and tournament wins than the 5-inch Senko. What Gary created out of a ballpoint pen tube didn’t just change the soft plastics game, it changed bass fishing altogether.

How many bass fishermen catch their first bass on a Senko each year? And if you’ve ever got a true rookie in the boat with you, what’s the first thing you rig up for them?

A Senko no doubt.

The most brilliant thing about Senkos is their versatility. They are equally effective in the hands of top tour pros or the greenest of the green; and whether you’re fishing a mountain lake; lowland reservoir, tidal river, or a farm pond, you’re going to get bit.

Here’s the part where you may be thinking “Yeah; Senkos catch fish, tell me something new…”

What you may not know is that despite the Senko’s pedigree, one of the most common questions anglers still ask us all these years later is “what’s the best way to rig a Senko?”

We all know the truth.

There’s no wrong way to rig a Senko. You can use it cut in half on the back of a tiny Ned head or punch it through a thick mat of hyacinth behind a 2-ounce sinker. It really doesn’t matter much; as long as it’s in the water the bass eat it.

Since the vast majority of anglers realize that; I suspect the real question they are getting at is not “what’s the best way” but rather “how should I rig it?” Meaning what hook, line, rod, reel, etc.

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A great way to solve questions like this is to sample a group of experts on the topic; listen to their opinions and then see where you fall. Which is exactly what we wanted to do. We decided to reach out to four of the Yamamoto Tour pros know specifically for their Senko prowess (Brent Ehrler, Larry Nixon, Jimmy Reese, and Jay Yelas); and ask them to break down how they specifically rig Senkos in a couple of the most popular ways (Texas Rigged and Wacky/Neko), so you can get a variety of details on the specifics of what terminal tackle, line, rods, and reels they use to catch fish across the country.

Hopefully these setups will help you narrow down your options as you search for the perfect setup for the way YOU fish!

Texas Rig

Brent Ehrler

Rig: 4/0 Gamakatsu Offset Round Bend, 16-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon

Rod/Reel: Daiwa Tatula Elite MPS 7’3”, Daiwa Tatula Elite Reel (7.3:1)

Notes: Brent’s go-to Texas rig is actually weighted, which he likes as it shows the fish something a little different. “That little sinker really changes the fall of the 5-inch Senko. It’s still subtle but it has a really nice spiral on the fall; which bass don’t see a lot.”

Jimmy Reese

Rig: 5/0 Gamakatsu EWG (standard gauge), 12-pound Yo Zuri Fluorocarbon

Rod/Reel: Douglas Rods 7’2” Medium Rod LRS724F, Daiwa Tatula 150 (7.3:1)

Notes: The key to Reese’s Texas rig setup is versatility; and he keeps it on the deck pretty much all the time. “You can throw that thing up against a rock, dock, piece of wood, whatever you see – you can just pick things apart with it; and you can go pretty much anywhere around the country with that setup and go down the bank and catch fish.”

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Jay Yelas

Rig: 5/0 Gamakatsu Superline EWG (heavy gauge), 15-pound Strike King Tour Grade Fluorocarbon

Rod/Reel: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick 7’ MH, Team Lew’s Hyper Mag Speed Spool (8.3:1)

Notes: Having a high-gear ratio reel is critical to Yelas with a Texas rig. “Particularly in shallow water; big bass will grab that Senko and just take off. If you can’t reel fast enough to catch up to it, you’re never going to get a good hook into it.”

Larry Nixon

Rig: 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG (standard gauge), 10-pound Sunline FC Sniper fluorocarbon

Rod/Reel: Dobyns 7’ Champion XP 705 Casting rod, Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Series (7.1:1)

Notes: Patience is the key when Texas rigging a 5-inch Senko says Arkansas legend Nixon. “Most of the time I fish a Texas rig weightless; and I’ve caught about a gazillion fish doing it. Just be patient and let the bait do its thing. If you’re not getting Senko bites; you very well could be fishing it too fast. Slow down and you’ll get bit.”


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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>