My Recent Catches – The ‘senko’ show!

My Recent Catches – The ‘senko’ show!

For anyone not completely sure what a ‘senko’ is, they are the worm-like soft plastic lures that are generally rigged weedless (there are other whacky ways to rig them) via a designated hook. Many of the patterns have a ribbed effect running most of their bodies that, I believe, are designed to emit subtle vibrations in the water,  in addition to being soaked or impregnated with all manner of fishy or aniseed smelling substances that are supposed to attract the fish.

By Day

In preparation for my ‘guiding season’ I have been out and about ‘day and night’ literally searching for the bass as they can be remarkably localised at this early stage of the season. Find them, and you will catch them – but that is easier said than done; especially when a cold easterly wind is consistently attempting to hamper your plans.

With easterly or offshore winds blowing, in more sheltered areas the water/sea has been exceptionally clear. Therefore, during my daylight sorties I have generally approached my bass fishing in both a subtle and stealthy manner – with a lure I talk about a lot, the fantastically reliable OSP DoLive Stick coming to the fore. It was during one such session, in which the water was swirling around a series of protruding boulders and a shingle seabed, that I landed the modest bass below very early into the month.

Bass caught OSP DoLive Stick
A beautifully conditioned early April bass that nailed a DoLive drifted around the rocks.

The difference between how I fish or retrieve this type of senko (or soft stickbait as they often referred to) in daylight is very often in complete contrast to how I utilise the OSP DoLive Stick at night. I have written Part 1 of a two part series for the Lure Fishing For Bass website here that expands on the techniques that can be used to maximise their use, but essentially, when it is light I am often twitching them or allowing them to descend or drift naturally through the water column.

Bass caught over sandy seabed
A ‘light-backed’ bass that took a weedless, weightless soft plastic as it was ‘twitched’ over a sandy seabed, and where a strong tide was present.

By Night

I love catching bass on lures at night, and so far this year there have been a number of different lure types that have been effective – ranging from hard shallow-diving minnows, surface lures (more on this amazing method and the catches I’ve achieved in darkness in my next post), a ‘new’ prototype needlefish and, off course, the white senkos – most notably the Wave Worm Bamboo Stick here.

Wave Worm Bamboo Stick
One of twenty bass in the 1-2lb range that my fishing companion and I landed in a short night session during the second week of April – they all took the white senko fished at varying speeds and depths but with the lure mostly travelling in a straight and level trajectory.

Certainly in comparison to the way I use a senko during the day, at night I am allowing them to sink to the bottom (which doesn’t take long in the 2-6ft of water in which I am using them) and then commencing a straight or linear retrieve. Or even more simple, I am just straight retrieving them the second they hit the surface. Something that I must emphasize however, is that the retrieve rate, or speed at which I recover them varies considerably depending on the sea state, the lateral current (if any) and when I am attempting to ascertain if any bass are indeed present (this can sometimes induce more interest from wary fish).

Just recently, the only time I have deviated from this technique was during one early morning session, when the mark I was fishing was being affected by a powerful and laterally running tide. Rather than ‘pull’ the lure across the current (which doesn’t appear very natural) I took advantage of the ‘wobbling and tail-quivering’ qualities of the DoLive Stick (in white) to effectively trot it along with the tide on a very delicate retrieve – dead drifting almost.

Bass caught white OSP DoLive Stick
A small bass taken on a white Dolive Stick that was fished excruciatingly slowly so to ‘wobble.’ Note the ‘quivering’ tail section that is another tremendously effective attribute to this lure.

A better one!

It was only a matter of days after my fishing companion and I had experienced a red-letter session that we returned to the same mark, but this time in very different conditions. On the night we landed twenty bass between us, there was quite a bright Moon present, but on the subsequent trip the mist was so low and thick that you couldn’t even make out the end of the rod tip! To say it was eerie is an understatement, and with the air cold and the air pressure having decreased too it felt like winter again.

It was a good 45 minutes into the session and with the tide now having just started to ebb, that as I was stood reminiscing to myself about the catches I’d made on similarly drab conditions, that the Tailwalk EGinn 88M here was nearly yanked out of my hand!

Big bass caught at night white senko I like the drag on my Abu Garcia REVO MGX 30 here to be set so that if a fish over 3lb hits the lure and runs it can take some line – something that is purely a personal preference, but that works well for me. What was very different to the fish I hooked on this evening and the good-sized bass that I have previously landed so far this year was that it took three attempts to grab the swiftly moving white ‘worm’ before ploughing away from me once it was properly hooked – what a feeling though!

The ‘EGinn 88M’ is, in comparison to my beloved Major Craft Skyroad (RIP), a real powerhouse of a rod that nullifies the lunges and headshaking manoeuvres of the better bass remarkably well, and I know that when I do connect with that ‘double’ that I will stand a better than average chance of getting her in (hopefully).

When the bass (below) came splashing into the shallows it looked impressively larger than I’d initially realised. Therefore, I played it very carefully into a more sheltered patch between the rocks as I really didn’t want lose her – as even though I enjoy catching bass of all sizes it had been a while since my last decent one (a 57cm bass back in February here).

5lb April bass on a senko
When I saw the head of this bass in my head-torch I thought it was much bigger than she was! I’m certainly not complaining though as it was great to be back in amongst the better sized bass after a run of 1-2 pounders (as much fun as they are).

I didn’t measure her or weight her (I’d left my tape measure in my other waders) but it looked and felt all of 5½lb to me – a nice fish for mid-April. Very interestingly, it was only bass that I caught during that session – something that adds weight to the theory that when the larger bass are about, the smaller ones will often scarper!

My 3 Day Packages

My 3 Day Packages (3 Days Guided Bass Fishing and 3 Nights Accommodation for £499 per person) have proved very popular, with both former clients who enjoyed these sessions last year returning, alongside a number of new clients who I will welcome down to south Devon this season – I cannot wait! I only have one more 3 Day Package available which is between the 15 – 17 September. Therefore, if you are interested and would like to know more please see my previous blog post here.

My Book

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If you would like to purchase my recently released book ‘The Lure of The Bass’ (independent reviews including one from the Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society can be found here) please either complete the Contact Form via a previous post describing what is included in each of the book’s chapters here. Alternatively, it can be purchased by paying directly by PayPal below:

Book – ‘The Lure of The Bass’ by Marc Cowling

A modern approach to catching European Sea Bass on lures by Marc Cowling.

£18.98

Thanks for reading.

Marc Cowling

 

2 Comments

    1. Hi Nigel.
      Sorry for the delay in answering this query! I broke my first Skyroad after weakening it when I slipped on a path. My second one I sold as I was immediately taken with the Tailwalk EGinn 88M that I’m now using exclusively for all my fishing.

      Like

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