The surviving force of bass fishing, in my opinion, is evolution. Bait companies have evolved many different types of baits with their own twist or features making each one of these baits unique. Multiple tactics are known to produce and have become staples to fisherman worldwide. One of the most popular and well known baits used across the globe is the soft plastic stick bait, often referred to as Senkos, which is the product line produced by Gary Yamamoto and the most well known and ‘original’ versions. Most bait companies have a unique twist to their version of the stick bait, but the only thing that remains consistent is the presentation. In this article, I will outline a few of the presentations that I’ve had success with, as well as the applications, to help you keep your line tight and stock that livewell.
The soft plastic stick bait burst onto the scene as a follow up lure. The first time I heard about using this bait was on light line, rigged weightless to follow a missed strike on other baits such as topwater, crankbaits, and even jigs. A lot of experienced fishermen would be fishing a buzz bait, and at their feet would be a stick bait, rigged weightless. A lot of times on a spinning reel, so when a bass would boil at their buzz bait, and miss, they would cast to the splash in order to present the wounded victim the bass had just hit. As the bait would sink, it’s slow, steady fall, with the two ends bouncing, portraying a wounded meal as it struggled to regain its ability to escape. The bass would see it as an easy target and subsequently finish it off. Generally this bite would feel like a tap, or the line would start to move. See that? Set the hook!
Since the ‘early days’ of stick bait fishing, it has since evolved into a staple for bass fishermen with multiple ways of using them, in addition to weightless. I still throw weightless, but not necessarily as a follow up bait. I’ll throw stick baits at any structure I can find. Being weightless, soft stick baits make for very versatile bait around trees, stumps, docks, grass, anything! When Texas rigged without a weight, it is virtually weedless, and having a streamlined body, is able to penetrate cover and get to places a bait like a jig, or weighted creature bait cannot. Also, with the action on the fall, it makes it very simple to use, where all you do is cast, let it fall, lift the rod tip, let it fall and repeat all the way to the boat or bank.
With the evolution of baits, come the evolution of the presentation. Many people implement their own tactics with these baits and use it effectively. They are a very versatile bait; that can be thrown weightless, Texas rigged with a weight, Carolina rigged, and i’ve even heard of anglers using them on the back side of a punch rig. No matter how you throw these, I promise, when you get comfortable with them, they will produce. Tight lines and god bless.