Red Baits


That Texas craw red you referred to seems to be a preference of the Florida strain bass no matter where the reside in this country. In the late winter and early spring, we experience this same tendency with the bass out here in California, especially here on my home waters on the California Delta. As both the bass and craws begin moving around and becoming more active, as the water starts to warm in the spring, that Texas red craw color really does work, especially on bigger bass. No doubt as the craws take on this coloration, those bigger bass know and understand this food forage takes on a special importance for them providing high nutrients needed in developing their eggs and body mass as they migrate into their spawning season. These craws are generally large & slow moving, hence becoming a very easy target for the bass.

So with this in mind, you can see why these red baits work well in areas of the country like Texas, Oklahoma and California with these Floridas. Their penchant for the faster moving red rattle traps is hard to explain. The presentations of this bait, as it is cranked through the tops of the shallow grass flats and along their outer edges, would appear to simply be triggering reactive strikes from these bass that are on the move and transitioning to their spawning locals. Certainly, crawdads as a rule, do not travel through these strike zones with the frequency that we see anglers catch bass on these lipless cranks at this time of year. One might assume in as much is a bass is smart enough to know the value of eating one of these craws, he's also easily fooled by the presence of us "matching the hatch" so to speak with this bait.

Now, with all this in mind, let's git to your question about "How to apply this to your Senko fishing?" question. First and fore most, I like many anglers, love fishing the Senko. Yet I have come to realize that there is an optimum window for using this bait, versus many anglers who are so stuck in "the Senko box" and will fish it year round. I only use the Senkos, fished weightless, from early March through mid June, this is our spawning cycle out west from Pre-spawn through Post-spawn. This is the window I have experienced the Senko to be at it's deadliest, in trigger strikes from the bass, in our fisheries out here! These big girls love a big hunk of long slender plastic fished slow. The undulating wiggle that is produced by the Senko as it freely falls, really catches a bass' attention like no other bait I ever seen(Although, the big swimbaits we use out west are attention getters too! I love to use these, especially when I'm doing tank seminars, because I can get the attention of bass in a tank with this bait that will look at nothing else after being locked up in the tank for weeks on end and having seen every bait for a month we have to offer, it's the same on the water as we see more curious followers than takers. Same exact thing happens with a Senko!) The key in getting those curious bass to strike your Senko, is if after it has fallen through the strike zone and the bass has not grabbed it, you must play to his curiosity and just let it sit there , lying motionless on the bottom for a very long time. The longer ya leave it there, the more likely that bass is gonna come over and gobble it up. At times, I've let my Senkos sit fer up to 3-4 minutes without moving them, only to eventually see that line pop or move off as a bass grabs it, simply because he could and it was just too easy of a meal for them.

Okay, so now ya have the whys of fishing the Senko during the spring, it's just plain awesome in the shear numbers of strikes it produces. The tackle I have settle in on is a 6'6"-7' MH graphite rod with a fast tip. I'll use nothing but Sugoi 14# fluorocarbon. This line is dense, falls with the bait allowing a more emphasized wiggle as the bait falls. It's invisible to the fish. It's super sensitive that allows you to feel strikes even on a slack line. It low stretch allows for quick, "I got ya right now" hook sets and is very abrasion resistant. The hook I've settled on is a Gamakatsu 3/0 Round bend wormin hook. My bait choice is always gonna be the Series 9L 6" Senko. Those bass will clock this bait, especially the bigger ones as it have far more bulk than the Series 9 and it's tail/nose wiggles is far more active than the smaller versions of the Senkos. Remember, we're temping and looking for bigger fish on the average, go with the bigger Senko, surprisingly, you'll find the smaller fish hit this one too! Also, using the Round bend hook, you'll get more casts and fish per Senko in this 9L series, versus the number of fish per Senko when using the Series 9. Those series 9 baits tend to tear easily. You’re on Fork, your big fish hunting, give those bass a "T-Bone" type meal, not a "hotdog"!

And last but not least, there are a couple of colors that I'd recommend. If you’re on that cycle which is 7-10 days prior to the full moon, definitely stick to the reds! These 9L Senkos come in a number of great red options. My three favorite ones are the 051 black w/red flake, 208 watermelon red flake, 222 Xmas tree and 302 red with black & red flake.

Now there are some really good options in the series 9 Senko that shouldn't be overlooked, 167 motor oil w/red, 197 clear with red & black, 284 root beer with red & gold, 325 Oxblood, 900 red shad laminated and the new 918 PBJ. These will all work well in that pre-nesting phase.

Now if'n your beyond the full moon and those fish have locked down on the beds or are in a post spawn mode, their attitudes and preferences change. They are not in a true feeding mode as they were leading up to moving onto the nests, they are now in that defensive mode protecting their nests and young from predators. Here ya need to adjust and get away from the red baits as crawdads are the least of a bass' worries at this time. Go with the browns, purples, greens and chartreuse colors, which in fact now imitate the many predators invading a bass' bedroom.

Know when and why the red works during this period is huge to keeping your bites going through the spawning season. Many anglers will experience great success with red baits for a period of time, then all of a sudden they can not git bit on it for the next couple of outings. Understanding and reacting to the bass' habits during this period and their environment is critical to being successful each and every trip out there during the spring.

Good luck and let us know how these tips work out for you.



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