Cooch’s Simplified Senko Suggestions
For me, the most productive way to fish a Senko, whether it's a 9,9S,J,L or X, is in fact weightless. My choice of tools works very well for all 5 sizes of Senkos.
My rod of choice is a 6'6" fast tapered Medium Heavy action rod. I personally use a Cameron by Rodmasters, but you can find a wide variety of manufacturers that build this type of rod, it's very common. The 6'6" length will work with all bait sizes. Yet if I'm pitching and flippin the 9L or 9X shallow, or fishing these two larger baits below 20', I will use a 7' rod instead. I git a little better leverage with this rod under these conditions. The fast tapered tip allows for better casting accuracy and distance with this bait. And it loads perfectly with the line, reel and hook combo I use.
The reel is very important. I have found it best to have a reel with a high retrieve ratio. The reason being is, when I fish a Senko, I fish it on absolute slack line, there's always a big bow in my line once the bait hits the water and settles to the bottom and while it rests there. And when a fish strikes the lure, either by the noticeable line twitch, a distinct DOINK or the line begins to move, it's very important to be able to reel up and take that slack up very fast before sweep setting the hook. If ya use a lower retrieve reel, this allows the fish to think about spitting it or worse, swaller it into it's gullet and become throat hooked.
My line is always fluorocarbon, 16# test Sugoi is my first choice. I believe the fluorocarbon is the perfect line for Senkos, and for a number of reasons. First it's density allows the bait to fall freer than any other line, it's heavier and sinks with the bait. This is very important for me in that I believe the allure of the Senko is that undulating motion it makes as it falls parallel to the bottom. The 16# fluorocarbon's diameter is about that of most 10# test lines. Mono and braids are buoyant and create resistance, hence changing the levelness and direction to which this bait falls, which ultimately takes away from the Senko’s action. Secondly, the line is invisible to the fish. I don't think most anglers realize how important and critical this issue is with a Senko. Number three, is it's sensitivity is awesome. I will feel fish breathe on that line, even with the big bow and slack that I fish it with. And last, is it's stiffness. There's very little stretch to fluorocarbon. There are times when a bass inhales the bait and you just won't feel it. However, with fluorocarbon, it's so stiff, you WILL see the line jump! And, when using the MH action rod, I don't have to impart a rip lippen' hook set. Just a long gentle snap and sweep is all it takes to set the hook, the line loads up the rod very fast.
The last piece of terminal tackle, is the hook. When fishing it weightless and rigged Texas style. I prefer to use a 3/0 or 4/0 round bend worm hook. The decision to do this has come from continued experiences and the troubles associated with using big EWG hooks like most anglers use. Those giant EWG hooks are great for Flukes, Slugos, Tubes, big BrushHogs and the such. They work well for big bulky baits. But for this long slender bait, I've found I git fewer missed bites and lost fish, simply due to the fact the round bend grabs em in the area around their bony jaws. The EWG hooks quite often roll upwards and grab the fish in the soft meaty area of the roof of their mouths. Often, especially on larger jumping fish, these bigger hooks will tear loose or because of the big gap and diameter of the hook itself, it move around a lot in the hole that it makes as your fighting the fish, making it bigger and more susceptible to pulling out. The round bend also takes up less surface area exposed outside of the bait, hence becoming less of a rudder and changing the action of the Senko, which is what happens with the EWG. And last, less of the hook point is inside of your bait with the round bend hook. Using the EWG, whether yer Texposing it or burying it inside of the bait, either creates a tear right through the center of the bait or puts much more of the hook point inside of the bait, at varying angles, creating more tears in yer Senkos as fish strike them. Your hook is actually tearing more internal area of the Senko, hence making it weaker and susceptible to being torn when a fish strikes or during the battle. I often find that the Senko will slide up the line more often with this hook as well. You git more use out of a single Senko with the round bend hooks.
These are what work best for me and give me the maximum margin of error free fishing and the best advantage over the fish while fishing a Senko.
Keep a Tight Line!