Spring time Clearwater fishing
Donít wait to go weightless!
Somebody asked me recently about fishing Senkos and Cut Tails in clear water. Whoa, little did he know, he touched upon a subject here that really excites me, especially as we start to move into the springtime and spawning seasonal patterns associated with catching bass. For me, the two baits that were mentioned, The Senko and Cut Tail, are two of the most effective baits that I now have in my arsenal of Yamamoto products that give me a great advantage over my competition. They also have assisted me tremendously in providing successful guiding trips for my clients, in that, these two baits fished weightless in the spring, just plane catch fish at a rate far greater than any bait I've ever used. And out here in California, with the exception of the California Delta and ClearLake, we donít experience too much in the way of stained water. All our impoundments are gin clear. And during the spring, I find that some of the best action I can find with these two baits on the Delta & ClearLake, are when I find clear shallow water, that the bass are frequenting as they migrate to their spawning locations.
As you can see and gather from my into, I really only use these two baits in the Spring. They provide far greater action than at any other time of the year. I git far more bites on these two baits than any other bait in my boat. Yet after the spawn, which will generally last through mid June out here, the number of bites for me on these weightless baits tends to fade, I have other baits that I rely on that produce far more strikes than the weightless Senko or Cut Tail.
During late February when our temps begin to rise and git above 55 degrees, that's when to start thinking about using a 9L Senko. Of course, itís very tough for me to put down that jig-n-pig at this time. Yet, when that temperature hits 60 degrees, our Senko bite is in full swing. If you don't have this bait tied on and in yer hands, your missing out, plain and simple. Now I have found that the clearer the water, the better this bait works. A shallow bass that has migrated up to begin the spawn, will come from great distances to grab this bait as it slowly falls with that ever so enticing dip dee do this it's tail and nose does. It's truly amazing how aggressive these fish can be when this bait enters the water. Most often, we would associate the temperament of a bass as being very gun shy and wary in shallow, clear water, yet more often than not, we find it to be just the opposite in the spring. I have seen these fish come from out of nowhere to grab my Senko. Pitch that bait to a flat six feet from the nearest piece of cover, such as a willow bush, and just watch that dark green torpedo out of there to come gobble up that slug of a piece of plastic.
In the spring, I don't do a lot of site fishing. Doing so just frustrates the bajeebers out of me. Yet when I got that Senko in my hands, I can pitch and flip that bait to visible fish with extreme confidence. And, I'm also pitching it blindly to locations that I believe a bass should be taking up residence at this time of year. By far, a weightless Senko Texas rigged is my deadliest tool in clear water during the spring. I wouldn't leave home without it.
Now, the other bait mentioned is the Cut Tail. Oh man, did I jump fer joy and mess my pants the first time I got my very first sample of those giant 7X baits. That 6.5" slug of plastic was just what I needed to git a big edge over my competition. It also gave me a bait to toss at these bass, which had seen every single color and size Senko imaginable. The bass had become wary of the constant barrage and plopping of Senko Mania. The 7X Cut tail is the perfect compliment to a Senko. It now has its place on my deck right along with the Senko in the springtime. I really don't start tossing the Cut Tails until late April. This season may be different though due to the success I had with the Cut Tails last spring. And I fish the Cut Tails exactly the same as I do the Senko, a 6í6Ē MH Cameron bait caster is my rod of choice teamed up with an ABU Garcia 4600 Ultra Cast reel spooled with 16# Sugoi Fluorocarbon line and a 2/0 Gamakatsu Offset Round Bend worm hook. For me, this set up is the perfect match for tossing these weightless baits with a free fall do nothing presentation.
Also, one other thing I should mention about these Cut Tails, they can be fished in another fashion in the spring that is more deadly than fishing em weightless. And thatís on a dropshot rig. For this rig Iíll use a 1/8oz Mojo Dropshot weight and a 1/0 Sugoi worm hook. I tie that worm about 6-8Ē above the weight. You now have a weapon in your hands that is second to none I the spring, especially ifín yer site fishing! As much as a bass canít stand to see a Senko or Cut Tail free failing in itís bed room or just laying on the bottom, they absolutely can not stand and will not tolerate this long, slinky piece of plastic sitting there suspending anywhere near them off the bottom. Virtually no shallow bass have seen this presentation. The Dropshot has been well known and documented for itís deep-water application. However, let me tell you what, this technique is far more versatile than you can imagine. And itís our use of that imagination, in applying this technique to different situations, that will git you far more bites than the next guy.
Like I mentioned previously, I donít do a lot of bed fishing by sight. But I indeed now do sight fish in the spring, but not necessarily am I ďbedĒ fishing. And where guys like Shaw Grigsby and Guido Hibdon are renowned sight fisherman and have won millions of dollars doings so over the years with such baits as Tubes and the Guido Bugs, I now have a bait that I can use and feel ever bit as confident that I can site fish with the best of em. Pitchiní and flippiní a Dropshot Cut Tail to sighted fish, is deadly, I canít emphasize this enough. These bass just have never seen an artificial bait that sits there and quivers like that Cut tail does. Suspending the bait off the bottom like that puts you and keeps you in the strategic of all strike zones for springtime bass. Especially in clear water!
Therefore, in answering the original questions posed to me, ďWhen should I think about changing from my jerk baits to Senkos and Cut tails, and do they work in clear water?Ē I say stick to those jerk baits until that water hits near 60. That jerk bait can too, be very deadly on transitional fish that are migrating from their winter haunts to the shallows for their spawning ritual. Once that water temp moves upward and the fish move to the shallows, that's the time to really think about tossing these two baits, particularly in clear water!
Keep A Tight Line!