(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
If there was ever a lure made specifically to catch bass when fishing is tough, the Senko is it. Sure, it’ll produce plenty of bites when the fish are firing, but it truly earns its keep when the bass are finicky. Despite that truth, Bass University co-founder Pete Gluszek said many anglers don’t know when to Texas-rig it and when to wacky-rig it.
The wacky rig is the “more finesse” option of the two.
“This is where I’m going to downsize everything from my rod to my line size to my hook, everything.”
While he’ll use an O-ring during practice or when fun-fishing, he gets rid of it on derby day and plunges his hook point directly through the soft plastic’s egg sack.
“I want that hook to tear through and I want that worm to go away,” he explained. “That way it’s just me, the line, the hook and the fish, nothing in between that can cause any trouble.”
He’ll go as low as 6-pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon for his leader, but relies on 10-pound most often. His main line is 10-pound Gamma Torque braid. The braid-to-fluoro combo provides casting distance, sensitivity, a high hook-up percentage, and cuts through vegetation better than straight fluoro. He fishes it on a Cashion all-around spinning rod, a 7-foot medium, model number P8437S. His line is spooled on a 4000-size reel – the larger spool leads to less line twist.
While the wacky Senko is exceptional, especially in shallower water, it’s not good for covering water. That’s when the tail-hooked Texas rig comes into place. Unlike the wacky, which quivers as it falls, “this darts like a minnow” and drops faster. Gluszek said he can fish it almost as fast as a spinnerbait or ChatterBait. He can also use heavier tackle. That starts with a 15- to 20-pound main line and a leader of 12- or 15-pound, and occasionally as heavy as 20-pound.
“It darts and scoots and does all kinds of different things,” he explained. When fishing docks, for example, he’ll start with the Texas rig on the deeper pilings and then switch to the wacky up close to the bank. “You cannot go shallow enough on most docks around the country.”
In grass, he likes the Texas rig because it tends not to get hung up as much and while the bites won’t be earthshaking, they may be plentiful. “When you get a bite in this scenario, it’s not a real aggressive bite.” It’s more likely to feel like the tick or peck of a bluegill. When you catch a first fish, he encourages you to drop your Power Poles or Talons, or hit Spot Lock, because where there’s one there are often many. Fan-cast around looking for those others. Often times you’ll trigger strikes when you pop the lure out of the grass.
If you want to learn some of the other aspects of Gluszek's soft stickbait system, including his thoughts on skipping and other target-friendly casts, check out his full video filmed on the water, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.