Swimming Senko: Best of Both Worlds

Five years ago, Gary Yamamoto was fishing a tournament and was faced with a problem in which fish were following his swimbaits, but not hitting them. He would then cast a Senko worm to these followers and they would strike the plastic worm instantly. While the tactic was effective, Yamamoto decided to combine the two baits into one, taking the strike-enticing properties of both. The result of that notion was the Swimming Senko.

As its name implies, the Swimming Senko is a Senko-style worm that has been modified and outfitted with a paddle tail, like that of a swimbait. The main body is comprised of the tubular, Senko shape, but flattens towards the rear, where it ends in a paddle that vibrates during the retrieve.

Versatility can play a huge role when it comes to lure selection. Often times, being able to slightly adjust your technique without having to switch to a completely different lure is an integral, time-saving blessing, and the Swimming Senko is no exception. There are a few different ways to rig and fish the Swimming Senko, including a weightless Texas-rig, weighted casting rig, and a flipping rig. Rigging the Swimming Senko weightless is the primary rig for the bait, and works best when used with a large (5/0) wide-gap hook. When rigged in such a way, the bait can easily and effectively be cast into shallow water and quickly retrieved like a small swimbait.

Another method of rigging the Swimming Senko involves a screw-in sinker that is optimal when fishing deeper water. The screw-in weight works well because it attaches directly to the nose of the Senko, which allows the majority of the bait’s action to be confined to the tail. After retrieving the bait for a few seconds, allow it to stop and sink a little, then continue this pattern.

If you find that the fish are reluctant to emerge from heavy cover like logs and grass beds, I suggest using a heavier sinker and flipping the Swimming Senko directly into the cover. The heavier sinker will allow the bait’s tail to retain its action, even if it only sinks a few feet when you flip it. Also, if you find that the wide-gap hook is deterring consistent hook sets, try switching to a straight shank hook, as the angle of the hook point might help boost your ratio of hook-ups to misses.

Since creating the Swimming Senko, Yamamoto has used the bait successfully in a number of tournaments. Everyday anglers have also found the bait to be a useful staple in their tackle boxes. Available at most outdoor retailers, the Swimming Senko is available in a variety of color patterns, and only costs around $8 for a pack of ten. Gary Yamamoto’s Custom Baits have earned a well-deserved reputation for being durable and effective on the water throughout the years, and the Swimming Senko proves that creativity and ingenuity in fishing never stops.