Senko…post quarantine….hopefully…

I have fished the last two weekends with the Clarksville Area Kayak Fishing Group.  We met up for check in at Mama Mea’s in Dover and I realized just how much I missed the gatherings.  Really missed them!  I have never needed a win to chase all the tournaments – personally, I want to win, but it was never the end game for me – I just love the community and the fellowship.  I lived for the check ins, the meet ups, the dinners; running into folks on the water and just talking.  

I mean this week, seeing Matt Spencer absolutely wreck ‘em and beat us all a day after his birthday, Kirt Pequinot back in mid-season form…last week listening to Travis Ashley talk about beating me out of my old kayak…seeing the new faces – now new friends, the old friends…listening to woulda – coulda – shoulda…more than worth the price of admission!!  

Anyway…enough of the sappy stuff.  

I did finish 2nd in the CAKFG season opener and a not too shabby 6th this weekend.  I didn’t smash them with the technique I used two weeks ago during some pre-fishing; and the same that got me a roll down spot into the Tennessee BASS Nation Kayak tournament, but I want to share it with y’all.  It is really an extremely simple way to fish, and one that has won me several dollars over the last four years.  

I start with a 7’1” medium or medium heavy, fast tip, St. Croix Mojo Bass rod with a 2500 Shimano Sahara spinning reel.  I tie on a Gamakatsu 1/0, EWG offset shank hook (actually, the only hook I ever use – saves space and thought – argue with me about it, don’t care).  Then take a Gary Yamamoto Senko (usually black with blue flakes – always Yamamoto); and hooking it toward the tail, bury the hook back into the bait.  I always hook it through the skinny end of the senko, and try to leave more of the fat end hanging down.  It causes the barb on the hook to tilt down and (I believe anyway) allows for a high hook up percentage.  No need for bands or special tools, just hook and fish.

Caney Fork Outdoors for kayaks or gear

This is one of the best rigging techniques I have found.  

Three weeks ago, I flipped it onto riprap at Pickwick. 

Two weeks ago, I was slinging it along a rock wall in 100 ft of water, letting it drop until I felt “thump, thump”.  

This weekend, I was tossing it; skipping it under brush and against cypress trees; then again, “thump”…set the hook, fish.  

I also use this if I am riding around and chunking a bait from the shore testing areas because it just flat catches fish!  It is definitely my go to for a limit.  If I had to choose one bait, one technique…this is it.

The other advantage I have found with hooking the bait this way, I don’t really lose many senkos.  I hear people talking about how fragile the Yamamoto baits are, and that is true, but I just don’t lose many.  They get torn, I turn them over so they will still have the right action until they look like they will fall off, then I drop them in the kayak and pick up another.  

At the end of the day, I take all of the torn baits home.  I pile them up until I have a free afternoon, then return them to whole using Mend-it; a trick that Rus Snyder’s shared with me during an interview last year.    


I really wasn’t sure that I would like the effort, but I am over a year in and on my first bottle.  I have resurrected hundreds of senkos, Stanley Ribbit Frogs, beaver baits, Yum Swim Dingers…every plastic except Z-Man (mostly because I don’t use them much, but they are a different polymer too).

Be a little careful not to put too much Mend-it on the Yamamoto baits…they will immediately dissolve at the point of contact if you are not careful.  Once you make that mistake once, you learn and the baits are just like new.


On a side note:

The year of Covid gave me a lot of time to reflect about what matters to me as an angler.  I like fishing, I like talking fishing, I like sharing what works – and even where it worked.   

It also gave my accountant a few days to let me know that I had reached the limit on time I could claim a loss with my fishing career; and to explain how much of a loss it had been over the last years.  So….many (many!!) thousands of dollars later (was it really that much?!?!), I have decided to take a break from travelling every weekend.  Plus, the grandkids Dishrag and Sis moved back from Washington State and I missed ‘em.  Anyway…y’all will still see me at several events, but I plan to fish more with the Clarksville Area Kayak Fishing Group and others across Tennessee.  While doing so, I want to share more of what worked for me…what didn’t…and well, just write about the days I spend fishing with everyone.  See y’all on the water…or at a check in somewhere soon.

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