What is the Best Finesse Bait for Bass Fishing?

What is the Best Finesse Bait for Bass Fishing?

In this article, the best finesse bait for bass fishing will be discussed. Fishing with finesse baits is a very effective bass fishing technique. It involves using smaller lures for finicky fish. There are many different finesse baits to choose from. However, there is one artificial lure that stands out above the rest.

The best finesse bait for bass fishing is the 4 inch Yamamoto Senko worm. This is a very versatile finesse bait. It has an enticing, fish attracting action. It performs best with subtle movements, which works perfectly when finesse fishing. The Senko worm comes in many different colors, with green pumpkin being the most popular.

finesse bait for bass

The Senko worm looks like any other ordinary worm in the package. However, the main difference is the texture of the lure. It is very soft and “gummy”. This results in an excellent undulating motion in the water. It also causes bass and other game fish to hold onto it a bit longer. The unique shape also allows anglers to rig it in a variety of ways.

Best finesse bait for bass fishing – rods and reels

Spinning tackle works best when fishing the Senko worm and other finesse baits. While it bait casting tackle can be used, most anglers find spinning tackle more effective when casting these lighter baits. A 7 foot medium spinning rod with a fast action is an excellent all round choice. This rod will allow anglers to make long casts and feel delicate bites while still having the power to move a fish out of heavy cover. It should be matched with a 30 or 3000 series reel.

freshwater fishing tackle

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Line choices very important when it comes to finesse fishing. While braided line is the choice of many anglers bass fishing, particularly and heavy cover, fluorocarbon line is the better choice when fishing finesse baits. Fluorocarbon line is virtually invisible in the water and has less stretch than monofilament. It is a bit more expensive. However, most anglers consider the advantages worth the additional cost.

largemouth bass fishing in Florida

Rigging up the Senko worm

One of the advantages of the Senko worm is its versatility. This bait can be fish and a variety of ways, including wacky rigged, Texas rigged, on a drop shot rig, on a shaky head hook, and on a Ned rig. All of these rigs take advantage of the lifelike action of the Senko worm. For the most part, finesse fishing really shines when bass are finicky or when anglers are fishing in very clear water.

Fishing the wacky worm

wacky worm fishing

Fishing a worm wacky style is both easy and extremely effective. It is an excellent choice for inexperienced anglers as the bait does most of the work itself. It looks a bit odd as the hook is placed through the center of the worm. It is generally fished without any weight, though can be fished on a Shaky Head. The worm is cast out towards a weed line or other structure and allowed to sink naturally through the water column.


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Most strikes occur as the worm initially falls. Anglers can hop it several times and allow it to fall slowly. The bait is then reeled in and cast out to another likely looking spot. Anglers need to be patient, it is amazing how long the Senko can sit there before a bass picks it up. This is a testament to how effective the Senko is as it puts out action with the slightest movement.

Texas rigging the Senko

florida bass fishing

Anglers can certainly Texas rig the Senko worm as well. A smaller hook, 3/0 is a good size, works best with this smaller worm. It can be fished without a way, the most anglers add a 1/8 ounce or 1/4 ounce sliding worm weight above the hook. The lure is then cast out and worked through, over, and around structure. The worm is virtually weedless when fished in this manner. Anglers can peg the sinker to the warm hook to keep it from sliding if desired.

Drop shot fishing

Pennsylvania smallmouth bass

Drop shot fishing is a fairly recent bass fishing innovation. It is an extremely effective method used to catch all species of bass. The rig consists of a hook tied on the main line and then a special drop shot sinker 12 inches to 18 inches below the hook. The result is that the Senko is suspended just a bit above the bottom and can be danced seductively right in front of the fishes face.

drop shot

In most cases, a drop shot rig is used in a vertical presentation. It is extremely effective when largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass are schooling over a piece of structure and deep water. Underwater islands, channel edges, and submerged structure such as fallen trees are all prime examples.

finesse bait

The bait is simply dropped to the bottom and worked subtly. Small, gentle movements work better than sharp violent ones. The Senko is most often hooked through the nose, but can also be hooked wacky style. Anglers can also fish a drop shot rig and water that is not as deep by casting it out towards weed edges and structure. However, it is not as weedless as other presentations are.

Shaky head fishing

Shaky Head jigs are another excellent way to present the Senko worm and other finesse baits to largemouth bass. This is basically a light jig head with a thin, but strong hook. The rig is quite versatile and can be fished in both shallow water and deep water. The Senko can be hooked through the nose or wacky style. Again, most of the strikes will occur as the bait initially falls through the water column, but it can be jig along the bottom as well.

Oklahoma bass fishing women

Ned rig is effective for bass fishing

The Ned rig is another fairly recent bass fishing innovation. Once again, this is a fairly plain looking set up that is very effective. The Ned rig uses a specially designed jig head. The soft plastic bait is then placed on the jig head. In most cases, using the back half or pointed and of the Senko worm works best. Anglers can start off using a 2 1/2 inch to 3 inch piece and then even going shorter from there.

The Ned rig is extremely effective when fished over submerge grass and 5 feet of water to 10 feet of water. Anglers can cast out or use a vertical presentation, depending on the situation. This is an extremely effective technique for smallmouth bass on gravel bottoms. It is an open hook rig and will snag in very heavy cover or weeds.

smallmouth bass fishing

Fish slow with the Senko worm

One of the biggest mistakes most novice anglers make when finesse fishing is moving the bait to quickly. While the Senko worm looks fairly ordinary, it has a very realistic and lifelike action and the water. Anglers may think the bait is just sitting there still and motionless, but wave action and angler movements will result in the bait undulating very naturally in the water.

bass fishing in Florida

One of the great ironies of bass fishing is that plastic worms are incredibly effective, yet they really do not exist in the water. The reality is that the bass is really just striking at the motion in action as opposed to it thinking that it is an actual worm or nightcrawler. A white worm can be used to mimic a shad while an orange worm will mimic a crayfish. It is more about presentation and action that actually simulating a true live worm.

Another difference and this style of fishing is that anglers do not really need to set the hook. In most instances the take will be fairly soft. The best approach, especially when using fairly light line, is just too real tight removing the slack and then gently lifting the rod up high. This will usually result in more fish hooked and will also help get the fish moving away from whatever structure it is holding on.

In conclusion, this article on the best finesse bait for bass fishing will help anglers catch more fish, especially when conditions are tough!

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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