Stick Bait Techniques and Tackle

Anyone who has fished for largemouth bass has heard of the Senko™, the largest selling stick bait. Most fishermen are aware that the term “Senko” refers to the trademarked stick bait manufactured by Gary Yamamoto. There are many manufacturers of soft plastic stick baits and this article is not about all of the different manufacturers, or the analysis and review of the different stick or “stik” baits available. Each manufacturer has designed their stick baits according to what they feel is best. You’ll find differences in lengths, diameter, end to end taper and obviously colors and formulas, including salt content. Almost all stick baits contain salt. Any that don’t contain salt, or only have salt added to the exterior of the bait, are pretty much worthless. Rude Baits stick/”Stik” baits contain our proprietary formula that includes a heavy salt content, scent infused into the bait and our soft plastic formula, making them one of the best stick baits manufactured right here in the United States. We make them in eight fishing catching colors; Watermelon Seed, Green Pumpkin Seed, Grape Seed, Pumpkin Seed, Kiwi Seed, Pomegranate Seed, Junebug and Black with blue flake.
Check them out at https://www.rudebaits.com/products/stik-baits/
You can find stick baits in lengths from 1” on up from other manufacturers but we believe the best length by far is the most common length of 5.25”. We believe the 5.25” size is the most effective length to target both largemouth and smallmouth bass of all sizes. Try our stick baits and you’ll see the difference in your catch rate!
Stick/Stik bait tackle: Stick or “Stik” baits can be fished on either spinning or conventional tackle. I like a medium to medium heavy power rod to allow for a solid hook set but I also want a fast action tip to allow for easier casting. Match with an appropriate reel. As always, buy the best quality rod and reel you can afford.
Techniques: Stick baits are most often fished one of two methods; Texas rigged weightless or wacky rigged. However, they can also be effectively fished with the standard Texas rig that includes the sliding bullet weight or Carolina rigged. One of the reasons the standard Texas rigged or Carolina rigged is not used very often is both techniques defeat one of the main attributes of the stick bait and that is the wiggle the bait produces as it falls through the water column. A quality stick bait, whether Texas rigged weedless without any kind of added weight or rigged wacky style with the hook inserted through the middle of the bait hook exposed, will fall through the water column horizontally. This produces a definitive wiggle action of both ends of the bait. This wiggle action is what frequently entices a bite. Rigging Texas rigged with the bullet weight or Carolina rigged causes the bait to fall vertically, thereby negating the wiggle action. However, I’ve caught plenty of bass adding weight to the stick bait via Texas rigging in particular, and adding weight can serve alternative purposes like adding extra casting distance (although stick baits are well known for how far one can cast them) or getting the bait down faster, or holding the bait to the bottom in high wind conditions. One of the main mistakes fishermen make in fishing stick baits is fishing them too fast. The typical technique is to cast the bait to the area holding fish and watch your line as the bait sinks. Any sudden movement, e.g. line suddenly takes off or changes direction indicates a bass has picked up the bait on the drop. Tighten up your line and set the hook immediately. If you’re not bit on the drop, let the bait sit for a minimum of 30 seconds. If you’re tournament fishing and every second counts, thirty seconds seems like an eternity. However, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been bit using stick baits where the bass has picked up the bait while it was sitting on the bottom. I firmly believe the bass saw the bait on the drop, moved in to check it out and then inhaled it as it was sitting on the bottom. If you don’t get bit that first 30 seconds, begin your retrieve by the standard lift and drop technique. I like a fairly high lift of at least two to three feet to allow the bait that much of a fall. However, don’t rush your retrieve. Let the bait rest a minimum of 10 seconds between lifts. If you follow this advice, I know you’ll get bit more often. I always start off by fishing the stick bait rigged weedless Texas rig style without any weight. Once the head of the bait gets torn up from catching one or more fish, I then simply rig it wacky style to be able to get another fish off the same bait. One of the nice things about rigging it wacky style is you can use baits that are a bit torn up and they still work just as well. If you encounter high wind conditions, add a bullet weight or rig Carolina style to prevent the wind from dragging your line and stick bait. Stick baits obviously work well in deeper water fishing but excel as a go to bait no matter how deep you’re fishing. I’ve had tremendous success with them fishing tight against the shoreline during the spawn when targeting fish in 1 to 3 feet of water as well as fishing as deep as 45 feet of water.
Line: I always use fluorocarbon when fishing stick baits. Fluorocarbon sinks which is what you want. You don’t absolutely have to use fluorocarbon but it works better than using monofilament when fishing stick baits. There are a number of manufacturers of fluorocarbon line so I encourage you to try different lines and select what you have confidence in. Match the lb test to the rod and reel you are using and the clarity of the water you’ll be fishing. On spinning reels I’ll use 8 to 10 lb test and on conventional bait casters, 10 to 12 lb test. You may want to use heavier line if fishing heavy cover.
Hooks: For the Rude Baits 5.25 stick baits, I like to use 2/0 and 3/0 EWG hooks. Gamakatsu and Eagle Claw both make quality EWG hooks. You can also use the standard offset worm hook. I like to “skin hook” the point. If you’re not familiar with the term “Skin hooking” a plastic stick bait or plastic worm, research online to see videos or pictures. If not skin hooking, embed the hook point into the bait to make it weed less. The only time I fish a stick bait with the hook exposed is when rigging wacky style.
If you haven’t tried Rude Baits BT Stik Baits, order some online at www.rudebaits.com and you’ll see the difference in your catch rate. You can go wrong fishing all eight of the colors but I generally like to fish the grape, junebug or pomegranate in the morning and switch to the watermelon, green pumpkin, Kiwi seed and pumpkin in the afternoon. If fishing is tough, try another color until you find what they want. The black with blue flake can be the ticket sometimes when the bass don’t seem to want the standard colors. If fishing at night, definitely try the black with blue flake. I suggest purchasing all 8 and fishing them all to determine your favorites. All of the Rude Baits Stik Baits are injected with heavy salt and scent. Order some today; you’ll be glad you did! Please contact us if you have any questions regarding our baits, this article or any fishing related questions. You can contact me through the website at: www.rudebaits.com.
Thanks and good fishing! (Please practice catch and release.)
Mike Rude,

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