Since I have been bass fishing in Florida, I have caught bass flipping every type of cover you can find. Lately, the best thing I have found to flip are pads, which have never been great producers for me. But even more surprising, the bait I am getting more bites on is not your standard flipping bait.
When I get on a flipping bite, more often than not I am using a craw or some form of creature bait in the 3- to 4-inch range. But lately, I have been getting bites on something completely different. A 6-inch senko has been the hot ticket. I usually use a senko only when I’m fishing deeper cover or along a drop-off. For that, this bait is excellent. It comes through cover with no issues and it is perfect for crawling across the bottom.
Lately, we have been using senkos to flip in and around pads. Flipping the bait into little openings just behind the pads has been the best way to draw bites. I think it’s simply so hot these days that the bass are hiding up under the pads to try to find some sort of shade. They’ve become a little lethargic and don’t feed aggressively. But if you drop that bait through the pads right in front of one of those bass, she’ll eat it.
Case in point: Today we went out for a little fun fishing on a chain of lakes not too far from the house. While I did what I normally do (throw swimbaits deep into the pad patches), Missy sat back and flipped a junebug senko with a blue tail to the edge of the pads. She wasn’t at it five minutes before she stuck her first bass. It wasn’t a huge fish, but a keeper if we had been in a tournament.
It didn’t stop there. We hadn’t gone 40 feet when I looked back and she was dragging another one out of the pads. This time, the bass was closer to 4 pounds.
That’s all it took to convince me that I was doing something that wasn’t working. But before I could get into a groove, Missy had another one about 3 pounds that she was hauling to the boat. I did manage to miss a couple bites, but she had already beaten me for the day by then. No matter; I was happy she hooked a few.
The whole trick was where the bait was placed. If you simply pitched it to the outside of the pads, you wouldn’t get any bites. Pitching the bait to small tight pockets that offered a lot of shade as well as an opening that the bass could sit by seemed to be the trick. Mind you, we didn’t get bit in every opening, but all the bites we did get were in spots just like that.
Now, the bites were not real aggressive. It’s almost as though the bass just picked it up and it felt heavy on the end of the line. My best guess was that they were sitting there waiting for an opportunistic meal to come by the hole in the pads that they were sitting next to. The technique: Drop the bait in the hole. Once that bait hits the bottom, pick it up real slow. If it feels heavy at all, set the hook.
Not only did this technique work this weekend, it worked two weeks ago when we were in our tournament on this same chain of lakes. Some of the lakes on this chain have a lot of peppergrass in them. So much, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to find where the bass are. So we opted for a smaller lake that has lots of pads on it, along with some offshore peppergrass and hydrilla mixed together. When we found that type of cover close to the pads, we did very well.
The senko is a bait that I have found to be very useful in a variety of techniques. While we were using the flipping technique, we could skip it off the top of the flat pads and direct it to the holes that we were targeting. The fact that the bait is a straight piece of plastic with no curly tail like a worm makes it much easier to get into the areas we wanted to flip. It truly was the bait of choice for the past few weekends for us.
The next time you go out and want to do some flipping, don’t be afraid to try a senko. I have found out just how good it can be, and I am sure you will as well.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.