Target suspended bass at any depth with this special rig that is totally out of the box, yet as simple as it gets!

As many of you know, catching suspended bass in our clear, deep, Western reservoirs can be one of the most puzzling and frustrating angling feats. We all know how deadly a Senko is in water of 20′ or less. Any deeper and the “wiggle” of the bait succumbs to the effects of water pressure and at some point, ceases to sink at all. With the Depth Charge rig you can fish a weightless Senko at any depth and keep it in the strike zone ALL of the time. Plus you won’t have to wait an eternity to get it down there.

Think of the Depth Charge rig as a really long drop-shot with the hook 2 to 10 feet above the weight. In this case the weight is a 1 to 2 ounce pyramid sinker, commonly used by bait and surf fishermen. This style of sinker keeps the rig from rolling down long, steep points and it’s extra weight keeps it in one spot until you move it. I find that a Texas rigged hook excels over a wacky hook because as I stated earlier, the bait will lose its wiggle in deep water, and an extra-heavy hook like Gamakatsu’s Superline model helps the bait glide during the presentation. I prefer the 3/0 and 5/0 sizes for 4 to 6 inch Senkos.

Here’s how to fish it:  

Make a short cast or “pitch” to a deep spot on a point or hump. Depending on the depth, you can even fish it vertically under the boat. Let the sinker down in the water behind you then make the cast, or if using spinning gear, just throw the weight where you want it to go by hand. Make sure the rig falls vertically on slack line. When the weight hits the bottom, the Senko will go to work, gliding to the bottom like an injured baitfish. When the bait gets to the bottom lift or snap the slack back up with your rod tip, keeping the weight in place. You can do this lift and fall over and over again, keeping the bait right in the fish’s face. 

Sometimes they will react to it better if you rip it up through the school and let it fall and sometimes a slow methodical glide will entice a strike. Let the fish’s mood, time of year and the water temp be your guide. If you see suspended fish on your sonar unit, adjust your leader until the bait is slightly above their heads. It’s almost like vertically jigging a spoon except you’ll be doing it with a soft stickbait and a presentation that fish never see!

My standard outfit for fishing this rig is a 7′ medium-heavy baitcasting rod and 10 to 20 lb. fluorocarbon line. The same setup you use for spooning will work just fine.

Other baits to try are soft jerkbaits like Lunker City’s Fin-S-Fish or Zoom Bait Company’s Super Fluke. I also have had great success with the Yamamoto Fat Ika rigged “upside down” on a Gamakatsu 5/0 Superline hook. With the Fat Ika rigged this way it falls incredibly fast. Instead of letting it go to the bottom on the initial cast, let it fall on controlled slack and stop it when the weight hits the bottom. Just let the bait stay up above bottom-oriented bass motionless for a minute or more then suddenly let it fall on them. They will be looking up at it the whole time and when it comes speeding down on them they can’t stand it and will usually get it before it hits the bottom.

I hope you will try these techniques and it helps you make lemonade out of an otherwise lemon day.

Jim Taibi – 661 Fishing