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The Search for One: GYCB Pros Top Senko Colors

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The Search for One: GYCB Pros Top Senko Colors

By TJ Maglio

June 10, 2014
I’ve always been a pretty simple guy when it comes to color choices for my soft plastics. In clear water, I’m throwing something green or brown, and in stained water, I almost exclusively throw some form of black with or without blue flake. Until the last few years I had never really strayed from 297 and 021 when it came to my personal Senko choices, and I was perfectly satisfied by barely scratching the GYCB color palette.

However, a couple years ago I was fishing a tournament with my good friend and Inside Line blogger extraordinaire Pete Robbins, and he turned me on to color 913, which is green pumpkin with green/purple flake and a bright chartreuse tail. That color is the deal and I’ve since made it a regular in my rotation. A year later fishing clearer waters I added a couple more to my arsenal for clear water; the 2013 new colors, 967 (goby) and 968 (perch). Fast forward to today, and I’ve gone from a green pumpkin or black and blue two trick pony to regularly relying on no less than eight colors of Senkos depending on the water I’m fishing.

The downside to this recent Senko-versification has led me to frequent scrolling sessions through the GYCB store probing all 105 (5”) color options to see if there is perhaps another one I’d like to try.

While looking through all the different options, I kept imagining there was some guy out there in some random region of the country who fishes some random lake who swears up and down that you need to be throwing a neko rigged five incher in 326 (clear with gold, silver and black flake) or that a Texas rigged 008 (red) Senko catches the snot out of them when you put two little black dots along its side with a sharpie and twitch it over 90 feet of water.

Since I don’t have access to all the anglers across the country, I can’t easily figure out the best location and conditions to throw an oxblood brown indigo/red flake (325) Senko. However, I am fortunate enough to have (reasonably) unrestrained access to the GYCB tour-level pro staff and I decided to ask each of those anglers the following two questions, and compile my results.

Question 1: “If you had to leave the dock every day for the rest of your career with only one color of Senko in the boat, what would it be?” And;

Question 2: “Do you have a wildcard color? Maybe one that’s a little weird or situational, or one that you don’t think enough anglers use?”

The way I see it, the first question gets to the heart of the color issue, allowing anglers to figure out exactly what to stock up on as the main component of their Senko collections. The second question gives us an excuse to buy some off the wall colors without feeling too weird, and you can always say you’re trying it because, “so and so Elite Series pro said this one works.”

The results are in, and I got answers from all 15 tour level Yamamoto staffers, as well as renowned industry presences Gary Dobyns and Pete Gluszek. The following is a discussion and breakdown of their answers.

The “Must Haves”

Not surprisingly, the most popular answers from the staff to the first question were a variation of green pumpkin. It was actually a tie between 297 (green pumpkin black flake) and 912 (watermelon/green pumpkin laminate) with seven votes each. The one deviant was Elite Series pro and former Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett, who picked color 213 (junebug) as his favorite, saying “There’s nothing I have more confidence in than junebug when I’m in stained to dirty water, and it’ll catch enough in clear water, especially up north that I could still get by.”

Although each angler who chose 297 or 912 had a specific reason, they can pretty much all be boiled down to some derivation of the following comments:
• It’s so versatile
• It works under any water color condition
• You can use it all across the country
• It’s the only one you need…
You get the drill. There were some interesting side comments though, especially when guys asked about the choices others on the staff had made, including:

“The only reason guys are still choosing 297 is because they haven’t tried 912 yet. I bet in a year if you do this again, they’ll all be saying 912.” Pete Gluszek when he found out that green pumpkin black flake (297) was in the lead…
“The only reason I’m choosing 297 is because you’re making me select one.”

Takahiro Omori
“I can’t do it. I can give you two, because if you give me 305 and 912, I’m set for life. If I’ve got to pick one of those, it’d be pretty hard.” Gary Dobyns

The Wildcards
Even though the answers to the first question were pretty vanilla, that was expected. What I was really looking forward to were the angler’s answers to the second question. I figured I’d at least get somebody’s secret color or some unexpected anecdotes, and they didn’t disappoint. Of the 15 anglers surveyed, there were 12 different colors chosen as wildcards, ranging from the “neutral” 368 (Watermelon Candy) to the surprising 229 (pink).

As can probably be expected, there were also a number of great comments regarding the pros choices in this category as well, and here are some of the best:

“I’d have to say straight black. That color works great in Florida for some reason, it just shows up well in the tannic colored water.” Takahiro Omori about his choice (020)

“That one’s easy; it’s black and blue laminate. That thing looks like a black and blue jig, if they don’t hit that or green pumpkin, you can be 100 percent sure that there’s just not any fish there.” Tom Monsoor

“I’m gonna tell you this one, but I wish I wasn’t because I really don’t want other anglers to know about it. It’s got that green and purple in there which are bluegill and sunfish colors. It gets them really angry and cleans up around bream beds.” Bernie Schultz about his choice, (368)

“I don’t know, there aren’t too many colors I throw… Although I do like to throw a regular smoke colored one around the shad spawn, not a lot of guys probably do that.” Yusuke Miyazaki

“I’m not a big color guy, but over the years I’ve probably netted fish for co-anglers on pretty much every color that Yamamoto makes. I’d say one that really stood out was during a tournament a couple years back when I had a female co-angler absolutely kick my butt out of the back of my boat with that peanut butter and jelly color. It was so bad that night that I went to the local tackle shop and bought every last bag on the rack in that color. I guess I’ll take that one because it absolutely wrecked them for her.” Gary Dobyns, on why 918 (PB&J) is his “wild card”

“That baby bass is the baddest one of them all. It just catches them, and I don’t ever see it on shelves in stores, or on other angler’s hooks and that’s a good thing when you’re fishing tournaments.” Boyd Duckett

“I like the natural shad color in deep water. It puts off a translucence that really triggers strikes. Also, it’s a different look, because you don’t see many people throwing it.” Brett Hite

“The most unique color I like is the regular green/white laminate. That thing has surprised me a number of times. So much so that I’ll often come back through an area with that one and catch a couple more. I’m not really sure why it works so well, but I know there aren’t many guys throwing it.” Jay Yelas

“I’ve been catching fish on purple and red or brown baits for so long; at this point I don’t even know why it’s so appealing. It just works, even in super clear water.” Larry Nixon

I’m pretty high on the pink color because I caught several on it when I won the James Open last year. I always have a couple bags in my boat, and it generates bites at times when you probably wouldn’t expect it to. Especially in dirty water, it shows up really well and the fish flat out eat it. I’ve probably given up a secret now and I’m gonna see all kinds of people with bright pink Senkos on their rods now.” Randy Howell, on the most unique choice

The Data
Randy Howell
Search for One: 912(Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Laminate)
Wild Card: 229(Bubblegum)
Brent Ehrler
Search for One: 297(Green Pumpkin/Black Flake)
Wild Card: 021(Black/Blue Flake)
Larry Nixon
Search for One: 297(Green Pumpkin/ Black Flake)
Wild Card: 921(Brown/Purple Laminate)
Jay Yelas
Search for One: 912(Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Laminate)
Wild Card: 901(Watermelon/White Laminate)
Boyd Duckett
Search for One: 213(Junebug)
Wild Card: 305(Baby Bass)
Brett Hite
Search for One: 297(Green Pumpkin/Black Flake)
Wild Card: 306(Natural Shad)
Kevin Hawk
Search for One: 297(Green Pumpkin/Black Flake)
Wild Card: 021(Black/Blue Flake)
Gary Dobyns
Search for One: 912(Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Laminate)
Wild Card: 918(Peanut Butter and Jelly)
Bernie Schultz
Search for One: 912(Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Laminate)
Wild Card: 368(Watermelon Candy)
Tom Monsoor
Search for One: 297(Green Pumpkin/Black Flake)
Wild Card: 904(Black/Blue Laminate)
Takahiro Omori
Search for One: 297(Green Pumpkin/Black Flake)
Wild Card: 020(Black)
Yusuke Miyazaki
Search for One: 297(Green Pumpkin/Black Flake)
Wild Card: 002(Smoke)
Shinichi Fukae
Search for One: 912(Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Laminate)
Wild Card: 358 (Dark Pumpkin/Purple, Black, Emerald Flake)
Gary Yamamoto
Search for One: 912(Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Laminate)
Wild Card: 021(Black/Blue Flake)
Pete Gluszek
Search for One: 912(Green Pumpkin/Watermelon Laminate)
Wild Card: 020 (Black)

As you can see, the pros have now spoken, and there should now be a run on bags of 912 and 297 colored Senkos in the coming weeks. Although it isn’t surprising that these two colors were tops in the “must haves” category, the results in the “wildcard” category were a little more curious. I’d be interested to find out how many anglers have a bag of hot pink (229) or PB&J (918) in their boxes.

This analysis also served to further some of the classic contentions of bass fishing, as most anglers “wildcard” color was something dark, contrasting, or unique to a region like the blacks, and blue flecks.

If anything, these data may work to identify a color or two that you should try (assuming you’re like me and always looking for more Senko colors!). I, for one will be placing an order in the coming weeks, and I can assure you that no less than three of these “wildcard” colors will be on the list.
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Very nice. Was wandering the same thing. Thanks
Quite surprised see red flake not being mentioned.

Had a few killer days at Kwaggas with a bit of red flake involved.
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Navrik Wrote:Quite surprised see red flake not being mentioned.

Had a few killer days at Kwaggas with a bit of red flake involved.

Were the red dragon flies out and about?
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Cannot remember - quite possible.
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