Speed Senko-ing Not Your Average Way to Cover Water with Tai Au by Pete Robbins, Page 2

Speed Senko-ing Not Your Average Way to Cover Water with Tai Au by Pete Robbins, Page 2



hen other anglers put the trolling motor

on high to cover water, particularly on

featureless lakes like many of those found in Arizona, their lure of choice is a spinnerbait, swim jig,

crankbait, or even a buzzbait. Bass Pro Tour angler Tai Au

bucks that trend.

In fact, when forced to turn his Lowrance Ghost toward

the upper end of the spectrum, he prefers what is generally

thought of as one of the slowest lures you can fish – an

unweighted Senko. There is, however, a method to this

seemingly oxymoronic pairing. Au learned about it quite by


“About 14-years ago I was fishing at Lake Pleasant with

a drop shot,” he said. “I got snagged and broke the weight

off by the hook. There was a Senko sitting in my cupholder,

so I grabbed it and hooked it in the middle. On my first cast,

I caught a three-

pounder, which is

a pretty big fish for

Pleasant. I went

down the bank that

Friday evening and

in the next 50 yards

caught eight fish.”

He saw there

was a tournament

the next day,

but didn’t have a

regular partner,

so he went online,

solicited a “random

guy” and after

they dialed it in a

bit, they “won the

tournament on that


That good bit

of luck – or intuition

– gradually morphed into a viable strategy for practicing as

well as for competing in tournaments.

On lakes where there’s a relative dearth of cover, and

especially if they’re clear, he wants to get on top of the fish

and drop a lure in their face before they’re aware of his

presence. Quick movement and a subtle Senko provide that

one-two punch.

“I put my trolling motor on five or six and keep my foot

on it,” he said. “People generally fish too slowly. As a result,

they don’t see what lives there.”


Indeed, a big part of Au’s strategy is looking for fish or for hidden cover as he goes by. That’s not just during the spawn—it’s all year long, and he’s refined the process on lakes like Pleasant, Havasu, and Northern California fisheries that drop in the fall.

“You want to have at least 3- or 4-feet of visibility,” he explained. “It works better when it’s clearer, because the clearer water, the faster you can fish. You’re going so

fast that the fish don’t have time to swim off before you see them. Like I said, I usually have it on five or six, some sometimes I’ll keep at as high as seven for long periods of time.”

A big part of that strategy involves his Lowrance Ghost brushless trolling motor. With past electrics, it didn’t matter what batteries he employed, this strategy often had them totally tapped out by 2 or 3 pm. Today, he runs standard lead batteries, but he no longer ever deals with that issue.

The speed is truly remarkable, and again Au runs contrary to conventional wisdom because “the bait never hits the bottom.” He makes an ultra-long cast, either to the next piece of cover, or just down the bank if there’s nothing obvious in front of him, and then continues in that direction.

“While I’m reeling in the slack, I’m shaking it and looking for fish at the same time,” he said. “When a fish grabs it,

what had been

slack suddenly feels

solid. That’s how

you know you have

a fish. Sometimes

you’ll see a tick in

your line. I’m not a

fan of yellow braid.

I don’t need that.

But if you’re a visual

fisherman there’s

nothing wrong with



smallmouths, in

particular, he’ll often

see more fish than

he hooks at first

glance, but he can

make a big U-Turn,

and go back and

catch them.

“By doing this, I’m accomplishing quite a few different things. I’m covering water, getting bites, and assessing fish quality.”


Typically, anglers seeking to sneak up on bank-bound bass have positioned their boats as far offshore as they can while still making an accurate and stealthy cast. Once again, Au dispenses with “the way it has always been done.” Instead, he works to “hide my boat in the shallow water, running it as shallow as I can without banging into anything. That may be as little as 2-feet, or 5-feet at the deepest.”

He compares himself to the Goodyear Blimp – not physically, but in terms of impact. If that blimp is out in the middle of the open sky, you can’t help but notice it, but when it darts in and out of the tree line or skyline, it’s obscured, and less obvious, almost camouflaged.

Furthermore, his foot never leaves the trolling motor pedal. There’s no stop-and-go, no starts and fits or clanging,

Spring 2023