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Can I Get Fries With That?


In the last 5-years of fishing, no lure has made a big of a shift in soft plastics as Gary Yamamoto’s Senko.  It’s cigar shape provided a tasty treat that bucket mouths couldn’t resist.  Imitations soon filled store shelves – sometimes at 2-3 dollars less per bag.  One of those knock-offs fills an entire compartment on my boat – the Yum Dinger.  I have Dingers that range from 3” to 7” in length, and color varieties as yummy sounding as cotton candy, to as unappealing to the pallet as june bug.  With all these great plastics at my disposal, it often surprises my bassin’ buddies when they see me tie on and old standby – the french fry.

I don’t mean to pick on Gary.  He produces a fantastic lure.  In fact, ‘Senko’ has become the Band Aid and/or Kleenex of soft plastics.  It’s a brand name, but used to describe the entire genre of a product.  For simplicity, when I use the word ‘Senko’, I’m using it to describe any cigar shaped, soft plastic lure.  It’s a compliment to marketing and brand strategy of Gary Yamamoto.

Prior to the appearance of the Senko at local tackle shops, a french fry was a standard in soft plastics.  It fit neatly on the end of a Texas rig, and was a killer when tied as a deadstick.  Deep cut grooves across its long, narrow, stick-like body provide for a mild bubbling action when moved through the water, providing great fish enticing action.  French fries come in a variety of colors, dwarfing those available in Senko style plastics.  They are also much more durable than Senko’s under all fishing conditions, especially when fishing structure such as timber or rocks.  Senko’s tend to tear at the point of hook penetration, meaning you’re going to use them up faster than french fries when fishing cover.  I can’t count the number of these that have split in half mid-cast and fallen off my hook.  Of course, I use nothing but baitcasters, so I get stuck spending the next 30-minutes seated in the boat picking out a backlash.  Frankly, I’d rather spend that time fishing a fry.
This time of year – somewhere between spawn and post spawn – I can spend an entire day on the water throwing nothing more than french fries.  The versatility of this plastic makes it ridiculously easy to produce solid catches and tournament limits.  The key is finding a spawning area that transitions quickly into deep water.  If there is no wind, I’ll throw a french fry weightless toward the shallower portion of a break.  Using every bit of patience I know I sometimes have, I wait as the fry slowly sinks through the water column.  The weightlessness and shape of this plastic allows it to stay in the strike zone longer than other soft plastics, making the most lethargic of bass bite.  It triggers something instinctive in a fish; they are doomed by their own evolution.  Even an active fish can’t pass up this easy meal.

If the wind comes up, I’ll pinch on a little weight just above the nose of the worm, 1/16th of an ounce at a time.  If I have to add more than an 1/8th ounce of lead though, it’s probably time to think Texas or Carolina rig.  Should fish suspend, working a french fry on a drop-shot rig is sure to produce solid results.  Yes, a Senko style worm can be used all of these ways too, but the Senko may be over used.

I firmly believe that lures have a cyclical life.  Studies show that bass caught and released develop a memory and learn to avoid commonly used tackle.  In the last year, I’ve seen my catch rates come up with the use of a french fry over any other worm style in my box.  Could it be that bass are becoming conditioned to the popular cigar shaped plastics?  I’m not a biologist, and I don’t feel qualified to answer that question.  What I can tell you my catch rate is up on french fries, and that’s all the testimony I need to make a french fry my go-to plastic.  I’m confident you’ll have the same results too.

More durable, just as versatile, and priced at almost half that of its Senko counterpart, the french fry is the soft plastic for me.

Bob Wood

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