Gary Yamamoto’s innovative chicken rig has proven to be quite a successful rig for fishing in areas of cover. He has placed in several tournaments using the rig, and others have as well. It’s an effective rig for fishing larger fish like bass, especially in areas of cover.
Your complete guide to the chicken rig, including how to tie it and where to use it, starts right now:
What Is the Chicken Rig?
A chicken rig is a type of Neko rig created by Gary Yamamoto, a widely-known tackle developer. Yamamoto is known as an innovator in the fishing world, drawing inspiration from unlikely places. The chicken rig is undoubtedly unique and definitely effective.
The rig gets its name from its different elements, the “backward wacky weighted Kut Tail,” which makes the acronym “BWWK.” This acronym resembles the sound a chicken makes, and thus, its name was born. It is also known as a high low rig or a deep drop rig.
One of the challenges with fishing is that fish have gotten wise to the many different types of tackle setups that anglers may use. They are good at discerning the real from the fake, so tackle developers have been forced to get creative. The chicken rig is so successful because it has proven itself to outsmart even the wiliest of freshwater fish.
Yamamoto Develops the Chicken Rig
To develop the chicken rig, Yamamoto invented a new bait and created a new way to rig it, resulting in a design that provides some pretty incredible results. The bait is the 7.75 inch Kut Tail worm. It’s rigged backward and in the wacky style, which involves hooking the worm in the middle.
The chicken rig also uses a straight shank hook, pushed through the worm, and then reversed. Lastly, Yamamoto uses a simple drywall screw for the weight. It is driven directly through the end of the worm.
Best Conditions for the Chicken Rig
The chicken rig was created for fishing in freshwater, but some fishermen use it in saltwater. As most anglers know, not all fish hang out in the middle of open waters, and not every rig is suited for every situation.
Many freshwater fish, particularly bass, can be found around cover, and many saltwater fish prefer the protection of cover as well. Cover includes any underwater elements where the fish can hide, and it can be both natural and human-made.
Natural cover includes:
- Weeds like milfoil and hydrilla
- Fallen trees or branches
- Underwater bushes
- Lily Pads
- Large rocks
Human-made cover includes:
- Piles of bricks
- Wooden structures
- Underwater elements of docks
- Sunken boats
The chicken rig is unique because it can navigate some pretty tricky situations and help you catch fish in places that may be impossible with a different rig.
Why the Chicken Rig is the Best for Cover
Since bass tend to hang out under areas of cover, anglers need particular types of rigs to navigate these areas. You need a rig that will both attract the fish in this type of environment and that won’t get tangled or caught up in any of the cover.
While many other rigs can manage in light cover, the chicken rig can handle even the heaviest cover. Since it is weedless, it is less likely to get caught in cover, and you’ll be less likely to lose your bait or damage your rigging setup.
Where to Use a Chicken Rig
You can use a chicken rig when fishing off a pier, dock, or boat. It’s best when you are trying to fish near the bottom and is useful in deep conditions.
How to Tie a Chicken Rig
The chicken rig is a reasonably simple rig to set up. It’s basically a cross between a Neko rig and a Texas rig, so if you already know how to do those, you should have very little problem getting the chicken rig put together.
Setting Up a Chicken Rig
- First, gather your materials: a rubber worm, a hook, a weight, and your line of choice.
- Insert your screw into the head or top part of the worm. Make sure it goes all the way into the worm. The screw will give the rig its weight and keep the worm in an upright position that will entice the fish.
- Insert the hook about two-thirds of the way down into the worm, where it begins to taper off.
- Once the hook is all the way through, turn it and push it through the other side. This part is similar to the Texas rig that many anglers use.
- You will want to use either a medium or heavy spinning tackle as well as a braided lead.
One of the most essential aspects of tying a chicken rig is using the best materials for the job. Using the right materials will give you the best results. Read on to learn more about the rubber worms, hooks, and weights you should use for the chicken rig.
Rubber Worms for Chicken Rig
As any experienced angler knows, there are as many types of bait as there are fish in the sea – if not more. Choosing the right bait for your needs can make or break your fishing success.
Kut Tail Worms
When Yamamoto created the chicken rig, he designed it to be used with his own Kut Tail worm. The Kut Tail, which you will also see called the Cut Tail, has a tapered body and an innovative tail design that is sure to trick even the wisest of fish. This versatile worm is ideal for various fishing, including finesse fishing, drop shots, weightless rigs, and more.
The Kut Tail worm comes in several lengths, ranging from four inches to seven and three-fourths inches. Yamamoto recommends using the longest worm for the chicken rig.
Kut Tail worms also come in various colors, from bright pinks and purples to darker blues and blacks. The color you choose will vary depending on the type of fish you are trying to catch and the environment where you’re fishing. It’s best to experiment with different colors to see which will produce the best results.
Other anglers have done their own experimentation and recommend different types of worms. For example, some suggest the Berkley Powerbait Flute Worm. This worm has three different o-ring locations, which can help you get your hook in the right place for the chicken rig.
Others suggest the Senko worm. This worm was also created by Gary Yamamoto and is a long, fat worm. Some anglers find adding the hook and weight to a Senko worm is easier than adding them to the Kut Tail.
Hooks for Chicken Rigs
As with rubber worms, there are also many different types of hooks, each suited for specific fish types, rigs, and water conditions. Choosing the right hook for your rig is essential to your success – if you choose the wrong hook, it can look unnatural to the fish.
Yamamoto recommends using a 4/0 or 5/0 straight shank worm hook. These hooks are on the larger end of the scale, but are perfect for the chicken rig, as you use a large enough worm to still look natural.
As with lures, other fishermen have innovated on Yamamoto’s design by trying out different types of hooks. Some prefer the Finesse Neko Hook to the straight shank. This hook is smaller and allows for slightly more natural movement.
Weights for Chicken Rigs
The fishing weight, also called a sinker, serves several purposes. It keeps the bait below the surface of the water. In some instances, it keeps the bait at a particular depth.
Choosing the right weight is vital to your success when fishing with the chicken rig. You can get everything assembled correctly, but the fish will not bite if the worm isn’t in the right spot. Since the chicken rig is designed to sink down into low cover areas, the ideal weight will be heavy enough to get down there without getting stuck in the wrong spot.
Yamamoto is a bit “no-frills” when it comes to weights. He recommends using a basic drywall screw that you can pick up at your local home improvement store for the chicken rig. He suggests using one with a larger head so that you get more weight at the bottom, but he also notes that any drywall screw will work.
Other anglers may opt for a traditional fishing weight with a chicken rig. These can offer an added element of control and are specifically designed to stay in a worm. Nail weights and half-moon wacky weights are the two most popular traditional options.
Choose your weight based on the depths of where you plan to fish. Typically, a 1/16 oz weight should serve you fine, but in deeper conditions, you may want to go up to 3/16 oz to make sure your bait is where it needs to be.
How to Fish the Chicken Rig
Now that you have the chicken rig set up, it’s time to try it out. Using the right techniques for this innovative rig will guarantee your results. The chicken rig is generally used for bass fishing, but you could theoretically use it for any larger, bottom-dwelling fish.
Fishing the chicken rig involves two components: the rod and reel you use and the techniques you use to fish. Getting these two components right will ensure your success.
The Rod, Reel, and Line
You will typically use the same reel you use for all bass fishing, a medium-heavy spinning tackle. This reel will give you the right mixture of strength and finesse to get the most out of the chicken rig. Others recommend a baitcasting tackle instead.
For the rod, you should use a spinning rod with moderate to fast action. You want something that’s strong enough to manage even a larger fish, but also sensitive enough so that you can feel a gentler bite.
For the line, Yamamoto recommends a heavy-braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. You need the leader because it will blend in with the water much better than the braided line.
Fishing Techniques for the Chicken Rig
Although you use much of the same equipment as you would use for finesse fishing, fishing with the chicken rig is more similar to jig fishing. Yamamoto suggests using the chicken rig around areas of cover, such as bridge pilings or under docks.
First, cast the chicken rig under an area of cover and wait for it to sink to the bottom. Once you feel it hit bottom, pull it back a little and let it drop again. This method will give the fish some time to notice the worm and will also keep the worm’s movements as natural as possible.
Once you have pulled up on the worm a few times, you can reel the chicken rig back in and cast it out again. The fish will usually bite as the worm is falling, so you must pull back and let it sink a few times before reeling it all the way back in.
The Final Word
The chicken rig takes some of the best features of two popular rigs: the Neko rig and the Texas rig. It’s wacky weighted like the Neko rig and weedless like the Texas rig, making it ideal for fishing in areas of cover.
Additionally, fish find it intriguing because it’s so unique. It looks different than the bait they typically see. Fish are curious and will be inspired to bite something new to them.
Finally, it has longevity. Fish get the hook in their mouth without destroying the worm, so you don’t lose a worm every time you get a bite.
Yamamoto’s invention can help take your bass fishing skills to a whole new level! Be sure and bring a chicken rig along on your next trip so you can see its effectiveness for yourself.