The Wacky rig is often the go-to setup for anglers during tough fishing conditions, as it helps when fishing in difficult conditions.
The method, which involves using a soft plastic worm and a small hook, creates a natural movement in the water that attracts bass.
Best Conditions for Wacky Rig
The wacky rig is perhaps the most natural, non-invasive, and most subtle fishing technique at anglers’ disposal.
It is a technique that is used in a variety of presentations, from weighted or weightless to drop shots. The possibilities of wacky rigging are endless.
It may look silly, but it is one of the most effective worm rigs you can use. It can be used by beginner bass fishers because it is fairly easy. The wacky rig is most effective in clear waters and can be absolutely deadly.
Spring During Pre-Spawn
You can fish a wacky rig all year round, but there’s a short window of opportunity for anglers to catch a lot of fish.
This is when the bass’s behavior shifts from a pre-spawn feeding frenzy to going on the bed is where wacky rig shows its true colors.
The fish at this point are done feeding on big swimbaits and jerk baits; they are up on the shallow waters waiting for the weather to get just right for them to start spawning.
When bass are in that mode, they do not bite. That is when you should use a wacky rig.
Spring During Spawning
In the spawn mode, you should look for areas that are clear.
Conventional bass fishing advice tells you to fish in the cover, but you do the exact opposite during the spawning phase. The key is not the cover, and this is where the wacky rig is going to shine through.
Spring During the Post-Spawn
During the post-spawn phase, the fish is very lethargic.
They do not have energy after spawning, so they will not go and chase the bait. Therefore, use a soft plastic bait in this phase.
In the winter season, the bass travel to steeper structures such as bluffs, channel drop-offs, and banks. The bites will be subtle during this time, so keep a lookout on the line and see where it meets the water to identify any sudden movements. Slow down the launching of your bait in winters because the bass is low on energy.
Bass becomes active in the summer after a few weeks of being lazy. Swim platforms, docks, laydowns, weed edges, and lily pads are all locations that the wacky rig will be able to catch a fish all summer long. You can also go for points, drop-offs, and underwater humps in deeper water.
You’re looking for cool water so look for deep water, shaded edges, vegetation, and docks.
Once fall begins to set in and the water cools down below 10-12 degrees below its hottest point, the deeper bass will start moving towards shallow water and feed on baitfish frantically.
This is an excellent time for adjusting your wacky rig to the color and matching the forage in the water. You can wish in the wood covers, creeks, boat docks, and other shallow water locations.
During the fall season, the weed areas start receding, so find live/green weeds as the bass will be there.
How to Tie a Wacky Rig?
Wacky rig is easy to use and works well for beginners.
The wacky rig can be used with or without weight and displays a subtle, slow falling action that can mimic life-like bait with a simple upward twitch of the fishing rod.
While many typical bait rigs feature a hook attached to the bottom or top end of the bait, the wacky rig has an open hook and is rigged into the mid-section of the bait. Wacky bait is simple to construct, and you can follow the steps below to extend the life of your plastic worm and tie the rig effectively.
All you need is:
- Stick-style soft plastic bait
- Wacky rig tool and O-rings (you can go without this, but it is worth the few bucks)
Directions without an O-Ring Tool
- Attach a hook to the end of your line using your preferred knot
- Stick the hook through the center of the stick bait
Directions with an O-Ring Tool
While tying a wacky rig is simple but constantly piercing the soft plastic with a hook can weaken the bait’s structure gradually. To prevent that issue, use a wacky rig with an O-ring, it will help increase the number of fish you are able to catch with each bite.
- Insert the stick bait halfway through the wacky rig
- Slide one O-ring into the middle of the bait
- Attach the fishing hook to the mainline through a Palomar knot.
- Attach the stickbait to the hook by threading the point of the hook around the ring.
A Quick Word on Hook Placement
When fishing with the wacky rig, the placement of the hook is crucial. It is the pivot point, and if it is not in the center, the lures will not move smoothly in the water; instead, they will spin and dart, causing chaos for the anglers.
The anglers owe the first guy who was lazy enough to simply hook the soft plastic bait through the mid-section rather than threading it, creating the now-famous ‘wacky rig.’
Here are a few plastic lures that can destroy the bass when hooked on a wacky rig.
Wacky Rig Soft Plastics
Soft plastic stick baits, such as Yamamoto Senko and BioSpawn ExoStick, are by far the most common lures that are used with the wacky rig.
You can cast a mile and witness a subtle shimmy on the fall that resembles the real thing. If you absolutely need to bag a bass right now, look nowhere else.
One of the original finesse presentations, which is a 4.5- 6-inch straight tailed worm excel with wacky rigging. Their slender structure produces a wobble on the fall when hooked through the middle section.
They also skip well, making them extremely effective around seawalls, docks, and overhanging tree limbs. Add a 12-inch split shot above the hook to increase the casting distance.
If you have ever witnessed a dying minnow, you know they shake a little, then dart frantically as they sink to the depths of the water. When you fish using the wacky rigged flukes, you will see the same action. This will help you catch a handful of bass with the crazy shimmy of wacky rigged bait.
Although creature baits do not produce as much shimmy on the fall as slender baits, they can still produce excellent results. Particularly when used a heavy drop-shot. When hooking the creature bait in the middle, give it a little shake to produce a vibration.
This will prove deadly in high-pressured waters, on bedding bass, and on locations where there is a steady dose of craws, worms, and creatures.
Old ribbon-tailed worms, like the Z-Man Ribbon Tail Wormz, work wonderfully, albeit a bit passé. Putting a pivot point in the center makes the bait spiral, which gives the waving ribbon time to attract nearby bass.
Crawfish crawl slowly to the side when they are unaware of the nearby predators. To mimic that action, Wacky rig your favorite craw and gently drag it along the bottom. Don’t be startled when you feel a tug or a bite.
Wacky Rigging Hooks
There is a range of hooks available in the market with different sizes to cater to a different type of fish. When fishing with the wacky rig, make sure you use a small hook. The main purpose of the wacky rig is to make your gear look almost invisible to the nearby fish.
When you set up your tackle box, buy a variety of hooks to be fully prepared for different situations and sizes of hooks.
For instance, if you are fishing in a heavily matted cover, then use a hook with a weed guard. If you are fishing in clear waters, then a simple small hook will suffice.
When fishing with a wacky rig, you must ensure your weights remain discreet, so using small-sized weights is the way to go. Nail and ring weights work perfectly well with this fishing technique.
With the right weight, the lure should reach the depths up to 40 feet and allow you to fish deeper in the water.
Ring weights are appropriate since you can hook the worm and the weights at the same time; however, nail weights stay out of sight.
Best Wacky Rig Rod
A 6’-6” to 7’-6” spinning rod with fast action and medium power is perfect for the wacky rig.
Any good spinning reel will suffice, but it should be spooled with fluorocarbon or monofilament line. However, most anglers prefer fluorocarbon because it produces a better sinking action compared to the mono.
An o-ring is a small ring made out of rubber that you slip over the worm so that the hook is attached to it rather than pierced into the worm.
Some anglers, however, do prefer piercing the worm so that the ring acts as the reinforcement. The only difference with using the o-rings is that the hook now runs parallel with the bait instead of perpendicular.
It does not make much of a difference in presentation, but many anglers prefer the hook to be perpendicular. The o-rings are not necessary, but using it will save you lots of rubber worms because piercing the worms with the hook will eventually damage them.
How to Fish the Wacky Rig?
Avoiding Overfishing the Rig
One key factor of fishing with wacky rig is to avoid ‘over-fishing’ the setup.
In other words, when you retrieve, perform small twitches with the tip of your rod to give the bait subtle action but let the natural flow of the water provide the movement of the bait.
This action creates a life-like presentation that is hard for the bass to resist.
Two of the biggest drawbacks of the wacky fishing rig are lost and missed fish, and both of these can be eliminated and reduced if you change your main line from monofilament to braid.
You miss fish when the line has excess slack leading to poor hook set. Braid has no stretch, so when you get the bite and set the hook, it goes deeper into the fish’s mouth.
Learn How to Skip Your Wacky Rig
Wacky worms are great on their own; however, when you used them with a skip cast, the results are amazing. They have minimum resistance and skip extremely well, making them the ultimate device for fishing around laydowns, docks, and other covers. Spend some time learning how to skip the cast in open waters, and then bring it back to the bank. You will be amazed by the amount of fish you catch.
Wacky rigging can be considered boring as you mindlessly cast and then wait, reel in, and then repeat the same process.
For a lot of newbie anglers, this can de-motivate them, especially if they do not get a bite in the first go. You must be patient because, in this technique, it is not about whether or not your bait will get bit, but it is just a matter of when.
You do not have to necessarily adhere to every rule of wacky rigging. Find a variation that works best for you. Experiment with what you have in your tackle box.
You may have large hooks and a stick worm; go ahead and pierce them through the worm anyway, there is no reason why you should not have a fun fishing day because you are missing a few components of your set up.
The best way to learn is to try new things; the Wacky rig technique is easy to learn but takes time to master. All you need is ample time, minimal equipment, and an angler’s patience.