January 31, 2014
The worm turns bass can't resist.
This largemouth bass charged out of deep cover to grab a wacky worm.
It's so simple: a plastic worm with the hook set through its center, rather than through the head or tail. When submerged, both ends of the worm wiggle from a central fulcrum for an amazingly natural appearance that mimics an earthworm or a wounded baitfish on a slow fall all the way through the water column.
So-called wacky rigs require minimal rod work and bass typically bite such presentations on the fall. However, wiggling the bait along the bottom or over timber is another attractive presentation. Other times, deeper water, wind or current may sweep a wacky worm off course. Bottom line: You may need to weight your wacky.
Dense-bodied stick baits like the classic Gary Yamamoto Senko, Yum Dinger or Wave Tiki Stick sink well on their own, but lighter plastics like a Zoom Swamp Crawler or the Berkley Gulp! Wacky Crawler lack the mass to punch through the water column.
Tungsten-impregnated worm rigged with weighted hook and O-ring.
> Inserts: From nails to peg weights, sticking a piece of metal into the worm's head or tail is old-school simplicity.
> Weighted Hooks: Models like the K Wacky Worm Hook made by Falcon Lures incorporate lead weights affixed to their upper shanks. Adding pinch weights to plain hooks allows easy adaptation.
> Jigs: For dedicated bottom presentations or when longer casts are in order, rig your wacky worm on a specialized jig, like the Jackall Wacky Jig Head that sits with its shortshank hook and the worm facing upward. Gamakatsu's elliptically flat Wacky Head adds weight, plus an enticing side-to-side rolling action and red finish. Wiggle a wacky jig head in one spot with subtle rod twitches or work it more aggressively in open water where the weight's rise and fall shimmies the worm with incredibly convincing action.
> Line: Four- to 8-pound fluorocarbon line is the popular choice for wacky rigs, and not just for its low-vis properties. Fluoro's denser composition sinks a bait faster with less weight. (In heavy cover, use 6- to 8-pound braided line with a fluorocarbon leader.)
For areas thick with vegetation, weedguards like that of the Mustad W37754R weedless Wacky Worm Hook will save you from snagging headaches.
When it comes to hooking a wacky worm, some run the hook right through the plastic body, while others slide an O-ring over their bait and slip the hook under this attachment accessory. You can catch fish both ways, but proponents of O-rings replace fewer worms because the baits are less likely to get mangled during fights. O-rings also improve hookups with thicker worms that can impede penetration—a concern rarely seen with thinner worms.
Extending the design's usefulness, wacky rigging is often used on dropshot rigs. A common finesse tactic for bass fishing, the dropshot positions a small weight at the end of a 12- to 14-inch tag line coming from a hook tied directly to the main line. Wacky rigging replaces the dropshot's usual head hooking arrangement.
Unlike the standard wacky presentation, dropshots are designed to stand in one spot and hold the worm at a certain depth—often for several minutes at a time—to pester a bass or at least pique a curiosity strike.
Finally, don't hesitate to fling a wacky-rigged worm into tight quarters. A centrally balanced wacky rig is well-suited for delivering a finesse presentation. Use a short snappy cast to whip a wacky rig under docks or overhanging limbs. The resident largemouth will be duly impressed.