The wacky rig is one of the best rigs for spring time bass fishing. It’s an effective, yet unassumingly simple bass catching rig that provides a natural presentation that largemouth and smallmouth bass just can’t pass up. Throw on a soft plastic Senko or stickbait, fish it pre- and post-spawn in the shallows, and plan on reeling in some serious bass. Not only does the wacky rig catch a lot of bass, it catches big bass too.
The wacky rig tends to perform best when fish are in the shallows but it can also be fished in deep-structure. It’s a versatile rig that can be fished along the outside of grass lines, near docks, deep water pockets, and weed beds. Post-spawn, when bass are lethargic, the wacky rig really shines. It allows you to keep the bait in the strike zone while providing an action packed presentation for hungry bass that aren’t in the mood to chase bait.
A wacky rig will produce bites in clear or murky water, but is more productive the clearer the water. A big presentation, like a Texas rig, tends to perform better when water clarity is low. But side by side the wacky rig will outperform a texas rig and similar presentations. It is the go-to bass rig when fishing pressure is high and when other lures just aren’t producing bites.
Wacky Rig Setup
A wacky rig is a plastic worm or stick bait with a hook inserted through—or attached to—the middle. Setting up a wacky rig is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Step 1 – Tie on your hook
Tie a 1/0 or 2/0 circle or short-shank, wide gap hook to a 6-10 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line using a palomar knot. Some anglers report using a flourocarbon line allows the wacky worm to fall through the water column in more naturally. Some anglers opt to use a high visibility braid (10-20lb) for the main line and a 5-6′ flouro leader (6-10lb). The braid helps to pick up on some of the lighter bites.
Step 2 – Select your bait
Select a 5-6″ plastic worm or stickbait. A Yamamoto Senko is one of the best baits for wacky rigging. It produces a subtle wobble as it falls through the water column that bass go gaga over. Finesse worms and stickbait are the most traditional wacky baits but you can also experiment with flukes, tubes, craws, and creature baits.
Step 3 – Slide your hook onto the bait
Slide an O-ring on the middle of your bait and then slip your hook point under the O-ring. Alternatively, you can simply run your hook through the center of your plastic worm or stickbait equidistant from the two ends. This is the quick and dirty approach, but will still work. Note: Most tackle shops sell a rigging tool that will help you slide an O-ring on and off your worm.
Why is the wacky rig so effective?
You’d think that something so simple as a plastic worm a hook and line wouldn’t stack up against more impressive presentations such as the Texas Rig or Carolina Rig, but the wacky rig holds it own. What makes the wacky rig so effective? A couple things.
- Wiggle action is produced as it falls through the water column
- Both ends of the bait produce action
- Action is enhanced when fished with a jig head
- The rig can be fished in the strike zone
- Its can effectively mimic a crawfish
- Year-round versatility
- It’s easy to fish
How to fish a wacky rig
The basic approach for fishing a wacky rig is to cast it out to your target area and let it flutter to the bottom. Let is sit for a few moments then give it a quick jerk or two upwards and let it settle again. Repeat these steps until it’s close to your boat, then cast it out and retrieve again.
Another common method for fishing the wacky rig is to cast it out and let it sink to the strike zone. Once it’s resting on the bottom, reel it all the way in and cast it out again. With this approach most of the strikes come during the initial drop as the rig descends to the bottom.
A third approach is to cast out the rig and allow it to sink. As descends, give it a few jerks. When it hits the bottom, reel it in and cast it again. This approach slows the descend and provides additional action to attract foraging bass.
It doesn’t require any special equipment to fish a wacky rig, but certain setups are easier to fish than others. Wacky rigs are easiest to fish using a medium to medium-heavy-action, spinning or spin-casting rod. For bass fishing, a 6’6″-7′ spinning rod with a 2000-2500 size spinning reel is an ideal setup.
The more popular hooks for fishing a wacky rig include a short-shank, wide gap hook or circle. Using a 1/16oz to 1/8oz jighead instead of traditional hook works well when you need a little extra weight to produce some action. If you’re going to be fishing in the weeds or near structure fishing with a weedless finesse hook will prevent a lot of snags.