Author: Matt Johnson
The question comes up often—and who can blame—about “if you could only pick one presentation for bass fishing what would it be?” I’m sure this question is different for everyone. I’m also sure it can vary depending on the body of water or region you’re fishing in. The answer might be a swim bait for those targeting giant California bass. Or maybe a live red tail minnow for those searching for trophy smallmouth bass on the Mississippi River. Regardless of the answer, confidence plays an important role. For me, confidence comes in the form of “being easy,” not just in terms of catching fish, but easy for friends and clients to use and catch fish on as well. And when you’re talking about an easy, productive option from spring to fall, then you’re talking about the infamous wacky rig.
Wacky rigs have definitely evolved over the last several years. Sure, the method and idea have remained the same, but now you have hooks, weights, baits and many other products that have been created specifically for wacky rig fishing. It used to be simple… just hook a soft plastic worm or stick bait in the middle and cast away. Now you have special techniques and applications for fishing the wacky rig, but if you ask me, the best technique is to still just “hook it in the middle” and cast away. Don’t over-think wacky rig fishing, but rather just get the bait in the water. Location and patience can play the biggest roles, so making sure you’re in a promising spot and letting the bait “soak” are more than half the battle.
Deep Water Wacky-ing. This might be the only variable where I would ask you to think about the rigging/technique used when deploying a wacky rig. Reason being: deep applications require more weight to get down to the strike zone. Simply hooking a Mister Twister Comida or Poc’it Fry in the middle and casting it out won’t be enough; you need to use some sort of weighted hook or attached weight—especially if you have a little bit of wind. The easier method of wacky rigging in deeper water is to just use a weighted hook. There are many different variations of weighted hooks out there now, some of which are tailored to the wacky rig concept. This allows you to still fish wacky style, but the added weight allows you to keep better contact with your presentation and also drop the bait down to the desired depth. Still easy to use, but just a change-up in hook type. The other deep approach is to fish it as a drop shot. Same concept for the drop shot that we all know and love, just with a larger hook. Drop shotting a wacky rig can be absolutely deadly on deep water bass!
Shoreline Versatility. This might be the best reason to wacky rig—versatility. Hard to beat a presentation that can be skipped under a dock, pitched in a weed pocket, bomb-casted over a shallow flat, dead-sticked on a weed line, and the list goes on and on. The wacky rig allows you to fish in so many ways—and around/in so many different structure types. Because the application falls slow, you can fish it amongst heavy weeds without constant snags. You can also fish shallow water without the presentation plummeting to the bottom right away. A great option for the bass angler looking to hug the shoreline, casting at every piece of structure. Are the bass holding around the lily pads? No problem. Bass hiding under a dock? No problem. Bass sitting over a rock pile? No problem. The locations to fish this bait are virtually endless.
Simplicity is Good. Many times we find ourselves finding ways to do things easier. We update our electronics so we’re running the latest gadgets to locate fish faster. We install new trolling motors so we can navigate and fish more effectively. We buy new reels that allow us to cast more relaxed and without issues. The tools for making our job easier are becoming more and more available. These tools allow us to skip some of the learning curve to achieve desired results, and same goes for the wacky rig. With some many different methods to bass fishing now, we sometimes find ourselves stumped as to which one to use. I’m not saying they don’t all have their place and niche, but sometimes having a method that makes things easy can allow you to focus on fishing and simply enjoy the day. Add that to the fact that now you have a useful, easy to use option to help the youth and novice bass anglers to catch more fish, and you’ve got yourself a winning method for fishing success!
Durability Catches More Fish. This actually has two meanings for me. One, you can catch more fish on one bait when using the wacky rig technique. And two, even though it’s durable by technique, it still appeals to those looking for a finesse application. One of the beauties of wacky rig fishing is that the bass don’t rip-up your plastic. You can catch multiple fish and stay in the game. The fish typically engulf the entire bait and you’re using durable options to begin with. The Mister Twister Comida and Mister Twister Poc’it Fry are two options that will withstand countless fish without having to retire your plastic. Then take into account the wacky manner in which you’re fishing the plastic and you can let it slowly fall or “wobble and shake” to entice even the most negative of fish. It’s a complete package of durability and finesse, something we’re typically not used to in the bass world.
So while wacky rigging is nothing new to the bass world, I still encourage everyone to consider it as one of your go-to options to not only teach others to catch fish, but to help yourself catch more fish as well. Big fish, small fish, deep fish, shallow fish… no matter the situation, the wacky rig can be thrown into battle to help ensure a successful day of bass fishing!
***Matt Johnson owns and operates Matt Johnson Outdoors where he offers year-round guided fishing trips and promotes the sport of fishing. He also writes for various publications both online and print. You can contact Matt by visiting www.MattJohnsonOutdoors.com