How to Fish a Wacky Rig
The wacky rig is a relatively new bass fishing technique, first gaining popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The technique was developed as a way to fish a “Senko” (a popular soft plastic worm) in a more natural and subtle way. Instead of Texas rigging the worm or using a jig head, anglers began rigging the worm “wacky style,” by hooking it through the middle, allowing to better mimic a worm squirming as the bait sinks.
As you twitch the wacky worm, it sends a wave of motion starting from the middle of the bait and moving to the ends. Though subtle, the twitching action creates incredible action and vibration in the water that proves irresistible to Bass and other predatory fish. This rigging method proved to be a very effective to catch bass and quickly caught on among anglers.
Benefits of the Wacky Rig
There are quite a few benefits when you fish a wacky rig. The more you learn about this rig the more you will begin to see why this rig is such an important rig to learn for any one who is serious about bass fishing.
The wacky presentation moves naturally
The wacky rig presents the bait in a very natural way, which can be especially effective when fish are feeling finicky.
Wacky rigs allow you to be versatile
The wacky rig can be used with a variety of different types of soft plastic worms and is a suitable rigging method for a wide range of fishing situations.
Fish wacky rigs slow and subtle
The wacky rig is a slow and subtle technique, which can be especially effective when fish are holding tight to cover, or when they are in a neutral or negative feeding mood.
Easy to rig
The wacky rig is easy to rig, making it a great option for all anglers regardless of whether you’re an expert or plan to start fishing.
Wacky rigs are durable
Wacky rigging allows the worm to be fished through the middle, so it can be fished longer and with more fish caught on one worm.
Catch fish like crazy
Because of the natural presentation and versatility, the wacky rig can be very effective at catching fish in a variety of conditions.
Great for finesse fishing
The slow retrieve and subtle action of the wacky rig makes it perfect for finesse fishing, when fish are pressured and less likely to bite a fast-moving or bulky bait.
Greater hookup ratio
Because the fish will often take the worm and the hook point will be in the fish mouth the hookup ratio tend to be high with this technique.
When to Fish the Wacky Rig
The wacky rig can be an effective technique in a variety of fishing situations, but it is particularly useful in clear water when fish are feeling finicky or neutral. Clear water allows fish to see the bait more easily and they can be more selective in what they eat, which is where the natural presentation of the wacky rig can be especially beneficial.
Additionally, the slow and subtle retrieve of the wacky rig can be effective when fish are holding tight to cover or in a neutral or negative feeding mood. It can also be effective when fishing in cold water, as the slow and subtle action can still trigger bites from sluggish fish. The wacky rig can also be a great option for finesse fishing when fish are pressured and less likely to bite a fast-moving or bulky bait.
How to setup the Wacky Rig
Follow these instructions step-by-step to set up the Wacky Rig:
- First, make sure that you have a rod and reel that works well for this type of rig. I recommend using a medium-light to medium-heavy rod with a fast action and a spin casting reel. I would avoid using a baitcaster with the wacky rig because the rig is relatively light weight and will be more difficult to cast a far distance using a baitcaster.
- Next, attach a 1/0 wide gap hook to your main line assuming you are using a standard 5” Senko. If you’re using a different type of bait then change the size of your hook to match the size of the plastic.
- Take your wide gap hook and thread it through the middle of your Senko (or whatever bait you decide to use) so that it is “wacky style”.
Optional: Add an o ring. The wacky rig worm is typically hooked through the middle at a 90 degree angle but you can fish it a little differently by simply putting an o ring around the middle of the worm and sliding your hook between the worm and the o ring. Rigging it this way will change the position of your hook so that it is in line with the worm.
Pay attention to the way the bait is moving and how the fish are reacting to it. You may need to adjust your retrieve speed or the amount of action you are giving the bait to find the right combination that triggers bites.
When you feel a bass pick up your bait, set the hook firmly. Unlike trout that have soft mouths, Bass mouths require more pressure in order for the hook to penetrate their lip.
Wacky Rig fishing techniques
It’s worth noting that when fishing with wacky rig, it’s important to pay attention to the fish’s behavior and adjust the technique accordingly. Being aware of how the fish are reacting to the bait and making changes in the presentation can greatly improve the chances of getting a bite.
This technique involves casting the wacky rig out and slowly reeling it back in, allowing the worm to undulate naturally as it moves through the water. This can be effective when fishing around structure or when targeting fish that are holding tight to cover.
This technique involves casting the wacky rig out and allowing it to sit still without any movement. This can be effective when fishing in clear water, as the fish will have a chance to inspect the bait more closely.
This technique involves casting the wacky rig out and using a series of short and quick rod twitches to create a subtle and lifelike presentation. This can be effective when targeting fish that are holding tight to cover or when fishing in clear water.
Hop and Pause
This technique involves casting the wacky rig out and using a series of hops and pauses to make the worm appear like a crawling creature. This can be effective when targeting fish that are holding tight to cover or when fishing in clear water.
Drag and Dead Drift
This technique involves casting the wacky rig out and allowing it to move naturally with the current, dragging it along and then allowing it to sit still, this can be effective when fishing in deep water or when targeting fish that are holding close to the bottom.
When fishing deeper depths I would highly recommend using a drop shot setup to add some extra weight. The drop shot weight will help get the wacky worm down deep to the strike zone.
When dealing with a lot weeds or structure that can cause snags, a great way to combat this is to go with a weightless wacky rig. This consists of using no added weight to the line and will help keep your bait above the weeds with its slow fall.
Wacky Rig Hooks
The size of the hook will really depend on the size of the bait. If you’re fishing smaller worms you should use a smaller hook. However, lets assume you’re fishing a 5” Senko then you probably want to use a 1/0 or 2/0 size.
The style of hook that works well for the wacky rig is a wide gap hook. If you’re fishing in an area with weed lines or trying to cast under overhanging trees then you may consider using weedless hooks in order to avoid annoying snags.
If you’re fishing in deep water, or using a baitcaster reel, then you should consider using a weight hook to cast further and get your bait to the bottom of the water column more quickly.
The wacky rig can be fished with a variety of soft plastic baits. Usually its used with worms but can be used with a variety of other types of plastics such as lizards.
Even though the wacky rig is a simple technique and setup, it is one you should definitely consider adding to your arsenal. This rig is one of the oldest style rigs and has proven itself to be a top performer with the test of time.
If you want to learn about another great fishing rig, checkout the Texas Rig.