The question comes up often – and who can blame: “if you could only pick one presentation for bass fishing, what would it be?” I’m sure the answer to this question is different for everyone and can sometimes be determined on the body of water most frequented, or the region you’re fishing in. The answer might be a swim bait for those anglers looking to target giant California bass, or it might be a live Redtail minnow for those searching for trophy smallmouth bass on the Mississippi River, but 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, you’re talking about the infamous wacky rig.
Wacky rigs have definitely evolved throughout the last several years. Sure, the method and idea have remained the same, but now you have hooks, weights, baits and many other products created specifically for wacky rig fishing. It used to be simple… just hook a soft plastic stick bait in the middle and cast away. Now there’s special techniques and applications for fishing the wacky rig, but if you ask me, the best technique is to still hook 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 can play the biggest role, so making sure you’re in a promising spot is 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. 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.
Shoreline Versatility. This might be the best reason to wacky rig – versatility. Hard to beat a presentation that can be skipped under a dock, pitching in a weed pocket, bomb-cast 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 among heavier 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. Bass holding around the lilypads? 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. 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 the new 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 realm, 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.