Article by Jeff Banko with special thanks to Wayne Purdham
This is a technique that was taught to me by a fellow Virginia Bass fishermen, Wayne Purdham. Wayne and I both fish Briery Creek Reservoir quite often and this is a tactic that works excellent there.
First off, in case you don’t know what a wacky rig is let me give a quick description of that technique. The wacky rig has been around for quite some time (some say since the 70s) but has recently gained huge popularity with the advent of soft stick baits as the technique works especially well with them. The basic wacky rig is quite simple. All you do is take a soft plastic bait such as a soft stick bait, or finesse worm, and hook it through the egg sac like in this picture.
To fish the wacky rig all you do is cast it to the location you expect fish to be holding on like a grass edge, stump, dock, etc… and allow it to sink to the bottom. Hooking the bait like this causes the bait to have a unique wobbling motion as it drops which just slays the fish. Quite often the fish will hit the bait on this initial drop so be prepared. If the bait is not hit on the initial drop to the key is to work the bait slowly. Pick up the rod tip ever so slightly to raise the bait off the bottom and then let it drop again. When it drops to the bottom patience is definitely a virtue here as many times the fish will pick the bait off the bottom after it has set for several seconds. I have had days where I have let the bait sit as long as 30 seconds although most days between 5 and 10 seconds will suffice. Continue to work the bait as long as it is still near the cover you wanted to fish. For docks and stumps this may only be a few short lifts and lowers. If you are fishing a grass edge or weed edge or open water channel, etc…you can work the bait all the way back to you.
Now what is the weed-less wacky rig. Essentially it is the same rig and is fished the same way. The difference lies in the type of hook used and how it is placed in the worm. It is really an improvement on the normal wacky rig that addresses to flaws. The first flaw is that baits rigged wacky style can be hard to keep on a hook as the soft plastic tends to tear when hooked this way, you will go through a lot of baits using this method. The second flaw is that the rig will get hung up on weeds and other debris fairly easily as the hook point is exposed, even with wire guard weed-less hooks this seems to be a problem. The weed-less wacky rig solves these problems quite well. So how do you set it up?
How to Rig a Weed-less Wacky
Take a hook and insert the point into the worm at the front of the “egg sac”. Thread it through the “egg sac” and bring the point back out on the back end of it. It will look like this picture:
Now continue to pull the hook through the worm until the eye of the hook is just about into the worm. At this point rotate the hook 180 degrees so that the hook point is pointing back towards the worm body. Then continue to pull the hook through the worm so that the eye becomes imbedded in the plastic of the worm. To finish push the point of the hook into the worm. I prefer to push it all the way through and then back it into the plastic. The finished rig will look like this:
I use Gamakatsu’s Octopus hooks in sizes 1/0 to 3/0. Any similar hook will work. I also find that the new red colored hooks i.e. “bleeding bait’ seem to work really well.
I generally prefer to fish my weed-less wacky-rigs weightless as the slow fall seems to be what tantalizes the bass. There are some case when I will add weight though, like if it is a little windy. To add weight use finish nails or a “nail” weight. You can insert it into the end or ends of the worm and fish it that way. If you want the weight to fall a little bit head down add weight to the front of the bait. If you want to maintain the “flat” fall then add weight to both ends. The picture below shows how to insert a weight.
Once again thanks to Wayne Purdham for showing me this rig. Tight lines.