WACKY WORM RIG
By Ken Poor
The story behind the Wacky Worm Rig, supposedly goes something like this. A group of Japanese tourists visited one of the famous southern lakes, rented a boat and some fishing equipment. Because of the language difference, they wound up with some bags of plastic worms as the recommended bait, but with no instructions about how to use them.
After a few hours of fishing they returned to the dock. As they approached the dock all the local fishermen started chuckling because of the way the Japanese tourist had rigged their plastic worms. Basically, they had just hooked them through the worm collar in the middle of the worm, so the worm just kind of hung from the hook.
The chuckling continued until the boat pulled up to the dock and revealed a few limits of big bass. Today we rig plastic worms the same way and call it the wacky worm rig.
The wacky worm rig is primarily a clear water presentation that is very effective during the spawn and post-spawn periods. Although not weedless, the wacky worm rig is especially suited for fishing along deep weed edges, flooded brush, shallow grass or reeds and steep drop offs. The wacky rig is very easy to set-up and just as easy to fish.
Line selection is determined by type of cover you will be fishing and your experience fishing that type of cover. As a starting point, in light cover use 8 or 10 pound test monofilament line. In heavy cover you should consider using a braided line with a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader.
There is no agreement on which hook is the best wacky worm hook. While some think a circle hook is best others think a live bait hook or a Kahle hook works best. The bottom line is, almost any hook with an open throat will work. Make sure that the hook is big enough so that the plastic worm does not over fill the hook gap or you will have a problem with your hook-set. You need to find the style of hook that works best for you and specifically with the type of plastics you plan to use.
When fishing the wacky worm in deep water getting your worm to the bottom can be a challenge. Instead of using a plain hook consider switching to a lead head jig with or without a skirt. The added weight will make it easier to determine when your worm is on the bottom and for you to stay in contact with the bottom. The weight of the jig you should use is determined by the conditions you are fishing including water depth, bottom composition, wind and current. Always use the lightest weight practical.
To setup the wacky worm rig choose a plastic worm to rig wacky style. The most common plastic worms to use have straight tails and are between 4 and 6-inches long. Both sinking and floating worms can be a good choice when you fish with the wacky worm rig. Bottom line, always let the fish tell you what they want. As a general rule, use the smaller light or natural colored plastic worms in clear water and larger dark colors in dark or ined water.
The best tackle for fishing a wacky rig will vary depending on the type and thickness of the cover and depth of water you will be fishing. As a starting point, use a 6 ½-foot, light or medium action spinning rod with a matching reel. The longer rod allows for longer cast, but the sacrifice is the accuracy of your cast. Shorter rods typically allow for short, more accurate cast.
To rig the wacky worm, hold the worm in your hand. Stick the point of the hook through the middle of the worm and push it out the other side. The worm should rest in the bend of the hook, and the length of worm on each side of the hook should be the same.
It’s a fact, that many lures are struck not while being retrieved, but during the initial drop of the lure and hits during the drop are very common with the wacky worm rig. Sometimes the more action a worm has the more hits you will get, other times to much worm action will scare the fish away. Again, the answer to the problem is quite easy, always let the fish tell you what they want.
As your worm drops in the water and during the retrieve the ends of the bait naturally move up and down and that is one reason why the wacky worm rig is so effective.