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The Rewards of Wacky Worming
WACKY WORMING....a beginning anglers dream pattern and a tournament angler's friend. In my opinion, there is not a more productive technique for the beginning angler and experienced angler as well than the wacky worm. How successful can this technique be? My records show that we catch hundreds of bass on wacky rigs each year and one year registered over 2,000 and many were caught by anglers just starting in bass fishing.
I used the wacky worm method to introduce my wife to bass angling and she has become an avid angler. This is a light tackle technique but is not necessarily ultra light. My largest bass ever (a Toledo 11 pounds 8 oz) came with a wacky worm on light tackle and this method will also produce a lot of action from all sizes of bass. It is not uncommon in the spring and fall to catch 30-40 bass a day with wacky rigs.
UPDATE/Bulletin: I just got off the lake (March 15) after just landing the 7th bass in my fishing career over 10 pounds which weighed in at 10.3 pounds or roughly 10 pounds 5 ozs. Guess what? It was caught on a 5 inch Senko fished "wacky" style. Four of the seven of these double digit bass were caught on a wacky rig so this is also a super pattern for trophy bass. There is no doubt I am sold on it especially in the spring and fall.
As far as line with wacky worming, my favorite line for years was 10 lb. Berkley Big Game and I still use it on occasion. However, that was before Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon came on the market. For the past 18 months I have used 8-10 lb test Berkley Fluorocarbon when wacky rigging with great success. This spring(2011) has been extremely successful. Berkley's Fluorocarbon is basically transparent in the water which is a huge plus since I fish the southern portions of Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn most of the time. Other awesome characteristics of fluorocarbon are it's sensitivity to detect light strikes, low stretch to help with hook-sets plus the line is very durable. The only negative is the cost which is about 3 times the cost of regular mono however, my experience is that it will last 2 or 3x as long as mono lines. One thing about using fluorocarbon is that once you do it is difficult to go back to monofilament line.
The recent 10.3 pound largemouth mentioned above was caught on 10 lb test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon spooled on an Abu Garcia Revo STX reel with 6.4 :1 ratio and a 6' 10" medium heavy action Abu Garcia Veritas rod. For all anglers, a proper knot is vital!! For 95% of my fishing, I use a Palomar knot and use it 100% with wacky worming. The palomar is easy to tie and has the best knot strength of most, if not all, quality knots. If you do not know how to tie one, find an angler who does and get them to show you how! If you will send me (my address is on my website at end of column) a self addressed, STAMPED envelope, I will send you a Berkley knot card with an easy-to-follow diagram of how to tie a Palomar.
An improper knot will lose some nice fish for you producing an "Ache-ee/Break-ee Heart" and, at times, causing you to expand your vocabulary. The way I rig a wacky is to take a 2/0 or 3/0 Daiichi Round Bend worm hook and tie a palomar knot. My favorite wacky plastics include Berkley Gulp! Sinking Minnow, 5 inch Senko, Berkley Wacky Crawler (5 and 7 inch) and a trick worm.
I hook the worm near or in the egg sack (middle of the worm) and leave the hook completely exposed. Some anglers use a weedless hook with a thin wire but I do not like that approach, especially in clear water like I encounter most of the time on south Toledo and Rayburn. I use no weight in the Sinking Minnow or Senko but insert a 1 inch paneling nail into the nose of the other plastics. I have also started to use a clever, new weight for wacky and other weightless worms called a Hookangel. Check it out at Hookangel.com. Also, since fluorocarbon sinks it helps the worm to sink and it makes a huge difference.
As mentioned earlier, I use spinning tackle a lot of the time wacky rigging for a number of reasons. It gives my arms a break from using baitcast equipment and also throws the bait easier. However, since the smooth throwing Abu Garcia Revos have come on the scene, I now find myself using one for wacky fishing a lot more often.
Now that we have our rigs fish ready, lets get it in the water. I like to fish a wacky around submerged grass which is how I use it 90% of the time. I cast my wacky rig usually in depths from 6-16' and let it settle to the bottom. Note...it is very common for the bass to hit the bait 'on the fall' so be careful when you start to take up slack. To fish a wacky, you need to be a line watcher. If you feel a slight tap, lift the rod carefully and watch your line. A lot of the time you will see the line moving, while other times it will just feel tight with a slight movement.
When working the worm, I lift my wacky rod just slightly trying to keep the worm close to the grass or other structure. Remember, the worm is light and if you work it too fast you keep it out of the fish zone. Also, you do not have to rush if you get a bite but slowly lower you rod, take up slack and set your hook with a "pull" instead of a hard jerk. Remember, you are using light line and if you set the hook like a weight-lifter, you will break off a lot of fish. Since your hook is exposed, the hook set is much easier than a TX and C.R. Get as much slack out of your line as possible before you set the hook.
REMOVING HOOKS FROM BASS: At times when wacky worming, a bass will get the hook down deep in the throat. Take great care on not hurting the fish. I have developed a technique where I turn the bass over on its back in my left hand/arm and take the trigger finger on my right hand, find the bend of the hook and push in the hook firmly with trigger finger while at the same time use thumb to push in the bottom (tie area). Most of the time, it will pop out. I have had the personal satisfaction of saving lots of bass with hooks deep in the throat.
Use a needle nose pliers ONLY as a last resort. I have followed many anglers down a bank finding several dead or dying bass on the surface. Also, when you unhook a bass, ease it back in the water instead of tossing it. We can all do a better job in taking care of our fishery. Like most fishing techniques, showing(hands on) is a lot easier than trying to put it in print. Hopefully, this will help to get your interest up if you have never tried Wacky. For a 'hands on' trip(with water) give me a shout. Until then, God Bless and spend lots of time with friends and family.....some of it on the water!
Joe Joslin Outdoors
Licensed Guide on Toledo Bend & Sam Rayburn
Tournament Angler & Outdoor Media
Member: Louisiana Outdoor Writers Assoc.& Southeastern Outdoor Press Assoc
160 Country Lane, DeRidder, LA 70634
Phone: (337) 463-3848
Copyright © 2007 by Joe Joslin Outdoors, DeRidder, LA 70634