When it comes to bass fishing, there be nothing better at getting the fish to bite than a wacky worm. The subtle movements of the worm through water is known to trigger strikes like crazy—which is why they are so popular among bass enthusiasts. Here we will show you how to set up a wacky rig and how to fish with it.
What is a Wacky Rig
The wacky rig is a finesse fishing style where you use a soft plastic worm hooked straight through the middle. What you end up with is a wiggling worm that bass and other fish are known to bite. Many anglers use wacky-rigs with Senko worms, but most plastic worms will work.
How to Rig a Wacky Rig
There are a ton of different ways to set up wacky rigs for bass and other fish. Depending on the situation you may want to use one technique over another. Here are a few ways to rig your wacky worms:
Weightless Wacky Rig
One of the most common setups is to rig your Senko worm weightless. This is one is very easy to rig, but it does have some drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks with rigging weightless is that if your worm is too light you’ll have a hard time casting a long distance, especially if there is wind to fight against.
To rig this one you will need a wacky o-ring. These help you to hook the worm without actually having to pierce it.
Here’s how to set it up:
- Take your o-ring and slide it on to your worm until the ring is in the middle of the worm
- Take your hook (size 1 works well) and hook it onto the ring
- That’s it! You’re ready to fish now. Simple, right?
Since your hook is exposed on this rig you may end up getting snagged if you fish heavy cover or fish near the bottom. If you want to rig it weedless you can swap out the hook for a weedless jig head.
Drop Shot Wacky Rig
When the bass are in deeper waters and you need to reach them, a drop shot wacky worm is your best option.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Rig your drop shot like normal with a swivel and weight at the end
- Take your hook and pierce it through about 1/4 of the way down on the worm through the fat part
- Line up your hook and you’re ready to fish
Wacky Rig with Weight
Another method for rigging a wacky rig is to use a weight hook. This can help your bait sink faster and can help you cast farther especially in the wind. It can also cause an effect where your worm wiggles side to side as the weight sinks it lower—and sometimes this increased action is all you need to get the fish biting like crazy.
To set this one up rig it like the standard weightless wacky rig but use a weighted hook or weighted jig to add a little weight. It’s very easy to set up, and very effective.
Nail Weight Wacky Rig
Another alternative is to use a nail weight with your wacky worm to catch bass. This variation is sometimes called the “Neko rig”. The benefit of this variation is that it creates great action by weighting the nose of the worm. The nose of the worm will lower down while the tail wobbles around to entice hungry fish to strike.
This one is really easy to setup. You set it up like a weightless wacky rig but then you pierce a small nail through the nose of your worm. This gives it all the weight it needs to drive fish crazy.
Wacky Rig Gear Setup
Rod and Reel
Since wacky rigs are a finesse style of fishing, typically a spinning rod and reel will work best. Spinning gear gives you great control and has the sensitivity you need to feel light bites. A fast-action spinning rod is perfect for fishing wacky worms.
These days they have many hooks designed specifically for wacky rigs. Usually, you want to use a wide gap hook with a short shank. If you want to learn more, read our full guide on the best wacky rig hooks.
The Yamamoto Senko Worm is the most popular for wacky rigging, but a ton of other plastic worms can be effective too. Typically you want a worm with a fat center that has good wiggling action when you work it in the water. As long as your worm fits these requirements it should be fine.
You can rig your wacky rigs with monofilament, braided, or fluorocarbon. This really just comes down to preference and the type of fishing you are doing. If you need something with less stretch and that’s strong—use braided. Otherwise, monofilament or fluorocarbon tends to work well.
How to Fish a Wacky Rig
The thing that gets the bass biting when fishing a wacky worm is the action. So you have to work your rig in a way to get the best action out of your worm.
This usually involves keeping the worm moving as much us possible. If your rig is set up properly a simple and steady retrieve should produce all the action you need.
The key is to cast your worm and let it sink towards the bottom. It should wiggle and flutter as the worm sinks. As it gets near the bottom, begin a slight retrieve so it raises in the water column, and then let it wiggle back down to the bottom, then repeat.
That is one of the best ways for fishing the wacky rig, but some anglers have there own hacks as well, so you may want to play around and see what you can get to work.
Skip Your Wacky Rig
Sometimes you need to make your bait a little more exciting to get the bass to bite. A skipping cast will do just the job. Play around until you can get a feel for the best way to skip it into the strike zone and you’re sure to get the fish to bite.
It can be frustrating when nothing seems to get the fish biting, but it’s important to stay patient and not give up. Try working your rig with one technique and give it a good shot before switching up your tactics too frequently.
Sometimes there may be no fish in the area, and if you’re switching techniques every 5 seconds your not really gives yourself the best change to succeed. Relax and learn to finesse your wacky worm and you’ll be rewarded.
Use Braided Line
If you’re having issues with line breaks—switch to braided line. It’s the stronger line that sometimes is required for going after largemouth. Nothing is more frustrating than losing fish because your line snaps.
Wacky rigs are incredibly versatile and though they are mainly used for bass they work well for a ton of fish like trout, walleye, pike, perch, and more.
With proper technique, you can fish them shallow or deep, and fish them in any season from summer to winter. So you better learn to tie your rig and get to fishing. With enough practice, this might be your new favorite way to fish.