The Wacky Rig for Bass Worms: Full Set-up Guide

Wacky rigs are very popular and excel at fishing precise spots like brush piles or an open pocket in thick weeds. Fishing wacky style can result in some big bags …

Wacky rigs are very popular and excel at fishing precise spots like brush piles or an open pocket in thick weeds. Fishing wacky style can result in some big bags of bass in this type of fishing spot.

For wacky rigs, you need two things:

Wacky rigs rely on the Senko style of soft plastic worms, also known as “tiki sticks.”

Rigging a wacky worm is simple: find the direct center point of the soft plastic worm. For example, if the worm is 5 inches, put your wacky hook through the body at 2.5 inches so that equal lengths of the worm hang from each side of the hook.

wacky rig step by step instructions image

That’s pretty much it for a wacky rig, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help you when fishing.

 RELATED POSTS: Carolina Rigs for BassTexas RigsNed RigsDrop Shot Rigs

O-Rings and Rubber Bands

Wacky rigs have a tendency for the worm to come off easily when a fish grabs it and misses the wacky rig hook. Many anglers use small O-rings and put that around the center of the worm and then simply attach the hook to the O-ring. This rubberband method will decrease the number of worms lost. 

The best way to do this is with a wacky rigging tool. These tools make it easy to slip the rubber O-ring over the middle of your bait. This creates a more secure bait and will save you money and frustration when fishing with the wacky rig.

Nail Weight Wacky Rig

Another trick is to put small nails into each end of the worm or Senko bait. The nail weight in each end gives it a much more decisive flapping action when you pop the end of your rod. Using a nail weight rigged senko bait can make the difference at times.

Wacky Rig Kits

One way to get all this stuff together is to buy a wacky rig kit like this, which includes the senkos, the O-rings, the tool to fit them, and the nail weights.

How to Fish a Wacky Rig

Wacky rigs work great for precision fishing situations. Throw a wacky rig in an open pocket of weeds, around brush and cover, and other areas. They aren’t really great at retrieving long distances and instead are used to slowly fall at the chosen spot while the little worm ends wiggle and pulse, enticing bass to strike.

To work a wacky rig, you can give it little pulls and small rod wobbles to make the appendages wiggle and pulse like a giant inchworm, but to be honest, you really don’t have to do anything to it to make a fish bite it.

Weighted Wacky Rig

Good worms: YUM Dinger Classic Worms

For deeper water wacky rigging, it is best to use a weighted hook on your wacky rigged senko bait. This gets your favorite worm down a little faster. Faster-sinking worms tend to generate more movement as they sink down to the bottom, which can induce a strike.

A weighted wacky rig can be cast a little further and also enables you to hit the mid-depth zone. 

Weightless Wacky

Good finesse worms: Zoom Bait Finesse Worm

When wacky rigging weightless, the larger stick style Senko baits work best. You can cast them a reasonable distance, and the subtle action of their slow, wobbling fall through the water column triggers bites. Obviously, this wacky rig is best for shallower water.

Weedless Wacky

Good worms: Zoom Trick Worm

In some conditions, such as fishing shallow water weed beds, it is best to use weedless rig whenever possible. To rig a weedless wacky rig just use a weedless jig head and hook the senko bait through the middle as you would for a normal wacky rig.

Drop Shot Wacky Rig

Good worms: the Roboworm or the Jackall Flick Shake

Wacky rigging a worm on a drop shot rig with some extra weight is a great way to target bass with a wacky setup. It works best when the fish are hugging the bottom or down relatively deep. As discussed, when the worm is hooked through the middle, it generates a lot more action on descent than a nose-hooked worm, so this is the best wacky presentation.

Other Wacky Rig Tips

As this is a finesse or lightweight rig, don’t be afraid to use an ultralight rod and ultralight reel when fishing wacky style with these soft plastic baits. Braided line with a fluorocarbon leader also helps you to detect bites quickly.

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Shawn Chapin is an experienced fishing writer and guide based in Wisconsin, where he loves targeting muskie and a range of other species. Shawn's fished extensively for pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth and panfish species. He's developing a passion for chasing trout on the fly rod.
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