BoatUS ANGLER: Do It Yourself Department
Weighting a Wacky
by Capt. Steve Chaconas, BoatUS ANGLER Pro Staff
The stickworm, without legs or tails, is the most popular soft plastic on the market today with every bait maker legally knocking off the original Yamamoto Senko. Gary Yamamoto does not have a patent on the shape, but has kept his soft plastic ingredients under wraps! In fact, these copies flatter Yamamoto with exact copies. Exact in every way except plastic composition. The Senko is livelier and has more weight. This makes the Senko rather exclusive and more expensive. They are so soft however; they are considered a one-fish bait. They can fly off on a cast, with a fish shaking it off or just get torn up beyond use. But they do catch fish! The copies are tougher, cheaper, but just not the same under the toughest fishing conditions.
In an effort to utilize these non-Yamamoto lures, anglers have tried many techniques. One such technique is wacky rigging. By impaling or attaching a hook in the middle of the worm, a slight pull will give the lure a fish-attracting action to any brand by pulling the two ends together and releasing back to a straight position. Special hooks, like the Mustad wide gap weedless worm hook, will generate wacky rigging. A tool designed to place a rubber O-ring in the center of the lure used in conjunction with an exposed Mustad Octopus hook will provide the same wacky action but will enable the baits to last longer. This works on any stickworm.
The issue of the weight of the worm, providing a faster drop, is still elusive for those using the off brands. A faster drop often is the lone trigger that catches wary bass and many of the others are just too light. There are special weighted hooks on the market, but cost and not having a wide inventory of what you need on board creates tacklebox clutter. However with a bit of preparation, a variety of sizes weighted wacky hooks are a few seconds away. Legendary weight maker Water Gremlin has a very versatile bullet-shaped split shot. Originally designed for split shot rigs, the BULLSHOT can also be used for a drop shot weight, a Texas rig weight and now as a way to give that sinking feeling to stickworms.
Using a preferred style of wacky worm hook, a BULLSHOT can be affixed to the hook to provide a faster falling lure that will also give anglers action once the lure gets to the bottom. It becomes a combo bait, giving the angler the benefit of having a wacky rig and shaky head combo, the SHAWACKY rig! Now an angler can leave the bait in the strike zone longer to shake the ends of the worm into action. It is also great for slow, bottom presentations, keeping the bait in a horizontal presentation rather than only a lift and drop vertical appearance.
The process is simple. Choosing any size of the BULLSHOT, from 1/32 on up to ¼ or more, the preparation of the BULLSHOT begins with opening the weight. The lead is soft and enables a wide opening of the bullet weight. A pair of rounded spinnerbait pliers can make the depression in the hinged part of the weight a bit wider to accommodate the hook shank.
Pinch the bottom of the weight with the narrow part of the rounded pliers to make a round bend channel on the bottom. Then do the same thing from the nose of the weight. Make these pinches about the same width. Once completed, a regular pair of needle nose pliers is used to crimp the weight to the hook. Place the opened and grooved BULLSHOT with the nose up against the hook eye and crimp. That’s it!
Now anglers have a weighted hook that is customized for the moment! In many cases, use a lighter weight in the absence of current, on calm days or to skip under docks easier. The lighter weights also can be used in shallower water presentations. Heavier weights will get the bait to the bottom in deeper water, current and on windier days. The added weight will also work better when preferring to keep the bait on the bottom in one place, shaking the worm into action.
To prepare for this, anglers can assemble hooks in advance or have the weights grooved ready to apply to the hook shank. Now with just a few versatile components, just about any wacky condition can be achieved!