There is something about a Wacky Rig Senko that just drives bass absolutely crazy. So often it is the presentation that ends up putting fish in the boat when they won't even look at anything else. In this guide we are going to go over the basics of this technique as well as explain its benefits and best use cases. There are plenty variations of the wacky rig but in this guide we will be focussing solely on the most popular version, the Weightless Wacky Rig.
A Wacky Rig is a finesse technique whereby one hooks a soft plastic in the center of its body, leaving two more or less equal appendages on either side. Now as you can see from the image below, this is quite easily one of the least aesthetically appealing ways to rig a soft plastic. Do yourself a favor and ignore that instinct, rigging a Senko like this is arguably the best way to catch numbers. Bass simply cannot leave it alone and it really shines when the going gets tough!
Why Does a Wacky Rigged Senko Work?
The standout feature of a wacky rig senko is its falling action. Because the hook goes through the center of the bait, the appendages shimmy and shake on either wide when the bait is falling. This is especially noticeable when using the original Gary Yamamoto Senko.
The Yamamoto Senko's high salt content gives it hefty weight, a fast fall for a lure its size and exaggerated flailing of the bait's appendages, The result? Bass regularly hit this thing before it even hits the bottom of the lake.
It stays in the strike one
One of the best things about the weightless wacky rig senko is its ability to stay in the strike zone. When fishing weighted presentations, your bait falls to the bottom quicky, gets jerked once or twice and then pulled out of the strike zone again. While these faster presentations have their place, sometimes you need to give bass more time to look at your bait before they will bite.
This is where the weightless wacky senko shines. The bait falls gradually, giving bass plenty of time to watch it. This dwell time coupled with the irresistible falling action is incredibly effective, especially when you are fishing areas you know hold fish/have good reason to believe hold fish.
How to Wacky Rig a Senko: Tips & Tricks
What size worm is best for the Wacky Rig?
First things first, pick the size of the Senko that you would like to rig. This of course is up to personal preference and is dependent on where you are fishing and how the fish are behaving. A good starting point and by far the most popular option is the 5-inch Senko. For more finicky bass you should consider sizing down to a 3 or 4-inch and if you are hunting for big fish go up to 6/7 inch.
When it comes to choosing a hook, look for something with a short shank, wide gap and rounded. These hooks allow the presentation of the bait to remain subtle and also enable great hook setting ability. It is also important to note that there are now many weedless variations of such hooks on the market.
If you are going to be throwing a wacky rig in cover, consider one of these options. If you are fishing open water choose a hook without a weed guard as it will always look better/more natural and allow for better hook sets than one with a weed guard.
There are also weighted hook options, but here, we're focusing on the weightless wacky rig
In terms of size, use the smallest hook you can get away with, 1/0 is a good starting point.
Putting them together
Once you have chosen your Senko and tied your hook on, all you need to do is hook the bait through the egg sac in the middle of the bait. That's it!
Now if you are looking to get the most out of your Senko's you may want to consider using an O-ring or a cable tie in the middle of the bait and threading the hook through the. This will prevent the bait from tearing on the hook set and as a result you will get more fish per Senko.
Probably the most popular way to apply an O ring to wacky rig senkos if with a Wacky Rig Tool. These little devices make it easy to thread O rings onto your senko.
Best Wacky Rig Setup
Because this is a finesse setup usually fished on lighter line, spinning setups tend to be the most popular option for weightless wacky senko fishing. Go with medium to medium-heavy power rod depending on the line you are using.
In terms of line, you either want to go with straight fluorocarbon (6-10lb) or have braid (15-20lb) to fluorocarbon leader (6-10lb).
Now my personal preference here is to go straight fluorocarbon with a medium power spinning rod. This gives me awesome castability with the added benefit that I do not have to fish with a leader knot. Fluorocarbon also sinks which helps me get the bait to the bottom faster. My go to fluorocarbon for this presentation is 8lb Berkley Trilene XL Pro Grade. It is extremely supple which makes it very manageable on a spinning setup.
For larger wacky senkos (5 inches and up) you should have no problem fishing on a baitcasting setup. Go with a medium to medium-heavy casting rod and straight fluorocarbon (10-12lb) or braid to a fluorocarbon leader (10-12lb).
Again my personal preference here is straight fluorocarbon because of the castability, lack of a leader knot and sink rate. My favorite line for this technique is 10-12lb Seaguar InvizX.
All you need to fish a wacky rig is a spinning rod and reel, a spool of light lighter fluorocarbon (6-10lb), a pack or two of finesse-style hooks, a pack of stick baits, and some o-rings.
How to Fish a Wacky Rigged Senko?
Now that you have your Senko rigged up it's time to put it to use. This is an incredibly easy technique to catch fish on once you have grasped the basics. I have created a step by step guide below to take you through the process of a full cast and retrieve of a wacky rig Senko.
Pick your target and make as accurate a cast as possible. The wacky senko often gets taken on the fall if you are able to drop the bait very close to bass. Aim for "high percentage areas" like edges of brush piles, grass lines and laydowns. if you are fishing open water, try and get you Senko to land above and sink down onto submerged cover.
The fall & strike
This is usually when the action happens. Allow your senko to drop on a semi-slack line. This part is very important as a semi-slack line ensures that the bait falls straight down and does not get pulled out of the strike zone. Don't do anything more while the bait is falling, trust me the senko is doing the work for you thanks to its incredible action.
Watch your line very carefully during this stage. Because you are fishing on a semi-slack line you often will not feel the bite but will rather notice your line moving in an unusual direction, this means that a bass has picked up your bait and is swimming away with it! When you notice this happening, wind down the slack quickly and set the hook. Fish on!
Watching your line can be difficult sometimes, and this is where the use of braid becomes pretty handy - especially in a high-visibility color.
As stated above most bites on this presentation take place on the fall. However, if you do not get a bite on the fall it is still worth keeping the bait in the strike zone for a few seconds. Simply lift your rod tip and let the bait fall back down a couple times. Often this will elicit a strike from a passing bass. Once you have repeated this a couple times without a bite, reel in and cast at the next target. In my experience, hitting more targets is more productive than trying to maximize water covered per cast.
This truly is one of those baits you cannot go wrong with. It gets bites all year round and is a simple technique to implement. It may not be as exhilarating as throwing a crankbait or pitching a jig down the bank but it is worth putting some time into mastering this technique. If you do, you will get bites on any body of water at any time of the year.
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