The Weighted Wacky Rig for Bass Fishing: A Deep Dive
There is no doubting the power of the famous weightless wacky rig. A finesse tactic that seems to catch fish in just about any conditions, even when the fish will not look at anything else. When trying to cover a lot of water however, a weightless wacky rig is going to hold you back due to its slow fall rate. This is where the weighted wacky rig comes in.
What is a Weighted Wacky Rig
A weighted wacky rig is quite literally just a standard wacky rig with the standard wacky hook swapped out for a weighted jig head. The hook is still places through the center of the bait giving it the classic wacky action that fish cannot resist.
Weightless vs Weighted Wacky Rig
The key and obvious difference between a standard, weightless wacky rig and its weighted counterpart is the presence of a weight. This results in the weighted wacky rig boasting a faster rate of fall, allowing the angler to cover a lot more water while still reaping the rewards of the wacky action.
It is still considered a finesse tactic but it allows one to fish vast expenses of cover efficiently, making it a powerful rig when the fish are slightly less finicky and willing to take a faster sinking bait.
Where to Fish the Weighted Wacky Rig
Much like the weightless wacky rig, or a light Texas rig, the weighted wacky thrives when fishing isolated cover. This is a bait that should be thrown at targets with the goal of having it fall and hit the bottom near fish holding cover. Many weighted jig heads on the market come with light wire weed guards which make this rig fairly weedless (Although not completely weedless).
You can have great success using this rig around docks, layovers, submerged logs, grass mats, and just about any other cover you come across. If the fish are holding the cover you are casting at, the wacky rig is a consistently good presentation to elicit a strike. For me, this is the "power finesse" version of the wacky rig.
How to Rig the Weighted Wacky Rig
The setup for a weighted wacky rig is pretty much exactly the same as that of a weightless wacky rig, simply switch the wacky hook for a weighted wacky jig head.
Best Worm for the Weighted Wacky Rig
The most commonly used and arguably most effective bait to use for this technique is a soft stickbait, more commonly referred to as a senko. It should be noted however that the weighted wacky technique opens up a much wider variety of bait options than you have with the weightless technique. This is because to some extent, the weightless wacky depends on the weight of the somewhat bulky, salt-infused senko to get the bait to fall at a reasonable weight and to have a decent degree of castability.
When fishing a weighted wacky, you are relying on the weight of the jig head to give the presentation weight for the purpose of sink rate and castability and you can therefore use much lighter soft baits.
Some of my favorite baits to fish on this rig are:
The options here are endless! Virtually any worm-based presentation will work well and have a great action with the weighted wacky rig.
Best Weighted Wacky Hooks
There are some great weedless and non-weedless options out there some of my favorite being:
One important consideration here is the size of the weight you decide to go with. If the fish are on the more finicky side, use the lightest weight you can get away with while still being able to fish cover at the rate you want to. A 1/16oz or 3/32oz range is a good go in this case. If the fish are on the bite and you really want to cover water fast, you can up size to anything from 1/8oz and upwards.
Another thing to consider when choosing the size of the weight is whether you are searching for fish with your weighted wacky or trying to get a bite from fish you already know are holding specific cover.
If you are searching, upsize the weight so you can make more casts and explore more cover. If you know a specific laydown or dock is holding fish, you want that worm to sink slower in order to maximize its exposure to your target fish and you would therefore want to go with the lightest weight possible.
Putting them Together
Once you have chosen your wacky jig head and your bait, all you need to do is put the hook points straight through the center of your bait. Done!
If you are looking to preserve your baits you may want to consider using an o-ring to keep your worm on the hook for multiple fish catches. That can easily be achieved by using a Wacky Rig Tool.
Setup for the Weighted Wacky Rig
This is a finesse tactic and is therefore usually used with a spinning setup.
Choosing a Rod
I recommend going with a medium power spinning rod as you really don’t need that much power to set the hook when using a wacky jig head. They are made from thin-wire and are needle-like making a medium power ideal.
The IKE Finesse Series is a fantastic rod, designed for finesse techniques. These rods have the perfect action for lighter baits, and cast adequately.
Choosing a Reel
No need to overcomplicate this one! Any spinning reel will do. I wouldn't go bigger than a 2500!
I recommend using straight fluorocarbon for this setup. Fluorocarbon gives this bait maximum action and is also more stealthy than braid to a fluorocarbon leader.
I recommend using Seaguar Tatsu, 6lb or 8lb test in most cases. You can certainly go up to 10lb if fishing slightly heavier cover.
Now Tatsu is certainly on the expensive side so if you are looking for a good alternative, go with Berkley Trilene XL. It is a supple line and feels great on a spinning reel.
How to Fish the Weighted Wacky Rig
The Cast and Fall
The weighted wacky rig is fantastic for fishing isolated cover. Find the cover you want to fish and make as accurate a cast as possible. Once the worm hits the water, it is vital that you let it drop on a semi-slack line. This will ensure that the bait drops straight down and does not get pulled away from the cover.
Most of the time, your bites will come on this initial fall so watch your line carefully to see if it moves, jerks at all as this most probably means a fish is biting!
You really want to keep the weighted wacky in the strike zone. If you do not get a bite on the initial fall, raise your rod and let the lure fall on a semi slack line again. Do this 2 or 3 times at the most and then reel in and move to the next target. Don’t waste time working this lure once it is away from your target cover.
If you feel a bite on this rig, resist the temptation to strike as hard as you can as this will pull the hook out of the fish's mouth! The hook is going to do most of the work for you as it is thin-wire and sharp. To set the hook, raise your rod firmly to apply pressure and start reeling.
The weighted wacky rig is an awesome power-finesse technique to have in your arsenal. It’s natural presentation will entice finicky fish and faster fall rate will allow you to hit many targets efficiently. Next time you are getting the odd weightless wacky bite but feel like you would catch more if you covered more water, tie on a weighted wacky rig and start hitting some isolated cover!