Fishing a wacky rig is undoubtedly one of the best ways to put fishing in the boat consistently. One issue however is the fact that after just about every fish you catch, your bait will fall off your hook and you will need to put a new one on and of course, with the price of senkos this gets expensive fast. Traditionally, anglers use a rubber o ring to fasten their bait to the hook, reducing the chance of it coming off when a fish bites. This definitely does the job but an o ring is not the only way to achieve this. In this article I will explain an O ring substitute that works even better than an O ring!
Heat shrink is a true secret weapon for securing your worm to your wacky rig. Very few people know about this technique as just about everyone will tell you to go straight to an O ring. In my opinion, heat shrink wins in just about every department and will undoubtedly save your many, many baits.
So What Exactly is Heat Shrink?
This was my question when I first discovered this technique. Heat shrink is a shrinkable tube that shrinks when heated up. It is traditionally used for electrical insulation for wires but hey, it works incredibly well as a senko security blanket too.
Not only is this method an alternative to an O ring, it is actually even more effective for securing your senko/stickbait. Once you have cut your piece of shrink wrap, placed it over your senko, heated it up and placed your hook through the center, it is virtually impossible to get it off. You really have to try hard to have your worm fall off once you have set it up so expect to lose far fewer baits than you would with a traditional O ring.
Another nice bonus is the fact that heat shrink comes in a variety of colors, there are even clear variants. This allows you to match it to the color of your bait, or go with something transparent ensuring your presentation is as natural as possible.
Have a look at the video below by Paul Stuff to see just how effective this technique can be. He puts both the O ring technique and the heat shrink technique through their paces and the effectiveness of the latter is clear to see!
Cost and Value
O rings and heat shrink are both pretty inexpensive (they cost around the same). One thing to consider though is in order to efficiently use the O ring technique, you will more than likely want a wacky O ring tool which is a small additional cost. With heat shrink, all you need is the heat shrink itself and a lighter to secure your bait. A 10 foot sleeve of heat shrink will cost you about $8 and this may well last you forever.
How to Set it up
Fastening your stickbait with heat shrink is incredibly simple, simply follow the steps below:
1 - Cut off a small piece of heat shrink
Cut off a piece of your heat shrink that is big enough to fit securely over your bait with space for your hook to pierce through it.
2 - Place the heat shrink over your bait
Take the small cylinder you have created and place it over your bait, aligning it over the center of the bait. It will be loose at this stage but heating it up in the next step will cause it to fasten and grip your bait tightly.
3 - Heat up the heat shrink with a lighter
For this technique you will want to keep a small lighter in your tackle box. Once placing the heat shrink over the center of the worm, simply heat it up with your lighter and watch as it contracts and grips your stickbait tightly.
4 - Place your hook through the center of the heat shrink
Pierce the heat shrink AND the bait with your hook point. Usually, piercing the worm would cause it to take damage when hooking a fish or getting snagged but in this case, the heat shrink acts as a protective cover. Once you have done this you have a wacky rig bait that is almost impossible to get off. Expect to catch many fish on a single Senko!
I fish wacky rigs a lot and since finding this technique, I haven’t looked back. I go through far fewer baits than I did using an O ring and this means I save money, and spend more time with my bait in the water. I highly recommend giving this technique ago, you won’t regret it!
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