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Billy Hines
Billy Hines

The Short and Sweet Salty of Wacky Rigging

Many of my fishing buddies often joke with me about my commitment to the wacky rig. I hear many people say, “Why here? Why now?” The thing is, it works. It works anywhere and everywhere. Yes, it is a slower way to fish but it is something I always have rigged up and at the ready. Over the years I have found the perfect way to fish it whether it is used as primary bait, or a follow up bait. Bottom line, it catches more fish than any other technique for me. The way I fish it, you can miss a fish two or three times, or even break the fish off with it and there is a high likelihood it will eat it again!

I surprise people all the time with the situations and types of cover I fish this technique around but I was once told, “You can’t lose the fish if you don’t hook it.” Because of this, my first concern is getting that fish to bite. There are two ways that I fish a wacky rig, weighted and weightless. I will say, 90% of the time it is weightless. There are three VERY important common denominators and for me and there are no alternatives. The first is the bait. A Gajo Stick made by Gajo Baits is always at the end of the line. The recipe of these baits provides the perfect fall rate for this technique and which provides a perfect presentation. In addition to this, Gajo has a color selection that you will not find anywhere else. My go-to colors are Black Blue-Flake, Green Pumpkin Purple-Flake, and Green Pumpkin Blue Hilite. I usually use a size 1 hook tied onto, the other most important part, Gamma 7 lb. Touch line. This small diameter line provides more than enough strength while still providing the finesse presentation and an unmatched amount of sensitivity. The last piece of the puzzle is something very unique on the market. It is called a Wacky Saddle and made by Frenzy Baits. This not only provides for a very high hook-up ratio but also helps to keep the rig out of snags and preserves your baits for many more bites than a direct hook or just an o-ring. As far as the rod goes, I prefer a medium action rod with a spinning reel. Sometimes I do use a braid mainline with the Gamma leader depending of the situation. If I do need to fish a weighted wacky rig, I will use a Wack-A Sack jig made by Frenzy Baits. With this jig, the hook is not directly attached to the hook or bait so the fish does not feel it.

The technique is something that can frustrate people because it is slow! That is the point. Every time I am fishing a wacky rig I let it fall on completely slack line. This means that there is NO tension being put on the line. None, zero, zilch. This is why the Gamma line is so important. With this line, even though you have no tension on the line, you still feel the bite. When letting it fall, I let it fall all the way to the bottom, and yes, I can feel it hit the bottom. Then I slowly lift it up and reel it in a few feet and let it fall again. The trick is to watch the line and focus on feeling for the bite. You should see the line jump and also feel the bite. Often times the fish swims towards you with the bait, but you can still feel the bite!

Do not let this technique frustrate you. It works. Everywhere. Give it time and be patient. If you do, you will find yourself learning the tiny little tricks that make this technique untouchable compared to others and you will find out why some just plain hate it! Why is that? Because they do not have the patience and have likely had a co-angler kick their rear-end using a wacky rig all day. Once your figure this one out, you will catch more fish that you would have imagined and don’t forget, it’s a great follow up bait and “stuck fish” will bite it again!

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