Lakecaster Online

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, GET "WACKY"
By Len Fairbanks

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Since the water level has come up about 6' in the last month, there is plenty of water over just about all of the main lake moss beds. By late June, depending on the lake level, some of the hydrilla in places should begin to top out or crown out and the big jig bite will be on. Until that hydrilla does crown out, the fish don't really bury up in the moss but seem to prefer to suspend over the top of it. Sometimes, some of these fish will hit a topwater or a slow rolled 'Trap or spinnerbait. I don't know whether it is the moon phase or El Niño or just contrariness on the bass' part but many times these suspended bass are not aggressive enough to chase these types of baits. But if you present them with something slow and subtle, many times you can catch some of these fish that the other guys leave behind. Probably the best baits for doing this are a Sluggo type bait or a wacky worm. Some of the best places to find these fish will be out over the top of the moss on some of those main lake moss beds, such as Needmore or Farmers or Buck Bay.

For a Sluggo type bait, I prefer either a Zoom Fluke or a new bait by Berkley called a Power Jerk Shad. I rig these baits with a 4/0 or 5/0 wide gap bent shank hook like a VMC Carolina Special. This wide gap type hook really increases the bite to catch ratio by allowing for a better hookset and it's also one of the few hooks made today that comes out of the box sharp enough to fish.. I always hook these baits in "Texposed" fashion, which is nothing more than a variation of the old Texas rig method. But instead of leaving the hook point buried in the plastic, I will bring the point of the hook point completely out of the bait and just "skin hook" the very point of the hook back in the plastic. For colors, I prefer something natural like a Smokin' Shad or Baby Bass or Watermelon or Arkansas Shiner.

For a wacky worm I usually use a Zoom Trick Worm or a Zoom Finesse Worm. Either one of these in plain watermelon, watermelon with red or blue flake or sour grape will catch bass for you. The traditional method for fishing these wacky worms is with a spinning reel with 8-12 lb. line and a straight shank, gold crappie hook. Usually the worm is hooked in the middle with the hook point exposed. The reason for the spinning reel and light line is that this arrangement is too light to cast on conventional baitcasting tackle. I prefer to use a different arrangement that the pro's call a floating worm rig. This rig is really popular in Alabama and the Carolina's, and I picked it up while I was traveling with the Bassmaster's TV Crew. This rig is like a short Carolina Rig with no weight. First, I tie a barrel swivel on the end of my line. Then I cut my line about 18" above my swivel. Next I tie the other end of the barrel to the end of my line and finally I will attach a 2/0 or 3/0 VMC Carolina Special hook to the 18" piece of line that I left on the end of the barrel swivel. I usually try to tie my hook so that I have 10"-12" between my hook and my swivel. Now I will Texas Rig my worm on my hook, but instead of inserting the hook in the end or head of the worm, I start my hook in at about 1 1/2 " from the head. This gives me a rig that I can throw on my baitcasting rig and its also more weedless than the standard exposed hook wacky worm. When all else fails, throw either of these baits out over a moss flat, let the wind slowly blow you along and slowly twitch-twitch the bait back to the boat. Remember to fish it slow or you'll keep the bait at the top of the water, since you don't have any real weight with either of these rigs. You'll be amazed at how many bass these rigs will produce when nothing else seems to work.

Since the floating worm rig is fairly light, I almost always throw it with 14 lb. line but I prefer 17 lb test for the Flukes. Make sure that line is fresh, premium quality green monofilament like Trilene XT or Berkley Big Game. I know that the green color is hard to see, but I seem to get more bites when I use it. Maybe it's as hard for the fish to see as it is us. I use a 6'-6" Fenwick medium-heavy action straight handled worm rod (model GTC-786 or HMX T66MH) for both of these baits. I prefer these longer rods to give me just a little extra leverage when I hook a big fish. Also, I use a quality, high-speed baitcasting reel with a thumb bar release like an AbuGarcia 4600C3 or UC4600C.

I sincerely hope that at least some of the information that I have provided was enlightening or maybe entertaining but most of all helpful. If you would like some first hand instruction on black bass fishing on Lake Livingston or Sam Rayburn, I guide full time on both of these lakes and can be reached at (936) 327-1932 or you can email me at fairbanks@detnet.com. If you get a chance, check out my web site at www.detnet.com/fairbanks and let me know what you think. Until next time, catch all you can and release all that you catch. Good luck, be safe out there and may God bless.

Sponsored by: Ranger Boats, Motorguide, Pro-Kon-Trol, Lowrance Electronics, Fenwick, Berkely, Abu Garcia, Energy Batteries, Turbo Props, Dual Pro Battery Chargers, Castaic Soft Baits, VMC Hooks and Ocean Waves Sunglasses.

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