Lakecaster Online

By Joe Joslin


HELLO ANGLERS! This is the second article of the series BASS FISHING BASICS AND MORE and this month we will feature the wacky worm.

WACKY WORMING....A BEGINNING ANGLER'S DREAM TECHNIQUE. In my opinion, there is not a more productive technique for the beginning angler than the wacky worm. How successful can this technique be? My records in 2003 show that our guide service caught over 2000 bass on the wacky worm alone and many of these were caught by novice anglers with lady anglers catching their share. This is a light tackle technique but is not necessary ultra light. My largest bass thus far in 2004, a Toledo 11.5 pounder, came with a wacky worm on light tackle. However, a wacky worm and light tackle will, many times, get you the most action even though a lot of these fish will be under 3 pounds. As far as line with wacky worming, I use 10 lb. Berkley Big game 80% of the time. I landed the 11 1/2 pounder on 10 lb Trilene Big Game line, a 7 foot Fenwick Techna Spinning rod with a Abu Garcia Cardinal C672 spinning reel. The other times, I may go up to 12 lb Big Game or down to 8 lb Vanish Fluorocarbon when conditions get really tough. As a beginning angler, a proper knot is vital!! For 95% of my fishing, I use a Palomar knot and use it 100% with wacky worming.

The palomar is easy to tie and has the best knot strength of most, if not all, quality knots. If you do not know how to tie one, find an angler who does and get them to show you how! If you will send me a self addressed, STAMPED envelope, I will send you a Berkley card with an easy-to-follow diagram of how to tie a Palomar. An improper knot will lose some nice fish for you producing an "Ache-ee/Break-ee Heart" and, at times, causing you to expand your vocabulary. The way I rig a wacky is to take a 2/0 Daiichi Round Bend worm hook (Owner also makes a good wacky hook), tie a palomar using 10 LB test. I then take a ReAction Looney Worm (7 inch), Berkley Gulp Wacky Crawler (5 inch) or a hand poured straight tail worm by RPM(Rick and Pam Morris).

I hook the worm near or in the egg sack (middle of the worm) and leave the hook completely exposed. Some anglers use a weadless hook with a thin wire but I do not like that approach, especially in clear water like I encounter most of the time on south Toledo and Rayburn. The only weight I use is to insert a 1 inch paneling nail into the nose of the worm....if there is a slight wind or if I want to fish a little deeper (in the heat of Summer), I may insert 2 nails side by side. These nails have groves on them which will help keep them inserted in the worm. They also are cheap and can be found at most hardware stores. As mentioned earlier, I use spinning tackle for a number of reasons. It gives my arms a break from using baitcast equipment, it is easier on line and I get fewer kinks in my lines than when I use spincast. Also, until recently when Abu Garcia started putting the Stamina Drag System in the Abumatic Spincast line, there was not a decent drag system in any spincast.

Now that we have our rigs fish ready, lets get it in the water. I like to fish a wacky around submerged grass. I cast my wacky rig usually in depths from 6-16' and let it settle to the bottom. is very common for the bass to hit the bait on the fall so be careful when you start to take up slack. To fish a wacky, you need to be a line watcher. If you feel a slight tap, lift the rod carefully and watch you line. A lot of the time you will see the line moving, while other times it will just feel tight with a slight movement. When working the worm, I lift my wacky rod just slightly trying to keep the worm close to the grass or other structure. Remember, the worm is light and if you work it too fast you keep it out of the fish zone. Also, you do not have to rush if you get a bite but slowly lower you rod, take up slack and set your hook with a "pull" instead of a hard jerk.

Remember, you are using light line and if you set the hook like a weight-lifter, you will break off a lot of fish. Since your hook is exposed, the hook set is much easier than a TX and C.R. Get as much slack out of your line as possible before you set the hook. A lot of times when wacky worming, a bass will get the hook down deep in the throat. Take great care on not hurting the fish. I have developed a technique where I turn the bass over on its back in my left hand/arm and take the trigger finger on my right hand, find the bend of the hook and push in the hook firmly. Most of the time, it will pop out. I have had the personal satisfaction of saving lots of bass with hooks deep in the throat.

Use a needle nose pliers ONLY as a last resort. I have followed some anglers down a bank finding several dead or dying bass on the surface. Also, when you unhook a bass, ease it back in the water instead of tossing it. We can all do a better job in taking care of our fishery. Like most fishing techniques, showing(hands on) is a lot easier than trying to put it in print. Hopefully, this will help to get your interest up if you have never tried Wacky. For a 'hands on' trip(with water) give me a shout. Our next session in this series we will continue patterns/techniques for the beginning angler and will deal with spinnerbaits and top water applications. Until then, God Bless and spend lots of time with friends and family.....some of it on the water!

AUTHOR INFO: Joe Joslin is a syndicated columnist and pro guide on Toledo Bend/Sam Rayburn. His sponsors include Yamaha/Skeeter Boats and Motors, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Fenwick, ReAction Lures, Stanley Jigs Inc.,TATE Industries and Jay's Carpet One.. He can be reached at 337-463-3848, 409-565-1288 and

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