Deploying The Wacky Jighead
Written By: Mark Fong, March 12, 2012
Wacky rigging for bass has been around for a long time now. Almost any angler who has spent time fishing for bass over the last few years has probably fished a wacky rigged soft plastic stick bait. A new twist to the traditional wacky rig is the “inchi rig” or wacky jighead. While there is some debate as to whether this new finesse technique started in Korea or in Japan, there is little debate as to its effectiveness. In fact, in an environment known for heavy fishing pressure and very finicky bass, the wacky jighead is now touted to be even more popular than the drop shot technique in Japan.
Several years ago at the Sacramento ISE Show, a close fishing friend quietly introduced me to this technique. He offered me a bag of special jigheads that he had obtained overseas from Japan and subsequently described in detail how to properly rig and fish the bait.
The wacky jighead starts with a lightweight ball head style jighead that typically ranges in weight from 3/32 oz to 1/8 oz. Today in the American market, wacky jigheads are available from a number of manufacturers including Big Bite Baits, Gamakatsu, Jackall, and Zappu.
Rigging the jighead is easy. Simply insert the jighead into the mid point of the bait at a 90 degree angle. While the huge variety of plastic baits to choose from is only limited to the imagination of the angler, I typically start with a 6 inch straight tail finesse worm made by K&B Custom Baits. A newer bait that I am very excited about and have experienced good results with is the Wacky Worm by Big Bite Baits. This plastic bait features a small paddle tail on each end of the worm.
Since the wacky jighead is a subtle presentation, it is most effective in clear water and begins to loose its effectiveness as the clarity of the water decreases. My favorite clear water colors include: watermelon candy, smoke sparkle, and oxblood. If the water clarity is stained I will select either green pumpkin or junebug. As with other light line finesse presentations, spinning tackle is the most preferred hardware option. My combination of choice is a 6’9” St. Croix medium light extra fast action Legend Tournament Spinning Rod matched with a US Reel SuperCaster 240SX spooled with 5lb. Maxima fluorocarbon line.
The jighead wacky technique offers numerous advantages over the traditional wacky rig including: the ease to make longer casts, the ability to maintain better contact with the bait, and the opportunity to work the wacky rig deeper into the water column.
Jighead wacky is primarily a vertical presentation. As with most vertical techniques, most bites will occur on the fall. As the wacky jighead falls, the bait exhibits an enticing rolling action. If you do not get bit on the initial fall, don’t hesitate to work the bait slowly along the bottom. Vary the retrieve with a series of lifts, pops, shakes and pauses until you discover what the fish prefer. Swimming and shaking the wacky jighead thru the water column can be an effective way to entice suspend fishing into biting.
The next time the bite becomes difficult and the fish go off the bite, try the wacky jighead, I think you’ll like what happens next.