Wacky Worm? Sounds like the title to a new Saturday morning cartoon show, doesn’t it? “Don’t worry. Don’t dismay. Wacky Worm is here to save the day…” Actually, the Wacky Worm refers more to a special way of rigging a soft plastic worm, rather than an actual lure.
Ever since its inception, the Wacky Worm rig has been proven to be able to catch fish, especially bass, when other things, including live bait, fail. I even rig small 3” worms wacky-style for trout, and it works when they won’t even hit a Wooly Bugger fly.
The secret to the Wacky Worm rig is the extra-squirmy action it has. It is known as a ‘finesse’ technique because it requires very little input from the angler, other than casting it out. The worm does most of the work.
How To Rig The Wacky Worm
Rigging a Wacky Worm couldn’t be any easier. All you really need is a hook, and a worm. That’s it.
For the hook, some people just use a regular worm hook, but I highly recommend just using an octopus hook. The shorter shank snags less on moss and underbrush. And they have a nice wide hook-gap to stab Ole Bucketmouth’s lips with.
While not completely weedless, Gamakatstu and a few other companies make octopus hooks with weed guards, and these are great for Wacky Worms. You can also make your own easily if you tie flies, just by tying on a loop of 50+ lb. monofilament behind the hook eye, and trim the ends to just beyond the hook point.
I recommend a size 1 hook for 3” – 4” worms, a 1/0 hook for 5” – 6” worms, and a 2/0 for 7” and bigger.
For the worm, it’s hard to beat the Senko, but good “Do Nothing”, or “Wienie” style worms are also made by other companies like Berkley, Yum, etc…the Sluggo was one of the earlier versions of this type of worm, and still popular. A “Do Nothing” worm is just a wormy-looking body that is even on both sides, with no “head”, or “tail”. To rig, just run the hook through the middle and toss it.
To make them a little more durable, instead of running the hook through the worm, you can slide on a plastic O-ring and run the hook behind it. Otherwise, most of the time, the bass rips the worm, making it unusable for any more fishing like this. The O-ring lets you catch several bass on one worm.
Personally, I just cut the used worm the rest of the way in half, trim the edges and use the leftover pieces on jigs as grub tails. They work great repurposed.
As for colors, the same rules apply as for any other fishing. Light colors for dark water, and dark colors for light water. For me, any color is fine as long as it is purple.
You don’t have to limit yourself to a straight rig. You can also fish the Wacky Worm on a Drop-Shot rig, especially for deep-water bass.
Who Invented The Wacky Worm?
I did a lot of research trying to find the exact origins of the Wacky Worm, and discovered that it is shrouded in mystery. I came closer to finding out who really shot John F. Kennedy, and where Jimmy Hoffas is, than I did discovering the who, what anwhen of the Wacky Worm rig. For all I really know, it could’ve been invented by D.B. Cooper and Bigfoot. But there are a lot of stories going around on how it came to be. It goes something like this:
Sometime around the mid 1970s (no one seems to know for sure), on Toledo Bend Lake, on the Tx, La. border, 2 anglers new to the area asked someone at a local bait store what the best bass lures were. The clerk told them that plastic worms were the best to use and the guys bought a few and went out fishing. The clerk failed to tell them about using the Texas Rig to fish them, and plastic worms were still kind of new to the area.
They showed up a few hours later with their limit of bass and the clerk was dumbfounded.
He asked them how they rigged them. One of the newcomers said, “We weren’t sure how to do it, but we saw a caterpillar fall from a tree into the water and squirm”. “A bass gulped it in seconds, so we just hooked the worm in the middle and tossed it in”.” We got tired of reeling the bass in, so we’ve come for food and drink”.
Word spread quickly and soon, it was, and still is, all the rage. Special worms are now made with the Wacky Rig in mind, with Senkos being the most popular.
Whether the story is true or not, one thing is undeniable. The Wacky Rig has made the best bass bait even better.
How To Fish The Wacky Worm
To use this rig, just toss it out near or into cover. Use it unweighted and let it sink. Be ready to set the hook as soon as it hits the water. Bass will most often hit it as it falls. When the line goes slack, the Wacky Worm is on the bottom.
Allow it to sit there for a minute or so, then raise your rod tip up, and let the worm fall again. The angler who allows the most falls catches the most fish. Keep doing that until you get close to the boat, or your position, then reel the rest of the way in and repeat.
That’s all there is to it. Happy Fishing!