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How to Setup and Fish the Wacky Rig

The wacky rig is a weightless stick style worm hooked through the middle of its body. Having the hook in the middle allows both ends of the worm to flutter as the bait sinks.

The subtle flutter that a sinking stickbait produces drives bass wild. This makes weightless wacky worms a very popular bait for when the bite get tough.

How to Setup a Wacky Rig

  1. Attach your wacky hook to line by tying a palamer knot
  2. Using a wacky rig tool add 2 o-rings to the center of your chosen soft plastic (Optional)
  3. Create an X with the 2 o-rings by overlapping them (Optional)
  4. Thread your hook under the intersection of the 2 o-rings or through the center of your soft plastic if not using o-rings
Wacky rig setup

What You’ll Need

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How to Fish a Wacky Rig

The wacky rig is a great bait for beginner fishermen. It is really one of the easiest baits you can fish.

All you need to do is cast it out and let it sink. When a wacky rig sinks the bait creates a unique action. It doesn’t just fall flat, instead both ends of the worm produce a subtle flutter that drives bass wild.

Once the worm gets to the bottom, let it sit for a second or two then give it a couple of light pops. After the pops, reel up the slack and repeat the action a couple more times.

After a few rounds of pops your bait will be away from the cover you were targeting and can be reeled all the way back in and recast.

When to Use a Wacky Worm

A wacky rig works throughout the year but my favorite time to throw it is during the spring and fall. During these times of the year bass move up shallow.

This makes them ideal times to throw weightless baits.

During summer and winter bass are typically deeper making a weightless wacky rig ineffective at reaching them. During summer and winter you can throw a neko rig for a similar action at deeper depths.

Where to Fish a Wacky Rig

I like to throw the wacky rig under docks, in cover, along weed lines, and in shallow water.

Not all lakes will have docks but if yours does try skipping a wacky rig as far under them as you can. Docks offer great cover and shade for bass.

Weed lines could be anything from submerged weeds to edges of lilly pads. Bass like to sit in the weeds on edges looking out into open water waiting for prey to fall or swim by. A wacky worm is a perfect bait to toss along these edges. To target bass deeper in the weeds you can try a texas rig.

Next to cover is another great place to throw wacky rigs. Its no secret bass like to sit in cover. A slow sinking weightless stick bait can be the perfect action to get bass to leave that cover.

Throw them at downed trees, brush piles, and overhanging trees. Overhanging trees are especially good because just like docks they offer large amount of shade for bass and bait fish to hide in. For real thick cover you might want to change over to a hook with a weed guard.

All the places I talked about above should be in shallow water. When I say shallow I mean under 10 feet. Wacky rigs sink very slow, the only weight comes from you hook and worm. So anything over 10 feet deep will generally take too much time to get to the bottom. You will be spending most of your day waiting for your bait to sink.

Do You Need O-Rings for Wacky Rigs?

You don’t need to use o-rigs when fishing a wacky rig. O-rings can affect the action of your wacky worm and hurt your hookup. When you get a bite without o-rings your bait will often tear off leaving just your hook so it won’t get in the way of getting a good hooked.

On the other hand, since using o-rings on your wacky rig prevents your worms from tearing as easy you won’t have to replace them as often. This is great for saving money and the reason I typically use o-rings on my wacky rigs. To me, the cost savings out way the downsides.

What Size O-ring for Wacky Rigs

  • 4″ – 6″ Worms: Size 5/16″ O-rings
  • 6″ – 7″ Worms: Size 7/16″ O-rings

If you are picking up o-rings from a hardware store, take a few different size worms with you to test before buying. If you are looking to order online, I use these o-rings.

How to Use a Wacky Rig With O-rings

The best way to setup o-rings on a wacky rig is to create an X with 2 o-rings. The X shape allows you to position your hook under the overlapping section while also allowing your hook to stay perpendicular to your worm.

This will help ensure you can still effectively get a good hookset while also preventing the hook from tearing out the worm.

I recommend picking up a wacky rigging tool to make it easier getting the o-rings to the center of your worm.

Recommended Rod & Reel

Rod Type

Spinning & Baitcaster

Rod Length

7′ to 7’2″

Rod Action

Moderate, Fast, Extra-Fast

Rod Power

Medium, Medium-Heavy

Frequently Asked Questions

Who invented the wacky rig?

The wacky rig was invented anglers in New Jersey when they started the hooking the newly invented plastic worms through the middle. They found that leaving both ends of the rubber worm to dangle free created a great action that drove bass wild. This technique was originally known as the Jersey Rig but later became know as the Wacky Rig.

What is a wacky rig?

The wacky rig is a technique where you hook a plastic worm through the middle. This allows both ends of the worm to dangle free. The two dangling ends create a fluttering action as it sinks through the water.

What line for wacky rig?

The best line for the wacky rig is 8lb Seaguar Red Label.

Does a wacky rig work at night?

The wacky rig works at night, especially when using darker colors like black or junebug.

Is the wacky rig weedless?

The wacky rig can be fished weedless and is great for fishing in grass. There are weedless wacky rig hooks designed specifically for it.