How To Fish The Shaky Head

Here's how to fish the shaky head technique, including tackle, rod, reel, and line selection.
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Gene: Hey guys, this is Gene Jensen with When the fishing gets tough, one of the best finesse techniques that there is, is a shaky head. There have been a lot of questions about it on the website lately. I'm going to attempt to do a video on a shaky head as soon as I get this fish in, using a finesse rod, bald-headed jig, and a little worm. You can catch a good five pound bass like that - not bad.


What I’ve got here is I've actually got a Picasso shaky head here. They come in all different shapes and sizes and everything else. The equipment that you would use with a shaky head is a medium extra fast rod, a medium rod, or a medium moderate, medium extra fast. Either one of them will work. I like something with a little bit more backbone so I go with a medium extra fast or a medium fast action. I almost always use a straight tail worm. One of the things that people always say is that you want to make sure you have a floating worm with a shaky head. That's true. I'm going to show you the trick that I do to figure out whether a worm floats or not. Watch. That's how I find out. Let me tell you why. If a worm has salt in it, it is going to sink. If it does not have salt in it, it is going to float. Zoom makes their trick worms both in super salty and plain, which have no salt in them. The plain ones will float enough to be able to fish them on a jig head. If you are ever wondering whether a worm is good for a shaky head or not, stick it in your mouth and see if you taste salt. That's it. It's just that easy.


The types of shaky heads are endless. I have a few that I prefer that I've been fishing for a while; the Spot Remover, which is actually a stand up head. I wouldn't even call it a shaky head. If you start shaking it, it falls over. A lot of people use that as a shaky head. I use a Picasso Shake Down. I forget to take the knot out of it. You can also use the Strike King Shaky Head or the Pro-shake or something like that. One that I have been fishing for a while that works really well in the grass is the Spot Stalker. The Spot Stalker looks kind of like this. Is does fairly well in the grass. The Shaky2 from Megastrike, this is awesome. It does not fall over. It stays standing the whole time. The nice thing about a stand up jig is you can fish a worm that does not float, like a salted trick worm or something like that. I can't remember the name of this jig, but Siebert Outdoors sells this. I'll put the URL up on here. It's a little football stand up jig. It has a little bit heavier hook so you use a 15 or 17 pound line with it and a medium heavy rod instead of a medium extra fast spinning rod.


Those are the ones I use. Everybody makes them. Let me focus on actually one type, the ball head. When you are looking at a ball head jig or a shaky head, you often have two choices. You have a 60 degree bend. You see how the eye comes out of the head at a 60 degree. You have a 90 degree bend where it comes straight up. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The 90 degree shakes better. When you are shaking your worm, it has a better shake to it, but it gets hung up a lot worse. The 60 degree doesn't shake as much, but you still get a little shake out of it. It comes out of snags, stumps, and brush piles a lot easier. That is the difference between the two.


The things to consider when you are setting up your rod and reels for a shaky head are the light wire hooks. When I first started fishing shaky heads I was fishing these little Spot Stalkers. The guy that designed them gave them to me. I took them out and I fished with them and I was bending hooks out. I couldn't understand why I was bending hooks out. He looked at me and said, “You dummy. You are fishing it on a medium heavy rod with braided line. So every time you set a hook on a fish, it's going to bend the hook out.” You have to take that into consideration. When I'm fishing a light wire shaky head, I am fishing it on a medium fast action or medium extra fast action spinning rod using 10 to 12 pound test line, 6, 8, 10 pound test line. Sometimes, 12. I'm taking it easy on the hook sets because I use braided line, there’s no stretch. I'm not going to set it as hard even if I was using monofilament or fluorocarbon on the spinning rod.


Let's get up here and I’m going to show you how to fish it, how to basically shake your worm. We will see if we catch a couple of fish and end this video out.


The times that I would use a shaky head are when the fishing gets tough. We all hear the term when you talk about when you have post front conditions, cold water, post spawn, any time the fish are in a funk. When I'm having a hard time catching fish, I'm going to downsize, go to a shaky head, and work it really slow. It is not a search bait. You don't want to go looking for fish with a shaky head because you work it so slow. A cast is three, four, five minutes long. I'm going to fish it in the area where I know there are fish but they are just not in the mood to bite. Other times I fish it post spawn. Post spawn is the couple of week period where fish are just resting and getting over the spawn, and the stresses of the spawn. I'll work that around brush piles, in tight to cover and things like that. What other times? I fish in the dead of the winter. I love to fish shaky head in the dead of the winter. It's a little bit harder to detect a bite. That's when this braid really comes in handy. You can feel just about everything. You can feel when that fish sucks in the bait.


Any other time? Well, just when the bite is tough. That's when I pull it out and start shaking it around. Basically what you do is cast it out and let it sink to the bottom and sit there for a minute. You have a worm that floats up. You have your ball head sitting on the bottom and the worm is up here just doing this number. You don't shake it on a tight line. If you shake it on a tight line, all you are doing is dragging the weight on the bottom. You get it to that slack line, where you have about 6, 8, 10 feet of line laying on the water. You shake your rod, just like this. That gives it enough vibration to get that thing shaking. You shake it a little bit, then you move it just a hair.


What I like to do when I'm fishing a flat or something like that, is I’ll drag it real slow on the bottom until I feel a rock, or a stump, or a log or something. It stops on something. Then I will sit there, drop my line slack, and I’ll start shaking. Then I'll stop and shake it a little bit more. Then I'll stop. I'll get my boat and swing it around some. I'm losing my sound. Bring it over the top of a stump and then shake it.


Some of the shaky heads will have a big or little spring on it. Let me get a little closer. I know Go Pro requires this. See that little spring on it? The way I rig a Spot Remover, or a jig head or anything else is bite the first little bit off to give myself a flat section on the worm. I screw it onto the jig head. A lot of you guys that fish these Texas Rigs, you’ll try to slide that hook all the way through that worm. That's not what you want to do. Lay your hook alongside your worm like this. See where it is going to go in at so you can keep that worm straight. Go to that spot and just tug on your worm. You just pull on your worm. Look at that. What happens when the fish bites is it does what it is supposed to and the hook point comes out of the worm. You have a perfectly weedless worm.


The other thing I do 99% of the time when a shaky head bite is really, really hard is I’m going to break out the JJ's Magic. I'm either going to dip the tail chartreuse, or I’m going to dip the whole worm clear or I’m going to dip the whole worm clear and then go to chartreuse. White is pretty good today. I don't see any reason to add clear to it. That's it. Good old JJ's. When the bite gets tough, that is what you go to if you want to have a better chance of catching fish. That's why I have the most confidence when it comes to fish attracting a scent. The chartreuse tail sure makes a difference, too. That is one of those things you just kind of throw it into a crack. You just know there is a fish there.


I want you to notice what I did with the hook set. It was an over the head hook set. I want to try to get that fish hooked in the roof of the mouth. With shaky heads that is what you do with any kind of jig head. I like to set over the top of the head. That way I get a good positive hook set. This is a typical King Fisher Bass. I'll bring him on in. There you go. This is about the average size fish on this lake. It's nothing really big. That's a shaky head in a nutshell.


Like I always say, visit for the answers to all your questions about bass fishing. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Hit that little “like” button down at the bottom if you like this video and have a great day.

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