Summer Wacky Rig Worm (Catch 10x MORE Bass!)

Summer Bass Fishing Videos
Join John Crews as he dives deep into summer wacky rig tips for BassResource. Whether you're fishing ponds, targeting shallow smallmouth up north, or casting at deeper structures, John reveals his tried-and-true techniques and setups.

Gear and Baits

Missile Baits Magic Worm -- 

Sunline Xplasma Asegai braid -

Gamakatsu Octopus Hook -- 

Daiwa Tatula MQ LT Spinning Reel -- 

Cashion John Crews ICON Series Spinning Rods -- 

Missile Baits "The 48" Worm --

Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon -

Gamakatsu G-Finesse Jig Head Wacky -

Daiwa Ballistic MQ LT --


Hey, John Crews here, bringing you more wacky rig tips on Bass Resource, as always. And this time, we're talking about summer. Summertime is following up on that awesome, awesome springtime. So you want to make sure that you check that out, that video. 

But the summertime is a time of year when a lot of people put down the wacky rig. But I say, "Oh no, oh no," for a couple reasons. Number one: if you're fishing a pond or a small body of water, a wacky rig is number one. Number one in my book. And number two is you got smallmouth. Now, if you got up north, you're going to places that you have smallmouth, they love a wacky rig. And they love that wacky rig anytime they are shallow.

So if I'm fishing shallow, I'm talking anywhere up north, and I'm going to be catching smallmouth there. And this is after the spawn. This is summertime. They get shallow, and a wacky rig is one of my absolute favorite ways to catch them up north. And if you're fishing down south or you're fishing other parts of the country, and you're talking about fishing structure deeper, those fish around brush piles, those fish are around points, a wacky rig can still be a great way to catch them. You might just have to modify it a little bit. So we'll get into that here in just a second.

But let's start with the pond situation. You can either use a leader or straight braid for the pond deal leader or straight braid, either one. I have one set up here with straight braid. Very similar to what I'm doing in the post-spawn is what I'm going to be doing for ponds. And that's going to be straight braid, 16 pounds, Sunline X Plasma. I'm going to have a Missile Baits Magic Worm because I want that bait to sit up high in the water column. 

Like I said, we're talking about the ponds and small bodies of water. We want that bait to stay high. There's a lot of brim swimming around. Most ponds, brim is number one forage for those bass. And so they're kind of catered to swimming around and looking for a brim that looks injured. And apparently, that's what they really like.

You know, and I grew up fishing ponds. I had a pond in the backyard. That's why I got into bass fishing to begin with. It all started with ponds for me. And I still love fishing ponds. I fished a pond, you know, early this summer. 

And this is what I absolutely waxed them on was a Missile Baits Magic Worm. Number one, Gamakatsu Inline Octopus Hook. I really like that hook. Once you hook up with them, they're done. They're coming in the boat. I usually have a seven to a seven three Cashion medium action spinning rod with that straight braid, 3000 size reel. That's really a pretty simple setup. 

And you can also know, for ponds, you want something that's versatile. You can also use that for topwater baits and some, you know, smaller crankbaits and something like that. You know, other baits that you want to throw in ponds can be good as well. But that's definitely my number one pond setup for the summertime.

And again, you're just going to go around the bank throwing at anything that you can see that where a fish might be hanging around. So ponds are not usually rocket science. It's just a matter of selecting the right lure. Wacky rig definitely, definitely, definitely one of my number one pond baits of all time, especially during the summertime. So that's number one.

Number two, we talked about smallmouth. Smallmouth, when they get up there shallow and start running the flats, the smallmouth, I'm going to have something that I can cast a little bit further. I want something with a little more weight because, you know, you need to get a long ways from the boat. So a heavier weighted worm, like a Missile Baits 48, Green Pumpkin, it's my number one color for the smallmouth situation when they're up on those flats. 

Weighted worm, a little different setup here. I'm going to have 12 pound Sunline X Plasma Braid to about a 20 foot, 8 pound Sunline Sniper leader. So you're going to have an FG knot. That's what I use. I love the FG knot. It's a little more difficult to tie, but it is absolutely worth learning.

That 20 foot leader of 8 pound Sunline fluorocarbon that's going to go to a Gamakatsu G-Finesse Wacky Head. This is a 16th ounce. There's three different sizes, but for the smallmouth I want the smallest one. I want the smallest one, which is a 16th ounce, and it's got these little weed guards on there. So if you throw it around a clump of grass or something, you're not just going to get it balled up on the grass. Or if you let the bait fall to the bottom, it doesn't just automatically get hooked up on the bottom. 

But you're going to wacky rig it, you're going to just harpoon that bait right through the side, and you're just going to be making as long a cast as you can. And if you get up on the shallower flats, usually up north, you know, in these flats, you'll look and you'll see like a dark spot, or you might see a little clump of grass. Anything that's different up on those flats you want to make that really long cast to, and that's when the magic begins because those smallmouth, they're know, they're predators. 

They're going to be sitting on that piece of cover, and as something plops down near them, they're just going to run out there and grab it. That thing just slowly drifting down in front of them, they're going to be all over it. They're going to be all over it.

And you know, you've got to have enough backbone. I really like a 7'3 medium action, Cashion spinning rod, and again another 3,000. This is a Daiwa Ballistic reel, but you know, a 3,000 size reel is really what you want to do with that because you're going to be making longer casts, and then that bigger spool size really helps to get that bait way out there. The line just flows right off of this reel so you're going to have really good ability to get that thing out there a long ways.

So that's the number two summertime tactic, if you will, for the smallmouth. And very similar, I'm going to use the same setup for largemouth around cover like we mentioned earlier. We're going to have, you know, maybe fishing more of points and humps, brush piles, maybe even rock piles, things like that. But the one difference is I might upsize the wacky head that I'm going to be using. For the smallmouth, I'll be going with a 16th. I'm going to upsize to maybe an 8th ounce. It's almost more of a flick shake, but in my book, that is still absolutely a wacky rig. I'm going to upsize to probably an 8th ounce so I can get that bait down a little bit faster. 

I'm going to throw over there to the brush piles or to the points that I'm going to be fishing, and I'm going to let that thing go all the way to the bottom.

I'd say 6 or 8 out of 10 times, the fish is going to bite it on the fall. Pay attention to your line. If you have the brighter colored backing like the Sunline X Plasma, you can just watch that. Once you cast out your fluorocarbon, you can watch that yellow line really easily. You can just see that bait fall and bait fall. If you see your line jump or if you see your line start taking off really fast, you know one's probably got it. 

Then you're going to just want to slowly reel up all of your slack until it starts to load. That's how you set the hook on a wacky rig. You're not going to actually set the hook like a flipping stick no matter what season or what you're doing with that wacky rig. 

When you get a bite, you're just going to reel up all your slack, let that rod load up, and then just lean back on them, and you'll get them in.

So when you’re fishing those largemouth, don’t forget about Junebug. That is a really good color. No matter how clear the water is, for some reason in the summertime, largemouth love that Junebug color.

So that's kind of the third different tactic is fishing that offshore stuff with one of these wacky heads that has a little more weight and you're able to get that bait down there. I've caught fish in 20 and 25 feet of water on that wacky head. 

Those fish down there, they're used to seeing maybe crankbaits, but they're used to seeing drop shots, heavier shaky heads, football jigs, Carolina rigs, stuff that's just like cracking along the bottom. That's what they're kind of used to seeing. When you throw something that kind of floats down in front of them, it's a totally different look. Totally different look. That's one of the things I really like about it. It's a different look. 

You catch fish behind a lot of people if you're fishing in highly pressured places, or if you're just fishing against the guy on the back of the boat, you're probably going to wax them if you're throwing something a little more finesse like a wacky rig on those deeper largemouth in the summertime.

Those are really the three main ways that I'm fishing a wacky rig in the summertime. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to always drop them down there, and we'll do our best to get back to you.