Hey, John Crews, professional bass angler here with you again, BassResource. We're going to talk about a little different time of year for a non-conventional bait, maybe a conventional bait, but not in the wintertime. Wintertime fishing can be tough. A lot of guys like to finesse fish, and if you want to finesse fish and you want to catch fish in the wintertime, don't forget about wacky rigs.
Wacky rigs can be very effective in the wintertime. Number one, I would say that most people think of wacky rigs as like springtime only. It's definitely a year-round situation. Wintertime can be one of those situations.
So really kind of the first and foremost place that I'm thinking, when I think about wacky rigs, is on vertical type structure. We're talking bridge pilings, deeper docks, faces of dams, places like that. Those fish are going to be able to move vertically up and down in the wintertime, because that's the thing about wintertime. Bass is the largest member of the sunfish family. They love the sun. They like to feel the heat of the sun. So in the wintertime, they like to be able to move vertically to be able to warm up.
But then, as those nights get colder, they have the colder days. They like to be able to use a little amount of energy and move further down. So that's why in the wintertime, typically the steeper structures, we're talking bluffs, deep docks, bridge pilings, where this fish can move vertically very easily, that's the kind of places you want to look.
Well, if you're going to be going to one of those kind of places, a wacky rig, especially a weighted wacky rig like this Gamakatsu wacky head, I'm going to probably use a 3/32 or an 8-ounce with a weighted style worm like a Missile Baits 48. I like something with a little bit of flash in the wintertime. I think it kind of gives them that...you know, they eye and kind of key in on stuff that's got a little more flash, kind of that baitfish mentality.
This is green pumpkin flash, one of my favorites in the wintertime, good, you know, stained water, clear water, either one. But I'm going to be throwing that to those vertical type structures and letting that bait fall, free fall all the way down, looking like a dying shad, looking like something coming down through the water column. And that's what those fish...they're waiting for that easy meal as they're out there warming up.
On the line, we're going to have a 8-pound Sunline Sniper leader, about a 20 foot leader onto a Sunline X Plasma 12-pound braid. That's usually what I'm going to have on the on the spool of my spinning reel, spinning reel, a 3000 size Daiwa Ballistic or similar type spinning reel.
And then I'm going to have a seven foot three inch medium action, Cashion spinning rod. That's really my kind of my go-to setup for this deal. But really, you're not going to be doing a lot of action.
It's wintertime. Things are dying. You don't need to be doing a lot of movement with your plastics here. So you're just going to throw it out, let that bait slowly go down those bridge pilings, those deeper dock pilings, bluffs, things like that. Just let that bait go all the way down 15, 20 feet deep. Let that thing go down. If you don't get a bite, reel it up, pitch it or cast it to the next good looking little portion of that place. And then it's amazing once you kind of like get a couple bites, and then kind of get a feel for where those fish are in the water column.
Sometimes in the wintertime, they're going to be shallower. They'll be five to 10 feet deep. Sometimes in the wintertime, maybe it's a colder day, maybe it's not as...you know, a little darker day. They might be in that 15 to 20, even 25 feet of water.
So you can take...and once you catch a fish or two, then you'll kind of know about where those fish should be in the water column, so where you can expect to get those bites. And then you can duplicate that depth range, you know, on maybe if you catch a couple on a bluff, you go over to a bridge piling, you kind of know where the depth of those fish are probably going to be. I mean, that is, you know, probably the number one way to catch fish on a wacky rig in the wintertime.
But we're going to have a little extension, let's call it, of the wacky rig. We're going to go wacky rig on a drop shot. I know this is kind of a drop shot, but a lot of people don't think about a wacky rig on a drop shot in the wintertime. It is an absolutely great time of year to be throwing that wacky rig. You got that wacky rig drop shot. You're thinking deeper structure. A lot of times people are jigging spoons. They might be getting over top of structure and vertically dropping straight down with some sort of Damiki rig, some sort of other rig. But if you're like me and you're extremely comfortable with fishing drop shot rigs, you just catch fish all year on drop shots. Wintertime can be a great one. Go ahead, take that bait and wacky rig. Take that worm and wacky rig it.
We're going to have a Gamakatsu hook on there. That is a TGW Octopus hook. Absolute, just an awesome hook. Just an amazing hook. Number one size is what we're going to use. We're going to have either an 8 or 10-pound leader. I don't think that makes a big difference, but it's a Sunline Sniper again. About a 20 to 22-foot leader. On the business end, we're going to have that Missile Baits Magic Worm again. Four or the six inch. Kind of depending on the situation. Some lakes, they have the real small bait. Sometimes, you want a little bigger profile.
Passion shad is probably going to be our number one choice to start with. You can try some of the darker colors and don't be afraid in that wintertime to switch to a crawfish color. I know, right?
Crawfish are hibernating in the winter. Shh. The bass don't know that. They don't. They still will hit stuff that's orange because they think, "Oh, man, look, there's a crawfish out there." I've seen it happen in the wintertime. So don't think only shad. Sometimes the crawfish colors can be very good as well.
But then going down into the rest of the setup, we've got the spinning reel. The 2500 to 3000 size Daiwa spinning reel is what I'm going to be using. Twelve-pound Sunline X Plasma Braid. Then I'm going to have my favorite, Cashion Icon Dropshot Rod is a seven foot four inch, very soft tip. That is very important. Then you've got the little weight keeper down there so that you don't have to have your dropshot weight banging around on your rod. But that's really the setup.
What you're going to be looking for, it's like I mentioned before, those vertical type situations, you might have a point. They're not always on docks, deeper docks, and bluffs, things like that. Sometimes they'll be on points, especially the points that go out there in the middle of the lake and then drop. Those fish will sometimes move up from those deeper drops up onto the edges of those points, and they'll feed there, and then they'll drop back off.
You can get up there on the ends of those deeper points on the bigger lakes, take that dropshot, just drop it down to the bottom and just leave it there. As you can see, that wacky rig, that bait's just going to undulate. It's just going to look like a dying shad out there.
It's really a great simulation of an easy meal. Just that dying shad for those fish out there in that deeper structure. They're used to stuff zinging by their head, jumping up and down.
If you're more confident with that dropshot, don't forget about that wacky rigged dropshot in the wintertime. Get around those areas where the bait fish have gotten deeper. They've started to congregate because, I can promise you, the bass will be in those deeper areas as well. Those are really the two main wintertime wacky rig tactics that I like to use.
I've caught a bunch of fish both ways in the wintertime. That's right when nobody else is really fishing the wacky rig. That's kind of the key for what we're all looking for is that little edge, that little secret, that little tip that can help us catch a few more fish.
If you have any other tactics or you have anything you want to add, you have your favorite bait on one of the wacky rigs from what I mentioned, please drop it down there in the comments below. We want to hear what you have to say. If you have any questions, let us know that as well, and we'll try to do our best to answer.