Photography by Team Member Danny Cain
It is without a doubt that soft plastic baits are one of the most common baits in the sport of fishing. They have been around since the early 1950s and continue to be a staple bait within the sport of fishing. This is simply because there are thousands of different body styles and colors. By having a vast array of soft plastic bait options, one can find the perfect fit for any body of water. However, with so many options, it can be confusing on how to rig soft bait. Today we will venture into the 3 more versatile ways to rig most soft plastics. These methods are not only simple, but highly effective to catching fish.
Wacky Rigging A Soft Plastic
The Wacky Rig is one of the popular ways for a fisherman to rig a stick bait. This is because it allows the stick bait to have a limp like profile within the water, creating a unique eye-catching swim action for game fish. The Wacky Rig setup on a soft plastic allows the bait to have a graceful swimming action that does not spook fish. The Wacky Rig does not only pertain to stick baits, but also used as a rigging method on creature baits, worms, and even jerkbaits.
How To Wacky Rig:
There are two easy ways to rig Wacky Style. The first being to place a hook in the middle of the bait. The second is to use an o-ring tool, this will allow you to slip a small band over the bait in which you would push it to the center. After the band is located in the center of the bait you then would slip the hook under the band pinching it against the bait, this allows the bait not to be punctured by the hook and will last the angler much longer.
Texas Rigging a Soft Plastic
The Texas Rig is undoubtedly one of the most common ways an angler can rig a soft plastic bait, it allows the bait to push through heavy vegetation, rocks, wood, and other abrasive obstacles fishermen face. Its versatility is unmatched as it can be used with almost any soft plastic found in a tackle box.
How to Texas Rig:
The Texas Rig can be used weightless or weighted with a free-floating bullet weight. It is most common to Texas Rig with a bullet weight as it helps with the rate of fall, casting distance, and even the vibration the weight gives off when it hits the bait. Prior to tying this rig, you will slip on your bullet weight if you wish for it to be weighted then use an offset shank hook; sizes are dependent on the bait used. Here is a good rule of thumb for which size hook may work best for you.
- 3/0 Straight Shank for 5 to 6-inch worms or lizards
- 4/0 Straight Shank for 7 to 8-inch worms
- 4/0 Extra Wide Gap (EWG) for beaver baits and craws
Insert the hook at the tip of the baits head, then back out about a ¼ of an inch below the head at a 90-degree angle. Then you run the worm all the way to the eyelet of the hook, as you approach it rotate the hook so that the hook is pointed towards the body of the worm. Finally, you push the hook point back into the body of the bait, you’ll want the hook to be just under the skin of the bait to make the bait weedless.
Shaky Head Rigging a Softbait
A Shaky Head Rig has similarities to the Texas Rig however it gives off more of a finesse presentation. A Shaky Head Rig features a hook with a shaky head at the eyelet, when paired with a worm or beaver soft bait it allows the bait to fall to the bottom and gives the worm a standing position. While it stands at the bottom the bait’s body essentially shakes by the current it is given.
How to Shaky Head Rig:
Insert the Shaky Head’s hook point into the side of the head of the bait, then back out about a ¼ of an inch below the head. The typical Shaky Head weights used are 1/16th and 1/8th, anything heavier than that will not allow the bait to swim and perform well. Slide the hook through the bait and rotate it back around so the head of the bait sits in the offset shank. Finally, push the hook point back through the body of the bait, leave the hook point just below the skin of the plastic bait.