The mighty wacky rig.
It’s one of those things that looks so silly… but it can work so well.
You see it in the water. Looking like a soggy green french fry. You ask yourself:
“Self… the hell these bass think that looks like, anyway?!”
Often, when people think wacky rig, they think Senko, which is essentially a thick, round plastic worm impregnated with salt that sinks slowly and wiggles as it drops. A stickbait. A cigar bait. Whatever you call ’em, they look ridiculous… and they can definitely catch fish.
Recently, I have been throwing the Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Ocho (in green pumpkin) on VMC Ike Approved Weedless Wacky Hooks, and I have caught fish from the boat and from shore casting towards underwater weeds, docks, lily pads and even towards the edges of thick mats floating on top.
That said – this isn’t usually a bait I start with. It’s a great follow up, it’s a great way to slow down, it’s a great bait to work under docks (although I really need to work on skipping), but I usually start with something moving faster. A wacky rig is not my first choice for covering a lot of water.
Strike King KVD Ocho Features
Released by Strike King, the Perfect Plastics KVD Ocho incorporates a unique 8-sided design, which helps the bait slide back and forth as it undulates on the fall. This undulation (meaning, the vibration of the ends of the bait) is believed to be the triggering mechanism, and thought to possibly emulate a dying minnow or some other easy meal. The bait is made out of plastic and comes loaded with salt and scent – but wait, there’s more – it’s that glorious Strike King coffee scent. This may seem odd (and smell freakin’ delicious), but the coffee smell effectively masks human spit / oil / scent and gives you a better chance of the fish hanging on, meaning you have more time for a quality hook set.
VMC Weedless Wacky Hook Features
The VMC “Ike Approved” Weedless Wacky Hooks are slick. The hooks feature an extra wide gap, they are stout, and they make use of a thin wire weedguard that is attached below the eye with a bit of smooth resin. This is believed to prevent line damage and the weed guard from easily coming out – but it also looks really cool. So win-win there.
NOTE: when using this hook, try to prevent pinning the weedguard underneath the barb, which will make it more difficult to pop free during your hook set.
This is an easy way to rig up your favorite soft plastic presentations. Just tie on to your mainline with a Palomar Knot, stick your bait right through the middle or use any wacky o-ring tool and you’re off to the races.
Using The 8-Sided Ocho
I should mention that we are not exclusively bass fishermen. My brother is an avid spoon fisherman, and often when we fish rocky humps out deep we’ll start with faster moving baits in search of toothy critters, like this tiger muskie.
But when it’s time to slow down… the Ocho on a VMC is one of my go to presentations.
Now I’ve said before – being a Minimalist Fisherman does NOT mean you tie on one presentation and leave it on all year. It does NOT mean that you can’t have all sorts of presentations and gear. It DOES mean that you are very critical of that gear, and the techniques you use, to the point that you actively trim the excess fat to avoid becoming a collector.
Recently I moved from a KVD Sexy Frog (isn’t that just the worst name ever?) to a Sébile Pivot frog. This is an upgrade. A replacement. Not another piece in a collection. I will continue to use this frog until someone creates a better one, OR, if I learn that the Pivot Frog just doesn’t work as well as the Sexy Frog, I’ll revert back. Change is constant, and it’s a good thing. I want to evolve and get better!
Progress is one of the things that has the potential to make us truly happy.
The morning Vaughn caught that tiger muskie shown above, we were fishing deep rocky humps. We had fished them before, and caught many smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, panfish, you name it. On a follow up trip, the humps were completely void of life (at least active life), and after working them over for a few hours, we decided to move. We headed for a large weedy bay on the same lake, but those weeds made spoon fishing difficult. Sure we could work our Dardevles up high, and rip them through to try and trigger fish – but this week had been HOT. We didn’t experience a lot of active fish and hadn’t seen many pike. I had been throwing a Ned Rig earlier in the day as well, but the exposed hook wasn’t going to work in the weeds. I have mentioned before that the Ned Rig is a great option, but it is not the best rig in every situation…
So, in this instance I brought out the 4″ Ocho on a VMC, and started catching fish.
Some were smaller, but if you hold a bass REALLY close to the camera, you can convince people that you’re amazing!
I’m kidding. Don’t do that.
But really, even though this fish is small… look at how beautiful it is.
Here is a quick and easy tip to keep in mind regarding the rate of fall:
I needed to get the Ocho to sink faster, and get past some of the upper leaves of the weeds. Instead of changing my presentation, I simply pinched on a split shot somewhere around 8″ – 12″ above the bait and I was able to get my wacky worm deeper in a shorter amount of time. Granted, this also made the bait move faster and the bass were not especially active, but it worked well with the weedless VMC. If you have ever used a split shot rig (which can be deadly) it’s a very similar concept.
But don’t stop there!
I love to fish this bait from shore walking by inlets, ponds and floating muck. Just throw the Ocho right off the side, or even right on the edge of the big ‘ol muck pads so it rests on top, and then s-l-o-w-l-y inch it off the side so it falls into the water.
Bass will munch it on the drop.
I have had luck with this technique around lily pads too.
One of the other hilariously fun things to do with an Ocho, is to take it and walk along any nearby docks you can access with the stickbait in the water and just about 4 feet of line off the end of your pole. Jig the bait up and down as you walk – I can’t tell you how many times hungry bass have scared the living crap out of me as they erupt from the shadows to just crush my bait!
This is fun to do in the afternoon or early evening when you’re not going to be able to get out in a boat… plus it gives your kids the opportunity to carefully inspect your fish, then kiss it prior to release. 🙂
I know that none of the fish pictured here are monsters, but I can tell you that I have a lot of great memories with unremarkable fish because of who I was with or where I was at.
Time to create some memories of your own.
Be mindful of what is going on around you, soak it all up and give the Ocho a shot – especially when conditions get a bit tough and you need to show the fish something different.
They just might save your morning…
Hey, if you land some fish, make sure to tag me on social media and let me know – I’d love to hear from you!
Let’s get better.