By Rick Lawrence
Like a lot of you guys I love to fish sinking soft plastics wacky rigged. I tried the o-ring method I have seen posted here and there on the net, but I really didn't like that setup for a couple reasons. Mostly because it leaves the hook sideways like in this photo. That's on the same plane as the fish’s mouth and the hook can just pull right out of their mouth. So I got to thinking there has to be a better way to wacky rig and I have found it. I use a 1/4" piece of 3/8" (or 1/2" if you can find it) surgical tubing. It is easy to put on a Senko type bait or Sink-N-Fool bait as all you have to do is wet the tail of the bait a bit and slide it up to the middle of the bait.
I’ve tried the Gammy weed less wacky hook and I love Gamakatsu hooks, but I'm not a fan of this one. For wacky rigging my baits I use the Owner 1/0 weed-less wacky hook. It is the best wacky rig hook I've seen yet and the weed guard doesn't get in the way, but does a good job of keeping the junk of the hook. I of course use the worlds strongest and easy to tie knot there is "The Fish-N-Fool knot" named after yours truly. (look up the You-tube Fish-N-Fool knot video on how to tie it) Ok now that you have the hook tied on you slide the surgical tubing up the bait to the mid point where the natural balance of the bait is. Unlike other baits the Sink-N-Fool bait has a top and a bottom so I run the hook from the bottom to the top just catching a little bit of the bait along with the surgical tube like this.
That leaves the hook point straight up 90 deg. to the fish’s mouth so I hook them in the top lip about 95% of the time and in the corner of the mouth the rest. The Sink-N-Fool always fall with the top side up though, (do to water hydraulics), so with other baits in may hook them in the bottom lip which would still be ok. I almost NEVER miss a fish with this set-up. The plus side of it, the baits never fall off so you can catch up to 50 fish on just one bait.
I save the baits that tear up the nose of the bait while texas rigged and fish them wacky later in more open water. Here is a close up of the Owner wacky hook and rig.
The nice thing about using surgical tubing is it comes in lots of sizes and colors so you can get different colors to match the bait you are using. I used a white bait here with the blue tubing, just so it was easier to see. I use the natural flesh color a lot along with black, greens and reds. If you look for it, it comes in many, many colors from hot pink to chartreuse. You can also use the same tool you put your o-rings on with this tubing but the tubing work much better IMHO.
I would also like to share with you guys some tricks that I have learned on how to make Texas rigged baits last longer as well, that are prone to tear easily. I use this same idea for Texas rigged heavy salt “Fish on the Fall” baits like the Sinko type baits or Sink-N-Fool baits.
I fish super heavy cover a lot of the time so I Tex-Pose my baits first like this;
I use a 2/0 to 4/0 Gammy EWG hook and a short piece about a half inch long of 3/8” ID surgical tubing colored to match the bait. I slide the tubing around the head of the bait where the hook goes through the center of the bait like normal and comes out through the tubing like this. I just wet the bait and tubing in my mouth and push the tubing over the bait till you have about 1/8" sticking out.
Then just rig as normal but the hook will come out of the bait through the tubing. This holds the hook much more stable and causes less tearing in both the head of the bait and the body of the bait where the hook point goes through without hurting the action or making a hard spot in the bait that would feel unnatural to the fish. Plus the bait will not fling off the hook as sometimes happens when a fish goes crazy and shakes its head a lot. The tubing keeps the bait on the line very well. It doesn’t hurt the hookup percentages either; as the hook point is skin hooked with the tex-posed rig like almost everyone does for fishing heavy cover. The baits will still tear up back where the hook point goes through, but it improves bait life by at least 50%.
Give these set-up’s a try I think you will really like it.