Shaky Head fishing was a guarded secret among touring pros — that is until Kevin VanDam won the Elite 50 tournament on Lake Lewisville, Tex. and shattered the lake record with a giant 11-pound, 13-ounce largemouth.
VanDam used the technique in his next three victories, but he wasn't alone. It's become a go-to technique for a number of pros that say it works anywhere, anytime. Guys like Jeremy Starks of West Virginia and Bink Desaro of Idaho are shaky head aficionados who have seen the technique save the day on more than one occasion. Whereas Shaky Head fishing is best suited for rocky bottoms, sandy flats or around sparse grass beds, it can be fished around the edges of thicker cover and in water from 1 to 40 feet deep.It's a killer around riprap banks, secondary points and deep boulders. Northern smallmouth anglers, who have always relied on tube jigs for catching numbers of big smallmouth, are discovering the shaky rig is a good alternative when the big ol' brown fish are snubbing tubes.
And best of all, it's an easy rig to fish.
Basically, shaky wormin' involves a straight tail finesse worm fashioned weedless on a small, ball head jig. Once rigged, make a long cast and let the bait fall. Be ready — many strikes occur in the first three seconds after the bait contacts the bottom.
If not, began shaking the rod tip in short, rapid bursts, maintaining some slack in the line while you hold the rod in a 10 o'clock position.
This movement keeps the worm vertical and the tail quivering seductively. Don't hop the jig — inch it along and keep it dancing like a creature feeding along the lake bottom.The gear you use and the manner in which the worm is rigged is important to the proper presentation. Some anglers prefer baitcast tackle, but a 7-foot medium action spinning rod is best because it fishes light line better, and light line imparts more action in the bait. Eight and 10 pound line is preferred and basic monofilament works, but sensitive fluorocarbon line transmits subtle bites better.
Most strikes feel like a simple tick or tap at the end of the line, or, if the fish are aggressive, they'll gobble the worm and streak off with it.
While a 4½-inch finesse worm produces more bites, 6- and 7-inch styles, especially the floating variety, attract bigger fish. And if you take a poll of the pros' favorite colors, you'll find shades of green, especially green pumpkin, watermelon or watermelon candy, are high on their lists.
To rig the shaky worm, enter the hook point into the head, push it out the side, and then roll it over so that the hook point enters the main body and protrudes through the top. You can leave the hook in the belly, but better yet, push it through and skin-hook the barb on the topside of the worm.
Some anglers prefer to leave a little hump in the worm between the jig head and the barb. This bend provides additional action and can make the worm more attractive to wary bass.
Find these and other goodies at More Tackle.