Shaky head rigs are all the rage. Most bass anglers have a box full of heads and plastics ready at hand. And that's for good reason — they catch bass. But too many anglers think of the shaky head as a finesse or light-tackle tactic. That's a big mistake according to Elite angler Greg Hackney.
"I like to rig 'em heavy — 1/2 or 3/4 ounce, maybe even a full ounce — with a football head jig and a Strike King Zero plastic trailer. I want to give quality bass something new to look at, and this does the trick. I don't even think the pros are doing it yet," he says.
Hackney points out that a heavy football style jig head is the perfect design for a heavy duty shaky rig. The heavy weight gets it down to the bottom quickly without wasting time. The wide shoulders help it stand up straight, and it's well-suited for rock or other cover.
He chooses the Strike King Zero because it's big and bulky but at the same time light — it almost floats — and so it tends to pull up, toward the water's surface. This helps keep everything vertical underwater, especially at deeper depths. Add to that easy hook penetration because of the soft 3X plastic and you have an excellent trailer.
It's important to keep the plastic straight from the jig's head to its tail. Kinks, twists and turns won't do. That's no problem if you're fishing open water. Run the hook shank straight through the plastic and keep the point exposed.
Weedless rigging is more difficult. There are a few football heads around that are equipped with a collar or a screw type keeper but they tend to be on the lightweight side. Most anglers will have to opt for a conventionally designed head. Try to find one with a long shank, wide gap hook.
Hackney recommends using medium-heavy baitcast tackle with 10- to 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line. "This isn't finessing," he stresses. "It's a big bait, heavy tackle option for quality fish."
To date, Hackney's experience with his magnum shaky head rig has been limited to deep water. The shallowest he's fished it is 10 feet, and he really likes it much deeper than that. Still, he doesn't discount its potential for shallow water. "Hey, it might work. I just don't know — haven't had time to try that yet."