So now that we’ve got our spinning tackle in good shape it’s time to rig up one of the all-time great bass catchers — the mighty shaky head.
Everywhere I go I’m asked what lure I consider the best, the one I can’t do without. The answer is that there are two lures that fit that description. If I’m looking for size, it’s a jig. If I’m looking for numbers, it’s a shaky head.
There are two ways to fish with a shaky head. You can fish one finesse style, or you can power fish with one. I fish mine at least 75 percent of the time finesse style so that’s what we’ll talk about this week.
If any of you are interested in the power fishing approach, send me a message to that effect. I’ll be glad to write a column about it.
Let’s start by picking the right worm. I like something between 4 and 6 inches with a straight tail, and it must have a flat side on it. I only fish with two worm colors on a shaky head — Junebug and green pumpkin.
Of course, we’ll also need a jig head to go with our worm. Any style or design will work and there are several good ones out there. The one I use is a VMC head that I helped design. It presents my worm much like the old Charlie Brewer Slider Head does. We call it the Rugby Jig.
I fish with any size between 1/16 and 1/4 ounce depending upon water depth and wind.
Rig your worm on the head using the offset hook. If you Texas rig it, make sure you work the hook point in and out of the worm. We’re throwing this on light spinning tackle. There’s no such thing as forcing the hook through the plastic before you drive it into the fish’s mouth.
And, always rig the worm with the flat side away from the hook point. That’ll make it slide, and if it slides on the way down you’ll get twice as many bites. This is really important, guys. Do it that way and you’ll catch a lot more fish.
The more you fish a shaky head the more you’ll realize the truth of what I say when I say it’s a true 50-50 bait. About half of your bites will come on the fall, and the other half will come as you shake it or hop it along the bottom.
If you want to make it fall properly, let it drop straight down with a slight bow in the line when the water’s less than 10 feet deep or so. If it’s much deeper, say 20 or 30 feet, feather your line with your index finger as it falls. Think semi-slack.
The shake, hop or slide is another matter. Do them slowly and carefully. I like to hold my rod a couple of inches below vertical when I do this. That position allows me easy movement and keeps me in touch with my bait at all times.
In next week’s column we’ll discuss where to fish a shaky head and what to fish it with.