Slugging it out with Wharton

The Slug-Go ignited the soft jerkbait craze a decade ago and proved to be the hottest bait on tournament circuits across the country for several years.



In recent times, the Lunker City invention designed by Herb Reed no longer plays such a significant role on the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail. In the eyes of many anglers, that genre of soft plastics has largely been replaced by Senko-type soft stickbaits.



That is a mistake, according to veteran Texas pro David Wharton, who still throws the Slug-Go when there is money on the line.



"A Slug-Go will still catch fish, that's for sure," the four time BASS winner said. "But I usually weight it to make it work better.



"What I do that's a little bit different than other people is I like to weight the tail of bait. Putting a weight in the tail counterbalances the hook weight, which puts the bait in the water where it's flat. The hook is in one end, and the weight is in the tail end. So, basically you have about the same amount of weight on both ends of the bait. It makes the bait set flat in the water, which is the whole idea.



"And when it sinks, it doesn't set head first or tail first. It just floats down and has that little dying quiver to it."



Wharton rigs a 4 1/2-inch Slug-Go in combination with a 3/0 or 4/0 Mustad offset worm hook. He then weights the tail with a 1-inch piece of metal cut from a coat hanger.



"The Slug-Go was the [precursor] to the Senko," Wharton explained. "The way a Senko sinks is basically the same. It sets flat in the water and wiggles as it falls. But it has so much salt in it that you don't have to put weight in it. The original Slug-Go didn't have salt, so you really have to do something to get it to float down in the water.



"Also the difference between a Slug-Go and a Senko is if you rig it this way, you can work a Slug-Go all the way back to the boat. With a Senko, you basically make a cast and let it sink down. If you don't get a bite, you reel it in. With a Slug-Go, you can actually work it back to the boat. It has action. It wobbles and stops. You can throw it out, let it sink out of sight, and then work it back to the boat like a real slow jerkbait.



"And that will catch fish."