‘Wacky-style’ is a finesse type of fishing for bass

Lyle Johnson
Ricky Delaune, Glen Powers and Gene Singletary with plenty of Lake Bruin bass, stripers and sac-a-lait caught over the Easter holiday weekend.

I’d like to start off by reminding this audience about the photo contest through April 30th sponsored by Ascension Outdoors, seen exclusively on EATEL FiberEdge TV channel 4 and Cabela’s. Youth 15 years old and younger need only to bring an outdoor photo of themselves to Cabela’s to Customer Service or the reel bar.

A winner will be chosen from all the entrants and be awarded a prize package from Cabela’s and Ascension Outdoors along with a special guest appearance on the TV show. There’s only a week left!!

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about catching some bass in Mississippi on a worm rigged “wacky-style”. We’ll talk about that tactic in depth a little later, but first let’s talk about the category it falls in, finesse fishing.

The dictionary definition of finesse is “subtly skillful handling of a situation”. Subtly is the key word here because in the fishing world it encompasses smaller rods, (usually spinning) light line (8# test and below) and smaller baits, usually made of plastic.

The technique was actually developed in Japan because of clear water, a very small population of bass and only a few places to fish. In 1925 Akabishi Tetsuma, a Japanese businessman imported ninety largemouth from California into the Ashino Lake. Bass are not native to Japan, so all of them were stocked.

Bass fishing is big business in Japan--second only to the U.S.--but a sumo-sized battle is underway in the Land of the Rising Sun over the future of this tremendously popular sport fishery.

Japan's Ministry of the Environment is attempting to sink the country's non-native freshwater largemouth and smallmouth bass that it says are wiping out stocks of important food fish from the country's lakes.

Standing in the ministry's way, however, are Japan's three million bass anglers as well as public backing for the $600-million industry they support. In Japan, where bass tournaments can draw hundreds of boats, top competitors gain rock star status; kids play bass fishing video games and newsstands boasts no less than five magazines devoted to the sport.

Takahiro Omori, Kotaro Kiriyama and Shinichi Fukae are three anglers from Japan that have fished their way to the professional bass circuit here in America and Omori won the 2005 Bassmaster Classic.

Japan’s bass are highly pressured by the anglers, so unique tactics must be employed to make them bite an artificial lure. So finesse fishing is the major technique and it has found its way here. So when the going gets tough, the water is really clear or the bass are tired of seeing big, bulky baits, out comes the finesse tackle.

Plastic worms are the bait of choice when it comes to fishing wacky style. Normally a worm is hooked through the head and if you hold the head in your hand it hangs vertically straight and generally falls that way in the water.

In rigging plastic worms wacky style, the worm is hooked near the middle of the worm, so when you hold the hook in your hand the bait hangs horizontally and looks like an upside down letter “T”. The bait falls sideways through the water and hence the title of wacky style.

Plastic worms rigged Texas style with the business end of the hook imbedded in the worm making it virtually weedless. It’s my favorite style and a great way to fish it; you don’t get hung up much.

The hook is exposed when rigged wacky style and is susceptible to hang ups. The style was designed in open waters, so it creates a few issues in South Louisiana. You have to be very patient and careful where you make your cast to keep from hanging your lure on underwater cover.

The solution for fishing heavy cover wacky style has been developed by Stanley Lures. It’s called T-Wacky. (remember upside down T?) The unique Teardrop head design allows the hook point to stay up as the weight falls head first resulting in fewer hang-ups. Add in the weed guard and it becomes virtually weedless. This system also gives you a superior hook set.

It comes in three different head colors; red, watermelon and clear along with two weight sizes. The 1/16 allows the bait to fall really slow; the bass can’t take it, they gotta have it! The 1/8 falls a little faster for all you impatient anglers and is really good for deeper water.

Hey, wacky style is something different that the bass are not used to seeing and they will hit this style even when the going gets tough. Take a look at and order you a few. I promise you’ll get great results. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you.