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 STEVE WATERS ON OUTDOORS Tiny O-ring Can Mean Big Savings When Fishing For Bass With Wacky-rigged Stick Worms.

It's the wacky-rig secret that the lure manufacturers don't want you to know.

It catches bass and saves you money.

It's a rubber O-ring that you slip around the middle of your plastic stick worm. Then you put your hook under the O-ring. When a bass bites, you are able to set the hook, which is unencumbered by plastic, securely into the fish's mouth.

Best of all, because the hook isn't in the stick worm, the worm is less likely to break in half when the bass bites or shakes its head as it jumps. That means you can catch several fish on one worm, which is why the lure makers prefer to keep this secret, a secret.

Stick worms have revolutionized bass fishing the past few years. For proof, all you have to do is look at all the stick worms that have suddenly appeared on tackle store racks.

Gary Yamamoto is the man behind the revolution. A Texas bass pro and lure designer, his company, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, is highly regarded for its innovative soft-plastic lures.

About five years ago, Yamamoto was trying to make something like a Senko but had trouble working out the specifics. One day, he was trying to draw a picture of what he wanted for his plant manager when he looked down at the BIC ballpoint pen in his hand and realized that was the shape he was looking for. The rest has been bass fishing history.

Senkos catch bass from the Everglades to the Great Lakes to the California Delta. Numerous imitations have popped up. Among the more effective are the Gambler Ace, the Yum Dinger, the Bass Pro Shops Stik-O-Worm and the Berkley Gulp! Sinking Minnow. Anglers absolutely love them.

"That's probably our No. 1-selling worm," said Pat Fitzsimmons of Everglades Pro Bass Center in Davie of stick worms. "The Flukes [a soft-plastic jerkbait] are sitting around."

Using O-rings was born out of fascination with the effectiveness of a wacky-rigged stick worm and frustration at going through so many of them during a day's fishing.

I'll never forget my introduction to wacky stick worm fishing a few years ago. My outdoors writer buddy Ed Noonan was down from New York to do some fall turkey hunting and fishing at Lake Wales. When the topic turned from turkeys to bass, Noonan told me about a new lure called a Senko.

He had used it with great success in bass tournaments in the northeast. Most pro anglers Texas-rig the Senko, but without a weight, because the bait is heavily impregnated with salt and sinks on its own, which is part of its allure to bass.
 Noonan, who gave me four of his baits, told me to hook the Senko through the middle -- wacky-style -- cast it out and wait for a fish to pick it up.

Fishing a local lake from shore, I caught four bass -- and had the Senko break or fly off with each fish. Still, I was impressed: Four baits, four bass.

I replenished my supply of Senkos from local tackle shops, but the joy of catching fish was tempered by the financial burden of losing a 63-cent bait -- I paid $6.29 for a bag of 10 -- every time I hooked a bass. It got to the point that it was more of a challenge to get my Senko back in the boat than the bass.

Then I learned the secret of wacky rigging a stick worm from Texas bass pro Alton Jones, who had recently won a Bassmaster Tour event using a Yum Dinger. Jones used needlenose pliers to put an O-ring with a quarter-inch inside diameter around the middle of the Dinger and slipped a live-bait hook under the O-ring.

Paul Garland has come up with an easier way to rig the stick worm of your choice. Garland, who owns a tackle store in New Durham, N.H., invented the Wacky RIG'R. O-rings are kept on the tapered end of the plastic device. To rig a stick worm, you put it into the RIG'R to where you want the O-ring to go. Then you roll an O-ring up the outside of the RIG'R and over the end, where it snaps onto the worm.

"It was actually kind of funny," Garland said. "The bass club that I'm in, the president was complaining, and he never complains. He said to me, `Yeah, I like wacky-rigging, but there's no easy way to put the O-ring on the Senko.'"

Garland did some experimenting and came up with the basic shape of the RIG'R. His friend Ken Perry encouraged him to get a mold made, and the Wacky RIG'R and K&P Tackle were born.

Perry said the RIG'R quickly pays for itself. If you typically catch 10 bass with a 10-pack of Senkos, using an O-ring can realistically allow you to catch 30 bass, saving you the cost of two packs of Senkos. Perry said the best he and Garland have done is 10 bass on one Senko. My personal best is eight.
 Ring's The Thing To Get On The Stick
STEVE WATERS ON OUTDOORS Tiny O-ring Can Mean Big Savings When Fishing For Bass With Wacky-rigged Stick Worms.
April 09, 2004 STEVE WATERS ON OUTDOORS(Page 3 of 3)

Instead of using a live-bait or regular worm hook with the O-ring, I have had great success using a Daiichi Bleeding Bait Wacky Hook, which is basically a red circle hook. When a fish grabs your stick worm, all you have to do is reel. The hook sets itself in the bass's mouth.
I didn't appreciate the true beauty of using a circle hook with the O-ring until I set up my 9-year-old nephew with an Ace on his Zebco spincast outfit. Although we'd fished together often, he always struggled to catch bass. He'd get a bite and fail to set the hook, or the fish would throw the lure.

This time, when a bass hit, my nephew simply cranked the reel and landed the fish, which was hooked in the lip. It was the first bass my nephew caught all by himself, and he was justifiably proud.

After he told his mom, he came back outside and resumed fishing with the Ace, which was still secured to the O-ring and the hook.

Now that's a secret everybody needs to know.

Steve Waters can be reached at or at 954-356-4648.

Sun article collections
Hunting & Fishing News
February 2004 Volume 12 No. 130
 The Wacky RIG'R
This is the latest in bait saver tools and this system can extend the life of your bait as much as 20 times.

As many anglers know. Wacky rigging or Wacky styling a worm or other soft plastic baits is one of the most effective ways of fishing this type of bait.

Wacky rigging is a method of hooking your bait somewhere around the mid-point. This gives the bait a more alluring presentation to the fish, and if not weighted, allows the bait to have a slower fall rate, leaving the bait in the strike zone for an extended period of time.

There are many methods of Wacky Rigging soft plastic baits. The most common is to push the hook directly through the bait. This, although effective, ususally causes the bait to have a very short, useful life.

Another method commonly used is by placing the hook betwen a rubber O ring and your bait, extending the life of your bait as much as 20 times over the traditional way of rigging.

A couple of downfalls to the O ring method have been that you can tear the bait as you slide the O ring along the length of the bait, in addition to leaving large traces of human scent on the bait.

The Wacky RIG'R is a tool that allows the angler to place an O ring (known as a Wacky RIG'R ring). anywhere on the bait by simply inserting the worm into the tool to a point where you want the ring to reside on the bait, then sliding one Wacky RIG'R ring along the tool and onto the bait in the desired location. This can be done very easily and reduces the amount of human scent left on the bait.

The Wacky RIG'R tool is made of a durable plastic. It will never rust or taint your bait with any metallic smell. It was designed to be boat friendly, and will not chip or mar your boat.

You'll reduce re-rigging time, leaving more time to fish. This is an extremely helpful tool when taking kids fishing. You'll save bait while keeping kids interested in fishing due to this rigging method being so effective.

This tool comes complete with a package of 10 standard and large rings. The rings are also sold separately and come in two different sizes: standard and large. The large ring can be substituted on the tool fif you prefer fishing with larger diameter worms.

The Wacky RIG'R is available at many fine retailers, including Northern Bass Supply, HotSpots Outfitters, and Dover Marine.

If you would like to purchase direct, visit the website at
Guest Article: K&J Tackle Wacky RIG’R

August 15, 2011.

Patrick Zajdel of Ontario, Canada

As a 16 year old tournament angler from Southern Ontario Canada, I am constantly looking for an “edge” against the older, more experienced anglers. Ever since I joined the K&J Tackle Pro Staff, I have found that “edge” with the Wacky RIG’R Fishing Tool. As I have found out through fishing multiple tournaments, the wacky rig produces large numbers of quality fish, year round, and just when you did not think that fishing this rig could get any easier, K&J Tackle released the Wacky RIG’R Fishing Tool.

The wacky rig has gained an ample amount of popularity over the past few years, and many companies have come out with their versions of the Wacky RIG’R, however, none of them compare to what K&J Tackle has to offer. The advantages to the Wacky RIG’R Fishing Tool are as follows:

It is made of plastic, instead of metal. This enables it to float. Even more impressive is that the tool maintains its buoyancy while fully loaded with RIG’R Rings.

It is yellow, featuring a bright glossy finish. This makes it quite impossible to lose sight of on tournament day.

Bait sizes are universal as the Wacky RIG’R Fishing Tool’s large opening allows rigging for stick baits from 4 to 6 inches in length. This feature makes it a must have accessory for both freshwater and saltwater anglers!

It will save you money because when a fish strikes, the ring allows the bait to slide up the line, therefore, reducing the risk of any damage to the bait. This also allows for better hooks sets and easier hook removal.

Time Saver
It saves time because you are able to spend less time re-rigging your bait. The more time you have it in the water, your odds at catching a fish are greater. Ultimately, the ring allows you to slide the bait back onto the hook in a matter of seconds.

In conclusion, K&J Tackle’s Wacky RIG’R Fishing Tool is an extremely innovative tool on the market with many unique features and advantages. For the price at which it is offered at, it cannot be beat. For only $9.99, you receive the full kit, featuring the tool and two sizes of RIG’R Rings. Make sure to visit K&J Tackle for more information on the Wacky RIG’R. Get yours directly on their website or stop by any of their retailers, listed under the “Contact Us” tab on their web page.

In the meantime, check out my video that illustrates how to rig with the Wacky RIG’R:

FHC Outdoors would like to thank Patrick for submitting his article to our August 2011 Special Guest Entry Contest. On behalf of our members, we had a tough time picking just one entry, so look out for more contests in the near future. If you would like to contact Patrick, please use
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