of today's anglers think the shaky head is a new technique, but the
technique has been around for half a century, if not longer. Only the
name is new. We used to call it a jighead worm.
head consists primarily of a round ball-head-style jig hook and a thin
plastic worm, and the basic presentation is shaking. You can use the
shaky head presentation around thick cover, vertical structure and in
both shallow and deep water. It's certainly not just a technique for
deep, open water. On the bottom, the short, thin plastic worm rises at
an angle, so it waves in the current each time you shake it. That's what
the ball head creates because of the 90-degree angle of the line-tie.
misconception is that the shaky head is always rigged with the hook
exposed. I rarely fish it that way. I rig it Texas-style and choose a
weight heavy enough for me to maintain bottom contact, generally between
1/16 and 3/8 ounce. I really like the 1/8-ounce head in depths down to
about 10 feet, and I gradually increase the weight as I fish deeper. I
use 6- to 10-pound fluorocarbon line and a 7-foot spinning rod.
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favorite lure is a 6-inch Berkley Power Shaky Worm. It has a straight
tail and a flat side that lets it glide to the bottom. If bass are
feeding on extremely small forage or receiving heavy fishing pressure,
I'll use a 4-inch worm, and when bass are feeding on larger forage, I'll
go to a 7-inch worm.
I cast near a piece of cover, such
as a tree, bush, boat dock, rocky point or shoreline. These are some of
my favorite shaky head targets, but you can use a shaky head anywhere
and during any season. I've fished them in water as shallow as a foot
all the way down to 40 feet.
Because this is a 50/50 bait
where half my strikes will come as the worm is gliding to the bottom, I
let it fall on a controlled slack line to help me see and feel when a
bas****s. I don't shake it as it's falling, because this will eliminate
that smooth, wandering glide.
If nothing hits on the
glide, I start slowly crawling the worm along the bottom, just dragging
it. I don't hop it or jerk it or do any erratic sweeps. It's only when
the worm comes up to a rock or stick that I start shaking. This is when
that worm tail rises in the water and starts waving and attracting fish.
recently finished second in a tournament at Lake Conroe, Texas, fishing
a shaky head all three days. I had only two areas, a rocky point where a
highway bridge crossed a creek and a long underwater riprap wall. I
kept my boat in 12 to 14 feet of water and made my casts toward the
shore in 3 or 4 feet of water. Then I started slowly dragging the shaky
head back, and each time it "snagged," I started shaking it until it
eventually popped over the rocks.
The bass were in 6 to 8
feet of water, and all the strikes came just as the shaky head popped
free. Among them were two fish weighing 8-1 and 9-8. That 9-8 turned out
to be the largest bass of the tournament and won a new Toyota Tundra
truck for me, so you can understand why the shaky head is one of my
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