The venerable Texas rig is rightfully famous, and from punching thick grass mats to pitching into heavy cover, working a deep hole or hump to gliding under a dock, it’s just plain magic.
But the wacky rig has a lot going for it, too, and there’s something special about its fluttering dance that draws hungry bass like a magnet. And from a weightless rig to a jig head, drop shot to Neko, anglers who underestimate the effectiveness of the wacky rig tend to lose tournaments.
If you’re new to bass fishing or just have questions about how these two rigs compare head-to-head, we’ve got you covered.
Want to know more about the Texas and wacky rigs?
Table of Contents (clickable)
Related: Best Fishing Rigs
The Texas Rig
We love the Texas rig, and if you want to know every detail about it, check out these in-depth articles:
The Texas Rig: A Complete Guide to Rigging and Techniques
How to Rig and Fish a Senko: Top 5 Techniques
Ned Rig vs Texas Rig: Which Is Right For You?
The Texas rig is a bass-fishing staple, and its components are deceptively simple. This is definitely a case where the sum is greater than the parts.
Start off with a 3/0 to 4/0 Gamakatsu extra-wide gap (EWG) hook, selecting the exact size to match your trailer.
Add a good bullet sinker, a bead, or silicon float stop, and you’re ready for a soft plastic.
Everything from big worms like the 7 ½-inch Culprit Original to a 6-inch Zoom Brush Hog will work, and the range of curly tails and creature baits that pair with the Texas rig is as long as a country road.
Typically, Texas rigs include a relatively heavy bullet sinker. ¼- to 1 ½-ounce options are popular, making this a grass puncher that’s difficult to rival. Those heavy sinkers also send your trailer to the bottom in a hurry, making the Texas rig ideal for deep water.
That buoyant, typically long and fat soft plastic with a weighted head falls at an angle through the water, gliding gently as it does. That motion can be used to “sail” a Texas-rigged worm up under cover like a dock and into other inaccessible spots.
Moreover, as plenty of anglers have discovered, you can lighten up on the weight, downsize the hook, and run a smaller soft plastic, turning the Texas rig into a front-heavy finesse presentation. Tossed from spinning tackle, this version competes favorably with the Ned, though hooksets can be a bit softer than you’d want.
With a heavier bullet sinker, the Texas rig is best fished from baitcasting tackle, as you’d expect. A good, stiff, sensitive worm rod and a fast reel are essential.
Like most anglers, I prefer braid like Power Pro or Sufix 832, typically 20-pound test or heavier. I’ll also run a leader of mono or fluorocarbon where the water clarity has me worried about line-shy fish.
For “finesse” Texas rigging, I choose a 1/16-ounce bullet weight and trade that 3/0 EWG for a 1/0 offset. My trailers will be in the 4- to 5-inch length, typically something like a 4-inch YUM Dinger.
Obviously, I’ll switch to spinning tackle, choosing a 6 ½- to 7-foot rod in medium light to medium power, like the St. Croix Premier.
A Shimano Ultegra or Pflueger President is more than enough reel for this application.
20-pound braid will typically be my line of choice, with a 6- to 10-pound fluorocarbon or mono leader. On my finesse rod and reel combo, you’ll find Sufix 832 tied to a Seaguar InvizX leader.
Movement, glide, and weedless slide
However you choose to weight and trailer your Texas rig, it’s going to do several things really well.
First, the Texas rig covers a lot of ground. Each twitch or bump will pull that sinker toward you, and any disconnect from the bottom will have your soft plastic racing toward you. Even when fished slowly, as it should be, the Texas rig is anything but a slowpoke.
Second, as we mentioned above, it’ll glide rather than fall, moving horizontally as it sinks. That not only triggers strikes as it excites a flutter from the trailer, but it can also be used to drift the Texas rig into spots that can’t be reached by a cast.
From docks too low to shoot to low-hanging trees and bushes, the Texas rig can glide up under them and reach bass other anglers miss.
Finally, one of the strong suits of the Texas rig is weed busting. Even weedless jig heads catch more trash than a proper Texas rig, and when the bass are in the bad stuff, this rig is at its best.
The Wacky Rig
Wacky rigging means only one thing: whichever hook you choose - be that a jig head or anything else - it’s placed mid-worm to create two fluttering ends.
I’m not sure what bass think this is, and I doubt that the secret to the wacky rig’s success is imitation. Instead, I’d bet that a combination of general shape and subtle action works together to create an irresistible urge to strike.
Just check out this underwater action:
We’ve discussed the wacky rig a number of times before, and if you want an easy-to-follow guide to wacky rigging, we’ve here to help:
Wacky Rigging: The Ultimate Finesse Worm Technique Unpacked
How to Rig and Fish a Senko: Top 5 Techniques
Hook selection for wacky rigging isn’t terribly complicated, but look for sizes smaller than you’d expect. Think 1/0 to 2/0 and no larger. Three of the most popular options are Gamakatsu’s Finesse Wide Gap Hooks, their Inline Circle Hooks, and Owner’s 5172, a weedless wide gap hook.
For a dedicated wacky jig head, look no further than Reaction Tackle’s Tungsten line, available in ⅛-, 1/16-, and 3/16-ounce sizes as well as with or without a weed guard.
The most popular trailer by far is a 5-inch Senko.
Wacky rigs are clearly at their best with small circle or octopus hooks, or light jig heads, and of course, they leave the point exposed.
For that reason, wacky rigs aren’t great in the weeds, and they will get hung up. And even if you run a weedless jig head, you’ll catch more salad than a Texas rig.
The wacky shines where vegetation is sparse and where bass can really see what it has to offer. And when you follow that one simple rule, the wacky is incredibly hard to beat.
I fish my wacky rigs with the finesse tackle I discussed above.
Texas vs. Wacky
A few things should be clear by now.
First, the Texas rig is superior for pitching through grass mats. Because it can be heavily weighted, it’ll bust the salad with the best of them.
Second, a proper Texas rig is as weedless as they come, making it a fantastic choice for teasing big bass into a bite no matter how thick they cover is.
Third, the Texas rig’s special gliding ability enables access to water that’s tough even for an experienced shooter.
By contrast, the wacky rig lacks the weight to punch grass, is prone to snagging trash and getting hung up, and falls more or less straight down. It’s also slow on the descent, making it a poor choice for deep water.
But the wacky rig has two strengths that the Texas just can’t match, head-to-head.
First, the wacky rig creates truly unbeatable action, and thrown side-by-side where the vegetation is sparse, you’ll get more bites with the wacky than the Texas.
Second, the wacky stays put. Unlike the Texas, it doesn’t like to glide, and each shake of your rod tip only creeps the wacky rig forward. For situations where the bass are staying put, say during the spawn, that’s exactly what you want.
And I can’t think of a better worm presentation when the females are nestled up in their beds.
- The Texas rig punches vegetation really well
- It works deep quickly
- It glides into spots that are hard to reach
- It’s as weedless as possible
- The wacky rig creates amazing action, especially with Senkos
- It attracts more interest than a Texas rig, overall
- It stays put better
Does that make the wacky better than the Texas rig?
I wouldn’t say so.
The Texas rig is simply more versatile, offering finesse options like light bullet weights or weightless presentations. And its weedlessness is never something to underestimate.
But in shallow water, where the grass is thin and visibility is good, the wacky rig is very hard to beat.