It’s been five years since Luke Clausen first used a shaky head worm rig in bass tournament competition but the Yamaha pro has been dedicated to the technique ever since. That’s because he won that tournament, the 2004 Wal-Mart® FLW® Championship, and its $500,000 first prize.
“I honestly do not think there is a better lure presentation if you simply want to catch fish now in the summer,” notes Clausen, who has also won the Bassmaster® Classic. “It’s simple and it’s subtle so it doesn’t spook fish, which is important now because the bass have received heavy fishing pressure since early spring and they’re usually a little more wary.
“The shaky head presentation has been around for decades, but only in the past few years has it really become popular.”
The shaky head system consists of a thin, five to seven-inch straight-tail plastic worm and a small, round jighead weighing between 3/32 and 3/8-ounce. The worm is usually rigged with the hook exposed, but it can also be rigged weedless for fishing around vegetation and thick cover. Clausen rates green pumpkin as his favorite all-around worm color, and he uses 10-lb. braided SpiderWire® with an 8-lb. fluorocarbon leader on a 6’10” medium action spinning rod.
“I like to fish a shaky head where others don’t, which is around cover or in dingy, off-colored water,” notes the Yamaha pro. “Most use a shaky head in clear water where bass may be suspended fairly deep, but I regularly use it in shallow water less than 10 feet deep.
“I’ll go down a shoreline casting to boat docks, laydowns, and other visible targets. If a fish doesn’t hit as the lure is falling, I’ll let the worm reach the bottom, shake it a moment, then lift it a foot or two and let it fall again.
“It’s almost like finesse flipping. If a bass doesn’t hit after the second fall, I’ll reel in and cast to a new target.”
In deeper water, Clausen slows his presentation and drags the worm along the bottom, concentrating on ledges, humps, brush, and rocks.
Occasionally he’ll sweep his rod to one side, let the worm fall, then sweep it again to give the lure a different appearance, and because bass will also hit a shaky head while it’s lying on the bottom, he uses a lot of stop-and-go movement, as well.
“The advantage a shaky head has over a standard Texas rig is that the worm keeps moving from side to side,” continues the Yamaha pro. “I fish these worms the same places I use a jig, because it’s such a different presentation.
“You can catch a lot of bass with it so it’s a good technique to use to teach beginners about bass fishing. Not all the bass will be smaller fish, either. I’ve caught largemouths over eight pounds on a shaky head, so you can see why I usually have one rigged and ready to use.”