By Jim Gildea
August 7, 2012
My friend Dave Roberts lives by the motto, “there’s nothing you can’t improve”. He’s constantly experimenting with new ways to rig lures, tie knots, or trick out his boat. Handily, his improvements are most often inexpensive, easy to use and they work.
His latest fishing rig improvement is what we have been calling “the Floppy Rig”. In short, it’s a Kut-Tail Worm rigged on a jighead that produces a unique action. It works very well in clear water, and while it’s similar to the jighead wacky rig, it has a much different action.
The Floppy rig has accounted for multiple tournament victories; the latest being on the Connecticut River in Hartford Connecticut. In this tournament the fish were piled up at the heads of islands on gravel flats. We cast the rig up-current and let it swim to the bottom. If we didn’t get a bite on the initial drop, we’d do repeated lift and drops back to the boat. In the past we would have thrown a small jig or a standard shaky head in these conditions, but the Floppy Rig clearly outperformed both of these options.
Essentially, you use a standard jighead and rig the worm like you would a shaky head, except you don’t connect the nose of the worm to the jighead. This makes the nose of the worm “flop” from side to side (hence the name). As it falls, the nose of the worm causes the tail of the Kut- Tail to kick like a swimbait. Typically, the fish hit it on the fall, but if not, lift and drop the bait a few times until it’s back to the boat.
Click on the link below to view a video that shows the action in detail:
This rig works best in clear water or moderately clear water. The rivers we fish are stained at times, often with visibility of only a foot or two. Since the Kut-Tail worm is fairly stiff (for a worm), it puts out enough vibration that the fish can find it.
It also works well in lakes. As you might expect, you fish it on the outside edges of weedlines, on flats, or around deep water docks. Like a Senko, the fish just pick the bait up and swim off with it, so the hook set is not critical.
The deepest we have fished it so far is 4-6 feet, however, there is no reason to think it won’t work down to 30 feet. As the summer progresses, we’ll follow the fish with it as they move out to their summer haunts.
Rigging and Tackle
We fish this rig on the same rod you would use for a tube or a jighead wacky. Typically, this would consist of a 7 foot medium light action rod with 6 or 8 lb Sugoi fluorocarbon. I like to treat my line with some type of line conditioner. The KVD Lure and Line Conditioner works well – it gives me a longer cast and makes the fluoro more limp and manageable.
The jighead itself is not critical. As Dave notes in his video, he uses a ⅛ ounce tube head with a lightwire hook. The most important tackle component is the 5 inch Kut-Tail worm, since it has the bulk in the head and the stiffness to “swim” properly. Of course, the fact the fish hold on to it after they bite it doesn’t hurt either.
As for colors, natural colors are best. In general, I prefer Watermelon/Gold Flake (323) on brighter days, and Watermelon/Black Flake (297) on darker days. In my experience, the 5-inch is the best length since it swims the best and has the best movement.
So there you go - the Floppy Rig. This is a very easy way to catch fish, and under the right conditions works as well as any other bait I have ever fished. Unlike a Senko, you can fish it fairly fast and cover a lot of water with it.