The “MO-WAK” Rig
A rig that definitely makes the difference between catching fish and not catching any at all is the “Mo-Wak” rig. Why? Because it combines two highly effective rigs (the Mo-Jo and the Wacky rig) that bass cannot resist.
First, let me explain these two rigs and their presentations. The “Mo-Jo” rig (known by some anglers as the “Mo-Jo Magic” rig) is assembled using a 1 to 2 foot leader with a swivel, hook, and a 1/8 – 5/16 oz. weight. It can be also rigged without a swivel, using a pegged weight to allow it to slide up and down for whatever leader size you wish. Although unfamiliar to most, this technique has been used by some of the top pros for years and has remained a well-kept secret because of its effectiveness in catching bass. I will even go as far to say that 80% of my former bass fishing school students have never even heard of this rig.
The Mo-Jo rig can be used just about any place under most conditions. When fishing a Mo-Jo, I use the lightest weight I can get away with considering the conditions in which I am fishing. First, I grab a 3/16 oz. slip weight and put it on my line (always put it on the line point first!); next, I usually tie on a 1/0 or 2/0 worm hook to the end of my line. Next, I grab a toothpick (or, you can use a rubber peg made by some of the different companies, but a tooth pick is much cheaper!) and peg my weight. After this is done, I choose my bait based upon what I feel the bass would want under the many different conditions and environments that I will fish the rig. I find some of the most effective baits on the Mo-Jo rig are: (Yamamoto’s) Senkos, (Zoom) Centipedes (also known as French Fries), (Yamamoto’s) Twin Tailed Hula Grubs, Lizards, Worms, and there are of course, many more. (Yamamoto’s Senkos are probably my favorite!) Now, to complete this rig I choose one of these baits and Texas rig it on the hook and then slide the “pegged” weight up the line to the desired length of leader. That’s it! We have just rigged a Mo-Jo rig. Now, cast it to where you think the fish are, let it slowly drop to the bottom, and periodically, slowly lift the tip of your rod, let it fall again and reel up the slack in your line. The slower you work the rig the better! If the wind starts to pick up when fishing this rig you can do one of two different things. Either use a heavier weight, or face the boat into the wind and cast straight in front of the boat. These two changes will keep some of the slack (or bow) out of your line.
The second rig referenced is the well-known “Wacky Rig” made very popular with the (Yamamoto) Senkos. The difference between the Wacky rig and the Mo-Jo rig is quite simple. The Wacky rig is usually used without any weight, and instead of Texas rigging the Senko, you insert the bait into the middle of the hook, thus causing a dangling of plastic on both sides of the hook as it is presented. This rig can be deadly by itself and many anglers have been using this rig in recent years with much success, but again, like any presentation it does have its disadvantages. Without any weight added, windy conditions make it a very tough presentation to work. Sometimes a Senko can be very effective just Texas rigging the bait without any added weight, but again the wind can be somewhat of a deterrent. In addition, this technique can be used just about anywhere.
Now, between these two different rigs, the best is yet to come. Here are a couple of short stories that I have encountered in the past couple of years with some of my students, pros, and a couple of charters.
About two years ago, I had two students from Nevada who fish club tournaments. Both of them were fairly new at bass fishing and wanted to learn how to catch bass during the conditions where the bass seem to shut down (boy, does this happen a lot!). Anyway, the second day of the school, we encountered these same conditions on Lake Champlain and found fishing to be extremely tough. Normally, when you have a lake shut down the best technique is often the slowest presentation one can muster. We tried the Mo-Jo rig without much success, then we went to the Wacky Rig with which we had a couple of short strikes, but as soon as we went to the Wacky Rig the wind started to pick up a bit and I knew we needed some weight to fish this rig consistently. About midday, with only a couple of fish caught between us, I started getting a bit frustrated as most of us do under these conditions. After taking three steps back and a deep breath, I started brainstorming of ways to catch these stubborn fish. That’s when I came up with the idea of joining these two rigs together. So, I took a Mo-Jo rig, and instead of Texas rigging the bait, I took a Senko and Wacky rigged it on the Mo-Jo and made a cast. A couple of minutes after it settled to the bottom, a fish just about ripped the rod out of my hand and literally hooked itself. To our surprise, we boated a 3 1/2 lb. smallmouth bass on the first cast. A few minutes after I released the fish, Ron (one of my students) screamed “YEAH! I got one on,” and before he even got it in the boat, Fred (the other student) yelled “It works!” To make a long story short, we caught several fish in a short time in the same area where we were previously only getting short strikes. Wanting to test my theory, we went to another place and the same thing happened! After realizing what just happened, I started thinking about how to refer to this modification of the two rigs I had come up with…hence, the “MO-WAK” rig.
Since I have been using and teaching this new rig, all my clients and students have been amazed at how well it actually works and plan to keep a rod rigged with it always on deck.
Later on in the season, I had a well-known pro that was going to be fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament out of Plattsburg, NY and needed some help. Realizing I had a 3-day block open well before the cutoff period, he enrolled. We went out for three days and fished different parts of the lake to get him comfortable with different areas to fish, and guess what? He is a “Drop Shot” fanatic who catches a lot of numbers of fish. While he was using the Drop Shot rig, I followed suit with my “Mo-Wak” rig and my fish averaged at least a pound (if not more) than each of his fish.
Don’t think for a moment that the “Mo-Wak” rig is just a geographical location technique that works just for us “Frozen Brains” up here in the North East. Since I have started using this rig, I have taught students on Lake Anna, VA, Shasta Lake, CA, Lake Norman, NC, Don Pedro, CA, Sam Rayburn, TX, St. Johns River, FL, Santee Cooper, SC, Lake Lanier, GA, Kerr Reservoir, NC, and Candlewood, CONN, with GREAT SUCCESS!
Finally, I am often asked how to fish the “Mo-Wak” rig in grass or vegetation. The answer is quite simple… use a hook with a little wire weed guard on it. If you haven’t tried this technique, I strongly suggest that you give it a try and see for yourselves. I think that you just may become addicted to the “Mo-Wak” rig and will use it for years to come.
“The Bass Coach” Roger Lee Brown is an accomplished angler, fully licensed guide, and bass fishing school instructor. For more information e-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518.597.4240