I know it’s been awhile since my last article and I certainly appreciate all the daily emails, phone calls, and letters that I have received (at least 200+ per week). I have been having a bit of a painful recovery after my back surgery last spring. I also wish to apologize to, and thank all of the 3-day (bass fishing school) students and charter inquiries that I couldn’t schedule this past season due to a full schedule (along with my recovery). Lord willing, this season I hope to accommodate those of you that I couldn’t get to this past season. I am scheduling 3-day students and charters at the present for the upcoming season, so if you wish to enroll into the 3-day bass fishing school now would be the best time to do it! My teaching and charter season usually starts around mid-April and continues through October or November (depending on the seasonal climate).
Now that that’s out of the way, here is the one! Numero uno! The cat’s meow!….. The rig that will definitely make the difference between catching fish and not catching any at all. I simply call it the "Mo-Wak" rig because it’s really two different rigs (which are the Mo-Jo & Wacky rig) put into one.
First, let me explain what these two rigs are and their presentations. Firstly, the "Mo-Jo" rig (or also known by some anglers as the "Mo-Jo Magic" rig) which is rigged by either using a 1 to 2 foot leader with a swivel, hook, and a light weight. This rig can also be rigged without a swivel using a pegged weight to allow it to slide up and down for what ever leader size you wish. This is a rig that has been used by some of the top pros for years but has been a well kept secret because of how well this rig really works at catching bass. I would even go as far to say that 80% of my former bass fishing school students have never even heard of this rig, so the Mo-Jo may be a new rig for you as well.
The Mo-Jo rig can be used just about any place under certain conditions that will allow you to use it. When I rig a Mo-Jo, I usually use the lightest weight I can get away with due to the conditions where I choose to fish it. First I will grab a 3/16th ounce slip weight and put it on my line (always put it on the line point first!). Next, I will usually tie on a 1/0 or 2/0 worm hook to the end of my line. Then I will grab a tooth pick (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 will choose my bait to what I feel the bass would want under the many different conditions and environments that I will fish the rig. I found that some of these following baits are very effective on the Mo-Jo rig: (Yamamoto’s) Senkos, (Zoom) Centipedes (or 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 will choose one of these baits and Texas rig it on the hook, and then I will slide the pegged weight up the line to what ever leader size I wish. 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 lift the tip of your rod slowly, and let it fall again and reel up the slack in your line. The slower you work this rig the better! If the wind starts to pick up when fishing this rig, you can do one of two different things. You can 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 next rig mentioned 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 using any weight, and instead of Texas-rigging the Senko, you insert the bait into the middle of the hook. Rigging the bait in this manner causes it to dangle plastic on both sides of the hook when working it. This rig can be deadly in itself and many anglers have been using this rig in recent years with much success. But like any presentation you can find a flaw. Without any weight added with windy conditions makes this a very tough rig 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. This technique can also be used just about anywhere you can find fish with great success.
The best is yet to come once you combine these two techniques. 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 that 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 right down. The second day of the school sure enough we encountered these same conditions on Lake Champlain (which is usually where I teach) and found that a good variety of different baits and presentations weren’t doing the job. Normally when you have a lake shut down the best technique one can use would be about the slowest presentation one can muster. Well, we tried the Mo-Jo rig without much success, then we went to the Wacky Rig which we had a couple of short strikes. 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. Now, about mid day with a couple of fish caught between my students and myself, I started getting a bit frustrated like most of us do under these conditions, right? After taking three steps back and a deep breath, I started thinking of a way to catch these stubborn fish so 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, a 3 and a half pound smallmouth bass was boated on the first cast. A few minutes after I released the fish Ron(one of my students) screamed that he had one on, and before he even got it in the boat, Fred (the other student) yelled "it works"!
Long story short, we caught several fish in a short time in the same area where we were getting the short strikes. So, wanting to be sure about this modification I went to another location to replicate the success. We caught several fish there as well, and for the remainder of the class period we caught plenty of fish for the day. This started me thinking about how to refer to this modification of the two rigs, and I came up with the "MO-WAK" rig. Since I have been using and teaching this new rig, all my clients and students have been amazed on 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, New York and needed some help. So, I had a 3-day open slot in the school well before the cut off period and he enrolled. We went out for a three days and fished different parts of the lake to get him somewhat comfortable with different areas to fish. He was one of these Drop Shot fanatics that caught numbers more than the quality for weight. The same time he was using the Drop Shot rig, I used my "Mo-Wak" rig and my fish averaged at least a pound (if not more) than each of his fish. And don’t think for a moment that the "Mo-Wak" rig is just a geographically-specific technique that works just for us "Frozen Brains" up here in the Northeast either. Since I started using this rig, I have taught students on the following lakes across the country: Lake Anna in Virginia, Shasta Lake and Don Pedro Lake in California, Lake Norman and Kerr Reservoir in North Carolina, Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas, the St. Johns River in Florida, Santee Cooper in South Carolina, Lake Lanier in Georgia, Lake Candlewood in Connecticut, and a few other places with great success!
One question that I get from students that I forgot to mention about the "Mo-Wak" rig is how to work this rig in grass or vegetation? The answer is quite simply by using a hook with a little wire weed guard on it.
I really 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 be using it for years to come. If you have any questions about the "Mo-Wak" rig, or wish to enroll in my 3-day bass fishing school at your home lake or mine, or just wish to charter a day of bass fishing you can call me at: (518) 597-4240 or visit my website at www.capital.net/~rlbrown or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.