The chicken rig is the incredible creation of Gary Yamamoto. I was astounded when I found out he owns the website – baits.com. The man has filled bait shop shelves with tackle for decades. It’s a weedless rig that’s a cross between a Texas rig and a Neko rig.
After hours of research, testing, and consulting with some anglers – I’ve determined that the chicken rig is worth bringing to the readers of YBG. In this article, you’ll learn how to rig it, why to rig it, and how to catch more big bass.
How to Rig a Chicken Rig
Rigging it is much simpler than you think. It’s essentially a toss between a Neko rig and a Texas rig because it’s weedless. This rig is actually the creation of Gary Yamamoto, who created and designed the Senko worm and other bait varieties.
The guy is a genius at taking something that already works pretty well, switching a few things up, and creating something that works even better. When we’re talking about bass, he’s even better.
Here are the steps to set up a chicken rig for bass:
1. You need the right hook. Take a 4/0 – 5/0 straight shank hook and puncture your work of choice about ⅔ of the way down the worm. You want to run your hook almost all the way through the soft plastic just like you would with a Texas rig.
2. Once you’re almost at the eye of the hook, flip it around as you would normally. Insert the hook back through the plastic until it pokes out the other side of the worm.
3. You have a few different options for the third step. You can use a dedicated fishing screw weight, or Yamamoto actually recommends using a standard drywall screw with a round top. You want to puncture the top of the worm with the screw, and this will act as your weight.
What you’re creating here is a lure that moves similar to a jig, but it doesn’t have the finesse impact, and you can use it with a much heavier tackle.
The Story of the Chicken Rig
Image Source: Baits.com
So, before we get any further into the details, I wanted to take some time to talk about the origin of this rig. If you’ve been fishing for longer than a month, you’ve likely heard the name, Gary Yamamoto. He’s the creator of some of the most popular lures and baits of all time.
Many of the soft plastics we buy online and in stores are mere duplicates and recreations of products he’s already put on the market, but they’ve watered them down over time.
Gary Yamamoto said that Chinese anglers enjoy tinkering with their baits rather than simply rigging them up and leaving them as is. That’s how we got such a unique set up and seemingly “rigged up” rig.
When you set up a chicken rig correctly, you essentially have a wacky rig that functions more like a weighted jig.
Most people fish bass rigs vertically by letting them drop straight down and jerking them and letting them fall again.
With this setup, you’ll let it sink all the way to the bottom, reel it back steady, let it sink again. The difference is the weight. That screw on the top will create a weighted presentation that allows the worm to move more erratically.
That’s why you need to fish it with consistent movements and not allow it to jerk around too much.
Gear Required to Fish a Chicken Rig
Now let’s talk about the gear. When you’re fishing this style, what kind of rod, reel, line, etc., do you need to have?
For the reel, Yamamoto himself recommends a medium-heavy spinning tackle. So, what you’ll have here is a moderate power and moderate action setup that works well in most bass fishing situations.
When you’re fishing this rig, it’s important to understand that it’s a more power angling style versus finesse fishing. You’re not going to be tip-toeing around the water and tugging hard at every fish that nibbles. You’re playing the game a bit slower and waiting for the right moment and the strongest bite.
As Yamamoto said, we’re using medium-heavy tackle, so you’ll use a spinning rod with moderate-fast action and enough power to hold onto the potential five-pound bass you grab. The moderate-fast action will also help you feel some of those smaller nibbles, but you need to be patient.
Many people question whether or not spinning or baitcasting tackle is better for this type of rig, but as you know, I’m always swaying towards spinning rod and reel setups. I find that I have more control over my cast with a spinning reel, and it’s important when you’re fishing a weedless rig that you plan on pinpointing a precise casting location.
We’ll follow the teachings and training of Mr. Yamamoto here as well. He uses a 15 or 20-pound braided main line with 16 or 20-pound fluorocarbon as his leader. Why do you use a leader in this situation?
I would recommend using a leader for your presentation alone. Many people look for the best fishing line to pair with certain lures, and there’s no right or wrong answer, but there’s always a good reason to use a fluorocarbon leader.
This type of line is necessary with braided because of the visibility factor. Braided line is thicker and is much more visible by the bass in the water. Fluorocarbon line hides well, so it doesn’t scare the fish away.
If you decide to use monofilament for the rig, then you could likely get away without using a leader, but why not go with the real expert?
It’s obvious that you’re using a soft plastic worm with this rig, but which one? Gary suggests going with a 7.75 inch Kut Tail worm. These are pretty big, but the setup allows you to fish bigger worms than you normally would. Since you’re fishing with a powerbait style, it allows you that freedom.
I personally like to use a Senko worm because I think it’s much easier to secure the nail weight into the top of the worm, and I prefer the Senko diameter because it makes it easier to set the hook. That’s just me.
The advantage you get with the Kut Tail is the presentation of the swirly tail on the worm. This factor helps when you’re retrieving it.
Chicken Rig Fishing for Bass
How do you fish this style of bait? It’s really simple and closely mimics how you would fish a jig. If you look at a standard jig setup, you have a weighted head on top with a barbed hook popping out of the side of your worm or skirted jig, right?
This rig is the same thing, with the exception of a weedless presentation. So, you’re fishing them exactly the same. Yamamoto suggests casting it out around bridges, docks, and other structure and letting it sink to the bottom. Once it’s reached the bottom, you’ll slowly retrieve and let it sink again.
After you’ve done that two or three times, reel it in and cast it back out. Most of your bites will come on the fall back down towards the bottom, so this does require a little depth in the water.
The main thing that Gary Yamamoto wants people to understand about bottom fishing rigs is that you’re not fishing them like many other finesse lures. You can’t cast and retrieve them the whole way. Instead, you need to take your opportunity to present the worm; if they don’t bite it, bring it back.
Advantages of Chicken Rig Fishing
We have so many types of bass lures to work with, why would we take a worm, put a screw in it, and call it our number one choice? Finesse fishing has grown so much in popularity that most people will turn away from these fishing styles.
I’m guilty of this myself!
When you weight something backward like this, it allows the bass to see something that not only moves naturally, but they’ve never seen it before. Bass are curious predators, and they’re opportunistic. They’ll bite something simply because they’re unsure about it.
Here are some of the other advantages of chicken rigs for bass:
Weedless – It’s the perfect mashup between Texas rig and a Neko rig. You get the weedless nature of the Texas and the desirability of that wacky presentation. No longer do you have to worry about getting hung up.
Durability – When you hook a fish with this rig, the bass will end up pulling a majority of the hook out of the worm, which leaves the soft plastic unscathed on the outside of the fish while you have a raw hook in the mouth of your catch.
At Your Bass Guy, we’re always looking for new and interesting content to bring your way. One of the best ways we can inform, educate, and entertain readers is by providing exciting and experimental rigs like this.
The chicken rig is an awesome weedless setup that kills it with bass along the structure, weed beds, and rocks. Next time you’re out, give it a try. You likely have everything you need in your tackle box to set this up.
Let us know in the comments if you give it a try!