The Shakey Head: A Deep Water Must Have Bait

While many people don't consider the shakey head worm to be a big fish bait, during the summer months this somewhat finesse rig can put absolute giants in your boat. The whole key is getting the bait to where the big fish live. The official first day of summer is not until June 21st,  but as far as fishing goes summer is absolutely here across the southern half of the United States. With water temperatures in the mid 80's there is no doubt in my mind that the majority of the bass population is living deep. I'm going to break down another one of my favorite deep water summer baits, the shakey head. A wise man once said, "When you are fishing the bank 90 percent of the fish are behind you!"

Zman Finesse WOrmZ

Zman Finesse WOrmZ

Shakey Head:

I learned at a young age that bass and basically all species of fish love to eat worms. The shakey head worms is absolutely one of my go to baits in the summer months based on a few key factors. First, is the fact that a skakey head is a subtle presentation. Often times deep water power fishing baits such as deep diving crankbaits and big spoons will catch big fish but at the same time they can spook a school of weary bass. What I like to do is pick off a few fish that are hungry with the shakey head and then reactivate the school by throwing the big crankbaits and spoons. The subtle aspect also helps on lakes where the deep water fish are heavily pressured on lakes such as Lake Guntersville, Douglas Lake, or even Logan Martin. Even a pressured fish is very likely to eat a worm if it is properly worked in front of it. My second reason is all in the nature of how a shakey head sits on the bottom of the lake. Unlike a texas rig a shakey head will stand the worm up popping the tail of the bait up towards the surface. Something about this head down tail up action definitely drives bass wild. Third, is the weedless factor, a shakey head is a great bait for fishing around brush piles. It allows you to work the bait gently through the cover presenting the bait properly with out hanging the bait up. If the bait lodges behind something just pop your line with your rod held high and typically this will free the bait. If it really seams to be wedged just troll past the piece of structure and pull it out from the other side which works nearly 90% of the time.


In most situations with a shakey head worm less is truly more. I have found that on most days the less action you give the bait the more fish you catch. The key is keeping the bait on the bottom letting it rest on a slack line for long periods of time. You will find that the majority of the bites you get will happen when the bait is sitting still in between hopping or dragging it. I typically just try to make the worm shimmy and jiggle on the bottom while letting it swim off of the bottom as little as possible. Again there is no 100% right way to fish any bait and occasionally a hop and pop method works best.


My go to deep water shakey head setup is a 7'3" Medium TFO Tactical Series Spinning Rod accompanied by a 6.2:1 Quantum Smoke spinning reel. My all around favorite line is 8lb test Vicious Pro Elite Fluorocarbon. As far as the exact rig goes a Zman Finesse WormZ on a 3/16oz Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shakey head hook is my absolute go to. I love to use a color called Bloodworm for clear water and Plum or Junebug in dirty water situations.

Find some deep water structure holding fish and slowly work a shakey head worm through it and I guarantee you will be happy with the results. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania