Fishing is a lot like trick or treating.

An angler gets dressed up in a costume -- like a multi-colored laminated shirt with 27 logos and a matching hat -- then goes around to where the bass live and knocks on the door and yells “trick or treat!” Some days you’re tricked and others treated, but one thing’s for certain, both begging children and hopeful bass anglers are proud of a big sack when the day is done.

 Some lakes are like the nice lady down the street – full-size Snickers. Others don’t even have the porch light on. One type that begs to be egged is a lake with gin clear water and large populations of spotted bass. This ghoulish situation is even scarier after a fall cold front.

One such reservoir is Beaver Lake in Arkansas. This pleasant-sounding body of water is known to give bass anglers nightmares. It’s renowned for its large population of spotted bass, but it’s also home to plenty of smallmouth and largemouth bass. Not many monster bass live there, but it’s popular enough that the Wal-mart FLW tour holds a major tournament there every year, so professional anglers do knock on its door and hope for a treat. Instead of handfuls of tooth-rotting fizzies, however, many anglers find a sack full of rocks.
Like many other highland reservoirs across the country, Beaver Lake can challenge anglers when dreadful cold fronts blow through and leave bluebird skies and high barometric pressure. Anglers often find they have to seriously change their tactics post-front in the fall.

Beaver Lake fishing guide Brad Wiegmann is accustomed to the chilling cold fronts that arrive each fall on this Ozarks impoundment, and says he’s developed a technique to catch these post-cold front bass. He calls it “Boo Shakin’,” and it’s far more dependable than waiting on the Great Pumpkin.

“Beaver Lake is notorious for being a tough lake that’s stingy with its monster bass, however, what it lacks in size of big fish it makes up in numbers,” Wiegmann said. “The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to even catch a single bass. So, I started rigging up my clients rods with a BOOYAH Big Show Head Jig with a 4-inch YUM F2 Mightee Worm Texas rigged on it.”

He and his clients caught fish on that shakin’ rig, but it didn’t produce consistently. He knew that there had to be another way to get these finicky bass to bite, so like a mad scientist he set out to devise a versatile rig he could use to consistently put fish in the sack.

“After playing around with lots of soft plastics rigged on the jig head, I finally just wacky wormed the finesse worm and casted it out. It didn’t even hit bottom before I had a keeper spot on,” he said.

This ended up being the solution to getting bass to bite even on days when they seemed to be hiding under their beds. By using the combo Texas-rigged at times and wacky rigged when appropriate, he gives the fish a one-two punch that produces the trick and the treat.

“The answer is so simple,” he said, “and it lets the angler change techniques without retying a different lure or jig head.” said Wiegmann.

Size of the jig head and worms makes a difference. Wiegmann only uses a 1/8-ounce BOOYAH Big Show Head Jig, but not just because he’s cozying up to the finesse crowd. Beaver Lake doesn’t feature much in the way of cover except for boat docks, so they get a lot of fishing attention. If the jig weighs too much Wiegmann has more trouble skipping it beneath docks and under walkways, as well as sinking too fast and snagging.
Wiegmann says the round shape of the jig head is a key feature in making Boo Shakin’ so deadly. When Texas rigged with a finesse worm the bait can be easily skipped in and around boat docks, under overhanging limbs or cast around shoreline cover. Truth is, a shaky head can be cast almost anywhere. When rigged wacky style, an angler can skip it, cast or pitch it and the bait’s slower descent pulls fish out of cover.

“This is one effective way of catch bass around boat docks, especially on sunny days when bass hold tight underneath. The key is to both skip it into hard to reach places or pitch it in and let it free fall. Most bites come before it hits the bottom. You just see your line swimming off,” said Wiegmann.

Because the presentation is slow, the guide believes in a soft plastic with a strong scent. He believes that anglers need to take every advantage when the fishing is tough on gin-clear reservoirs and water with plenty of visibility often means wary, spooky bass. Worm color also is important. Early in the year Wiegmann likes green pumpkin because it resembles a crawfish. He then switches to watermelon red once the bream start spawning and around boat docks.

Knowing when to use the shaky head or wacky rig technique depends on time and location. During prespawn, the shaky head technique works best where bass are staging before spawning. He uses both riggings when bass are full-on spawning. Once summer arrives he focuses on boat docks with both riggings. He also fishes both riggings when bass are scattered during fall, but the Texas-rigged shaky head gets the nod when fishing brushpiles or other snaggy features.

“The Boo Shakin’ wacky rig is perfect for when you want to make a vertical presentation,” Wiegmann said. “Boat docks, retaining walls, bridge pilings or bluff walls are key locations when fishing the Boo Shakin’ wacky rig. It can also catch suspending bass around the vertical structure or cover. It’s just like trick-or-treating when you are fishing it wacky style. You’re basically knocking on the door and hoping you something good instead of a toothbrush or something.”

When rigged shaky head style (Texas rigged), the Boo Shakin’ rig can be fished both horizontally and vertically. It excels when fished around some type of cover or structure. Another advantage of fishing this technique is cost. Instead of having to purchase several different styles of worms, hooks and jigheads, all you need is a pack of jigheads and a pack of worms.

During this time of ghosts and globins when bass are as likely to trick as treat, try Boo Shakin’. It will make even the spookiest bass bite.