Like any keen fisherman, Ricci was quick to notice the Reverend was significantly outperforming him with bass catches. Some investigation into the matter was definitely in order. It turned out that Reverend Byrd, in response to the breezy conditions, wanted his Senko to drop faster through the water column.
While searching through his tackle box for an answer, the Reverend found a Clam Shot weight. Similar to a split shot, this clamshell-shaped fishing weight is common to fly fishing. The Reverend had pinched the small weight onto his line just in front of the Senko.
This adjustment certainly accomplished the Reverend’s goal. It was also the reason the bass were favoring his presentation. The Rev Rig produced more than just a quicker fall. Ricci spotted these attributes immediately and soon started to refine and develop a technique.
Before I go further with the Rev Rig, I would like to introduce the BBZ to Chris Ricci. I met Ricci while on the road competing in FLW events as a Co-Angler. This former New Yorker and now Bend Oregon bass angler is the original ‘Pro-Co’ and my Co-Angler Road Dog idol. Ricci quickly caught my attention as a fellow competitor. It seemed like just about every event I fished Ricci had earned the prestige of competing on the final day top ten cut.
Some of Ricci’s highlights include; 1997 WON Bass Pro/Am Champion, 2007 WON Bass Pro/Am Champion, Perennial FLW National Championship Qualifier, FLW Co-Angler Champion, Forrest Wood Cup Qualifier, 2010 Lake Mead U.S. Open AAA Champion.
Ricci is also a long-time travel partner and tournament ‘wing man’ to the legendary professional bass angler Mike Folkestad. Folkestad has a Hall of Fame career as a worm and finesse aficionado. There is a long-standing tradition of finesse techniques dominating back deck angling success and who better to learn from than Mike Folkestad? The BBZ needs to talk with Ricci more often.
Take a bow Chris Ricci!
Getting back to the matter at hand, Chris Ricci and I are together at the place where it all started, the California Delta. Named after Reverend Tony Byrd, the BBZ presents Chris Ricci’s Rev Rig.
The set-up consists of your favorite Yamamoto Senko pattern in a 5” or 6” size paired with a 4/0 Gamakatsu round-bend offset shank worm hook tied to 50 lb. braided fishing line. The hook is rigged through the soft plastic bait ‘Tex-posed’ style and a #5 - 1/20 oz. clam shot weight is placed on the fishing line in front of the hook.
Ricci has tested several hook types with this system. The round-bend offset worm hook suits the profile of the Senko best providing a superior keel and action. The greatest attribute of the Rev Rig is its ability to glide through the grass. That characteristic by itself makes this a great technique, but it gets better. An angler can also twitch the Senko back and forth with minor rips on slack line. Depending on the placement of the clam shot weight in relationship to the position of the Senko you can produce a variety of falling actions, everything from a horizontal descending glide to a spiral drop. The spiral decent is accomplished by placing more distance, up to 1”, between the Senko and the clam shot weight.
The 5” inch Senko tends to catch smaller class keeper Delta bass, these are good fish but as Ricci explains the larger 6” bait will often receive bites from the more massive bass. He is quick to point out that there are always exceptions to this rule, but typically when you have a limit, and a kicker fish is needed the larger 6” Senko is Ricci’s Go-To bait size.
Cast this bait directly atop weed cover including string algae. String algae are probably the most annoying weed that a fisherman contends with, but the Rev Rig comes through it cleanly. By casting the Rev Rig on top of a vegetation mats or on the bank, you can slide the bait into the water with a super stealthy silent entry. This is a tremendous advantage when the bass are heavily pressured, or situations involving cunning big bass.
Anytime you have a fishing knot exposed on your line ahead of the bait, the tag end of the line forms a place for weeds to hang up on. The clam shot, when placed on the line in front of the knot provides a perfect weed deflection protecting the knot. The vast majority of weeds are going to slide right over this set-up. When you couple the clam shot with Tex-Posed rigging this Senko presentation is as weedless as any technique. Senko’s and weedless is an excellent combination. Senko’s and the Delta is an outstanding combination. Senko’s, weedless, and the Delta is a great combination.
Fishermen that use braided line are well aware of how the wind can quickly place a large arcing bow in your line when presenting lighter finesse techniques. When you slide your Rev Rig Senko into the water from off the bank or from atop a weed cluster, the wind will pull the set-up laterally across the face of structure and cover elements. This aspect keeps your presentation in the Funnel longer. BBZ readers know that having your lure in an ambush zone and staying there longer is a prescription for producing more and bigger bites. By effectively placing your casting position anglers have the ability to present retrieve lines that bass are not going to see very often.
Ricci and I are fishing down a stretch of the Delta, and the bite is starting to slow down. Ricci’s response was to start presenting the Rev Rig. Almost immediately he is catching fish again, and I have zero bites. Does this sound familiar; can you guess my next move? That’s right I’m set-up and casting the Rev Rig too. The Rev Rig is an outstanding method from either end of the boat. This virtually snag free technique is also an excellent back deck response for targeting the Reverse Angle.
The Yamamoto Senko all by itself is a superior fishing tool. Now with the Rev Rig set-up, you have the ability to set yourself apart by presenting Senkos with incredible weedless action. This set-up is extremely easy to cast even on a windy day. The Rev Rig provides a stealthy entry allowing you to glide cleanly across vegetation then drop into pockets and channels, easily climbing over the next weed line. The wind can enhance this system’s performance. The Rev Rig, what is there not to love about this technique?
Experimenting when things aren’t just right, thinking outside of the box, seizing the moment when the opportunity presents itself are long-standing tenants of the BBZ. These traits are also why Chris Ricci, Reverend Tony Byrd and the Rev Rig are without question in the Big Bass Zone. Thank you, for sharing your outstanding technique with the BBZ.