5 Fabulous Ways to Rig a YUM Hellgrammite

5 Fabulous Ways to Rig a YUM Hellgrammite

You’ve probably caught the buzz about the YUM Hellgrammite and the fish it produces, and hopefully you’ve had an opportunity to try out this hot new lure.

At Lurenet, we’ve gotten quite a few questions about how to rig a Hellgrammite for different situations and fish species. We’ve also gotten many reports from anglers about the techniques that have worked for them. The best rig and presentation really depends on the waters you are fishing, and on the conditions. The rigs detailed below will help you get the most out of the YUM Hellgrammite in a broad range of situations.

Hellgrammite Ned Rig

Simple jighead rigging allows for a very natural Hellgrammite presentation and lets you drag the bait over gravel, hop it down slopes or swim it in current. A Ned Head, with its mushroom shape, allows the bait to rock and stand up when you drag it along the bottom. Most Ned Heads also feature the small diameter hooks needed for fishing with light line in creek settings.

Ned Head rigging is simple. Hook the bait through the hook and the Hellgrammite, between the pinchers, string the bait onto the hook, and bring it out the top where the hook begins bending.

Versatility is one of the main virtues of Ned Head rigging. It can be effective anywhere vegetation or other cover isn’t too snaggy for an open hook. The best presentation varies by location and the mood of the fish. Common denominators of most of the best presentations are slowness and keeping the bait near the bottom. In creeks and rivers, whenever possible, allow the current to aid the presentation to mimic what fish are most accustomed to seeing.

YUM Ned Heads come in 1/8- and 1/12-ounce sizes and in Green and Black, with a sharp hook that’s sized perfectly for YUM Hellgrammites and braided weed guard and keeper to keep the bait from sliding.

Split Shot a Hellgrammite
creek smallmouth fishing

Functionally, a split shot rig is like a finesse version of a Carolina rig that’s well suited for light line and spinning tackle. With one or two split shot pinched on the line 1 to 2 feet in front of the hook and bait, the Hellgrammite has a slow uninhibited action and typically glides just off the bottom in a prime feeding zone for bass and other gamefish. It’s an extra good presentation for fishing a Hellgrammite over structural features like humps and points in lakes and reservoirs.

Cover-dependent, a Hellgrammite on a split shot rig can be nose hooked on an octopus hook or hooked weedless on a light-wire offset hook, like a Texas rig. Where it’s an option, nose hooking allows for higher hook-up rates.

Again, like a Carolina rig, the best split shot presentation typically is to drag the weight along the bottom with short gentle sweeps of the rod tip. An alternative presentation in shoals and current lines is to cast upstream and let the rig drift in the current, mixing in rod twitches to make the Hellgrammite dance.

YUM Hellgrammite Drop Shot
pool in cool-water creek

Drop shotting, which puts the weight below the bait and allows for controlled finesse presentations a measured distance off the bottom, is most often associated with vertical, stationary presentations in clear lakes and reservoirs. The YUM Hellgrammite is certainly well suited for that application. Arguably more important for this lure, though, is the virtue of a drop shot rig for casting presentations in creeks and rivers.

A drop shot rig allows you to work a Hellgrammite in areas where moss or low-growing vegetation makes it difficult to work a bait on the bottom. It also allows for very slow, controlled presentations next to key pieces of cover and through zones that are likely to hold feeding fish.

A short drop shot rig, with only 6 or 8 inches between the bait and the weight, typically elevates the bait just enough to keep it out of the salad but in that prime feeding zone. Use just enough weight to get the rig to the bottom and the line tight, given the depth and current, and an octopus hook through the nose of the Hellgrammite.

Pitch or cast to boulders and other cover features and into eddies and let the rig find bottom. Tighten the line and hold the rod still initially. Sometimes fish will hit before you do anything else. Lacking an immediate strike, jiggle the rod enough to make the bait dance without moving the weight, then work it slowly with hops, drags and pauses. Err on the side of less rod action, and let the current bring the Hellgrammite to life.

Texas-Rigged Hellgrammite
YUM Hellgrammite

A Texas rig allows you to work a Hellgrammite through many areas where you cannot fish open-hook rigs effectively. Weedless hooking allows you to swim a Hellgrammite through vegetation and drop it into openings and fish much tighter to laydowns and other fish-holding cover than you otherwise could.

A Texas-rigged YUM Hellgrammite can be effective in still- or moving-water settings and is a good choice anytime you want to cast around cover. Because the Hellgrammite is a fairly small soft-plastic lure and often fished on spinning tackle, a light-wire, fairly small worm hook (No. 1 or 1/O) and a 3/16-ounce or smaller worm weight generally work best.

Except with a very light weight for swimming through submerged grass, the normal technique is to cast to the bank or to a piece of shallow cover, let the Hellgrammite sink, and work it with gentle lifts of the rod tip. In many stream settings, casting across the stream to cover near the bank and let it sweep downstream as you hop it down the bank.

Hellgrammite, Wacky-Style

Finally, don’t overlook the virtues of a wacky rig or weighted variations of a wacky rig. Rigging a Hellgrammite in the center makes it undulate as it falls, bringing all those appendages to life.

The wacky approach excels for casting to specific targets. In a creek, that might mean eddies near the bank or beneath rapids, the lee side of instream boulders or tight to tree branches. In still water it might mean stumps, dock supports or defined weed edges. Cast to high percentage spots and let the Hellgrammite perform its irresistible dance as it sinks.

In a creek or river setting, a wacky rig can also be effective for drifting along the edge of a current line, where fish set up in ambush position.

Most fish hit a wacky rig as it sinks, so it’s important to watch the line carefully as the bait sinks with readiness to set the hook anytime the line jumps. Once the bait finds bottom, you can lift the rod a couple of feet and let it sink again a time or two or simply reel back and cast to the next target. Check them out at

By Jeff Samsel