Critter baits, those fat-bodied, multi-appendaged hunks of plastic that look like nothing real but suggest a variety of things that our bass (and other fish) can eat, are extremely popular of late—especially when used for probing heavy cover with a cone sinker.
Recent word from Japan is that bass anglers over there are hooking their critters—specifically the Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog—backwards…and weightless. You can see how it’s done in the photo.
Here’s the advantage: Hooked with the fat tail section forward, the bait tends to drop down and forward. If you allow controlled (not totally loose, not too tight) slack in your line, the rig will go down and beneath edges of overhead cover like weeds, trees, docks and such—even between reed stalks. It takes a tad of practice but the technique is quickly learned. And it surely is effective.
For busting through the really thick weed mats, however, you’re still going to need a weight. You can continue to rig with the fat end forward, though. Some anglers then use a trick called “bombing.” With a heavy weight, they flip the rig vertically up into the air and let it crash down through the slop. To do that correctly, the moment the weighted bait hits and breaks through the matt, you need to feed line to get a vertical drop. But stay tuned. Fish can hit at any moment on the way down.