Great photos and a very accurate description of your deadly dropping method! I say "your" in that you've practically invented, certainly worked more with, the UL approach to wacky rigging, especially for nice sized panfish ! And I can attest that it's a very exciting way to take 'em !
Wow SM, our approaches to jig fishing couldn't be more different, me a night rock stumbler and you a day floater. Different available species too, excepting channel cats.
What we do have in common is creating solutions without copycatting to maximize our local opportunity, and I'm really fortunate to have access to a lake with big fish. Eventually, that will phase out and it'll be back to appreciating anything that will bite, and tho I've never tried who knows may wacky rig one of my senko style stubs in a less snaggy bottom area.
Have no idea of best hook placement - have you tried pinning the bait mid hook bend or as Jigger John used to burying the point for snag less? How about off center for a more erratic action?
Don't think I've ever caught a redear, beautiful pics.
Mid-hook-wacky would probably get bit fine but would also snag more weeds. For weedless presentations, I usually stick with T-rigged jerk worms and jerk sticks - both with bare-hook points exposed or resting on and flush with the surface. But 95 % of my fishing is with bare-point-hook lures (crankbaits, hard surface lures, spinnerbaits, etc.) a majority of the time. Good thing I fish in waters that don't have a lot of thick weeds that fish hang in and therefore can use most any soft plastic lure with hook point exposed.
example: my hand-poured swimbaits rigged on a 2/0 jig hooks:
Great photos of a fun day on the water! Do you use a bobber for these baits or do you free line them and watch the line carefully? You have me interested in trying wacky rigs for panfish now. Thanks for sharing.
Now that you say it, today I fished the Whiskers (as I now call them) with a light 1/24 oz jig. It caught bass, sunfish and a few crappie:
I rescued a small, round, foam float laying in the water and figured I'd put Whiskers beneath it due to the small chop on the water.
Didn't rig it today but tomorrow for sure. I can imagine those little legs quivering under a float, in place driving fish nuts!
Note: these legs are a bit thicker than the ones shown initially but they caught as many fish and the strikes were just as hard!
Note: The usual retrieves are some rod tip twitches with pauses and more twitches - repeat. Today many fish were in the shade under overhanging branches close to shore or close to steep embankments - ideal for subtle lures and presentations in summer. 49 fish were caught under a bright sun from 11 am - 4:30 pm.
These were caught under a float on a different day: