Soft plastic worms have been a central feature of bass fishing for nearly 40 years now. They remain one of the most popular and most effective lures for tempting all species of bass. No tackle box should be without a selection of available plastic worms. Learning how to rig worms for effective fishing, and how to handle them, will mean the difference between success and a bad day on the water.
Fish indeed can see color, so the choice you make in the color of plastic worms will be key. Brighter colored plastic worms will be more visible in cloudy water. While the logic seems wrong, most professional bass anglers recommend black plastic worms for night fishing. Ask veteran anglers around the area you intend to fish what color is "hitting" currently and then buy your plastic worms accordingly.
Plastic worms come in many sizes, from short "grub" lengths to worms in excess of 12 inches. It's good to stock several different lengths in your tackle box so you can change baits that don't seem to be attractive to the bass during a trip. One size never fits all when it comes to plastic worm lures.
While bass fishing pros--especially those touting the wares of a particular bait company--will tell you certain plastic worm strategies "never fail," the truth is bass are wily and finicky sport fish. You'll never be able to predict with any assurance what a particular bass will hit on, on a particular day, in particular water or weather conditions. Be prepared to try many different attacks and presentations with plastic worms until you find the worm the bass seem to have on today's menu.
Shorter plastic worms can team up with spinner baits effectively. Try using a short grub-sized plastic worm with a floppy tail on the business end of a spinner bait or jig. The action the plastic worm offers can be just the trick that pushes a lunker bass over the edge so that he strikes.
Plastic worms are available with scent and flavor enhancements embedded into the plastic and these can be very effective under the right circumstances. Protect these enhanced baits from losing their potency--and contaminating other plastic worms---by keeping them in a sealed plastic bag inside your tackle box. You can also purchase flavorings and scent products to treat regular plastic worms.
The most effective rigging for a plastic worm, according to legacy, is the Carolina rig. Thread a bullet weight onto the line and then tie on a large bass hook. Thread the hook through the "nose" of the plastic worm, down to first egg sack feature. Poke the hook out of the worm's body at this point. Back the hook up a little and then just barely park the tip of the hook inside the skin of the plastic worm. This will keep the hook clean of weeds while you pull it through the water, but at the ready when a bass strikes.
Casting and Retrieving
Cast a plastic worm into stick ups, cover, and at thermoclines. Let the bait settle a little by counting to three. Then begin reeling the lure back slowly. Punctuate the reeling with quick twitches of your line every five turns of your reel. Repeat, until the bass in the area decide, for example, they're interested in a neon green plastic worm with silver sparkles today, and hit the lure.
Setting the Hook
Bass strike a plastic worm in two ways, normally. They either sneak up on the worm, snatch it and run, or, they open their large mouths and literally suck the entire worm in--and then turn to run. You will feel the "snatch" or the "suck" as a tug or a tap on your line. When you feel the tap, jerk your line straight up, over your head, to set the hook.
- "101 Bass Catching Secrets"; Roland Martin; 2008
- "Bass Angler's Almanac"; John Weiss; 2008
- "Fresh Water Fishing Tips"; Bill Dance; 2007