Catch bass anywhere with traditional worms, stick worms and swimbaits.

Soft plastics come in all colors of the rainbow, every size and shape imaginable and have pheromones, scents, salt or even coffee impregnated into them now. Depending on the rigging method and profile, soft plastics can be used shallow or deep, in the weeds or timber, on any body of water anywhere in the world which holds bass.

If limited to only three kinds, what would you choose? The basic plastic worm has proven itself for many decades, surely one of the first choices. Two others worth adding to your bag are the “stick-worm” style and the swimbait style.

The traditional method of rigging worms is “Texas” style. Here, the worm is rigged weedless. It can be rigged with a bullet shaped weight in front of it, and the weight can be pegged or free sliding. Stick a wooden toothpick into the hole and break it off to hold it in place. Some weights have a screw lock imbedded into them which allows you to peg the worm onto the weight by screwing the worm onto the spring.

Top: Classic Texas-rigged plastic worm, with weight fixed at hook eye. Alternative: Carolina rig modification would use a free-sliding egg sinker in front of a swivel and leader. Middle: Berkley Grass Pig swimbait rigged weedless. Alternative: Use keel-weighted hook to take bait deeper. Bottom: Stick worm rigged in middle “wacky rig” style for slow fall. Alternative: Use O-ring to hold hook.

A good way to start fishing a Texas-rigged worm is to cast to likely holding areas—logs, weedbeds, stick-ups, rock piles, dropoffs, docks or underwater humps, to name a few. Slowly drag your worm with the rod, not the reel. This is very important to feel the take.

The “stick-worm” looks exactly like its name: a short, usually 6-inch, straight worm which tapers at both ends. One of the most productive rigs
is called “wacky,” where you place the hook in the middle of the body of the worm. The worm vibrates on the fall due to the two tapered ends, which makes it look alive and imitates a worm, leech or eel very well. You really do not do anything to add any action to this worm, as it has its own built in action. All you do is cast it out and let it fall into the feeding zone, then set the hook when the bass runs off with it, which is noticed by your line zipping off in one direction or another on the drop.

Swimbait style plastics excel when fished across the surface like a buzzbait, midwater like a suspending jerkbait or on the bottom imitating a dying minnow. Most swimbaits have a large paddletail which works best as they push more water creating vibration which at- tracts feeding bass, while their body is usually deep in the belly allowing your hook to be rigged Texas style or weedless.

Three easy ways to fish swimbaits are to swim them relatively fast on the surface with a consistent retrieve; work them like a jerkbait with twitches of your rod, pulling it a foot or so and then letting it swim down; or slowly “stitching” it across the bottom barely moving it like a struggling baitfish, which is very effective in colder water in the winter or spring. FS

First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine March 2018

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