September 22, 2015
Pick up the pace to catch more bass.
Curly-tail worms and optimal hook placement.
A slow-moving, bottom-bouncing worm is great for thoroughly working a small area. But there are situations where getting that worm off the bottom can be a better bet. Here are three ways to turn that bait into a faster-moving lure.
Trick Worm: Zoom Bait Co. coined the term “Trick Worm.” It has become the bassin' slang term for this worm type and virtually every worm maker now offers them under various product names. They are straight, no-frills, plastic worms in the 6- to 8-inch range. Rig them without a weight on a weedless 5/0 or 6/0 hook. Some anglers insert the hook with a small bend in the worm to make it rotate, while others rig it straight. A 12-inch monofilament leader connects the worm to a small barrel swivel on the main line. The swivel keeps the worm from twisting the line and provides a bit of weight to keep the nose of the worm down. The lightweight rig casts beautifully with spinning tackle and 14-pound braided line. The Trick Worm doesn't float, but it's buoyant enough to stay very close to the surface. Fish it as you would a topwater plug: twitch, twitch, twitch quickly.
This rig can be deadly in depths of less than 5 feet on a flat with scattered vegetation and clear water. Lakes Rousseau, Rodman and George are three (of many) where Trick Worms are proven performers. Many experts prefer highly visible Pearl White, Bubblegum (pink), or a chartreuse hue.
Speed Worm: This is nothing more than a curly-tail, Texas-rigged, plastic worm retrieved in a smooth and steady manner. It accomplishes the same task as a spinnerbait, countdown crankbait, or even a metal buzzbait, but in a totally weedless configuration.
Sickle tail or ribbon tail worms are best. You want “action” from the worm, and whatever color is popular on your lake works, although it is hard to go wrong anywhere in Florida with June Bug, Red Shad or Pearl White. The hook should be inserted in the parting line seam on the underside of the bait on the side to which the worm's tail naturally curls. This allows the tail to fully extend and vibrate on the retrieve. Sinker weight controls running depth and speed. A 1/16-ounce bullet sinker allows it to run on top like a buzzbait. Shift to a 1/4-ounce and it runs at mid-depth. A heavier sinker gets it deeper.
This is an excellent choice to quickly cover areas of heavy vegetation (eelgrass, peppergrass, hydrilla, lily pads or coontail). Or, work through weeds and drop into open pockets or over cover edges.
Speed Carolina Rig: Adaption of the Speed Worm (same worms and rigging) with a 12-inch leader from the worm to a barrel swivel on the main line, and a sinker above the swivel.
Sinkers in the ¼- to 3/8-ounce range are preferred; you want that sinker digging on a steady retrieve, banging smoothly along the bottom in relatively open waters, shell bars, or over short bottom grass (like early season hydrilla, Shrimp Grass, Baby's Breath, or other deeper vegetation). The sinker banging the bottom kicks up a fuss and the worm follows. And, the rig doesn't foul in the grass. FS
First published Florida Sportsman September 2012