Skip to main content

Fishing Fast with a Worm

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

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Let's break down how to modify one of the easiest and strongest line-to-leader connections when using heavy fluorocarbon or monofilament leader.

How to Modify Double Uni Connection for Heavy Leader

Jeff Weakley, editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, breaks down how to tie a non-slip loop knot, an easy and useful fishing knot that every fisherman who uses artificial lures needs to know.

How to Tie a Loop Knot: Best Fishing Knot for Lures and Jigs

Jeff Weakley, editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, breaks down the easiest way to tie one of the most versatile, strong and reliable fishing knots that every fisherman needs to know, the uni knot.

How to Tie a Uni Knot: Easy, Strong & Reliable Fishing Knot

The scented and flavored Gulp! baits are always a good choice in saltwater, and the Grub style baits in particular are a universal choice. Learn how to choose and rig different sizes for different kinds of fishing, from the flats to the coastal reefs. Plus, a Key West fishing expert weighs in on special uses for offshore fishing.

Berkley Gulp! Curly Tail Grub. Berkley Gulp! Grub is a Surprise Hit In Salt Water

In salt water, everything eats shrimp. The Berkley Gulp! Shrimp is an excellent choice for any situation where you want to appeal to a marine fish's interest in shrimp. Here's expert advice on rigging these unique baits, plus proven tips on casting and retrieving them. Storage is another great attribute; these shrimp baits are ready to go when you are!

Berkley Gulp! Shrimp: A Bait That's Better than Live Shrimp!

Join professional surf fishing guide Capt. Paul Sperco for a conversation about reels that hold up in extreme saltwater conditions. Sperco also offers great tips on rigging different kinds of spinning combos for catching pompano, whiting, snook and other popular fish. All of it is done from shore! Easy, fun fishing anyone can enjoy.

Penn Sealed Saltwater Reels: Durable Reels for Surf, Pier and Other Saltwater Fishing

We join Key West, Florida, fishing Captain Pepe Gonzalez to discuss one the most important advances in saltwater fishing tackle in the last 25 years: The advent of fluorocarbon leader material. Fluorocarbon definitely improves your chances of getting bites from wary-eyed ocean fish such as snappers, tunas, tarpon and sailfish.

Berkley Fluorocarbon line: Captains Say Use Fluorocarbon Leader to Catch More Fish

Florida Sportsman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now