BASS Signature Series: Bill Dance Texas rigging

 

 
Name: Bill Dance
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Technique: The Texas rig has been the premier method for presenting a plastic worm for about as long as there have been plastic worms. The rig, which utilizes a conical slip sinker, hook and bait, allows for a nearly snag-free presentation. Because the components are relatively inexpensive and allow anglers to work a lure through heavy cover, the Texas rigged plastic worm has probably accounted for more bass than any other technique in history.
Highlights: Dance has Texas rigged his way to the winners circle on numerous occasions. With seven career BASS wins, three Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year awards and a third place finish in ESPN's Greatest Angler Debate, he's one of the all-time fishing greats and enjoys a reputation as one of the best worm fishermen ever. Dance credits Texas rigged plastic worms for bringing him to the attention of the American fishing public, and he still uses the method to produce much of his catch.
History: Dance was introduced to Texas rigged worms by Stan Marriott at Horseshoe Lake in Arkansas in the mid 1960s. It was then called the "slip sinker worm," and a sliding egg sinker was used in place of today's bullet-shaped weight. The Texas rig's precursor was a weedless rig comprised of a 9-inch Bagley eel, a horse collar hook and a split shot crimped just above the worm.
When to Use: While Texas rigged worms are widely considered a warm weather presentation, Dance says they can be fished effectively year-round. In cooler weather, you'll simply need to slow your presentation down.
Where to Use: Because Texas rigged worms are weedless, Dance says they can be used in, through, over and around any cover at any depth. They are best for thoroughly fishing and feeling out cover slowly.
Tackle: Dance has two different setups for moving and still water. In current, he uses a Quantum Energy PT series baitcaster spooled with 20-pound-test Stren Sonic Braid with a 20-inch leader of 20-pound-test Stren 100% Fluoro line. He uses Gamakatsu Skip Gap hooks in 3/0 to 6/0 sizes, depending on the size of the worm. He uses a 6-foot, 6-inch Quantum SuperLite PT fast action rod for both moving and still water. Dance cites its sensitive tip (for good feel of the bottom) and backbone (for a positive hook set) as reasons. On still waters, Dance uses 12-pound Stren Microfuse as the main line and the same leader. He pegs the sinker to the line if he is fishing unusually dense cover, swift or deep water. Dance uses a wide spectrum of sinkers — from 1/64- to 1-ounce, but says that 1/32-, 3/16-, and 1/4-ounce models get the bulk of the duty.
Lure:
  While any plastic worm can be successfully Texas rigged, Dance's current favorite is Yum's Doozee tube worm. It has a hard nose, a long tube body and a tail like a tube bait.
Basics: Fishing a Texas rigged worm is all about presentation, Dance says. He says the worm needs to be manipulated with the rod, not the reel. He casts the worm and gently sweeps the rod tip to the side while it falls until the worm contacts cover or the bottom. Once the bait comes to rest, he experiments with retrieves until he finds what the bass want. He will usually keep his rod in the 10 to 12 o'clock position then either hop or crawl the worm while slowly taking up slack line. In cold water he may deadstick the worm by leaving it motionless for 10 seconds or more at a time. He stresses the importance of not overpowering a worm with exaggerated movements. Once Dance feels a strike, he will take up the slack with the reel and instantly set the hook with a violent upward jerk to take total control of the fish.
One More Thing: Dance stresses that you should use the lightest sinker you can get away with. Since most strikes on a Texas rigged worm come on the fall, it is important to let the worm settle as slowly as possible. Current, wind and thick cover will warrant the use of heavier sinkers to maintain feel and get the bait to the target depth quickly.

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