Most of the time, Long Texas rigs the big stickworm, fishing it on a 5/0 Owner or Gamakatsu offset worm hook and 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line, but sometimes in the middle of the day when the light is brightest and he needs some extra action and realism, he'll wacky rig it.
"I almost never weight the bait," he says. "It's just so much more lifelike when you fish it weightless. The only time I add weight is when I'm fishing the bait extremely deep."
And when Long says "deep," he means it. The big Senko is his go-to bait when bass are suspending in 30 to 40 feet of water. That's when he'll add a small button-head weight to the middle of the lure and fish it vertically, like a jigging spoon, but slower. During the prespawn, Long Texas rigs the bait and fishes it relatively shallow with a more conventional cast and retrieve.
"The Senko is extremely natural and is great for bass that are in a neutral feeding mood," he says. "It's hard for them to pass up something that's falling right past them and looks like it's dying."
For more on how Mike Long uses stickworms to catch trophy bass, check out this video.
You might have thought that swimbaits would rank higher on Long's list of trophy baits, but he thoughtfully puts them behind jigs and big stickworms, admitting there are days when they rank at the top of the list.
"I have an enormous collection of swimbaits, and have thrown lures up to 10 and 12 inches long that weighed several ounces," Long says, "but my go-to size is the 6- to 8-inch range for a very good reason. Most of the stocker trout in my area are between 4 and 8 inches long. If you throw anything bigger than that, you're just not matching the hatch, and it will reduce the number of strikes you get."
Long's favorite swimbaits to attract giant bass are the Huddleston 6-inch Weedless Trout and the 6-inch Jerry Rago SKT Pro Inline Swimmer. The "Hudd" is the locally famous "68" model — a 6-inch version with the tail of the 8-inch version — but instead of using the tail Huddleston makes, Long pours his own.
"I like the Hudd when the water's clear and the Rago when it's dirty because the Rago is a little brighter," Long explains. "I like a rainbow trout color in the late winter and spring, but switch to baby bass in the summer."
When does Long scale up to an 8-inch swimbait? When he absolutely knows there are giant bass eyeing his lure and thinks a bigger meal might attract them.
For more on how Mike Long uses swimbaits to catch trophy bass, check out this video.
If jigs have caught more bass weighing better than five pounds than any other lure type, plastic worms have probably caught more bass than any other. Long likes them when he's targeting trophies, too. A big worm gets down where lunkers live, penetrates cover well, and can be fished excruciatingly slowly — just the way big bass often like it.