It's been said, "There's no wrong way to fish a worm," and I've heard, "There's no new way to fish a worm," as if to mean it's all been done somewhere by someone.
There is no doubt that finesse worms have gained a strong resurgence recently. It is a hot technique for top bass pros right now, but like all fishing trends, will fade in time, to be reincarnated in some other form or hot method in the future.
Finesse worming got kicked off in the late seventies by Charlie Brewer from Tennessee. He wrote the first word (actually an entire book) about Brewer's Slider Fishing philosophy. He crafted a slim four-inch straight-tailed worm and jig head for it. He taught anglers to do nothing but reel slow and steady with no angler-imparted action. Brewer held a notion the exaggerated wiggling motion of most bass baits was not natural. Minnows, which Brewer felt his small slim worm looked like, propel themselves in straight lines with hardly noticeable tail flicks most of the time, and that's Charlie's Slider Fishing philosophy in a nutshell. Ahead of his time, Brewer also developed some of the very first jig heads that let you Texas rig a worm on a jig so it's snagless. To say Brewer's the father of finesse worming is true.
Fast forward to today, and the last word on finesse worms comes out of the Southeast as well. It's also a method of Texas-rigging finesse worms on shaking jig heads to be snagless. Unlike Brewer, modern day worm wizards shake and shiver their jig worms now. Some anglers almost constantly impart action. This latest technique's still not used much in the North, Central or Western USA yet.
In the twenty-five year space between the origins of Slider Fishing and the evolution of shaking jig worms, a third method — Texas-rigging finesse worms on light bullet sinkers (and a bead that clicked when the shaking sinker tap-danced against it) called "doodling" was developed out West by Don Iovino.
A fourth method, "polishing the rocks" with darter jig heads became favored by a few Western aces in the mid-eighties. A couple of closed-mouthed cowboys still sagely practice this today, but darter jigs have never been a mainstream tactic even in the West, and rarely ever used in other regions.
Number five, the Mojo rig is a finesse form of the heavier Carolina rig. The lightweight, slim Mojo sinker can be pegged in place with a line-cushioning rubber filament, often a foot or two up the line from the finesse worm. So it doesn't need a separate leader or swivel like a Carolina rig.
Sixth, from Japan, we've learned how to dropshot finesse worms, really only within the past five to six years, and dropshot's still new here. Many anglers have heard of it by now, but haven't actually tried to dropshot yet.
And hardly any of us have yet tried the seventh form of finesse worming — jig head wacky rigs. It has become popular in Japan just the past few years.
To recap, the seven ways we've covered above are:
1) Slider Fishing
2) Shaking Texas-Rigged Jig Worms
3) Shaking Worms with Light Bullet Sinkers and Beads (Doodling)
4) Darter Jigs
5) Mojo Rigs
6) Dropshot Rigs
7) Jig Head Wacky Rigs
These certainly aren't the only ways to fish finesse worms, but they are some of the ways we'll cover in finer detail next week.