It’s becoming “big worm” time throughout most of the U.S. The bass have been offshore for a while and are getting a lot of pressure.
That’s when large plastic worms - 8 inches or more - can shine and add weight to your catch.
Obviously, you can still catch bass on crankbaits, spoons, drop shots and all of the standard offshore baits, but a big worm always has always been a great bait during the heat of the summer.
It’s a perfect choice for making precise presentations to places you know the bass are using and a high percentage technique for hooking and landing bass.
There are some little tricks you can do to big plastics to increase the number of bites.
For example, if fishing a hard bottom, opt for a Tungsten sinker rather than traditional lead. You will feel the bottom and transitions much better.
If it’s a clean bottom, I use a Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Swing Football Head or a Mag jighead. The Swing head allows me to change hook sizes to match lure size while the Mag head helps the worm stand up on the bottom.
If fishing grass or softer bottoms I will Texas rig with a lead sinker.
I like to go heavy – up to 1 ounce depending on water depth and never lighter than 1/2 ounce. If the fish are suspended, I will go lighter than an ounce to let the bait swim slower on the fall.
If fishing grass, you need enough weight to penetrate the grass.
Hook size depends upon the size of the worm, but always take into account the bulkiness of the bait. You need room on that hook to penetrate the worm and a big fish’s tough mouth on the hookset. I typically use 6/0 or 7/0 Mustad KVD Grip Pin hooks on 10 inch or larger worms but may go down to a 5/0 on something smaller.
Another trick is use bobber stops on Texas rigs. I put one up the line ahead of the sinker and one below it. This holds the sinker in place, but you also have the added benefit of positioning the sinker up the line if you want to use the same bait as a modified Carolina rig. The bottom bobber stop also protects the knot.
For worms, I like the big profile Strike King Rage Cutter, the Thumper, Anaconda or the Magnum Game Hawg, the latter of which has a lot of appendages to displace more water. That’s important to remember when fishing heavily stained water.
If the water is clear or only slightly stained, I use the 10-nch Bull Worm if it’s a big bass lake or the 8-inch for other lakes. It is like a finesse worm with a flat bottom and beveled bubble tail.
I use two different retrieves. My favorite with the swing head is to drag the bait across the bottom, allowing the worm to swing back and forth behind the weight while the sinker kicks up sediment off the bottom. Now, if I see the fish suspended off the bottom I will stroke a Texas rig, pulling it off the bottom and allowing it to sink back down.
Like I said before, there are a lot of ways to catch summertime fish, but big worms are a choice that often are overlooked and can help you put fish in the boat when other tactics aren’t working.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!