Wiggle It

With the popularity of rubber worms once again on the rise, properly rigging these highly effective baits is more important than ever.

FSF Staff February 13, 2012

Without a shadow of doubt, rubber worms are the most effective and widely used artificial lures for tempting largemouth bass. As a matter of fact, bass of any size in nearly any body of water won’t hesitate pouncing on a squirmy piece of plastic. Their long and thin profile has revolutionized bass fishing, as rubber worms can be rigged and fished in nearly as many different ways as there are freshwater anglers. They are one of few freshwater offerings that can be fished at any depth and retrieved at any speed, and their lifelike action imitates a wide range or forage. Furthermore, rubber worms produce catches in lakes throughout the state during all hours of the day and every season of the year. The following rigging techniques and fishing tips are the most popular and will get you in the game, but don’t hesitate to alter your approach to adjust for what you experience on the water.

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Photo: istock.com/photographer3431

Weedless Floater

By far the simplest and certainly one of the most effective plastic worm rigging techniques, the weedless worm is ideal for finesse situations where you will be fishing in and around heavy cover. You’ll want to start by selecting a wide gap worm hook. These hook points are in-line with the hook eye so you get a better set when you swing back. Take your hook and insert it into and through the head of your worm. From here spin the hook and line it up where it will exit the lure. When performed properly your hook point will exit the back of the bait and the worm will be perfectly straight. What you don’t want is a worm that’s either stretched too tight or too loose. Once in position, simply take your hook point and thread it forward just under the plastic. If you’re fishing a worm with a tail, a hook placement opposite of that of the tail’s curve will offer increased action.

Texas Rig

Building on the benefits of the weedless floater, this weighted rig incorporates a specialized bullet shaped sinker that enables bass busters the ability to present baits deeper in the water column. Some anglers choose sinkers with small springs molded into the bottom to keep the rig a single unit, while others prefer a weight that can slide freely. When fishing a weighted worm you have to come to the realization that this isn’t a good search bait, rather it is better suited for specific target zones. Upon making a cast it’s crucial you let your bait fall, but be sure to control the slack so when a fish strikes on the fall it won’t go undetected. It’s important not to overwork your worm as well, with gradual sweeps of about 6 to 8-inches all that’s needed to entice a strike.

Wacky Rig

This odd presentation is quickly gaining popularity. You’ll want to start by choosing a 4 or 5-inch worm that doesn’t have a tail. Hook selection is a critical aspect to your overall success and you’ll want to use a wide gap hook to ensure the hook point remains fully exposed. To rig your wacky worm simply take a lure and bend it in half so both of the tail ends touch. Insert your hook exactly through the middle of the body where the worm bends. When fishing a wacky worm you’ll want to focus on shallow water no deeper than 5 feet. Docks and spawning beds are great areas to present a wacky worm.

Jighead Rig

In search of the biggest bass, die-hard lunker lovers have come up with yet another way of rigging worms. When combined with a jig, worms can be slowly dragged along the bottom. Select a jighead that has a similar color pattern. Before you can attach your jighead to the worm you’ll need to determine the proper placement. If you fail to do this correctly and expose too much of the hook it will have a negative influence on the action. If you bring the hook out too far from the jig the bait will bind, which will also adversely affect your presentation. Because of the weight of the jighead this is a great lure for covering lots of water with long casts. Another benefit is that due to the action of the lure bass often attack with aggression, which results in improved hooksets.

When it comes to plastic worm selection you’ll notice that these faux night crawlers are available in a variety of colors and patterns. Simply stated, your preferences will be dictated by experience or experiment. However, with that being said light colors work well on bright days and darker colors work well under cloud coverage. With ultra clear waters it makes sense to fish natural patterns, with more vibrant patterns distinguishable in murkier waters. There’s also an incredible variety of shapes of soft plastic worms, as advancements in manufacturing techniques and imagination have propelled soft plastic lure production to levels never seen before. No matter what rigging technique or style you prefer, you’d be a fool not to have an assortment of worms in your tackle bag.

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