When it comes to largemouth bass fishing, the range of lures and baits run the gamut from crankbaits and plugs that mimic injured baitfish to topwater frogs and beyond. Heck, there are even mice, snake and duckling imitations that have caught fish! While the bait you choose to tie on should always hinge on the scenario at hand, few offerings in the world of lunker largemouth are more effective than a good ol’ soft plastic worm. With so many effective rigging methods as well, this simple lure is one of the most multi-faceted in the freshwater game.
Artificial worms come in many different shapes, sizes, styles and colors these days. Some might even call them the most versatile bait available. Virtually every manufacturer of largemouth lures offers a range of worm imitations to satisfy the massive community of bass enthusiasts. And while worm selection is incredibly important and anglers must choose the right offering for the situation, rigging is another important consideration that should never go overlooked. Largemouth bass are skilled predators that have evolved to take down a variety of prey, but these keen hunters can be finicky, to say the least, but sometimes all it takes is a properly rigged bait to fool the right fish.
One of the most prolific, yet simple worm rigs, used to this day by weekend warriors and tournament anglers alike, is the tried-and-true Texas Rig. We can only assume that, because of its name, this rigging method originated in the Lone Star State, but it has proven to be effective pretty much anywhere in the world largemouth bass occur. Completing the Texas Rig is relatively simple, even for novice anglers, but it’s important that everything looks right before launching the first cast.
We should also note that this rig requires a worm hook, with the size of the hook depending on the size of the worm. To weight your offering down for an increased sink rate in deeper water, weighted worm hooks are a great option, though many anglers prefer rigging a small torpedo weight ahead of the bait. Start by piercing the nose of the worm with your hook through the top. Once the hook is in about a quarter inch, turn it 90 degrees so the point comes out the side of the worm. Next, run the entire length of the hook out the side until reaching the hook eye. Once you’ve reached the eye, rotate the hook so the point is facing the body of the worm. Here is where you really have to start paying attention. Lay the hook alongside the worm to see where you’ll need to reinsert the point to achieve the right presentation. Next, simply insert the point and run it through the worm until it comes out on the other side. Finally, nestle the point against the worm to maintain the rig’s weedless, snagless qualities.
Another rigging method that has become very popular over the years is the Carolina Rig, which is really a slight variation of the Texas Rig with one key difference. In the case of the Carolina Rig, instead of rigging the weight immediately above the worm, the weight is rigged a few feet above the worm and can’t slide down. This allows anglers to benefit from the increased casting distance and sink rate provided by the weight, but also leaves the worm by itself to appear more natural to the fish. Simply rig a worm as if it were a Texas Rig, but don’t attach a weigh. Next, take two to four feet of line and tie one end to the worm and the other to a small barrel swivel. Finally, slide the weight of your choosing and a small plastic bead onto your main line, in that order, and tie to the other end of the barrel swivel.
The next rig we’ll discuss, the Drop Shot Rig, is a bit different, with the worm a few inches to several feet above the weight. Having the weight rigged below the worm allows anglers to fish vertically, with the worm appearing naturally horizontal just off the bottom, with the weight below to hold it in place. To create this rig, just tie your main line to the hook with your favorite knot, leaving a long tag end that you’ll later tie your weight to. Then, run the tag end through the hook eye, entering on the side with the hook point. Finally, tie your tag end to the weight. With this rig, instead of using a worm hook, a small J hook or drop shot hook through the nose of the worm will do the trick.
Finally, we can’t talk about rigging worms without discussing the Wacky Rig. This rigging method has surged in popularity among bass anglers, and rightfully so, as it continues to prove its effectiveness. Additionally, though some dedicated lunker hunters like to get fancy with it, this is one of the easiest rigging methods that exists. In its basic form, the Wacky Rig simply requires hooking a worm through the middle of the body instead of at the nose. However, some anglers like to add weight to the bottom of the hook in deeper water. Furthermore, we recommend sliding a tiny rubber band along the body of the worm until you reach the point you want your hook to be. Then, simply slide the hook between the rubber band and the worm to leave the entire hook point exposed. This will certainly increase your hook-up ratio. ζ
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