The good ol’worm
It seems as though fishing trends change as quickly as over night! It feels like only yesterday the spinnerbait and the ribbon tail worm were dominating the tournament scene and flat out putting fish in our boats. Now, things have changed. The competition is much more fierce than it once was, so there are more techniques to choose from. We can thank the internet and social media for these sudden shifts, but at the end of the day, you use what will catch fish…or at least that’s the idea anyways.
The best example of a technique or product that seems to have been left behind is the big worm. A Texas Rigged 10″ worm used to be fished on just about every Elite anglers boat, now it seems like different craws, shaky head worms, creatures and even the flipping jig comes before the 10″ worm. If you have found yourself leaving the 10″ worm behind, we can assure you, you are missing out.
This technique of flipping a large worm is still a dominant way to hook into a few big bites, but for whatever reason, our attention has been focused on other “like” products or ways to catch.
The theory of big baits for big bites still stands, so why are we down sizing? Sure, the bass might slow down and become a little more finicky, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eat a big meal! In fact, that just means the window in which they will eat is a lot shorter and you need to be prepared for that. If you are in search of big bites, your best way to catch them is still big baits. Down sizing to a shaky head or a senko will make life easier and will get you bit, but more than likely those bites will be small. If you stay patient with that big worm and wait for the feed to turn on, those big bass will want to exert as little energy as possible, so we need to offer up that big meal for one big bite.
The big worm comes in various sizes, colors and some have slightly different tails. Worms like the Missile Baits Tomahawk 8.75 is one that stands out. It has a double ribbon tail, which is different than others on the market. You could also look at something like the Culprit Fat Max. This bait is the little brother to the Original Culprit Worm, but offers a much thicker body than other competitor baits.
Rigging these worms really depends on the type of cover you are fishing. Texas Rigged worms excel in sparse grass, around docks and even in thick milfoil. Although most anglers would think to flip the worm, casting and dragging is also a very effective way to cover more area and getting bit. Often times we’ll see that flipping pockets and around docks just doesn’t cut it. In this case the fish wants to see the bait a little longer and by dragging that worm and slowly pulling it away from them, they will have time to react.
Weight selection while flipping and dragging often vary as well. If you are flipping, you are more than likely flipping into heavy weed cover, so you may want to go with a 1/2oz tungsten weight, to get through to the bottom. The natural weight of these big worms really won’t require anything more than a 1/2oz, unless of course you are in the real thick stuff. Dragging a worm through isolated grass or along weedlines would call for a slightly lighter weight. A 3/8oz or even a 5/16oz would be ideal for various grass thicknesses.
The trick to dragging is patience. You can never go too slow. Often times you will think what you are doing isn’t working, but remember, this is a big fish technique. You will eliminate catching smaller fish, because these worms are on the larger side of a meal. Fan casting in fish hold areas and slowly lifting your rod tip up, while keeping contact with the bottom, will create a disturbance on the bottom and draw those fish in.
Areas that could be holding fish are; a flat adjacent to a drop or channel, a row of docks close to a spawning area, or a weed bed offshore in deeper water. All of these areas will hold fish at different times of season, so fishing the areas accordingly will be key.
A good way to search for fish before you take your time and drag is by using a square bill, spinnerbait or jerkbait. A faster moving bait that might draw in a bite and if it does, that gives you a sign there could be others lurking around . Once you hook up, switch gears, slow down and see if you can pick up any more bites in that area. Be prepared though because in most cases the fish will hit on the pause and if you don’t let your rod tip fall on a controlled slack line, you might miss a bite.
The big worm bite is far from dead! If you feel you have the patience to go out and wait for bigger bites, than don’t forget your bag of worms because you won’t be disappointed!