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Live worms for smallmouth


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Hello hope everyone is really enjoying their summer bass fishing this year???? Ian planning on using live worms for smallmouth off the jetty where I live. Drop shotting  a sz 4 octopus needle point wacky rigging it but what sz worms work best for smallness. Sadly I no longer have my great boat and life sucks without it! the fish have seen it all from the jetty rockS here in town and I’ve now seen and heard that worms are one of the best baits to use , One being an ole timer who was walking by me he was just going for a walk this was last year.

 

me having my decent boat load of tackle I haven’t tried them but I will now after I saw someone with 5 in his net. I’m strictly c&r not gonna kill any. Thanks for your help on rigging 

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  • Super User

I’ve never used live worms for smallmouth and don’t know anyone who does.  However, many guides on our area lakes use live worms with their clients in the summer fishing for spotted bass.  Their worm of choice is night crawlers.

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Smallmouth love live worms. Worms are easier to keep alive than minnows, easier to find than helgramites, and stay on a hook better than crayfish. The best presentation will be with the worm near the bottom. Even directly on the bottom, a cruising smallie will find it on their patrol. If you want to use a drop shot, I would suggest a short line to sinker. Otherwise a basic Carolina rig/ catfish rig will work. Cast it out and wait for a take. 

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2 hours ago, MassBass said:

Smallmouth love live worms. Worms are easier to keep alive than minnows, easier to find than helgramites, and stay on a hook better than crayfish. The best presentation will be with the worm near the bottom. Even directly on the bottom, a cruising smallie will find it on their patrol. If you want to use a drop shot, I would suggest a short line to sinker. Otherwise a basic Carolina rig/ catfish rig will work. Cast it out and wait for a take. 

 

2 hours ago, MassBass said:

Smallmouth love live worms. Worms are easier to keep alive than minnows, easier to find than helgramites, and stay on a hook better than crayfish. The best presentation will be with the worm near the bottom. Even directly on the bottom, a cruising smallie will find it on their patrol. If you want to use a drop shot, I would suggest a short line to sinker. Otherwise a basic Carolina rig/ catfish rig will work. Cast it out and wait for a take. 

 

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Yes indeed thanks to all. I’ve thought about where worms live and its s no brained on or in the friggen bottom not dangling a ft above. Saw a video on this but a hellegrammit….I do have plenty of them green pumpkin.  Time to change tactics & work a bit with finesses but drop shotting a helle might not look to natural either! I tried it for s as few hrs a while back. Should of Carolina rigged it  Which is why Carolina like u guys mentioned would be better

 

so many, millions of us drop shot wacky Ned rigs and I’ve done good. So maybe with the drop rig smaller could be better. I caught smallies n perch on zman neg rig .  

 

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16 hours ago, Scott F said:

Live leeches on a hook with some split shot is another excellent choice for live bait

This…. If you can find them. 
personally, ive always had luck with worms just get annoyed when carp or drum eat them. Definitely use a circle type hook so you dont gut hook them. If you dont have crawlers, wacky rigging and dropshotting a zoom finisse worm can be almost as effective at times.

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I don't normally use night crawlers around here.  Mostly flies and lures.  If I do use live bait it's usually minnows.  The only time I use them is when I go up to a lodge in NE Ontario..  The lodge supplies night crawlers for bait and we usually pick up three dozen leeches at a bait shop on the way up.  

The basic rig is a 1/4 oz jig, any color as long as its chartreuse, with a half a night crawler on it.  If we're anchored on a spot we just drop it over the side let it hit bottom, make a couple of turns on the reel and let it sit 12 to 18 inches off the bottom.  Last year, I used a drop shot rig and it worked really well.   The hook was 12 to 18 inches off the bottom.  I tried fishing for them with circle hooks below a slip bobber, again it worked but half the time the smallies swallowed the hook and I had to clip the line and leave the hook.  They'll also hit a jig with a half night crawler cast toward shore structure and reeled in fairly fast.  It's how we determine if the spot is worth fishing.  If we catch a smallie, then I'll switch to my fly rod and my buddy to lures.  Walleye and pike also take night crawlers.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/11/2023 at 5:37 AM, Bdnoble84 said:

This…. If you can find them. 
personally, ive always had luck with worms just get annoyed when carp or drum eat them. Definitely use a circle type hook so you dont gut hook them. If you dont have crawlers, wacky rigging and dropshotting a zoom finisse worm can be almost as effective at times.

Thanks man, I’ve tried wackyrig small Ned rigs but not much of a bite didn’t try enough times as I was trying to get them on crank baits. Also tried the technique screwing in tungsten weight into a stick bait worm but the wind was tough to cast through. I got my 2012 truck up for sale I’m wanting a boat

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  • Super User

The panfish always seemed to peck at my night crawlers. I switched to gulp night crawlers and fixed that problem. Much more durable, less messy, and avoided getting the bait stolen by panfish.

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  • Super User

Earth worm and Red worms are too small and attract pan fish.

Canadian Night Crawlers medium size are between 4” to 5” and 1/4” in diameter, large size run between 6” to 7” and 3/8” diameter. These are the live “worms” I am discussing.

The medium use size 4 # Gamakatsu or Owner light Circle Hook, the larger size 2# circle hook. 

You can split shot rig night crawlers and tail hook or wacky hook. I prefer fly line with no weight on 6 to 8 lb mono line to slow the sink rate and stay off the bottom to reduce snags.

Haven’t fished night crawlers in decades but they are very effective.

The circle hook reduces gut hooking.

Tom

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If buying night crawlers try to get the media that's required for Canada, paper I think it is.  It is so much cleaner in the boat than the usual black dirt which inevitably will trash your boat.  

 

There has never been a live bait of any kind in my boat   And I doubt if there ever will be.  

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I tried live worms for smallies around boulder piles last week thinking it would make it easier for kids to catch something.  I was wrong, it was easier for them to constantly get the worms stolen with absolutely nothing to show for it.  Switched to wacky rigged 3" senkos on 1/16 and 1/8 oz jig heads with big 2/0 khale hooks to ensure they self-hooked and it was fish on.  

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