Mastering Swim Worm Fishing: Essential Gear and Techniques for Bass

How-To Fishing Videos
Discover the art of successful swim worm fishing for bass with our expert guide. Learn the ideal rod, reel, and line setup for effective swim worm rigging, and explore the nuances of fishing this versatile bait. Uncover tips on choosing the right hook size, weight adjustment, and line selection for different conditions. Get insights into fishing swim worms in various environments, from weed beds to submerged structures, and enhance your technique for a more subtle, natural presentation that attracts wary bass. Dive into our comprehensive video and elevate your swim worm fishing game today.

Baits & Gear

Tour Swim Worm --

7’ 1” St. Croix Victory Casting Rod -

Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon line --

Gamakatsu G Finesse Hybrid offset hook --

Gamakatsu Superline EWG hook --

Shimano Chronarch MGL Casting Reel --


Yeah, look at that guys. That is a swim worm. It's one of my favorite baits. Why? Because it flat out catches fish. By the end of this video, you're gonna be able to catch fish on them too. So, we're gonna start off right away with the rod and reel and line equipment we're gonna do to rig this up. And then we're gonna dive into how to fish it. So, first of all, this is a 7-foot medium-heavy power fast-action rod. You can use a 7-foot to 7' 2", or 7' 3", that's fine, but that's what you want because it's got a couple things here. It's got the tip, it's nice and flexible enough to be able to cast it out well, and it's got the backbone to be able to set the hook, fight the fish back, and keep 'em pinned all the way back to the boat or back to the shore if you're fishing from the shore line.

So, it's a real good all-around universal rod. Paired with it, I've got a real, it's a... The key thing is that it's a 6.3 to 1 gear ratio. You can go all the way up to like a 6.6 to 6.7, but you don't want anything like a 7 to 1 or higher gear ratio. You need a slower speed because the retrieve is slower. You're not burning this back to the boat or back to the shoreline. So, a higher speed gear ratio actually works against you in this instance. So, a 6.3 is perfect for that. What I like is a reel that's got a real smooth drag. That's important to me because when you're... Once you set the hook and you're fighting the fish, you want that smooth drag to be able to keep the fish pinned and get 'em back to you. So, that's the key thing about the reel.

The line, I use 15-pound fluorocarbon line, straight up, no braid leader, anything like that. The reason is fluorocarbon is super... It's universal, 15-pound... Actually, Seaguar InvizX is what I prefer because it's just a universal line you can throw it anywhere and it actually works better than braid. Braid is not universal, guys. For an example, braid, you throw it in rocks, on rip rap, that sort of thing, it's gonna get frayed and nicked up, and you get to tie it more often than you would if you're throwing fluorocarbon. Yeah, fluorocarbon withstands abrasion better than braid. So, that's why I use it because with the swim worm, you want to be able to throw it virtually anywhere and not have to worry about your line. So, that's the primary reason why I use straight-up 15-pound fluorocarbon line.

Now, rigged with it, I've got a 3/0 extra-wide gap hook. That works great if the worm is less than 6 inches long, which this one's about 5 1/2. For longer worms longer than 6 inches, you want to bump it up a bit and go to a 4/O extra-wide gap hook. That said, there is times when I will actually use braid and that's when I'm fishing in thicker cover when it's flooded bushes, and trees, and timber, duck pilings, things like that where the...or even thicker weeds like hydril [SP] and milfoil where the fish can wrap up and get buried into it. It's hard to get 'em out, then I'd upgrade to braid. That's where I would use 30 to 50-pound Seaguar braid, Seaguar Smackdown works really well, it casts very, very well. It actually casts just as well as monofil and honestly, it's a really good braid. But if you do that, then you gotta change your hook because the braid doesn't have any stretch at it whatsoever. So, all the pressure of the hook set in the fight back to the boat is gonna be put on that hook. So, for that reason, you want to upgrade to a super line hook. Sometimes that's called a flipping hook, but all that is, is a thicker wire hook that's designed to withstand the pressure put on by braided line. So, that's the change I would make there. Otherwise, again, I'd just use fluorocarbon line, but that's how you pair it up that way.

For weight, 3/16-ounce weight, that is it, that's all you need to do. That's your starting point. Ninety percent of the time you're gonna be using a 3/16-ounce weight. Why such a light weight? Well, look at this. There's really aren't any appendages on it. It's narrow, it doesn't have a lot of water resistance, so it goes through the water a lot easier than most of your Texas rig baits that are bulkier and have a lot of appendages. So, you don't need as much weight. So, a 3/16-ounce is a good starting point and I'll explain how we adjust from there. And then I always peg it with a bobber stopper. And the reason for that is when I'm pulling it through cover, the weight tends to separate from the worm. And then when you set the hook, you've gotta make up for the weight, and the distance between the weight and the worm, and at the end of the day, you don't get as good of a hook set. So, I like to keep to them together so they slide together through the cover and the weeds and whatnot as one unit, and that performs a lot better that way.

The other thing I do is I peg the worm to the hook. Yeah, I peg the worm to the hook. Now, what that does is it allows for better hook sets because the worm doesn't slide down the hook, and it also doesn't tear up the worm as much as you're using it. It makes it last longer. So, if you don't know how to peg it with a piece of monofilament, just follow the link up here and I've got a video that shows exactly how to do that and you can follow that step by step.

Now for the worm itself, there's a lot of manufacturers, a lot of companies make different swim worms. The one I like the most is the Tour Swim Worm from Big Bite Baits. And that's because of a couple things. First of all, it comes in two different sizes. You've got the 5 1/2 and then you've got the 7 1/2. The reason I would use the smaller sizes in clear water conditions where I'm fishing open water, not a lot of cover, just scattered brush piles and rock piles and boulders and that sort of thing. This works pretty good in that situation. But when you're looking at muddy water, dingy water, you need a little more vibration and when the fish are more active, the bigger one, this sets off a bigger profile, a little bit more vibration, and it's easier for the fish to hone in on it.

But the key thing that I like about it, why I like the Big Bite Baits is this here, the paddle tail. It comes like this out of the package. It looks like a paddle. It actually works as a paddle tail and that works great when you need more vibration, when you need the fish to hone in on it. The bigger 7 1/2-inch has got a more of a thumper action. So, that's really good in muddy conditions. The smaller one is more of a tight vibration, good little wiggle gives off a bait fish type of sound and profile. But if the water's really clear, or if the fish aren't all that aggressive and they're just not wanting to bite it, look at this. So, you got the seam right here. All's you do is you split it right along the seam and now you got yourself just like a regular worm. It's less of a vibration now. It works just like a regular ribbon tail worm, less vibration, more subtle, more natural, and it's gonna pick up those fish when they're not as aggressive. So, you've basically got two baits in one. So, that's the reason I really like it. Great bait to use.

So, for colors, start off with green pumpkin. You can't go wrong with green pumpkin. If you're only gonna pick up one color, green pumpkin's the one. If you're gonna fish in really clear water that's got a lot of visibility, more than 8 feet of visibility, then I would go with like a watermelon red seed, that kind of little, translucent lighter color. Conversely, if you're fishing in real muddy or dingy water, then I would use something like a tequila sunrise or a dark purple, a color like that. The darker color heads is better contrast against that muddy water and it's easier for the fish to see. All right. We've talked about the equipment and the line and how to rig it.

So, now let's talk about fishing it, and then how do you fish it? For the most part, you can fish a swim worm pretty much anywhere you would fish a spinner bait, that's on, around and through cover, over the tops of weeds, through lily pads, around docks, rock piles, rip rap, and even submerged objects such as humps and ridges. Even ledges would be really good to fish a swim worm. You can fish 'em in isolated cover such as boulders, and stumps, or duck pilings. Just swim it up, up alongside of it and then you can kill it and just let it flutter down right next to it. And oftentimes, that will trigger a strike.

The key difference between a swim worm and a spinner bait is that a swim worm is much more subtle. It doesn't have the flash and the vibration and the bulk of a spinnerbait. And when fish just aren't that aggressive, or they're wary of artificial lures, typically, bigger bass are wary of artificial lures, that's where this shines. It's more subtle, it's more natural. It gives off a baitfish-type profile. So, fish that aren't as aggressive are more apt to hit it or the bigger fish that are more wary of artificial lures, you tend to catch 'em on a swim worm. So, a lot of times when guys, they want to throw spinnerbaits and they'll throw those all day long, they won't pick up a swim worm. So, if you're going down the bank and you're behind some guys slinging spinner baits, pick up a swim worm, and you'll probably clean house behind them and they won't know what you're doing. That's what I like so much about it.

Now, how you fish it. What you do is you cast it out and you count it down, and you want it... The idea here is that you want the swim worm to go just right across the top of the weeds at a horizontal pace. So, cast it out, count it down to about the top, and you just, you reel it at a nice, easy, slow pace, just ticking the tops of the weeds as you go. Perfect. So, it's about a moderate retrieve. Your speed may vary depending on how deep it is, but it's an easy slow retrieve. Hence, the reason why you wanna lower gear ratio reel. Sometimes, it doesn't work though. Ninety percent of the time that's gonna do it for you. But sometimes the fish want something a little bit different, and the best thing to do is to change up your speed. Either speed up or slow down.

Now, if you do that though, because you're using such a light sinker, and this is such a small profile, if you speed up, you're gonna pull the worm up away from the cover. Consequently, if you slow down, it's going to go down the weeds and bury itself in the weeds. So, you need to change the weight. Change it just by a little bit, guys, a little bit goes a long ways with these worms. So, if you're fishing 3/16, just move up a 1/16th of an ounce to a 1/4 ounce to heavy up if you're gonna speed up your retrieve. Or if you're gonna slow down your retrieve, knock the weight down to an 1/8 ounce and you'll be good to go. You really don't need to move the weight much more than that. I don't think I've ever fished it heavier than that. I think once I might have gone to 5/16 in a windy situation, but that's an edge case.

That's all you need, like three different weights, 16th of an ounce apart from each other, and your 3/0 and 4/0 hook, and you're good to go. You can throw it pretty much anywhere then. It's completely weedless, you're not gonna get hung up on anything. So, you can go in and go where the fish are and get 'em out with a swim worm. I hope that helps. For more tips and tricks like this, visit