Shaky Head Tips

It's How You Wiggle Your Worm

Bass Fishing For Beginners
Worm fishing
Plastic worm fishing

Arguably one of the most productive baits on the planet is the plastic worm. Whether you fish it on a Texas Rig, Carolina Rig, Drop Shot, Florida Rig, or Split Shot Rig, you can almost always catch bass on a plastic worm. The plastic worm is a very simple bait to learn and master. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will feel more comfortable and confident in your ability to produce a limit while using it. Since this is an essential instructional guide for the plastic worm, I will only get into basic rigs and techniques.

The Texas rig is the most popular for fishing the plastic worm. You place a bullet weight on the line above a 4/O worm hook to use this rig. (hook size will be dependent on the size of worm you are using). The weight will slide freely on the line. Impale the tip of the hook back into the body of the worm so that it is "weedless."

Cast the worm towards some shoreline cover or structure and let it fall to the bottom. You will be able to tell when it has reached the bottom when the line goes slack. Please pay close attention to the line as it falls because frequently, the bass will hit the worm as it descends.

Reel up the slackline once your bait is resting on the bottom and give the rod tip a couple of tiny twitches. If this does not produce a strike, begin to slowly hop the worm along the bottom or over the fishing structure. It is not necessary to move the rod tip a great deal to produce an effective worm movement. Generally, I do not move the rod more than 6- to 8-inches. Granted, the amount of movement needed will be determined by the type of area you are fishing.

It is vital to pay attention to your line during your retrieve. Should the line go slack all of a sudden, chances are the worm is in the mouth of a bass. It is also very common for the line to begin to move sideways. This occurs when a bass picks up the bait and swims perpendicular to the direction of your cast. Should this occur, reel up any slack line and set the hook. Almost anytime I fish a plastic worm, it will be on a Texas Rig.

Another great technique is the Carolina Rig. Although a little more technical than the Texas Rig, it is still a relatively simple technique.

Place an egg sinker or a Carolina Rig weight on your line to create a Carolina Rig. As with the Texas Rig, the weight should slide freely. Next, tie a swivel to the line under the weight. Once this is complete, tie a 12- to 24-inch leader of lighter line to the bottom eye of the swivel. (The length of your leader will be dependent on the area you are fishing). After this is done, you attach your worm hook to the end of the leader. Generally, I will use a smaller hook when fishing a Carolina Rig, most often a 2.5/O Gamakatsu EWG worm hook.

Casting this rig is a little more challenging than with a Texas Rig because of the long leader, but it becomes second nature with a bit of practice.

The Carolina Rig is an excellent method of covering a lot of water. I will often use the Carolina Rig when fishing main lake points or flats. Cast the worm to your desired target and let it fall to the bottom. Reel up the slackline and begin your retrieve by making short hops with the weight. You should be able to feel the resistance created by the weight as you hop it off the bottom after each hop. Let the weight sit for a few seconds to enable the worm to fall back towards the bottom. Each time your weight comes in contact with the bottom, slowly reel up any slack in the line.

This rig's design allows the worms to have a more lifelike presentation because there is virtually no resistance on the bait as it falls. Given that it is weightless, the worm will fall at a much slower rate than your weight will.

When setting the hook using a Carolina Rig, reel up any slack and make a sideways sweeping motion with the rod. I have found that this technique has a greater hooking ratio than simply setting the hook by jerking the rod tip straight upward.

The Florida Rig is almost identical to the Texas Rig. The only difference is the weight on the Florida Rig does not slide freely on the line. Instead, the weight has a small peg with a spring-looking device attached to it. This spring is used to screw into the head of the plastic worm, and it will lock everything together. Although I am personally not a big fan of this technique, several anglers are, and it is up to each individual to determine their favorite methods.

As far as the Drop Shot Rig is concerned, this is a more advanced technique that is more difficult to learn correctly. Due to this belief, I will write a more in-depth description later that will deal exclusively with fishing the Drop Shot.

Now that you have learned the basics of the plastic worm, it's time to go out and give it a cast. Like with all techniques, these will require you to get comfortable and gain confidence in your ability to catch fish on a plastic worm consistently. It just doesn't happen all at once, so stick with it, and you won't be disappointed.