Doodling Doodling is a worm fishing technique mastered and taught by finesse fishing guru Don Iovino.

Doodling is a worm fishing technique mastered and taught by finesse fishing guru Don Iovino. It's best used on suspended bass in clear, deep lakes usually found in western America, but can be used on any lake that has clear to stained water.
   Use either baitcasting or spinning gear on a 6-foot, medium-light action rod. Usually, spinning gear is preferred when using 6-8 pound test for deep fishing, and baitcasting for 10-pound and up when flipping. Place a small, glass bead between the worm and a brass sinker (some enthusiasts insist they must match in color, others say it doesn't matter). Use 4- to 4 1/2-inch worms on 1/0 hooks, and 3-inch grubs on size 1 hooks. Paddle tail worms are best suited in the spring whereas straight tailed worms work best in the fall and winter. Use a 3/16-ounce weight when working the bottom on deep structure, a 5/32-ounce weight on suspended bass.

The Technique

Let the bait fall to the preferred depth, then shake your rod tip. You've got their attention now, so just wait - at least 30 seconds. Then shake again for about 2 or 3 seconds, stop and pull slowly about six inches. Then drop slowly back down again and repeat the process. The first thing to change if they're not biting is to slow down. In depths of forty feet or more, the bite feels like a slight pull, like the pressure you feel when stretching a rubber band. Set the hook when ever you feel this or anything else "odd".


Purple is the preferred choice on overcast days and in deep water. Motor oil is used primarily in the summer and fall because it looks like shad and small fry in shallow water and turns black in deep water. Try using a crawdad color (browns) in the Spring. Red can also be a dynamite color - use a darker shade in dirtier water. Cinnamon-blue, a color that most likely represents a natural night crawler, is a good overall color to use.


  • Always be sure to use your favorite scent.
  • In the Spring, fish uphill (position the boat in shallow water and cast to deep water) and use a 1/8 ounce weight.
  • Fish downhill in the Fall.
  • Use a Texas rigged worm to prevent hang-ups.
  • Fish the worm suspended 90% of the time.
  • Always sharpen your hooks to make sure you have maximized your hookup potential. Hook files can be found at most fishing tackle shops. Hook brands such as Gamakatsu, Owner, and a few others are sharp enough to use right out of the package. Brands such as Eagle Claw and Mustad are good hooks but they just aren't quite sharp enough right out of the package. You can determine if the hook is sharp enough by pressing it lightly into your thumb nail - if it seems to have a sticky and "tacky" feeling, your hook should be sharp enough. Eagle Claw or Mustad are good solid hooks but they just need to be sharpened. They will slide around on your thumbnail if you lightly press them into it. It is extremely important to make sure your hooks are sharp enough because if that hook is fairly dull then you greatly increase your chance of missing bites!!! -- Scott Glover
  • When doodling, it is critical to keep your presentation natural by downsizing your hooks to 1/0 or lower, and paying delicate, almost scrupulous attention to how straight your bait is in order to maintain a natural presentation. Most finesse worming is not a reaction strike so a worm that is not rigged properly will generally eliminate the possibility of ever being bit. In addition, a long sweeping hook-set will put the hook in the fish's mouth and keep it there more firmly than will a snap-set simply because the sweep-set will keep pressure, never allowing the hook to back out of the fishes mouth. It will also keep the fish deep until it has been played out. A snap-set will occasionally drop slack to the fish while you are trying to pick up the extra line, allowing a poorly set hook to fall from the fish's mouth. A sharp upward set will cause the fish to head to the surface and jump, which may result in the loss of the fish. Good Luck, Go Fish! -- Anonymous
  • Too many times fish are lost because of hook-sets that look like you are playing tug of war with a grizzly bear. A more subtle rolling hook-set that keeps the line tight will most definitely land more fish. -- Zack
  • Crystal clear waters can be tough. It is times like this when it is good to downsize your presentation and go to a 6-foot spinning outfit. The secret to fishing weenie worms is to keep slack on your line and "shake" the bait instead of dragging. The shaking of the rod and your light line give your worm, grub or reaper an amazing action. -- Tyson the Bassmaster
  • I like to use a clear, faceted bead. Often the little flash from the bead attracts better. Sometimes I use ceramic beads as the sound is slightly different than what bass hear all the time. Don't be afraid to experiment with colors, whether glass, plastic or ceramic. Sometimes I use a bead and no weight just for an attractant and to protect my knots. -- Steve
  • I use a variety of beads but my favorite is stainless steel. This, coupled with the lead weight creates a very different sound. -- Atonius Bassius

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