Doodling is a worm fishing technique mastered and taught by finesse fishing guru Don Iovino. It's best used on suspended bass in the clear, deep lakes usually found in western America, but it can be used on any lake with 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, while 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. Paddletail 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 and a 5/32-ounce weight on suspended bass.
Let the bait fall to the preferred depth, then shake your rod tip. You've got their attention now, so 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 whenever 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 an excellent overall color.
- 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 ensure you maximize your hookup potential. Hook files can be found at most fishing tackle shops. Hook brands such as Gamakatsu, Owner, and others are sharp enough to use right out of the package. Brands such as Eagle Claw and Mustad are good hooks but 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 thumbnail - 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 need to be sharpened. They will slide around on your thumbnail if you lightly press them. It is essential to ensure your hooks are sharp enough because if that hook is dull, you significantly 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 to maintain a natural presentation. Most finesse worming is not a reaction strike, so a worm that is not rigged correctly 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 a snap-set simply because the sweep-set will keep pressure, never allowing the hook to back out of the fish's 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 often, fish are lost because of hooksets 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 land more fish. -- Zack
- Crystal clear waters can be challenging. It is times like this when downsizing your presentation and going to a 6-foot spinning outfit is good. The secret to fishing weenie worms is to keep slack on your line and "shake" the bait instead of dragging. Shaking the rod and your light line gives your worm, grub, or reaper a fantastic 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 slightly differs from what bass usually hear. Don't be afraid to experiment with glass, plastic, or ceramic material. 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. -- Antonius Bassius