Worms And CrawsWorms And Craws Bonita Staples tests new lures and reveals secret techniques that are sure to help you catch more bass.
By Bonita Staples
I've been trying out some new lures and techniques that are sure to help you catch more bass. When I first saw the Willy's Scented Worm by Innovative Sport Group (ISG), I thought back to when plastic worms first came out (some of us remember when). They are pre-rigged. The other thing that caught my attention was the grape scent. Some of the first scents for worms were grape and strawberry and they worked great.
The Willy's Worm is pre-rigged with three hooks on 17-pound green Trilene XT line. It comes in 6-, 8-, and 11-inch sizes in a multitude of fish-catching colors. It's a combination of trick worm, twitch bait, floating worm and jerkbait all in one. Although the hooks are exposed, it's almost totally weedless because of the way the hooks are arranged and the natural curl built into it.
The best way I found to rig it is to put a swivel in the pre-rigged loop on it. You do this by putting the loop from the line on the Willy's Worm, through one eye on the swivel and then run the whole swivel through the loop and pull it down around the eye on the swivel. Now tie your line to the other end of the swivel. You'll need the swivel because the worm twists, or cork screws, as it comes through the water. Without the swivel, your line would twist and cause line fatigue.
There are several ways of fishing Willy's Scented Worms, I just tried a couple and had great success. First, I use it like a trick worm. I would cast it out along a dock and twitch the rod, like you would do with a topwater lure, walking the dog. The Willy's Worm straightens out and then flexes back to its built-in curl. This natural worm looking action drives the bass crazy. I also worked it across the top of duckweed, letting it fall into holes. It rarely hooked any of the duckweed and when a bass hit, it was like an explosion, very aggressive. It worked well over and around lily pads, too.
Since you can see the bait moving through the water as you work it back to the boat, you need to not set the hook until you feel the bass or you will pull it out of the bass' mouth.
Another way to fish this bait it to cast it out and just reel it back. As it comes through the water, the shape of the worm makes it spin or cork screw through the water, creating a tantalizing action. I don't know if it was the softness or the grape smell, but the bass would not let go. This is an awesome lure. You need to try some.
Another of the baits I've been trying out is the crawfish tube bait made by Mad Man Lures. It's a lifelike three dimensional crawfish with a hollow body that makes it a tube type bait. It comes in 3-, 4-, and 5-inch sizes, and several color combinations of colors. You can use it with a Texas rig, Carolina or split shot rig as well as on a jig head with the hook exposed or skin-hooked weedless. This bait replicates the natural action of a real crawfish backing up to avoid a predator, with its claws up. The tail has a solid area of plastic to hold an offset hook in place when pulled through heavy cover. You can skin hook the hook point in the head area of the bait, giving it a live crawfish look as it comes through the water. If you want more buoyancy, put some Styrofoam in the tube portion or for added attraction, soak a piece of cotton in your favorite scent and put it in the tube. (Editor's note: Mad Man Lures is no longer in business as of 2007)
One new fishing technique I've been playing with is drop-shotting. I've had a little help from an expert, Terry Battisti. Terry grew up in southern California, the birthplace of finesse fishing. He also owns Snake Bite Hand Poured Baits. His plastic baits are hand poured with scent and have a soft texture that works best with the drop shot rig.
A drop shot rig has the weight on the end of the line with one, two or more baits up the line above the weight. The hooks are tied, points facing UP on the line, first with the weight at the end of the line or bottom of the rig, and your choice of 3- to 4-inch baits.
Cast this rig out and let it reach the bottom. Take up line until you feel the weight. Then place your rod at the 10:00 o'clock position. Next drop your rod to about a 9:30 position and shake the line to give the lures action. The key is to shake the baits on a slack line. Do this for a minute or two and then reel up to a tight line and move the weight to a different spot and start the shaking process all over again. This can pay off for finicky bass.
Give it a try and I will tell you some other secrets about this technique in a later article.
Bonita is sponsored by Cobra Boats, Mercury Motors, Bowie Marine, Hamby's Protectors, Solargizer, Falcon Rods, Bob's Machine Shop, Minn Kota, OutdoorTexas.com and Tournament Chasers.
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