WORM FISHING BASICS
Like most methods of fishing, some require additional skills like "reading the line". Others require us to use our "sixth sense" to detect those soft or delicate bites from bass. Well welcome to the world of worm fishing, because this is a combination of everything I just mentioned and more! NOTE: When I use the word worm, I am also referring to other soft plastic shapes and creatures, which can be fished by these methods. The need for sensitivity with worm fishing is the number one skill you must perfect if you are to be successful, whether you're using a four-inch or a twelve-inch worm. When I first began fishing worms as a child dangling them under a bobber, the worm did all the work. Now, when using the plastic worm, you will have to make the imitation look so good, that the fish just cannot refuse it.
Weightless worming is one of my favorite methods of fishing, using just
a hook and the worm. To successfully use this method the line must be
lighter than you would normally use for Texas or Carolina rigging. I recommend
no lighter than 6-pound and no heavier than 12-pound test. A 6-foot light
spinning outfit will work well. Use a 1/0 hook for 4- to 6-inch worms,
a 2/0 for 6- to 8-inch worms, 3/0 for 8- to 10-inch worms and 4/0 or 5/0
for the really large worms over 10 inches in total length. Simply cast
the worm into cover or at the edge of a weedline. Allow it to fall slowly,
watching the line for twitches or a sudden change in direction. To the
fish, the worm will look as if it has fallen from the overhanging tree
or from the top of the weeds. Allow the worm to reach the bottom. Do not
Using a floating worm over cover is also a very exciting method of worm fishing. Bright pink and yellow are perfect for this application as you can see the worm clearly and often watch the worm disappear as a bass engulfs it! Drag the bait in small movements over the cover, and then let it sit in spaces between pads or at the edge of weedbeds.
Texas rigging is used with great success because it will get the worm
to the bottom quickly through thick cover. Heavier line to 18-pound test
and a heavy action rod are required so that you can muscle fish out of
weeds or fallen tree cover. A 6- to 6 *-foot baitcasting or spinning outfit
will work with this application. Your needle-nosed or cone-shaped weight
should fit tightly on top of the worm or slightly away from the head dependant
upon conditions. I like to place the weight against the head if I am deep
in thick cover. I find that the worm cuts through the weeds and surface
cover quickly, minimizing snags. I will place the weight a quarter of
an inch away from the head of the worm if the cover is not too dense.
I have found that using a toothpick will secure the weight to the line.
Just insert the toothpick into the lead head and snap off the excess.
The wood will expand in water making the fit tighter. Placing the lead
away from the worm allows a more fluid movement and gives the appearance
that the worm is following something small. Bass like to ambush other
smaller fish or creatures when there are apparently chasing something
else. Your presentation should be hopped or dragged along the bottom and
paused so that the fish can get a look at the offering. Slow to moderate
retrieval is best. Set the hook with a firm upward movement, this will
Carolina rigging is not so common here on Long Island but if you find yourself in an open water situation without too much cover (Lake Ronkonkoma is a perfect example) this method can prove very effective. With a 7- or 7 *-foot baitcasting rig, your main line can be as heavy as 20-pound test. Rig a *- or *-ounce ball or pear-shaped weight and attach a link swivel. In rough weather conditions you can upgrade your lead weight to 2 ounces if necessary. (You may like to add a glass bead in between the weight and the swivel, which can be effective as a sound attractor, but I have often had fish bite the bead rather than the worm and so given false bite indication). This will stop the weight from sliding down to the hook. Next attach a length of lesser breaking strain line (12- to 15-pound test) to the swivel which will determine at what distance from the bottom you want your worm to rise and fall. I like to use a four-foot length of line but dependant upon water depth and clarity you may decide to make the leader from 18 inches to six-foot in length.
Attach your hook dependent upon worm size (as mentioned above) and make
your cast. The retrieve is slow and deliberate, dragging the weight along
the bottom of the lake or pond. Long agonizing pauses may also be
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