Any tackle shop you go into is likely to have an entire wall filled with nothing but rubber worms. They are the #1 bass lure you can buy, even surpassing live bait. They are also one of the least expensive lures you can buy and more bass tournaments have been won with soft plastic worms than with any other lure. They can be fished deep or shallow. They can be used in open water, or right in the middle of dense cover. They work in all seasons, in all waters, and anywhere bass live.
Best Plastic Worms For Bass
A soft plastic worm that is going to perform in just about any body of water is the Senko Worm by Gary Yamamoto. This worm will be effective in clear or stained water for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
The senko worm works best when wacky rigged or texas rigged. We suggest watermelon, green pumpkin w/ black flake and green pumpkin with red flake.
If your fishing for largemouth bass in stained water with vegetation like lilly pads and hydrilla, then we recommend the Zoom Magnum II Worm. This nine inch ribbon tail worm has been a top rated bait amongst bass anglers for decades and continues to prove its worth.
This worm works best texas rigged or carolina rigged. For a color suggestion go with pumpkin, green pumpkin, or junebug.
Selecting The Best Soft Plastic Bait
Selecting the right worm is based on the water your fishing and the conditions. It also matters what kind of presentation you are trying to put on. There are 4 factors to determine when selecting the right worm:
What Color Worms For Bass
If you fishing dark or stained water you should fish a lighter colored worm, or one that is partially bright like with a chartreuse tail for example. In clearer water you want to use darker, more natural colors. You may have heard the phrase “match the hatch”. In clear water, where a bass will rely more on vision, that couldn’t be more important.
Selecting a Worm Size
When selecting a worm size you need to consider two factors: water clarity and sink rate. The clearer the water the smaller you want your worm to be. In darker water you want the bigger bait to provide added attraction. Sink rate (the rate at which the bait sinks) will be slower with larger bodied worms because there is more water displacement, so if your not using weights you need to consider how fast you want the worm to sink.
Worm with a Tail vs No Tail
Use a worm with a tail:
- In Dirty water
- Around sparse weeds
- When bass are active
- In warm water
Use a worm without a tail:
- In clear water
- In open water
- In colder water
- In water under heavy fishing pressure
Add weight to a worm to alter the sink rate. The sink rate is a huge factor in getting bass to strike. The difference between speeds can effect whether a bass even looks at the bait. The best way to test it is to start with a faster sink rate and slow it down over time if your not getting results. Here are some tips to help you determine the best sink rate.
- Tough bite
- Cold water
- Early spring, late fall
- Warm water
- Among active bass
- In thick cover
How To Rig A Soft Plastic Worm
There are many ways to rig a rubber worm but the three most popular are the Texas Rig, the Carolina Rig, and the Wacky Rig. You can fish either one in mostly any conditions and find success, but its the difference in presentation that will determine what the bass are looking for.
The Texas Rig
The Texas Rig is the most common worm rig used by bass anglers and is 100% weedless. The only way to hang this rig up is by wrapping it around something like a tree limb. A special worm hook, with an extra-large hook gap is usually used, but you can use a standard Carlisle or Aberdeen hook as well.
The hook is inserted into the head of the rubber worm, threaded to the collar, then the point is pushed out of the body. The hook is then rotated 180° and the point is buried back into the body of the worm, so that the worm swims straight. A cone shaped sinker is threaded on the line above the hook and allowed to slide all the way down, forming another worm head.
These are usually fished in heavy cover, with stiff rods, and heavy line, so you can get an instant hook set, and drag the bass from cover before it can wrap the line around something. You cast it directly into cover and fish it very slowly, as slow as you can stand it. Just raise the rod tip slowly every so often, and crawl the worm across the bottom.
When a bass picks up the worm, the weight slides, so the bass does not feel the weight. Anytime you feel a ‘peck-peck’, you need to set the hook quickly and firmly. When the hook is set, the point of the hook drives through the worm body, and into the bass’s mouth. Then the fight is on. You need to use a strong reel with heavy gears so you can drag the bass from it’s cover immediately. Bait casting reels are preferred. For more info on the texas rig click here.
The Carolina Rig
The Carolina Rig is similar to the Texas Rig, except the weight is rigged above a swivel that keeps it 12” to 18” away from the rubber worm. This allows the worm to ‘swim’ rather than crawl, like the Texas Rig. This rig can be fished a little faster, but still slow compared to other lures. You just cast out, and retrieve by raising your rod tip to the 12 o’clock position, then reeling in slack as you lower the rod tip. Wait a bit, then repeat. Set the hook anytime you feel resistance.
Which one is better? It depends. The Carolina Rig allows you to cast farther, and work more area, quicker. But, the Carolina Rig is not as weedless, and can’t be used in very dense cover. It also doesn’t sink as fast, so it is not as good for working ledges and drop-offs. This is where the Texas Rig shines. It allows you to crawl your rubber worms across the bottom, into every nook and cranny. For more info on the carolina rig click here.
The Wacky Rig
The wacky rig is fished with very light weights, such as split-shots, or with no weight at all. You just cast it out, and allow it to slowly sink, twitching the rod tip gently every so often. This makes the rubber worm spasm, and will drive fish crazy at times. This rig is best in smaller streams and rivers, rock piles and overhangs. The worm will be shallow enough for you to see it, so when a bass takes it, you will know it. For more info on the wacky worm click here.
Fishing With Worms
Rule number one when fishing a plastic worm is always keep tension in the line. If your worm is sitting on the bottom and you have slack in your line you are not going to feel a bass take it. Bass don’t bite worms, they suck them in, and it can be hard to feel even with proper line tension.
Its important when you feel the worm get taken, to set the hook right away. Many times a worm will get picked up and dropped before an angler has a chance to set the hook. To set the hook, pull your rod tip back toward your body. This will expose the point of the hook and allow it to penetrate the lip of the fish.