How many times have you made a trip to the river in hopes of having a day of repeated top water blow ups and rod jarring spinner bait strikes only to find that the fish were just not in the mood? That’s why I always have a worm or soft plastic craw tied on for just such occasions. Usually even on the worst of days when the fish are not cooperating you can mange to catch at least a few small one’s if you have the patience and knowledge to effectively fish soft plastics.
I grew up fishing home-made black plastic worms with my grand father in middle Georgia farm ponds, and that was all we fished. So, today it’s a type of fishing that comes naturally to me but for some people it can be a difficult style to learn. Why so difficult? Patience. It takes a lot of patience and the hardest part is not how to fish a worm but knowing when you are getting a bite. I saw the section on the site that said “submit content” and thought I would use it to share a few tips that might help you catch more fish on a worm.
The Rig and Bait:
There many different was of fishing soft plastics but what works best for me in a river is the Texas rig. I generally use a 1/8 up t 3/8 ounce bullet style weight depending on the amount of current I am fishing. You want to use just enough weight to sink the bait to the bottom but not so much that you get hung up in the rocks. This is something you will just have to experiment with and see what works best. As far as a hook goes I use a 3/0 to 5/0 extra wide gap (EWG) off set worm hook. Try to use as large a hook as you can get away with especially if you are using a really big worm or craw. I like a big sturdy hook.
Go as natural as possible when choosing your bait. It helps to know what the fish are feeding on where you are fishing. Turn over some rocks and find a craw fish and see what color and how big they are if you can. Use natural colors like blacks browns and greens. I use lighter more natural colors and smaller baits in clear water and darker and larger baits in stained water. In clear to slightly stained water a green pumpkin 6” finesse worm works well for me.
Not a lot needs to be said about where and when to present the bait. Cast to structure like trees, rocks, current breaks anywhere that looks like it might hold a fish. Most of the time when you are fishing current with a plastic, you’ll want to try and cast up stream and allow your bait to flow down with the current in a natural direction. The main thing is to stay in touch with your bait. When you cast allow the bait to fall and at the same time keep your rod tip up in the 10 o clock position and keep the slack out of your line. Keep just enough tension on the line to keep it up off of the water but not move the bait. When you are ready to move the bait reel down on the line and then pick the rod tip back up to the 10 o’clock position dragging the bait at the same time.
Here is a tip. If you are using a baitcasting reel (preferred) instead of holding the butt of the rod, palm your reel and hold your index finger under your line just in front of the reel where the line lays across your finger at the point where it comes out of the reel. This way you can feel the slightest tick in the line if a fish picks up the bait.
This is the most important part, yet the most difficult part to learn. How to know when you are getting a bite. Have you ever been fishing with someone and you were fishing in the exact same place using the exact same worm but your partner was catching fish but you were not? Well you can just about bet that you were getting bites but you did not know it. Here are a few tips on what to be looking for.
Watch your line! If you see a twitch in the line that you did not cause, set the hook! If your line starts to move in a unnatural direction like to the side or up stream, set the hook!
If you feel a slight jerk in you rod tip or in the line laying across your index finger, set the hook! If you have tension on your line and you start to feel a heavy sensation in the rod, set the hook! When you really get good at it you will often be able to tell the difference between a bite form a small fish and a bite from a larger fish. Smaller fish tend to give those machine gun type tap tap taps you feel but with a larger fish you will most likely feel one thump followed by that heavy sensation.
Finally when you do decide its time to set the hook don’t waist time trying to feel the fish. Reel down on the line taking up the slack and draw back with the rod as hard as you can.
Remember that a bass’ mouth is nothing but bone and thick membrane so you want to get a good deep hook set. Imagine swinging a bat in reverse trying to hit a home run.
Be patient and don’t get discouraged. If you keep fishing the worm it will all come together and eventually it will become your back up bait when all else fails..
And always remember…..When in doubt…SET THE HOOK!
Good luck !!