When most people think of worm-fishing they normally think of painstakingly crawling a piece of plastic along the bottom waiting for a strike. Because of this stigma as being a “slow” presentation, many river fisherman shy away from plastic worms, preferring faster power techniques. After fishing Florida’s natural lakes for the last 15 years, I’ve become somewhat proficient at fishing plastic worms…it’s THE # 1 lure in my neck of suburbia. If I have learned one thing after years of worm fishing it’s to, “keep things simple”. I learned to keep the blinders-on when walking down the worm aisle at the local tackle shops, just sticking to the standard 8 to 10-inch curly-tail junebug worms. However, once I discovered river fishing I quickly realized that it is much more dynamic than fishing natural lakes. I had to rethink my “standard” worm presentation and adapt the technique to river fishing. So one day walking down the worm aisle the blinders came off and I found a worm that has quickly become my “go to” river fishing lure, the Zoom Bait Company’s Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm.
If I had to use one worm on a river, this is it. The Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm is the most versatile worm I’ve ever used! Compared to other plastic worms it’s fairly compact, but at the same time big enough to catch lunker bass as well. If you’ve never fished one of these you owe it to yourself to try it out. The action of the Ultra-Vibe tail is incredible…as the name says, the tail and worm vibrates. It screams “Swim me like a spinnerbait and let my tail catch the fish!”
My normal presentation is casting to my target, let it sink like a worm while the tail (slowly) vibrates down to the bottom. If a fish is there, the strike will usually occur on the fall (you’ve heard that before). If no strike, reel it back like a spinnerbait letting it fall in and over structure. Unlike a spinnerbait, when worked over a log, per se, the blades may or may not rotate to the bottom where they’ll lie lifeless on the bottom. With the Ultra-Vibe, bring it over a log and it’ll vibrate all the way to the bottom and stand up, enticing a strike. In addition, the ultra-vibe is deadly when swimming through submergent grass and lily-pads.
To get the most effective presentation use the lightest weight possible. I usually prefer to a 1/16 oz or 1/8 oz sinker depending on the wind, current, and bottom composition. On the some local rivers, it seems no matter where I cast I get hung up in on bottom, so I use a 1/16 oz. weight regardless. I like to peg my sinkers, but have been equally successful with unpegged sinkers (your preference). As for hooks, any good 3ought off-set hook will work. I prefer Mustad Ultra off-set and Lazer off-set red hooks…I’m relying on the Lazer red hooks these days, because they are lighter. Go-to color choices are, #1 watermelon seed/red flake, #2) plain watermelon seed, # 3 junebug/red flake. Zoom has recently introduced a range of new colors. I’m going to try black/red flake soon. It’s debatable, but I think red is important, whether it’s a red hook or red flake in the worm. One rigging tip: to avoid line twist, align the hook with the mold-seam. It does not matter if the tail is up or down…it will not affect the presentation.
What I like about the Ultra-Vibe is that on a single cast you can worm-it on the bottom, slow roll it like a spinnerbait, or raise the rod tip and bring it to the surface and its tails flaps the surface like an injured baitfish. Not only does the tail vibrate but the entire worm vibrates too…just one awesome effective presentation. I’ll start out fishing with the swimming technique just under the surface and let the tail occasionally break the surface. If I don’t any strikes with that I just slow down to a slow roll past targets. Then if they are still not biting, I’ll “worm” it on the bottom.
Oh, and if that’s not enough, do not throw away the used worms (as the only weakness of this worm is the tail will break off when fighting a fish, or on a short strike. With the tail cut off, the Ultra-Vibe turns into a 5-inch stick-bait (senko). Tie it onto a spinning reel weightless or a baitcaster with a little weight. Also, use them on a Carolina-rig 18” behind a 3/8 oz. Lindy no-snag sinker…it’s a killer presentation. If you love worm fishing as much as I do or want to try it more, try these techniques. I’ll bet you catch a bunch on your local river.