It has been about 5 years since soft plastic stickbaits made their way to the bass fishing scene taking not only bass but bass fisherman by storm along the way. But in all reality in this case you could say that time has served its purpose well. Over the last 5 years fishermen have been thinking about and working on new ways to fish these baits and take bass. Through the years and many bass later here are the 5 most popular ways to rig and fish a soft plastic stickbait for bass.
To set the record straight there are many imitation soft plastic stickbaits on the market today and with so many to choose from which one is the best? Fishing many of them along the way I feel one the best soft plastic stickbait that I have found and fish is Outkast Tackles Stick Worm. This bait comes in 3 different sizes (3”, 4” and 5”) and 15 different bass catching colors. (www.outkasttackle.com)
Texas Rig: This is the most popular or common way to rig a stick worm. Matching the size of your hook to the size of stick worm that you are fishing is key. For 3” sticks I use a Eagle Claw HP 2/0 hook, for the 4” I use a HP 3/0 and for the 5” I use a HP 4/0 hook. The clip on the HP hook helps hold the stick worm in place keeping the worm in the proper position giving you a better chance at a cleaner hook set. I have had times when using traditional worm hooks that the worm would fall and act as a weed guard getting in the way of the hook point on the hook set, only resulting in missed bass.
When it comes to fishing the stick worm you can use either spinning or a baitcaster set up the choice will be left up to you and what you feel better set to fish with. If you prefer a spinning set up pick a 6’ to 7’ medium action rod matched with a spinning reel spooled with 8lb to 10lb mono or fluorocarbon line. If you want you can also use a super braided line if you use a mono or fluorocarbon leader. The braided line choice will help you during the early part of the season if you are fishing in heavy cover when the bass are spawning. If you prefer to fish a baitcaster pick a 6’ to 7’ medium action rod matched with a reel spooled with 10lb to 12lb mono or fluorocarbon.
Getting down to fishing action cast the bait out and slowly work the stick worm back to the boat, giving it slight twitches along the way. This will give the bait a back and forth darting action and a slow glide on the pause. How deep the bait gets will have to do with how long you pause between twitches. Many times the strike will go undetected so when you see your line start to move away set the hook.
Weighted Hook Rigged: When you have a need to work the stick worm faster or want a little bit more depth from the bait you can do this by using a weighted worm hook. You will not need much weight to make a difference in how the bait acts and the depth that you can work the stick baits too. I prefer to use the weighted hook called a Flutter Jighead that is made by H&H, and sold through Bass Pro. These hooks come in sizes of 1/0 to 5/0 and are available in red or black nickel finish and in two weight sizes 1/16oz and 1/8oz. If you are fishing shallow 1/16oz will do the trick but if you are fishing dropoff’s near spawning areas in the spring you will need a few 1/8oz sized hooks. One more tip these hooks are great for fishing tubes on also.
Money Jig Head Rigged: One of the newest ways to fish the stick worm is to rig the bait on a jig head. The bigger body of the stick worm has a slower fall than traditional worms making this an excellent way to present the bait when the bite gets tough especially during cold front conditions. Another place that this presentation shines is when you are fishing docks. This bait is easy to skip under docks when rigged on a Money Jig Head. Keep in mind when using an exposed hook your hook up ratio is higher than with a hook that is texas rigged.
Tail Weighted Rig: A tail weighted rigged stick bait is a great way to fish a stick worm when the bite is tough or you are fishing a dock bite start by rigging the bait texas style but, tail weight the stick worm. You can do this in two ways one way is insert a piece of nail or a piece of solder into the tail of the stick worm. The second way is to take a Bullet Weight Screw in Sinker and screw that into the tail of the worm. When fishing a stick worm rigged this way the bait fall backwards on slack line when you pull the bait forward towards you. This is the only bait on the market that will fall backwards after you pull it forward many times hitting a following bass in the nose causing a strike.
Wacky Worm Rigged: Wacky rigging has been around for many years but it has just been in the last few that have bass fishermen admitting out loud that this is a top producing way to rig stick worms and take bass. Too tell you the truth this has been a secret of mine for sometime now so I will spill the rest of the beans and let the cat out of the bag. To rig the stick worm wacky style you have a few options. One is you can just run your hook through the middle of the stick bait, but the draw back is you will go through a lot of baits in your day of fishing. To help this you can rig a split ring over the worm this will take most of the power generated when you set the hook getting you more bass per stick worm. A poor man’s version of this and I feel works even better is the cable tie method.
Go to your local Radio Shack and get the smallest cable ties you can find in a few different colors. Take this cable tie and put this at the middle of worm and tighten it down. You do not have to get the cable tie too tight just tight enough so it will not slide off of the worm cut the extra off and slip your hook under the tie. Rigged this way the stick worm will last even longer that the split ring method because of the wider width of the cable tie and with the multiple colors that cable ties come in you can add a little color at the same time to your presentation.
Armed with these 5 rigging styles if you are not fishing a stick worm for bass this season you are missing out on one of the hottest baits going in bass fishing. Give all of these popular presentations a try this year as the season goes on and you will see what they mean when they say stick worms are almost as close that you can get to a magic bait.
All credit for these awesome tips goes to Pro Bass. http://www.probass.net/protips/Articles/ScottPeterson.php