It’s summertime, which means it’s time to turn up the heat on big bass swimming in your favorite lake.
The best way to do that is go ”old school” on ‘em – tie on a big plastic worm and start dragging it around on the ledges and drops where bass spend their time lounging this time of year.
A lot of anglers shy away from big worms because they think the average-sized bass will run from them. That’s such a silly myth, so don’t let that get into your noggin’.
Let me give you a good example. At Kentucky Lake last year, I was fishing a 16-inch hand poured plastic worm on the ledges and caught 30, 12-inch or smaller bass on it!
Best of all, I was catching plenty of keepers, too. That big worm has a universal appeal and it really works well during the dog days of June, July and August.
Here’s why: When the water warms up, it actives an eel-like critter that lives in many of our lakes, especially those in the south. It tends to thrive in river systems and can be found along those 10- to 20-foot shelves that bass love to hang around during the summer months.
The lampreys are basically prehistoric-looking parasites that attach to the sides of just about any fish that it can latch its sucker-like mouth against.
While it’s a nuisance to the bass as well, it’s also an easy meal for them. Those lampreys get pretty big, hence the similarity to Zoom Lure’s Old Monster worm, my favorite for fishing this time of year. It’s a 10-inch, ribbon-tail worm that appeals to bass throughout the country.
You’ll find two primary Ol’ Monster worm colors in my tackle box – plum and plum candy. They’re both pretty immune to any changes in water clarity. And, since I’m usually fishing it deep, color really doesn’t matter. Generally speaking, I will throw the plum during low light conditions and go to the plum candy when the sun gets brighter. It’s a confidence thing for me.
I like to cast the big worm onto the ends of long points, creek bends and ledges that have stumps or hard bottoms where bass will school in hot water. It’s good around the edges of deep grass, too.
There are various ways of working it, but I like to pull it through grass, drag it on the bottom, bounce it or even hop it to trigger a reactionary strike. I’ve even fished it on a Carolina rig with success.
There are several other factors that can enhance your success. I always fish it with a tungsten-style sinker. Weights made of tungsten are smaller than those of equal weight made of lead, so they pull through cover easier. More importantly, tungsten is harder material and transmits a better feel of the bottom.
That is important because you want to know what your bait is dragging across. Bass love to gather around hard bottoms, such as rock, gravel or shell beds. When I feel that sinker clanking on something hard, I know to work that area thoroughly and get ready to jerk because I know my chances of getting a bite just improved considerably.
I prefer 3/8- or ½-ounce tungsten sinkers and usually stick with the ½ version because it gets to the bottom quicker and I can feel it better. Now, if my strikes are coming as the bait falls, I may go to a lighter weight to slow the fall.
I also fish it on 14-pound Vicious Elite Fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon is less visible and has less stretch so I can get a more positive hook-set when fishing in deep water. Again, because it is more sensitive, I can feel the bottom and the bites a lot better.
I use a 4/0 TroKar light-wire EWG hook most of the time and tend to avoid heavy wire hooks in that situation. A lighter wire hook fits in the bait better and requires less power to penetrate the plastic. Again, that’s important because you are fishing deep and need that barb to move instantly into the fish’s mouth when you jerk.
My rod and reel is a 7-foot Quantum medium heavy “Smoke” rod matched with a Quantum 6.3:1 geared “Smoke” baitcaster. The rod gives me a good feel of what the lure is doing and the faster reel helps me catch up to fish that swim toward the boat.
Whatever type of equipment you use for worm fishing this summer, make sure you go big with your bait. You’ll be offering deep bass a worm size that they don’t see as often.
And if there’s a big ‘un there, you’re gonna catch him!