How To Go Bass Fishing With Plastic Worms: Easy and Cheap

bass fishing with plastic worms
Photoby savannahcorps / CC BY

One of the most often used bass fishing lures is plastic. Yes, you heard right.. Plastic. Only the trophy bass anglers will know of this hidden lure for the big bass. One of the unique features that plastic bait brings is due to having a very long, thin, worm-like action that results in it appearing like a variety of prey.

Usually people claim live bait is the way to go, yet they just simply haven’t unlocked the true potential of going bass fishing with plastic worms. They need to be used right to be effective and require many hours to perfect the techniques of bass fishing with plastic worms. Usually you will find bass fishing with plastic worms to be a two sided debate; with one side claiming they are a waste while the other side is praising them like some mighty god.

Practice, Practice, Practice: Key to Bass Fishing With Plastic Worms

The more familiar you are to bass fishing with plastic worms, the better. More often than not, you will need to put hours of trial and error in to help you figure out how to correctly bass fish with plastic. You simply can’t throw it in and expect to reel in the trophy rated bass. We all wish it was that easy, but it simply isn’t true.

They are a type of bait where they fish have to see it before they even decide if its worth their time. While bass fishing with plastic worms, you must try to replicate the most realistic bait possible in order for bass to want to hit it.

We’ve found that plastic worms and other plastic type bait is more effective in warmer water that is roughly 50 degrees or higher. With that in mind, the key time of the year is in summer. Feel free to try them at other times though, we’ve had luck year round with them but it can really depend from lake to lake.

Outfitting Plastic Worms For Bass Fishing: Top Rigs

More often than not, people simply don’t hook their worm right when bass fishing with plastic worms. Thankfully though, there are a variety of ways to hook your bait. Here are a few of the most popular and simply easiest variations:

  • Texas Rig
  • This will take a few tries at mastering, but will be one of the most successful lure techniques in your tackle box! With this technique, you actually will be threading the hook through the tip of the worm itself. After you hook the barb back into the worm, so it won’t end up getting snagged when you cast into weeds.

    If there happens to be a lot of cover and you are getting a lot of snags due to your sinker, place a toothpick in the hole of your sinker to create a tighter space. This will not only stop quite a few snags, but also will allow your sinker to stay in place.

    If you have troubles with your worm sliding around, simply push the eye of the hook into the plastic worm and use a needle to threat more line through the eye of the hook in the worm. Tie it off and your worm won’t ever be moving anytime soon. Just make sure you don’t end up ripping your worm though!

    This rig is best usually used in water that is deeper than 20 feet.

  • Floating Rig: Fast Easy Technique
  • When you are using a floating rig, fish must be able to actually see it in order to strike it. In a way, this is a bait that should; in theory, just float right past them. Usually you will make the worm weightless and try to cast towards any low hanging trees or near brush.

    If you end up getting a lot of snags, you can just attach a swivel and some heavier pound test line roughly 10 inches above your lure so you will be able to rip your lure out of snags with ease.

  • Carolina Rig
  • More often than not, you will find this rig to be best use for smallmouth bass fishing and or as a search n find bait (locating where the fish are). Its a unique lure but it usually will get a bite. The sinker will help the lure stay on the bottom. When you bounce the sinker, it will create a bouncing effect for the worm (which should be placed roughly three feet from the sinker) as it settles back down. This not only creates a lively effect, but also looks natural.

    To find out the land of the leader, you must look to the water clarity. When fishing in:

    • Muddy water: Use shorter leader
    • Longer Leader: Use longer leader

    When using the Carolina Rig for bass fishing, its best to set the hook by have more of a sweeping motion than snapping motion. Following that, use 12-18 pound test line and at least 8 pound test line on the leader itself. You will want to use this on any flat areas, sandbars, coasts, drop off points such as ledges, rocky shoreline and more. If you end up fishing in a area with a lot of weeds though, be sure to use a weed guard so you don’t get hung up.

  • Swimming Rig
  • This is without a doubt a classic in my tackle box and I’ve had a lot of success with it. You will want to use a swivel and have a leader line. After that, throw on a 4-8 inch worm and make sure you roll it up on the hook a little bit so it’ll bass through the weeds with ease.

    Try to use the Swimming Rig around areas such as boat docks/near docks, shorelines, flats and more. Along with that, be sure to reel in slow and constant.

Choosing the Right Color and Style is Key

Usually this is where most anglers fail when trying to go bass fishing with plastic worms. If the color is off, it will result in one boring day of fishing, so its good to have a decent variation of plastic worm lengths, colors, styles and even weights.

If you want to be on the safe side when bass fishing plastic worms, be sure to have different kinds of plastic lizards, curly tails, ribbon-tail, and more so you can deal with whatever situation is presented to you.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten though is to sometimes ignore the general color guidelines and use only natural colors. The biggest bass only survive because they are smart and will often avoid anything that looks unnatural.

From experience, we’ve found that the type of worm and color really will depend on a variety of factors but here are some general guidelines to follow when you are out fishing for bass:

  • Dark Water With Low Visibility: Stained/Muddy/Cloudy/Windy Days
  • This is best to use the following on the days when the water has little to none light penetration.

    Size: Try to use plastic worms that have more bulk to them. These would include plastic worms such as ones with multiple tails, twist tails, and others that have a similar appearance. Along with that, any lure that will create attention will work just as good. We’ve found these work well in dark areas that have thick cover (under trees or in the shadows).

    Color: Believe or not, even it dark water; there is success to be had with darker colored plastic bait. We’ve had the most success using colors such as: purple, brown, dark green, and even black.

  • Clear Water: Water with high light penetration
  • If you’re in one of the lakes that is crystal clear, you should try the following:

    Size: More often than not, its best to have a mid range sized plastic worm on your hook than the bulkier kind that you would use in the deeper water. These would include bait such as ones with thin appearances, swirly tails etc.

    Color: Determining the right color for bass fishing in clear water can prove to be a challenge. Most fishermen think the best color range would be brighter, but in reality; we found that clearer colors work best such as: green, pearl, gray, smoke, blue and more. You will not want anything that is florescent.

  • Deep Water Bass Fishing
  • When the bass start heading into waters that’s 15-20 feet deep, you might want to start using these techniques.

    Size: Usually worms with long tails will be one of the best plastic baits to use for bass fishing in deep water.

    Color: When trying to go bass fishing with plastic worms in deep water, you will want to use mainly two tone colors. This means though that one is more dominant than the other, such as yellow or red and have less dominant color being black or blue. We’ve had success with metalflake colors too.

  • Slow, Inactive Fish: Middle of the Day Fishing
  • Try to use more plastic worms that have a thin appearance or just smaller worms in general.

  • Fishing in the Morning
  • Try to use a more lighter, warmer colored worm that will match the sunrise.

    When you’ve Chosen The Color

    You’re best bet is to keep trying that color and see how well it works for your area. If you end up catching a lot of bass, great! If not, feel free to experiment. Thankfully bass fishing with plastic worms is one of the cheapest types of bait available.

    You’ll find a lot of the professionals using shades of purple in the shallow water and bright colors when fishing in the deep. Usually the brighter colors will hold their color better in deep water as other colors will start turning to shades of gray at a distance.

    If you end up getting a few bites and they simply just aren’t latching on, try using the same lure but simply in a different color. Sometimes just the different color will change your whole day of fishing.

    At the same time though, you can’t go try to test your colors unless you’ve actually been catching bass. First worry about catching fish before you go trying colors.

    Determining the Right Weight

    One of the key ideas that you want to keep in mind when picking the sinker for your lure is that lighter is better. The lighter weights will not only allow you to feel bites more easily, but they will produce more natural action with the worm on the hook.

    We usually use just a 1/16 to even 1/8 oz sinker. A rule of thumb that we normally have is as the water gets deeper, you will want to use a heavier sinker. Here is a key to help you out:

    • Less than 6 Feet Deep – 1/8 to 1/4 oz
    • 6-12 Feet Deep – 1/8 to 1/4 oz
    • 13-18 Feet Deep – 1/4 to 3/8 oz
    • More than 18 Feet Deep – 3/8 to 1/2 oz

    You also might want to take into account where you plan on fishing too. If you will be bass fishing in a area full of vegetation, you might want to use needle nose weights as they can clear through weeds with ease but they will get stuck on rocks. If you are fishing in a more rocky bottom, you can use bullet weights as they won’t have trouble with the rocks.

    Determining your Hook Size

    Its fairly simple matching your hook size when you are bass fishing with plastic worms. You will want to use this as a general guideline based on the worm that you are planning on using:

    • 3/0 to 4/0 hooks – 7-8 inch plastic worms
    • 2/0 hook – 5-6 inch plastic worms
    • 1/0 to 1/0 hooks – Smallest worms in your tackle box

    Match the size of the hook to the size of the worm. For example: a 3/0 to 4/0 hook is ideal for most 7-8 inch worms. A 1/0 is too small and a 6/0 is too large. A 2/0 hook is best for 5-6 inch worms, 1 and 1/0 for finesse worms.

    Techniques to Bass Fishing With Plastic Worms

    Everyone will tell you about their favorite fishing technique but these are tried, tested and without a doubt, work. They may not always produce fish as bass fishing with plastic worms can be finicky.

    • >b>Texas Rig Tips and Procedure
    • If you planned on trying out the Texas Rig, you will want to use a medium to heavy action rod so it’s not only sensitive but also strong enough to take a decent sized bass. Try to find a rod that is roughly 5-6 Feet in length as they will provide the most action. After that, use 8-14 pound test line.

      Here is a general procedure you should follow for when using the Texas Rig:

      1. Cast your worm past the drop off or area that you are fishing
      2. Allow the worm to fall until it hits the bottom with slack still in the line.
      3. After that, you will want to start reeling in and try to feel any strikes. Note: Don’t don’t twitch the tip of your rod as it might scare bass off and will allow the bass more time to look at your lure.
      4. Let it fall again as this allows for a reaction strike.
      5. Slowly raise your rod tip slowly and let it fall. Repeat this process a few times and watch your line for bites. Before you start reeling it, make sure that you don’t have a bass already sitting on the end of your line without you even knowing it.
      6. When you feel a strike, immediately attempt to set the hook by bringing the tip of your lure in the air (be sure you try to do this as quick as possible). Usually this will drive the hook right into the bass when you do a upward jerk action.
      7. If the lure doesn’t set, simply let it fall again. Don’t reel it up yet and give the area another try. More often than not, the bass will bite again.
      8. Once the lure it set, reel in quickly to get it out of any heavy cover and than you can wear him out once your out in the open.
    • If you aren’t sure, set the hook. You can swing as much as you like but you will only get so many bites.
    • Make sure you are paying attention to your line, as Bass fishing with plastic worms will take a lot of concentration.
    • Use scents and lures that come with salt impregnated plastic. Don’t waste your money on worms that are packaged on salt as you’ll loose it all on the first cast.
    • Keep in mind that you need to keep in natural. Do worms or minnows make a rattling noise? Do they make any noise at all? Simply put, these new rattling lures sometimes just don’t work. Keep it simple.
    • Most professional anglers will overshoot or undershoot the bass hideouts when they are casting at this. This usually entice the bass to come out and you won’t end up getting your lure snagged.

    There you have it, hopefully this is enough to get you started bass fishing with plastic worms. Do you have any techniques you use that we should add?