In the world of bass fishing, plastic worms are one of the most effective, realistic, and versatile lures available. They come in several different sizes, shapes, and colors and can be fished effectively in various water conditions. While there can be no doubt about their effectiveness, rigging a plastic worm the wrong way will result in a frustrating day out on the water.
To rig up a plastic worm for bass fishing, pierce the worm’s nose with the hook point and poke it out through the side at about a ½ or ¼ inch (1.3 or 0.6cm). Run the entire hook out of the worm until you get to the eyelet. Then rotate the hook and push the hook point into the underbody of the worm.
The rig setup above is known as the Texas rig. It is one of the most common and versatile rigs used for bass fishing. The rest of this article will show the specifics of this rig and how to set up other effective bass fishing rigs.
The Texas Rig
This setup is one of the most popular worm rigs among amateur anglers. They prefer it because it is easy to set up and can be a great way to learn how to fish. One of its main advantages is that it works well in grass, rock, weed, brush, and heavy cover.
To set up this rig, you need a cone-shaped or bullet weight and an offset worm hook. You can use this method with any plastic worm and bullet weight sizes.
Here’s how to set up a Texas Rig:
- Thread the line through the bullet weight such that the cone bottom faces the end of the line.
- Tie on your worm hook with your favorite knot.
- Slide the hook point through the worm’s nose and push it out on the side at about a ½ or ¼ inch (1.3 or 0.6cm).
- Now, push the entire hook out of the worm and stop when you get to the eyelet.
- Rotate the hook so that the knot is inside the worm, with the hook point facing the worm’s body.
- Next, push the worm up a little and slide the hook point into the body of the worm. Ensure the worm is straight after rigging the hook inside it.
Here’s a quick video to further guide you in setting up a Texas Rig:
The Carolina Rig
This rig setup involves using a leader to separate the weight from the worm. The Carolina rig allows the worm to move in a more natural way horizontally. Pulling the weight along the bottom will allow the warm to wiggle and dart freely in a presentation that the bass can’t resist. You can use it for fishing bass in a weedline, ledge, flat, and shallow weed bed.
To set up the Carolina rig, you’ll need an offset hook, a bullet weight, barrel swivel, glass or plastic bead, and plastic worm.
Here’s how to set up a Carolina rig:
- Thread the bullet weight on to your line and add a glass or plastic bead underneath it.
- Tie a barrel swivel to the end of your line underneath the bullet weight and bead.
- Now, tie a leader (12-38 inches or 30.5-96.5 cm) to the free end of the barrel swivel.
- Next, tie the hook to the opposite end of the leader.
- Rig the hook to the worm Texas Style.
Here’s a video to show you how to set up Carolina rig:
The Wacky Rig
The wacky rig is probably the most effective for catching bass. Stick worms are particularly great for catching bass with a wacky rig. This rig creates a very natural irresistible action for bass as it falls slowly downward. It can be fished weightless or used with a belly weight to allow it to fall faster in deeper water.
The wacky rig is straightforward to set up. You’ll only need a circle hook and your plastic worm (stick worm). Here’s how to do it:
- Tie the line to the hook with your favorite knot.
- Locate the middle of the worm and pierce it through with the hook point.
The video below will guide you in setting up a wacky rig:
The Drop Shot Rig
The setup of the drop shot rig is similar to that of the Carolina rig. The main difference between the two is the location of the weight. In the drop shot rig, the weight is at the bottom, and the worm can be as high up the sinker as you want. This setup is great for vertical fishing as it gives the worm a lot of action in the water.
You’ll need a finesse style hook, a drop shot weight, and a stick worm to set up the drop shot rig.
- Tie a line onto the hook, leaving a long tag end to allow for some room between the weight and the hook. The line you leave on the tag end can be about 6 to 12 inches (15.2 to 30.5 cm), depending on how high you want your bait off the bottom.
- Now, run the tag end through the hook’s eye from the side of the hook point downward.
- Attach the drop shot weight to the end of the line.
- Rig the hook to the worm Texas-style or just pierce it through the nose of the worm.
Here’s a video demonstration on how to set up the drop shot rig:
Choosing Your Plastic Worm for Bass Fishing
While it may not seem important, one of the first things to do when bass fishing is to choose the plastic worm that best works with your fishing conditions and target area. The three most crucial factors to consider when selecting your plastic worm are:
We’ll explain each factor in detail below:
Plastic worms come in a variety of styles. Each has its specific advantages, and the type you choose determines the bait profile and action that draws the attention of bass. While you can use any plastic worm to catch bass, some styles and shapes work better than others. Let’s look at some of the most commonly used bait styles.
Ribbon Tail Worms
Ribbon tail worms have a straight body with a ribbon-like tail, hence the name. They are more effective from the post-spawn period into the summer. They also work well when fishing in brush or grass and fishing conditions such as rainy days, overcast, and at night. However, they are not the most effective for fishing in thick bush.
Ribbon tails create a striking action and vibration that attracts the bass’ attention. You can effectively use them for bass fishing depths between 10 to 25 feet (3 to 7.6 m).
Paddle Tail Worms
Professional anglers commonly prefer this type of plastic worm because they are fast and can be used in different cover types. As you would guess, the tail of this plastic worm is like a paddle. It is mostly used in shallow water and thick vegetation.
Paddle tails create waves through their flopping and vibrating action that can be easily detected by bass. This feature makes it the preferred bait for fishing bass in low visibility water or water bodies with thick cover.
Straight Tail Worms
Most anglers use straight tail worms with the Wacky rigging method. They are particularly effective pre-spawn or during the summer when fish pressure is at its maximum. These worms are also more straightforward to use than most other plastic baits, and there are several ways to present them.
Straight tails produce little to no action, so you have to work action into it to deliver results. However, they are attractive to bass, including the active and inactive ones. Compared to curly and ribbon tails, they are more effective when fishing in branches or weed stems.
These plastic worms are more robust and appear tapered on both ends. They are denser than most other baits and have a slow-falling horizontal action. Their falling action usually attracts bass as the tapered ends of the worm undulate.
Stick Worms are very useful when bass fishing pre- and post-spawn and during the fall. However, the best way to achieve results with them is to fish them slowly.
Your worm size is another factor that determines your success in bass fishing. When fishing for small bass, your worm size should also be small. But if your target is a large bass, you need to use a bigger worm instead.
You can also experiment with different worm sizes. If you get fewer bites with a larger worm, you can downsize. However, if bass is active in the area, you can upgrade your worm size to catch bigger fish.
Water clarity plays a significant role in the size of the plastic worm to choose. Generally, it’s best to use plastic baits of smaller sizes, like 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm), when fishing for bass in clear and open water.
It’s best to use lures of bigger sizes like 6 inches or more in murkier waters or areas with thick cover. Larger worms are easier to spot by bass in low visibility water because of their more visible profile.
If you’re fishing in clear water, use worms of lighter and more translucent colors like green, blue, smoke, pearl, etc. For dark and murkier water, brighter colors like blue and purple are better to catch a bass’s attention.
Plastic worms are great for catching bass. They create a realistic action that is incredibly irresistible to them. If you’re a beginner angler, consider using the Texas rig as it is simple to set up.
The wacky rig is another option that is both easy to set up and effective in catching bass. Another popular set up is the Carolina rig, a slight variation of the Texas rig that allows a more natural presentation of the worm. The drop-shot rig is another effective option, but you may find it difficult to set up if you’re a beginner.