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Plastic Worm Fishing Four Ways
by Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau

If all the lure makers joined in a conspiracy and they said to me, "Jim, you can have one bait to fish with and that's it!", the worm would win out. There are so many variations of ways to fish the worm. The wacky worm or trick worm, the Texas rig, Carolina rig and weightless Texas rig. I will explain all of these to you now in this article.

1) The Texas rig was the most popular worm technique years ago and still is popular today. This is where you take a bullet weight of your choice (I like 1/8 ounce) and a 2/0 offset hook. Attach a worm by running the hook through the head and come out about 3/8 of an inch below it. Twist the hook 180 degrees around and embed the point into the worm making sure the barb is embedded also. Make sure the point is not exposed. The weight and hook should vary with the size of the worm.

It doesn't matter how deep the water is, you can fish this rig right down the bank if you like. When you are ready to use it, look for stumps, timber, grass or creek channels. Cast the bait out in your favorite spot and drag the worm back through and over logs, stumps, or vegetation. It is weedless with the hook point embedded like this. When a fish hits this bait, there will be a "tap-tap" or the line will move off. Either way, drop your rod tip. reel in all the slack and set the hook!

You need a medium heavy or heavy action rod for worm fishing. I use a Falcon FC-7-166 heavy action, but the FC-5-166 medium heavy will also do just fine.

When you set the hook and miss the fish, reel in and check your bait. If you set the hook hard enough the worm will be pulled down by the resistance of the water. If you leave it out there the exposed hook will hang up on everything. Keep your rod high as you are reeling so the bait will ride over the stumps and keep from hanging up.

2) The Carolina rigged worm was a technique used on the tournament trail as opposed to being used by the average angler. It was a guarded secret by the Pro's for a long time. It was a very productive means to catch fish under adverse conditions. This rig is where you have a leader about 2 feet long and the bait is away from the weight. You can use this in shallow or deep water also. You can use the new Carolina keeper set-ups or use the traditional swivel. Some like the swivel because you can use light line on the leader. This is a must sometimes. I have found days where someone using lighter line caught more fish than the ones that didn't. So keep this in mind when the bite is tough.

The heavy Carolina is my main choice in May and June. I use 20 pound line and a ounce weight and a 2/0 hook. The Carolina rig is a good summer and fall tactic. Humps, roadbeds, points and submerged grass are perfect place's to fish with it. Sometimes the Texas rig will not work. I will make up a light weight Carolina with a 1/8 or 3/16 weight and fish it in the shallow water. This will sometimes salvage a fishless day. The Carolina rig is very productive when the bite becomes slow. Most fishing guides will get a Carolina rig in their customers hands before the day is over.

3) The wacky worm or trick worm is any worm hooked in the middle. I have two worm styles called "stud fries" and "ring fries". You use a regular open hook or a weedless wireguard hook - whatever you prefer. You can put a split shot on your line if needed or put a nail in the head of the worm if the wind is blowing. I normally fish this bait without a weight either around the banks, boat docks, piers or timber in 1 to 8 foot of water. Sometimes just a slow twitch with a stop and go retrieve is all that's needed when the bite is tough. After a cold front this will get you a bite when the fish get lock jaw . I have had to go to 8 or 10 pound line on a spinning rod to get a bite. This is a very productive bait in the spring when the fish react to pressure or cold fronts. Work the bait slowly with a slow sweeping motion or a twitching stop and go retrieve.

4) The weightless worm is where I Texas rig a worm and use no weight on it. This is like fishing a jerk bait. I throw it around logs, trees, and vegetation in the spring. I twitch this bait and let it sink. This is a very effective way to catch more fish. I have used lizards in the spring. A nail or a very small split shot well work if the wind is blowing. I like to use this when the top water bite starts because you can throw it into and over grass.

Well I hope this is some help to you.

Till next time! Good fishing!!

Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau

Author Information.

Jim has the experience to help you have a marvelous fishing trip having been a full time guide for eight years. Uncle Larry Bolton taught Jim how to fish as a young boy and got him interested in bass fishing. Jim has been fishing for bass primarily since the age of 13. He even hunted on the land before Lake Fork was built.

He is no stranger to fishing in tournaments either. Jim started fishing tournaments in 1973 on Lake Livingston -- winning a couple and placing in several. While in the Houston area, Jim was a member of the Humble bass club.

Jim & his wife, Sherry, have been married for 28 years. Sherry is from this area. Eight years ago a move from Houston brought them to the Lake Fork area permanently. As a couple, being associated with the area for the past 28 years, it was coming home.

Give Jim a call: Toll Free 1-888-918-5088 or 903 383-3320
Visit Jim's web site at
Email Jim at

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