John's Journal...

Hot-Weather Worming Tactics for Bass

Day 2: The Evolution of the Plastic Worm in Bass Fishing

Editor’s Note: When the Dog Days of summer drive bass deep, these special techniques may be your ticket to success.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe first worm I ever fished with was a propeller-chain worm. You may remember the kind I’m talking about – with a propeller on the leader in front of the worm, a beaded chain behind the propeller and two weedless hooks sticking out of the bottom of the worm. The bait was so hard to the touch that you could use the top side to whip your children with, and still fish with the unharmed bait for 6 months. Although today this type of worm rig seems primitive, when the lure was first introduced, sportsmen thought it to be the most fish-getting bait on the market. The worm evolved in other ways, but the next worm type that really sticks in my memory is a 6-inch black worm with white spots on it. I used to save $4 of my lunch money at college each week to buy 10 of those plastic worms on Saturday for the next week’s fishing. At that time, the worm was still constructed of a hard plastic, but by then, Texas-rigging a worm was the only way to fish. In those days, however, the hook-setting technique was different from today’s technique. We were taught then that when you felt the bass pick-up the bait, you fed it line until the fish stopped. Then when the bass began moving once more, you set the hook hard and fast. Although today our hook-setting tactic has changed, during my college years, this method put bass in the livewell.

There was one of those black-worm outings that I’ll never forget from my college days. Bassing had been good that week, and I was down to my last black-and-white polka-dotted worm. I was fishing a farm pond in an aluminum boat that the landowner graciously had provided. There were some sunken trees in the middle of the lake, where apparently the bass never had seen my particular kind of worm. I was culling 3-pound bass to catch 4- and 5-pound fish. But using a let-‘em-run hook-setting technique, I was having a difficult time getting the worms out of the treetops. Finally, the worst-possible thing that could have occurred, did. A bass took my black-and-white worm and went around about six different underwater limbs. When I set the hook, all I could feel were the limbs and every now and then a slight jar as the bass tried to get free. I couldn’t break my line, because I didn’t have another worm with which to fish, yet I couldn’t get that bass out of those treetops.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOn this July afternoon, I went through the process of deductive reasoning I’d learned at college. I realized I had only one option to save my bass trip and my last black-and-white polka-dotted worm. Looking carefully in all directions, I saw nothing but cows. So, I took off all of my clothes, laid my rod in the bottom of the boat, eased into the water and began to swim down the line, untangling as I went. When I was just about out of air, I spotted the bass with my worm still in its mouth, about 5 feet in front of me. I swam quickly to the fish, grabbed it by the lip and headed for the surface. As luck would have it, I retrieved not only my last polka-dotted worm but also a 6-pound largemouth bass. Since worming for bass has changed greatly since my college days, let’s look now at several methods of worm fishing that produce fish and win dollars in tournaments across the country.

How to Bass Fish Like a ProTo learn more about how to fish for bass, click here, or go to, and type in the name of the book, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” to buy it. Too, you can download a Kindle app for free and buy the book from Amazon to read it on your iPad, Smartphone or computer.

Tomorrow: Methods of Worm Fishing for Bass – Flipping and Swimming

Check back each day this week for more about "Hot-Weather Worming Tactics for Bass"

Day 1: Use Plastic Worms to Catch Bass in the Summer
Day 2: The Evolution of the Plastic Worm in Bass Fishing
Day 3: Methods of Worm Fishing for Bass – Flipping and Swimming
Day 4: Fishing the Suspended Worm for Bass with Rick Clunn and the Late Charlie Brewer
Day 5: Fishing a Worm that Does Nothing and a Texas Rig

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Entry 669, Day 2