- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 29, 2005

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

When you tie it to your fishing line, it looks wacky. When it comes through the water — acting like an afflicted plastic worm as it slithers across the weeds or slowly sinks, then is gently jerked and slowly retrieved — it appears even wackier. But to a largemouth bass (even big smallmouths and occasional tidal-river stripers), wacky-rigged plastic worms can be irresistible.

Better yet, they’re easy to fish with and require no special skills. All you need is some shallow, weedy or brush-filled water that you know is home to bass.

Use a rod with a spinning or casting reel that is filled with 12- or 14-pound testline. Take a 4-inch or 5-inch plastic worm and insert a hook through the center of the worm, with equal amounts protruding on each side and no slip sinker on the line. The hook I like is a 3/0 Eagle Claw weedless model. It has a thin wire guard over the hook’s barb and generally will come back to you without a lot of junk hanging onto it.

Next I prefer a heavy, scent-filled, sinking soft-plastic bait. That means I’ll pick a 5-inch Strike King Zero worm in junebug or bubblegum color. The garlic-and-salt-impregnated Zero is cast across a milfoil or hydrilla field, allowed to start to sink, then retrieved slowly and erratically. One moment it’s on top of the weeds, next it falls into an open water pocket. Suddenly — whoosh! — a bass has inhaled it.

— Gene Mueller

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