This is part 1 of my "Go-to Lures" series for bass fishing. Times get tough out on the lake. Getting skunked happens more times than most people will ever admit. Especially while fishing from shore. I'm going to cover 3 different lures in this article that have drastically reduced the amount of times I get skunked!
When I first realize it's going to be a rough day this is a lure I almost always turn to first. For some reason I get more hits on these worms over a normal worm with a bullet weight. I'm talking same color, size etc. With these I love to texas rig them without a weight and cast parallel to a steep drop off if you can find one. Try to hit the 10-15ft range with these and work them slowly back. Have weeds on the drop off? Even better! Start out with the 7" worm and go smaller if you're not getting hits after about 30 minutes of trying. I usually don't like going smaller than the 5" worm.
The reason I use this texas rigged more than wacky is because of the Senko. If I'm fishing wacky I'm putting a Senko on the end of my line. Don't let that deter you from using these worms wacky style though. Especially in deeper waters (10+ feet). This worm allows you to fish wacky in deeper waters without using a jig head. Also now with the GamakatsuŽ Wicked Wacky Weedless Hook you can get these weighted worm down to deeper weeds with less snags and the fish love it!
The heavy weights not working for you? It might be time to go even more finesse! Strike King has an awesome worm specifically made for finesse fishing. Since the day is already going tough and our first try to fix it with the heavy weights didn't go so well we want to go even smaller and slower. These worms are thin, hand poured and ready to be rigged up on a shaky head jig. The tail on these worms float up amazingly and have great action with just the slightest of movement on the line. The type of jig you use depends on the structure you're going to be fishing. I like to use a wide gap shaky head jig so I can rig the worm weedless. When times are tough I usually don't like using anything bigger than the 5" worm.
Cast the worm out to the cover you think might be holding bass and let it sit. I forgot where I heard it but the saying goes "Don't move the worm until you're done with your smoke". Well I quit smoking so I can't use that trick anymore, but I can tell you it takes on average about 5 minutes to finish a smoke. After 5 minutes slowly and lightly twitch the rod so the worm wiggles a little bit and let it sit again. There isn't much movement needed in your line to give these worms action. After about 30 seconds rinse and repeat. If you're not getting any bites slowly reel it in while keeping contact with the bottom. When you feel the jig hit a piece of cover stop and work that piece of cover for a little bit just the same way you did previously.
This method takes a lot of patience and can be very rewarding. It can be hard to feel a bite using this technique so pay very close attention to your line. If you see it go slack, move a little to either side, or you feel ANYTHING weird or something you're unsure of on the end of the line set the hook! After a lot of practice you'll eventually get a feel for a bite. Though no matter how much you fish, you will always have times where you're surprised a fish is on the end of the line and it's not a snag!
Now things are really getting annoying. After the two previous methods we still can't get a fish. What the heck is going on? There must not be any fish left in the lake! Have no fear the 2-3/4" tube is here! Tubes are a fail safe on lakes around the country. Especially small tubes! Do not be afraid to fish small lures especially when times are tough. This tube kit is awesome. I just got a few of them on sale for $12! It has the colors you need to match just about any bait fish and they're salted which we all know fish love.
When times are tough I love to texas rig these on a 1/0 extra wide gap worm hook. The secret is taking a small "egg" weight as I call them and inserting them swivel side first to the top of the tube. Usually a 1/8 oz. or lighter weight depending on the depth I'm fishing. Next put the hook through the bait and the swivel part of the weight and texas rig as you normally would. You now have an awesome weedless tube bait that has a great falling action to it. I love tossing this around weed edges, rocks and docks. The bass can not resist this lure if they are around.
If worse comes to worse and none of these methods or lures work, get out the wacky hook and 5" Senko. None of these methods will work if you're not by fish. Always consider that the lures you're using may not be the problem. Location is usually a number 1 issue of not catching anything. If they are there and none of these methods work. It might just be time to chalk this one up as a loss. At least you got to get out and enjoy the great outdoors!