BassWestUSA - July/August, 2009, Page 68

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The lost art of the

MARTY STONE,

Texas Rigged Worm

BASSMASTER ELITE SERIES PRO

reCenTly

I’ve discovered – I should say rediscovered – the Texas rigged worm. I realize that might sound a little strange to some of you. After all, as a touring profes- sional angler I have access to most of the newest, cutting edge lures. I use them and they catch fish. Some of them can fairly be called works of art. Still, when conditions are right, there’s nothing better than a plastic worm rigged Texas style. They’ll catch bass shallow or deep, on drops or flats, in weeds or over rock as well as around wood and clay. And, they’ll catch all three of the most common spe- cies of bass – largemouth, smallmouth and spots. Unfortunately, how- ever, there are a couple of myths that have grown around them that we need to dispel before we go any further. First, they are not a small bass lure. True, they catch a lot of small bass, but they also catch a lot of big ones. We’ll talk a little later about how to increase your big bass ra- tio with them. Second, they are not simple lures for simple anglers. Using them cor- rectly requires every bit as much thought about tackle and technique as any lure on the market to- day. And besides, even if that were true who cares if they catch bass and in- crease your fishing enjoy- ment?

Now, to fish a worm properly an angler must use the correct tackle in the correct manner. I like to start with the worm it- self. My preference is for a black Zoom Old Monster. It’s 10 inches long and has just

the right balance between softness and durability. Size is especially important. A big worm will help you cull from the water. That’s important in tournament fishing. You don’t want to spend all day unhooking short fish. But, let me be fair; if you’re fun fishing you might want to think about going short. That’ll get you lots of bites and lots of laughs as well as the occasional whopper. I arm my worm with a 5/0, round bend off-set thin wire worm hook. I want a hook that’s big enough to handle a big bass and I want one that’s thin enough to penetrate with a lot of line out and still not tear a hole in the bass’ mouth during the fight. Summertime bass have very tender mouths. For whatever reason it’s easy to rip a large hole in their flesh, a hole large enough to let them throw the hook when they jump – something they almost always do with a worm. The thin wire helps avoid that problem. Another trick that’ll help is to wait for the tell- tale tick, tick, tick or the equally obvious mushy feeling and set the hook with a sideways sweep – much like a Carolina rig hookset – rather than a reel down and cross their eyes type maneuver. (I know, crossing their eyes looks great on TV. I have to

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July/August 2009

Photo courtesy of Seigo Saito/BASS Communications