TEXAS RIGS FOR BASS
By Ken Poor
Check the rods in the boats at any local bass tournament weigh-in and it is obvious that plastic worms catch fish. Just about every boat will have rods rigged with a variety of plastic lures including Texas rigged worms. If you want to catch largemouth bass like the tournament anglers do, then you need to learn how to fish plastics worms and plastic creatures like they do.
To set-up the Texas rig slide a bullet sinker onto your line with the pointed end of the sinker pointed towards your rod, next tie on a worm hook. Worm hooks have an offset that allows the worm to hang straight when properly rigged and this will minimize line twist.
The weight of the bullet sinker you should use will vary depending on the conditions you are fishing, but always use the lightest weight possible. The size of the hook you should use depends on the size of the plastic worm you are using. The hook must be big enough that the plastic worm does not fill the hook gap between the point and the back of the hook. If the hook gap is too full you will not be able to get a proper hook set.
Poke the hook point down into the top of the plastic worm about 3/8 of an inch and bring the hook out of the side of the worm. Slide the worm up the shank of the hook until the worm covers the eye of the hook and is in the offset. When the eye is covered twist the hook so that the barb is towards the worm. Hold the worm straight with the hook point next to the worm body. Insert the hook point where the bottom of the bend in the hook meets the worm.
Properly rigged, the worm should hang straight on the hook. If the worm is bent, it will cause line twist. Rigged correctly, you can fish a Texas rig in the thickest weeds and heaviest cover without snags and weighted correctly it will get the worm to the bottom even in thick weed beds.
When you are fishing weeds, reeds, trees, stumps or logs, pin the sinker to your line and close to the end of the worm by sticking a toothpick into the back end of the sinker. After you push the toothpick in as far as it will go, break it off. The tooth pick should be very snug and when it is done correctly it will stop your sinker from sliding up your line. Make sure there are no rough edges of the toothpick exposed. Pinning the sinker will make it easier to drag it over submerged logs and stumps without getting hung up.
Fishing the Texas rigged worm requires fairly heavy gear, typically a 6 ½ foot medium-heavy to heavy action baitcasting rod and reel, that will drive the hook through the worm and into the fish’s mouth when you set the hook. In some cases, when the cover you are fishing is light enough, you may do fine with spinning gear.
Line choice varies depending on the type of cover and how heavy the cover is that you are fishing. For light cover 12-pound test monofilament is usually a good choice. When fishing heavy brush and dense weed beds switch to at least 17-pound test or a braided line.
When I first learned to fish plastic worms purple was the hot color, then it was black with a fire-tail. My advice is to use whatever color you have confidence in. Don’t get too hung-up on color when using plastics. Fish whatever color that will catch and let the fish tell you what they want.
As a starting point use natural colors such as pumpkinseed, watermelon or motor oil when you are fishing clear water. In stained water or at night use dark colors such as black or dark purple. On cloudy days try the off colors such as chartreuse or hot pink.
Short hits are often an indication that you have the correct lure but the wrong color and changing colors will typically turn short hits into solid hits. If changing color doesn’t work, try using different size worms. Experiment with colors and size but let the fish tell you what they want. Most importantly fish them slow and keep them in the strike zone.
Texas Rigged plastic worms and creatures can be fished effectively just about anywhere, anytime, but they are most effective when bass hold tight to some type of cover or structure. Use them to reach bass holding in hard to reach spots such as under piers or boathouses. Work them in brush piles or cribs, around stumps and logs, or shoreline brush and reeds. Open pockets or edges of weed beds are also good targets for plastics.
Deep-water structure such as gravel bars, rock piles and humps are often overlooked targets when fishing with plastics. Plastic worms are a great shallow water bait and they also work well in deep water. Learn the basic set-up for the Texas Rig and how to fish them correctly before you move on to the variations.