Soft plastics are one of the first baits bass anglers use. Make sure you know all about these favored baits.
When it comes plastic worms for bass fishing, there are many types of plastics on the market. Artificial lures are made to mimic live bait, and worms are a bass favorite. With the numerous ways to rig them, the possibilities are endless.
However, the best plastic worms is a broad topic. Knowing which type of plastic worm you should use is crucial when going out in search of the big ones.
Each worm requires different action presented by the lure and what style rig to use can be determined by what type of cover you might be fishing in or just out in plain open water.
Needless to say, bass anglers have a lot of options, but that’s okay! Keep reading, and you’ll learn all of the types that smallmouth and largemouth bass love to bite along with how to rig them up!
Types Of Plastic Worms For Bass Fishing
Ribbon Tail Worms
These are your classic rubber worms with a curly tail.
The curl is longer than most, with a straight, solid body that takes the abuse of multiple bass strikes without tearing. These worms are typically Texas Rigged at the head, leaving the tail free to flap in the water as the bait moves.
The great thing about curly tail worms is that you can use them anywhere, and sometimes, other freshwater fish may bite on them like walleye and pike.
Typically called the Senko, these worms have hardly any action at all. Yet, they’ve become so popular.
Not only in professional bass fishing, but the average Joe trying to catch his personal best largemouth love straight tail worms. The lures slow fall and tantalizing tail wiggle triggers bass to strike without any effort on your part other than casting it out into the water.
They’re simple to use, and you can rig it multiple ways. A few of my favorite ways to rig them up include the wacky rig and Texas rig. I have many of these plastic fishing worms in my tackle box for sure!
These worms are smaller and usually skinner than other soft plastic worms. They’re designed to be rigged and fished with light tackle.
Probably the best rig for fishing with finesse worms is the drop shot, but can also be rigged on a jighead, the shaky head jig, and can be used as a trailer on spinner baits and chatter baits.
Big and ugly is a good way to describe a creature bait. If they were real, you wouldn’t want to see one crawling your way.
They have a lot of bulkiness to them, made up of legs, antennas, whiskers, and other appendages. Creature bait is commonly used as flipping baits, a specific motion you make while casting and reeling.
These are soft plastic crawfish imitations. They’re made to mimic the natural looks of crawfish, one thing that bass love to eat, especially in the spring time.
These soft plastic baits are mostly used as jig trailers, but can also be rigged Texas style. The claws on the bait can provide some flapping action, but mostly a more subtle and natural looking action.
Picking The Right Worm Color For Bass Fishing
Choosing the right worm color for bass fishing is a complicated and personal topic. Since bass are predatory in nature, they’ll be looking for food most of the time you’re out there on the lake or river.
Each bait should have some sort of action when cast out into the water, whether it’s a slow controlled fall or twerking to a TikTok dance, but picking the right color is going to help you gain more strikes.
When fishing in clear water, use bright colors like reds, oranges, pinks, chartreuse, or something with a glitter in it to draw attention from predators lurking below. Clear waters usually don’t reflect any light coming through them, so bright colors are key because bass can spot them easier.
The same goes when you’re fishing in shallow water, such as long the shoreline. Shad and natural colors are different ways to land bass.
For green, murky, and dirty water, use darker colors like blacks, browns, purples and blues. These opaque colors do not reflect light well under water so they’re easier for bass to see.
My all time favorite dark color is green pumpkin for fishing murky waters. Pro bass fisherman and Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Famer Roland Martin claims the 5″ green pumpkin Senko is the number 1 soft plastic size and color in the world.
Always remember that structure plays a significant role in how successful bass fishing can be, so always pay attention to what type of cover is in your fishing spot. Bass hide, waiting for their prey to swim by, so you want to look for structures like downed trees, tall grasses, brush piles, and anything else that acts as a hiding place.
Related: How to Pick Spring Bass Fishing Colors
The Sizes Of Soft Plastic Worms
The right size of soft-plastic worms is just as important as the color. The most common mistake beginners make it they think bigger is better.
Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to fishing with soft plastics because bass will eat many different sizes and types of forage daily so they’re not always looking up at a big meal above them. Think about it; live worms aren’t always the biggest worm on the block, but fish still enjoy them!
Smaller Is Best To Start
When choosing artificial worms, small in length and thickness typically going to get you more bites. They’ll be easier to fish in heavy cover like trees and laydowns. Another key feature about smaller worms, they’re less likely to get hung up in heavy woody brush or laydowns.
Another reason to use shorter worm lengths when targeting bass is due to their ability to swallow the bait easier in one bite. A long worm with a longer tail can potentially take two bites to swallow, which could lead in a miss when setting the hook if they swallow the end without the hook first.
Larger Worms For Larger Bass
If you’re looking to catch a big bass, then you should fish a bigger worm.
Now don’t assume that small fish won’t bite big worms, and big fish won’t bite small worms. Giant bass have been caught on smaller worms, and tiny bass caught on big ten inch worms. This is just playing the odds; bigger worms get big bites and small worms get a lot of bites.
Fishing a bigger and longer worm does mean you can get hung up more if fishing in heavy cover. The long body and even longer tails can sometimes get wrapped around sticks and other types of structure.
Ask any dad who is fishing with kids, and they’ll tell you this is true!
Still with experience, patience, and the right rod, reel, and line combo. You’ll be able to set the hook on those strikes and land that boss hog you’ve hooked into.
Just remember it’s not all about the size of the bait, the water clarity is also going to play a part in your decision. The clearer the water the smaller the worm you may want to use, and the murkier the water the bigger the worm.
Rigging Soft Plastic Worms for Bass Fishing
Now that we’ve covered the different colors, the different types, and how to pick the right size of plastic worms, let’s look at rigging your plastic worms or bass fishing.
How you rig your plastic worm also changes whether or not the bass are going to bite on your bait. Here are some of my favorite ways to rig up soft plastics.
The Wacky Rig
This is one of the most simple ways to rig a worm, and it’s ironically a very effective way to catch bass. Using a 5″ Senko (stick worm), I like to use a 1/0 or 2/0 size octopus shaped hook with a wacky ring. Using a wacky ring isn’t necessary, but they do help the worms last longer.
The one disadvantage of wacky rigging is you can blow through a pack of worms because of the way they’re rigged.
Take your Senko and bend it finding the half way point of the worm. Keeping that point marked with your finger. Insert the worm in your wacky tool. Pull down one wacky ring down the tool until its placed on the worm. You then can put your tool away, run your hook all the way through the worm where your wacky ring is and expose the hook.
I’ve seen some people use small zip ties instead of the Wacky Tool and rings. That’s all personal preference and totally up to you!
Similar to the Texas Rig, the Carolina Rig uses the same concept, but it has a fixed weight above the hook, instead of sliding down to it. This rig is suitable for beginner fishers.
You can purchase Carolina Rig kits and leaders at any tackle shop or fishing store.
Weedless Hook Texas Rig
The Texas Rig is by far the most commonly used rubber worm rig and my personal favorite! It’s used mostly for its weedless properties, along with giving the worm a nice and straight profile.
A Texas Rig is normally weighted, though you can rig this weightless for a much slower fall. The size weight you choose can depend on the current of the water, and how fast you want the worm to fall. Typically, I use a 1/8 ounce bullet sinker when I’m fishing this rig. If I use a sinker at all. With a size 2/0 to 4/0 offset shank hook.
Drop Shot Rig
This rig is actually somewhat similar to the Carolina Rig. They both are designed to keep the worm freely suspending at a set distance from the bottom, but the drop shot rig is mainly considered more of a finesse rig. So lighter line and tackle is best suited for this one.
What’s nice about a drop shot is you have two choices: you can either work the weight or work the worm. By hopping the weight along the bottom, you get more erratic action, or you can leave the weight planted on the bottom and lightly shake the worm.
This rig is similar to the drop shot and is fairly simple. It’s made up of a short stick-worm, mister twister, small craw, or creature bait that’s rigged on a weighted jig head often one with a colored head on it. You can work it like a crank bait, reel it slow, or work it somewhat like a drop shot rig.
Fishing soft plastic worms for bass fishing is a great way to land a huge smallmouth or largemouth. With a never ending selection of colors and styles, you can find your tackle box full of a variety to choose from. It all comes down to what the fish want.
Your favorite color or rig might not be what they’re hitting on that day. The right rod and reel set up can also make the difference of you getting that big bass out of a heavily structured area. It’s always a good idea to have an arsenal in your tackle box ready to go.