Archive for Sunday, May 23, 2004

Plastic worm opened its own can of worms

Depending on how, where it’s used, Ohio man’s invention will catch plenty of fish

May 23, 2004

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There are almost as many variations on how to catch bass on a plastic worm as there are bass fishermen. The two favored techniques are named for their states of supposed origin -- Texas and Carolina.

Leave it to fishermen to take a great product and make it better.

When Nick Creme introduced the first soft vinyl fishing worm in 1951, the Akron, Ohio, inventor and avid bass fisherman knew he was onto something, but he could not have predicted how his invention would change bass fishing.

The Texas-rigged plastic worm was perfected infreshly flooded forests. The origin of the Carolina-rigged worm is less apparent. In fact, nobody seems to know which Carolina deserves credit.

Likewise lost to history is the inventor of the wacky worm, which I first saw tied to a veteran fishing guide's line at Toledo Bend. I laughed out loud until the guide started catching fish, and then I tried to duplicate the bizarre lure, with little success.

Like most diehard bass anglers, I fish almost entirely with revolving spool reels. In those days, I loaded them with 20-pound test line.

The un-weighted wacky worm was hard to cast with such an outfit. It works fine with a spinning rod and lighter line.

Frankly, I'm not crazy about fishing with a wacky worm because it is a technique that requires patience. I generally fish faster, even with a Texas-rigged plastic worm, which I hop and swim, rather than crawl.

Last year, I made myself use a spinning rod and a wacky worm, and the fish went bonkers over it.

The wacky worm rig calls for a straight plastic worm and no curly tail. Creme still makes a model called Whacky Worm. Otherwise, any of the straight, so-called finesse worms will work fine.

Using a 1/0 or 2/0 worm hook with little or no weight, hook the worm right through the middle of the body with the hook point exposed.

Now cast the wacky worm out beside a stump, a pier, the edge of a grass line or anywhere else you think a bass might be hiding. You have to pay careful attention. The fish don't slam this lure like they sometimes hit a Texas-rigged worm or lizard.

Because it's moving so slowly, fish often take the wacky worm with a very subtle bite that's hard to detect.

You might feel foolish, wacky even, when you start fishing a wacky worm.

After catching a few fish, the feeling will seem more giddy than wacky.

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