The Speed Worm Technique

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A fishing buddy of mine and I were bass fishing at a pond we frequent a few days ago. It was a typical June day in North Carolina. The temps were up in the 90's. The humidity wasn't too bad, rare for N.C. this time of year. But we have been in a bit of a dry spell for a while; I suppose that had something to do with the low humidity. The sun was strong, and the strikes were weak and few and far between. My friend was trying his luck with crankbaits, while I had gone with fishing plastic worms.

A couple of hours of this went by, we switched colors here and there, but still the bass were not co-operating. After a bit my friend let out a sigh, and began changing from the crankbaits to a worm. I asked him why he was switching to worms, when it was obvious that I certainly wasn't catching any largemouth with any speed using a worm. He replied, "Just trying something different." "Uh," I said, "I've been fishing worms since we've been here. What's so different?" "Just watch, I'll show ya." Was his answer.

Now, what I noticed him doing after he had tied his worm on sort of took me aback. He cast the worm out into some Lilly pads and started cranking. I assumed he didn't like the way the cast went or where it hit the water. But then he cast again, and started cranking. I was about to tell him he needed to slow the speed of his retrieve and quit scaring the fish when he jerked his rod back. The rod tip bent and he brought a nice three and a half pound bass to the boat. I thought it was sheer luck, but he managed to repeat with three more bass within the next few minutes.

The dead worm technique of pausing and inching the worm across the bottom has been the standard for years now. And the way I had always fished soft plastic worms. But, hey, if speed worming works, why not try it? I'd heard of the speed worm technique, but I'd never tried using it to catch largemouth bass. So I asked him to explain it to me. He explained and I read up a bit more on it, and used it, and it works very well. So here is what I've learned.

You make long casts while speed worming, cover large areas of water, and use a steady retrieve to attract the bass. One keeps the worm moving for the entire retrieve, avoiding shaking or hopping the worm. Just let the action of the worm work while retrieving steadily. This technique is unique and quite effective at locating largemouth bass. It's also surprisingly effective at attracting strikes from slow to strike fish.

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This technique will allow you to cover more water, thus more chances to attract more largemouth. Bass mainly strike for two reasons, hunger and reflex. With speed worming you'll get strikes for both reasons. Hook up rates are higher with this technique as well, since the worm is moving faster the hook almost sets itself.

The speed worm technique is most effective on bass in spring and summer, but also produces well in winter and fall. Spawning season produces great results with speed worming as well. Cast the soft plastic worm past the bed and retrieve, swimming it through the nest. This will likely produce reflex strikes from largemouth bass.

There are times speed worming is less effective, water temps and the activity level of the bass, as always play a roll in how successful the speed worm technique is. It's not such a great method in water temperatures below fifty degrees. The dead worm technique is a lot more effective in the colder water and during cold front conditions. It's also not so great in areas where cover is scattered. It does produce strikes from bass in all water clarities, especially clear water.

In pads and matted vegetation, retrieve your soft plastic worm quickly across the top with the same speed you would use with buzzbaits. Keep the worm just below the surface in scattered vegetation and just over the top of deeper vegetation. Use the Texas style rig with a bullet weight. The size of the weight should be between 1/8 to 1/4 ounce depending on what cover you will be fishing. Use the lighter size for keeping the worm just below the surface, 3/16 for working over the top of pads and matted vegetation, and 1/4 ounce for retrieving just above deep vegetation. Ribbon tail worms work best for working on the surface of pads and matted weeds, and a curly tail for just below the surface, and a paddle-tail worm for fishing the deeper vegetation. This method often works when everything else fails. So give Speed Worming a try.

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