Fishing a Plastic Worm or Jig

Posted by MNAngler On May - 20 - 2010

On my last outing, I caught a nice 16″ largemouth by bottom bouncing a texas rigged Slurpie worm with loose bullet weight. But it was really a fluke that I caught it. The strike felt like a weed and it just so happened that I pulled hard enough to set the hook. In the hour after I caught my fish, I felt a lot of weed tugs. Some of retrieves came back with cabbage, but many did not.

I’ve never fished a jig and pig, but I’ve heard the strike with that technique is a soft tick that less experienced anglers could miss as a strike. So I’m wondering if that’s the case with a texas rigged plastic worm as well.

If you’ve read any of my posts from last year, you know that my lure of choice is a Zoom super fluke. You can usually tell when a fish hits it and then you wait to feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook. Occasionally, the strike is more of increased resistance than a hit you can feel, but you can usually tell if a fish has a hold of it. I’m unclear if this is the case with a plastic worm.

I should point out that I was using a Shimano Voltaeus medium action fast rod. I should have pulled out my new St. Croix Premier to see if I could feel the bottom and detect bites more easily. I also forgot to bring out my jigs that I bought over the winter. It would have been fun to try them out in that spot.

So I defer to you more experienced anglers that have fished texas rigged plastic worms as well as jig and pigs. I plan to fish both types of lures this year, but have little or no experience with them. What does the strike feel like? Will I be able to feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook? Do you have any tips on how to fish them and how to detect a strike? Please leave a comment so I can benefit from your experience. Thanx!

7 Responses to “Fishing a Plastic Worm or Jig”

  1. bassdem says:

    I can usually feel the tick of the bite. This is why, back when you wrote that post on your first baitcaster, I asked how you’d be holding the rod as a lefty. My thumb is usually in direct contact with the line at all times with some additional downward pressure because I hold on at the foregrip instead of palming the reel. If the bite is less noticeable, one of two things will happen. Sometimes they move with it after snatching the bait up. I’m sure you would be setting the hook on those kinds of bites. The rest of the time, I’m doing checks by keeping some light tension on the lure, holding the rod tip up and out in front of me, making very subtle lifts, testing for any resistance at all. When the other end feels firmer than a weed or a stick, in other words, offering up hardly any kind of give, I set the hook. Sometimes I catch pad stems and sticks. Sometimes a fish is there. Hooksets are free, after all. You just replied to me on Twitter about the kind of line you’re using. Sensitivity should be fine with braid and a fluoro leader or braid by itself.

    With jigs, I had to practice dragging them along the bottom to acquire a sense for how they felt. Anything that feels different warrants a quick check and a hookset. Many will say that when fishing a jig, the tick may be a sign that the bass just spit it out. The water here isn’t clear enough for me to tell the difference, so I’m going to guess that scenario has not happened to me yet. Remember that bass will hit at any point the jig is in the water, including the fall. I only introduce some slack if I know there is a nibble. I don’t want them to know I’m waiting on the other end.

    Now that I’ve written things down, it sure seems like I drag my soft plastics and jigs the same way. I’m certainly still learning too, but my advice would be to learn how the lure feels by itself under the water. Anything different should make you suspicious.

  2. bassdem says:

    Forgot to add one other jig bite. Sometimes they pick it up and you feel nothing at the other end. In other words, it feels lighter than it should. Reel down and set the hook.

    • MNAngler says:

      Thanx for the great advice, Bassdem. After hitting so many “empty” weeds, I started to set the hook on anything suspicious. I never came up with anything, but I’m glad I was thinking the right way. Feeling lighter than it should is a good point that I’ll have to remember. And I’ll definitely try the lures on their own near shore to get a feel for them. Thanx for taking the time to leave such a detailed comment.

  3. Clif says:

    I let worms sink and sit with a slack line. When teaching people, I tell them to watch the line for “irregular movements.” This could be a “tink-tink” style jumping of the line, or the line may just start moving in the direction you didn’t expect. When you see that, set it and reel. When doing this, I don’t feel a thing until the fish is on. However it’s almost impossible on a windy day with a little chop on the water.

  4. ed mackiewicz says:

    I believe there are quite a lot of serious fisherpeople fishing the metro lakes. I know of a few who are out fishing musky from shore over at calhoune and/or harriet. When i’ve done it tends to be a lot of waiting and hoping. I’ve always loved to fish the metro lakes in late fall or this time of year, at night. (A lot less kyack and canoe traffic.) It used to be i’d fish with a lighted bobber rig with fatheads going for walleyes. Caught quite a few doing this – one night i caught six walleye in the channel between calhoun and isles on the isles side. A lot of fun. Now when i fish over at the city lakes i’ll go over at sundown throw everything but the kitchen sink hoping for a quick bass or musky bite, but as the evening progresses i’ll fish with a lindy rig with a single hook for fatheads or harnness for crawlers. I rigged the harnness with those little floats so the bait stays off the bottom in more of a bite zone. I’ve had great luck with this technique. Of course you have to have a light with you to watch your pole. Good luck!

  5. MNAngler says:

    Great tips, Ed. Thanx for the info. I might have to try some night fishing from shore sometime.

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