The floating worm is an exciting bait to fish. It works best in clear to moderately stained water. When fished in clear or semi stained water, you can see the bright color of the worm and the fish attacking it. In some cases, with more stain, you just see the bait disappear.
The profile of the floating worm closely resembles the long slender body of the needlefish, found in Florida freshwater lakes. You’ll often see a needlefish porpoising on the surface with a large swirl, close behind, from a bass in hot pursuit.
Florida’s shallow lakes are the perfect scenario for fishing the floating worm with a lot of different types of grass and none better than the hydrilla. When fishing open water hydrilla beds, make a long cast and let the worm settle to let it sink below the surface. Keep an eye on the bait as it hits the water. Often the strike will come just as it hits the water. This goes back to the needlefish porpoising on the surface. The bait hitting the surface simulates the needlefish reentering the water after a jump. A good technique to mimic the needlefish is skipping the worm on the surface with an underhand cast. This is done best with a spinning rod and the smaller 7″ worm. On the retrieve you want to work the floating worm similar to how you would work a jerkbait. A steady rhythm of 2 short jerks, reel up the slack and continue this rhythm all the way back to the boat. Keep the bait high enough to see it. Sometimes the only indication of a bite is when the bait disappears. When the fish strikes, wait until you feel the rod load up before setting the hook same as you would with a top water bait.
The smaller 7″ worm, rigged Texas style, can be skipped under docks, over hanging branches or up into reeds and tree stands. You can toss it on top of matted grass or lily pads and bring it to the edge and let it free fall. It can be worked through brush piles and the branches of laydowns.
The 9″ inch worm, with an open hook, is best for fishing open water grass lines, hydrilla beds and sandy flats. Start by fishing the outer edges of the grass bed. If the fish are not coming out and attacking, then move in and look for the pockets and high spots. When retrieving the worm over a hole, stop it and let it fall momentarily and then start with a twitch to entice a strike. Keep trying different areas and changing color, size and speed while looking for changes in the grass and the depth. When the bite slows down, scaling down the size of your bait will allow you to use a slower retrieve while keeping the bait just over the grass.
- Sandy Flats
- Kissimmee Grass
- Boat docks
- Standing Timber
The 9″ floating worm is used primarily in open water over submerged structure like hydrilla, brush piles or sandy flats. This allows it to be rigged with an open hook, giving the point a better chance of penetrating on the set.
Use a straight shanked hook, preferably with a round bend. Thread the worm from the point of the head down to the egg sack. Bring the hook point out at the egg sack and work the worm perfectly straight on the shank. Then pull the worm down the shank slightly until it just starts into the bend of the hook. This puts a subtle kink in the worm’s profile causing it to dart erratically when retrieved in a jerking fashion. This gives the worm the appearance of a nervous baitfish attempting to escape its predator.
Use a braided 20lb. line with a baitcast outfit. In clear water, add a 12 lb. monofilament leader below the swivel. Do not use fluorocarbon as a leader. It has very little stretch and will snap on hook-set when used in combination with braided line. Using a medium-heavy rod with a monofilament leader will eliminate this problem.
Use the seven inch floating worm when fishing structure above the surface like cattails, reeds, kissimmee grass, laydowns, docks etc. The seven inch worm is great for skipping. Skip it under docks, into cattails, under over hanging branches or in open water where you see surface activity. The seven inch worm is best for these types of structure and must be rigged Texas style to avoid snags. The seven inch worm is easiest to use with a spinning rod. Especially when skipping the bait, you could be looking at a lot of time picking out backlashes with a baitcaster. Use a med. or med. heavy rod with 10-12lb. line.
- Brass Disc
Add noise with beads, brass disc and rattles when the water is stained or dirty.
Tip: Never let a glass bead rest directly on a knot. If it’s cracked or chipped it can cut into the knot causing a break-off. Use a brass disc between the bead and swivel to avoid this.
Most popular colors:
- Bubble Gum
Other colors include black and chartreuse for dirty or muddy water conditions.
The 9″ floating worm has a large body and requires a large hook with a lot of throat. Use a 5/0 or 6/0 straight shanked hook with a round bend. This gives a little extra gap to maximize hooking potential. The larger hook will also have a longer shank to help span the distance from the head of the 9″ worm to the egg sack.
The 7″ worm, with its smaller profile, can be fished with a 2/0 or 3/0 hook. Here you can use a round bend or sproat hook since you’ll be rigging it Texas style. However, if using the sproat style hook, go with the 3/0 since the gap is slightly smaller on the sproat hook this will give you a little more bite.
This is a fun bait to fish and deserves some serious attention when building your tournament arsenal or just to add some excitement to your free time fishing.
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