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Plastics for Bass

By Bob Jensen - July 1, 2005
Throughout the Midwest we have some excellent populations of largemouth bass. Largemouth can be found in lakes, rivers, and ponds, and in many cases, they are under-fished, especially in the northern states of our region. It's hard to figure out why this wonderful gamefish is ignored by so many anglers, but that's o.k. with me. Fewer anglers chasing bass just leaves more for the few of us who enjoy catching them. If you're one of those anglers who would like to pursue "green" fish, you need to learn to use plastic baits. Throughout the summer months, plastics will be effective largemouth bass baits.

There are a lot of choices when it comes time to select plastic baits. Don't make this confusing. From now and into the autumn months, you won't go far wrong using a jig and plastic worm along a weedline. As long as there are bass in the body of water you'll be fishing, there will be some on the deep weedline, and they will be happy to eat a properly presented plastic worm on a jighead.

A Lip-Stick Jig-Worm head is a good place to start. This head has a larger than ordinary hook for better hook-ups, a collar that holds the worm in place better, and a line-tie that allows the jig to slide through weeds. The eighth ounce head size is a good starting point.

Now we need a worm to slide onto that head. This is where you get lots of options. If you're just looking for bites and don't mind catching lots of smaller fish, go with a four inch watermelon Power Worm or Gulp! Turtle Back Worm. Bass and everything else will eat these baits almost all the time. If you want to increase your odds of catching a trophy, go with a larger worm, maybe a seven incher, or if you really want to increase your chances for a big one, try a ten incher.

Simply thread the worm onto the hook so the head of the worm is touching the head of the jig. The worm should hang straight on the jig, no bends or anything like that in the worm.

Spinning tackle works best for this presentation: Eight pound test Trilene XT is favored by many anglers, but six pound test is preferred if the bite is soft or smaller jigs are being used.

To fish this jig/plastic combo, position your boat within casting distance of the weedline. Cast your bait to the edge of the weeds and watch your line closely as the bait sinks. Most of the time the strike will be detected by a twitch in the line. If you're watching your line, the "twitch" will be very obvious, but if you aren't watching, you'll miss the bite.

Much of the time it works best to let the bait fall to the bottom, move it a couple of feet, and reel in and start over. Usually the bite will occur almost right away and there is no need to work the bait all the way back to the boat.

If you're looking for action, and who isn't when they go fishing, try using a jig/plastic combination along a weedline for largemouth bass. I'll bet you get at least a few to eat it.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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