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Fishing Wacky Worms for Smallmouth Bass in creeks & rivers

I find that wacky worms are especially productive during the summer and early fall period w/water temperatures in the 70’s and even mid 80 degree range.  Lethargic smallmouth bass just can't seem to resist them if they are presented w/a slow, horizontal fall w/an occasional twitch. The smallmouth bass can favor certain sizes and colors. I prefer the 4 ¼” size w/an “O” ring installed @ the rear of the egg sack for balance and river smallmouth bass. My wacky, laminated stick worm jr is manufactured for fishing "wacky" style w/ either a Owner #1-1/0 Mosquito or a #2 - #4 Gamakatsu Octopus circle hook. Simply place the hook point into the worm, under the "O" ring and exposed on the other side. The "O" ring enables the worm to catch an average of 3-7 bass before being replaced and the worms won't fly-off into outer space when casting.

Fish them weightless as the internal salt & sand content in my custom wacky worms enables them to sink for natural "wacky" action w/their soft and flexible movement. An angler induced occasional twitch can sometimes help to attract lethargic smallmouth. . I prefer to fish them w/out any weight that gives them a slow, tantalizing fall throughout the water column. When river levels rise from their typical summer low flows, add a 1/32 - 1/16 oz crimp-on bull shot weight 6"-12” above the worm for a quicker descent in deeper and moderate current flows.

I don’t recommend fishing the wacky worms in fast currents. They simply won't get deep enough. They work best when they are permitted to fall slowly on a horizontal plane in slack water and reverse current pools. Your boat should be stationary, anchored or very s-l-o-w-l-y drifting w/ the current. Give the boat an occasional upriver nudge w/the electric motor to momentarily stop the drift of the boat. Cast them up river and let them sink-naturally. Keep most of the slack out of your line and watch your line where it enters the water. An occasional twitch helps but be careful when you feel any resistance on the line. The smallmouth may spit them out if you continue to twitch them after the bass has picked them up.
The scent impregnated laminated wacky stick worm jr excels for post spawn smallmouth bass action. The females can still be found in slack water and reverse current pools following spawning and will refuse most offerings including bottom bouncing jigs/tubes but will take the slowly falling.4 1/4” wacky stick worm .Many anglers don’t even know this pattern exist and continue presenting their same old bait presentations with poor results. Most hits are subtle, 1 tap hits. Many times they just hold them and other times they will swim up/down river w/them. Experienced anglers quickly learn to differentiate between sunfish and rock bass hits with their multiple taps on the worm in quick succession – sometimes ripping 2-5 feet of line out in a split second. Many anglers new to this style of fishing will set the hook and then think they missed a smallmouth bass. These specialized wacky worms sink @ the rate of 1ft. every 2 seconds w/the salt and sand blended content of the worm .Count slowly to 9 in river depths over 7 feet .  Count to 5 again and then lift your line carefully moving the worm approximately 1 foot. Alternating between a twitch and line lift will vary the presentation. Patience and watching your line is paramount to your success.

The 3.75” Creek Wacky Worm is another specialty worm that simply excels in catching warm water, creek smallmouth bass.

These worms were designed specifically for the smallmouth creek fisherman. They are scent impregnated and heavily weighted w/salt & sand to provide you w/the perfect sink rate for shallow creek and river applications w/no additional weight required. Adding weight triples the snag rate with these open hook baits and ruins the tantalizing, horizontal fall of these worms with their open hook.  Dead drifted w/an occasional twitch, smallmouth bass in creeks go “bonkers’ over these baits from mid-July thru the early fall water temperature drop to the mid 60’s. They’ll produce when all other presentations fail providing you’re fishing them in front of smallmouth bass. The installed “O” will give you the ability to make longer cast and keep the smallmouth from throwing them off w/their spectacular jumping ability. Use the Ultra-point Mustad BLN-1/0 Octopus beak hook or Gamakatsu octopus hooks..  Scent and salt impregnation make the fish hang on! The installed "O" ring enables you to catch numerous fish per bait. Smallmouth bass in creeks usually take these dead-drifted worms with one light tap.  WAIT: they will then swim off (usually up current) with the bait. Just start reeling if you are your using the Octopus circle hooks for a "corner of the mouth" hook set.

A quality, 19” smallmouth bass from the Perkiomen creek caught w/the 3.75” creek wacky worm

During low water periods, the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers can become extremely clear. I’ve been very successful using a special laminated Wacky Stick Worm Jr. I refer to as my-my” dead bite"-wacky worm .I believe it imitates the brook lamprey eel. Standard colors like watermelon and green pumpkin are the normal go-to baits but this laminated Green pumpkin/watermelon worm produces best in the ultra-clear water.

Here are before and after pictures of my wacky" stick-worm jr (with "O" rings pre-installed) after catching 6 smallmouth bass to 16" in a river situation’.
The used one (top) is ready to be replaced, or broken by the 7th fish. This “O” ring, rigged stick worms can be expected to catch from 3-7 bass per worm before being replaced

The red hook (middle picture) is an Owner #2 Mosquito (green pumpkin worm) and the other bronze hook(watermelon worm) is a #4 Gamakatsu Octopus circle
(watermelon worm).

The weights pictured are "Water-Gremlin", 1/32 oz bull shot crimp-on bullet weights. Give these Wacky Stick worm Jr.'s a try on your next river trip-the smallmouth love 'em and you'll save some $ on baits.

Versatility, patience and perseverance are paramount for success. New baits and presentations techniques often intimidate knowledgeable anglers but those willing to learn and become proficient reap the rewards. Consider giving them an honest 45 minute work-out each time out on the creek/river during the post spawn faze, all summer and early fall during slow-bite periods, or when the bite has stopped completely. Be patient and you’ll soon be catching some quality smallmouth bass as you master the Wacky worm technique in moving water.

Copyright 2012
Allen C. Winco
All rights reserved