Fishing Wacky Worms for
smallmouth bass in the Delaware River
I find that wacky worms are especially productive during the summer and early fall period w/water temperatures in the 70’s. Lethargic smallmouth bass just can't seem to resist them if they are presented w/a slow, horizontal fall w/an occasional twitch. They seem to favor certain sizes and colors . I prefer the 4 ¼” size w/an “O” ring installed @ the rear of the egg sack for balance. My ‘wacky” 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 3-5 bass before being replaced and the worms won't fly-off into outer space when casting.
Fish them weightless as the salt & sand content in my custom wacky worms causes them to sink for natural "wacky" action w/their soft and flexible movement. An angler induced occasional twitch can certainly helps to attract lethargic smallmouth. When river levels rise from their typical summer low flows, add a 1/32 - 1/16 oz crimp-on bull shot 6"-12” above the worm. I prefer to fish them w/out any weight that gives them a slow, tantalizing fall throughout the water column.
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.
Most hits are subtle, 1 tap hits. Many times they just hold them and other times they will swim upriver w/them. Sunfish and rock bass w/give 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. Bass usually give 1 or 2 taps, then slowly move up current when the take a wacky worm. 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 and give them a light twitch when fishing in deeper holes w/depths greater then 4 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.
Persevere and give them an honest 45 minute work-out each time out on the river during slow-bite periods, or when the bite has stopped completely. Be patient and you’ll soon be catching some quality river smallmouth bass as you master the Wacky worm technique in moving water.
A quality smallmouth bass from the Susquehanna caught w/the wacky Stickworm Jr. during a tough,slow bite!
During low water periods, the Delaware River 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
The used one 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.
The" Wacky" Stick-worm Jr.(WSWJR. 4.25") are
available in 8 colors w/"O" rings installed
CREEK FISHING W/WACKY WORMS
Fished dead-drifted w/an occasion lift or twitch, I use a Gamakatsu #4/6, Octopus Circle hook with the 3.5”creek Wacky-Worms. These hooks will prevent gut-hooking most of the time and facilitate a healthy, quick release. No weight is necessary fishing in shallow creeks as the salt and sand content of the worm causes them to sink naturally. The hook is inserted into the plastic worm just in front of the "O" ring, past the ring and out the other side-exposed. A very -light tap is usually all you feel on the initial pick-up.(braided line really helps here) Wait 3-5 seconds and the bass will usually swim off with the bait. Using the aforementioned hook style, just start to reel quickly to set the hook . Most of the smallmouth bass will be hooked in the corner of the mouth. This is my "go-to" bait all summer and can produce exceptional,fast action when water temps fall from the low 70's into the upper 60's during the early fall period. Smallmouth bass are gorging themselves on crayfish during this particular time period. These 3 1/2 -4 "worms can produce some big ,creek smallmouth bass.
Happiness is a 19" smallmouth bass caught on the Creek Wacky Worm in the Perkiomen Creek!