Plastic Worms 101

Plastic Worms 101


There are so many choices of soft plastic lures available now that sometimes it might be a little overwhelming. Soft plastics can imitate a variety of bait that bass like to feed on from lizards. Frogs, crawfish and baby snakes and worms. Today we will be showcasing the good old plastic worm.

If you are just beginning to get into bass fishing we thought it may be nice to provide a small lesson in choosing the right plastic worms for the right job.

Let’s talk about shape and size first. There are five basic tail shapes: paddle, ribbon, buzz tail (sickle, cut tail) curly and straight tail.

The paddle tail worm is mostly used as a swimming bait often buzzed along the surface over vegetation and cover. The paddle tail is also effective Texas rigged with or without a bullet weight, drop shot rigged, shaky head rigged and on a standard jig head. The paddle on the tail usually floats up just enough that even the smallest jiggle creates a tantalizing attraction.

The ribbon tail worm is almost always rigged Texas-style with a bullet weight and can be rigged weedless for fishing in and around vegetation, rocks and brush with much success. The super action and vibration of the ribbon tail works especially good for night fishing usually in 10-12” size. This versatile bait can also be rigged Carolina style with a heavyweight swivel and long leader.

The buzzing tail AKA sickle tail or cut tail is primarily used as a fast surface burner. As the name implies the retrieve is started as soon as the lure hits the water and rod held high to make the tail gurgle like a buzzbait. Usually thrown in and around grass matts stickups and pads.

The straight tail worms are associated with primarily finesse styles of fishing. Drop shot rigged or shaky head rigged can prove effective for finicky bass. It also can be Texas rigged and fished through the grass more easily than the other type tails because of the slim profile.

Colors are all over the map with firetails, laminates and glitters. But let’s discuss the basics.

Basically, in a nutshell, use dark colors when the water is stained and lighter colors when the water is clear. We will review some of the more popular colors for reference.

Black worms are great just about anywhere any time but really perform best in darker stained water or under low light such as overcast days and especially night fishing. I know it sounds strange to throw a black worm in total darkness but black silhouettes the lure against the sky when a fish is looking up at a falling bait. Trust me it just works.

June bug, dark grape, green pumpkin and the likes are best in darker stained water or low light also. However, any of these at any given time may work in any colored water also.

Most all the translucent color worms such as watermelon, strawberry, and blueberry seem to be the go-to colors under bright sun and clear water. Pumpkinseed and light-colored baits like smoke or pearl also work here.

In all of the scenarios above one of the most important rules to remember is:


Not only do they kill fish and birds when ingested but nothing is more irritating than see the shorelines covered in half deteriorated soft baits lying around. Keep a gallon zip lock bag in your boat and discard the day’s dead soldiers in the appropriate trash dispenser onshore.

 Be sure to check back next Tuesday for more tips from our expert staff and pro staff around the country! 




Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.