Friday, December 8th
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Big Worm Fishing On Lake Of The Ozarks

A big, plastic, 10-inch worm is a staple on Lake of the Ozarks.  It has been a consistent tournament producer for at least the last 20 years and will be a staple in our tackle box for years to come.  There are very few other baits that will do exactly what a big worm can do.  It is one of the most weedless baits you can throw.  When it comes to searching deep inside secret brush piles there is no better bait for reaching in and pulling out a big bass.  Bass have not gotten used to seeing this presentation.  In fact, studies have been conducted with various lures and how quickly bass learn baits.  The plastic worm takes the longest to learn and leaves the least impression on the bass.  Other baits, like topwaters and crankbaits, were at the other end of the list.  The bass would remember those baits for the longest time and not bite those baits for an extended period of time.

Plastic worms produce fish throughout the warmer months of the year for me.  I start catching fish on them in April and continue through the summer and into the fall.  Traditionally on Lake of the Ozarks, we lose heavy generation through the dams in July.  This is prime big plastic worm time that lasts until things start to cool down in September.  The big bass stake residence in deep manmade brush piles throughout the lake.  There is no better bait to use at this time to catch quality bass.

There are a variety of ways to rig a big ribbon tail worm.  Many people use a Carolina rig with them on long points.  I have caught fish using this method and should use it more often than I do.  A new twist on the traditional Carolina rig is to run two leaders off your swivel with two baits trailering your heavy weight.  This is a way to try different colors or sizes at the same time in the same area to see what the fish prefer.  It’s a cool idea that I haven’t tried yet.

The standard tried and true method is the Texas rig, in which sliding sinkers are placed just above the hook.  Weights will vary upon cover and depth, so you’ll have to play with it to find the right weight that gives you enough depth but doesn’t get snagged a lot.  Add heavier sinkers when searching around for the deeper brush piles on Lake of the Ozarks.  The heavier weights will help you maintain bottom contact, which is critical for proper plastic worm fishing.

Tungsten weights are the best, but they are pricey.  Tungsten worm weights have been around for a few years now and have yet to come down in price.  Tungsten is a denser material compared to lead, which means that it is more sensitive.  It is also smaller in size, which helps reduce snags while fishing.  A variety of colors are available in tungsten, and the paint lasts much longer than paint on a traditional lead weight.  I use both lead and tungsten.  I would use more tungsten but I don’t like the price difference.

Many people who fish are familiar with the shaky head technique.  It’s a very effective tool for catching fish all over the country.  On Lake of the Ozarks and in a few other lakes, we have developed a new style of the shaky head called the magnum shaky head.  Magnum shaky heads are thrown on bait casting set ups with 12-20 pound test, and big rods like a 7’ medium heavy to a 7’3’’ heavy.  Weights will vary, but my favorite is the 5/8 oz. Gator Shaker from Crock O Gator.  I’ll use some all the way up to 3/4 oz. and will be using more this summer.  The feature that makes the magnum shaky heads great is that they come with a large hook.  This is critical because most company’s hooks come with very small dominative hooks that are great for 4-inch worms.  You want a good jig with a big, sharp hook that is capable of handling big plastic worms in the 10- to 12-inch size range.  Magnum shaky heads work in a variety of conditions such as long points, bluff ends, bluffs, brush piles, along docks, and secondary points.  They can be used just about anywhere, really.  They have accounted for more quality bass in my boat than any other technique over the last 3 years.

For worm fishing, you need to use well made, quality rods and reels.  A strong yet sensitive rod will help you feel more bites than your fishing buddy’s lesser quality set up.  I also suggest fluorocarbon line for increased sensitivity and better hook ups.  Fifteen to twenty pound line is the standard.  Strong rods are essential for delivering the needed hard hook sets for big worm fishing.  Seven foot medium heavy rods are a great place to start, and you can go up from there.  Berkley® 10-inch power worms are the best worms made in my opinion.  They’ve been popular for years and are still winning top level tournaments.  Just about all the colors work well, but my favorites are june bug, black and blue, green pumpkin, plum, black, and red shad.

I’d be willing to bet that there are more bass weighed in at tournaments on large plastic worms than any other bait at Lake of the Ozarks.  They work really well during the daytime and even better at night during the summer.  I’d wager that 75% of tournament anglers have a big worm rigged and ready to use at every night tournament.  Some guys are adding rattles.  Some guys prefer florescent line that glows after dark with black lights.  From Bagnel Dam to Truman Dam, big plastic worms work great.  Don’t leave home without them.

Jack Uxa

Jack’s Guide Service

378 Winter Wood Loop

Linn Creek, MO 65052

(573) 434-2570

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