(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
Jeff Kriet has enjoyed tour-level success with a wide variety of techniques, but he feels that he’s at his absolute best when he’s throwing lures that others have forgotten about.
“I’m all about finding a bait, in my opinion, that doesn’t get thrown quite as much as the other deal,” he said.
One of those “forgotten” techniques he often employs is the “floating worm,” also commonly referred to as the “trick worm.” It’s an excellent search bait that allows him to cover water, while still providing a more finesse-oriented profile than lures like square-bills and vibrating jigs.
He prefers two colors – hot pink and merthiolate, and says that the latter produces the hardest strikes. “They hate that sucker,” he explained. When that bite is on – and when it is, he believes it’ll beat anything else you can throw – he’s careful not to let other anglers know what he’s doing. “There’s no mistaking a merthiolate floating worm, right?” he asked. “Never let anybody see that bait, because it just glows.”
He’ll twitch it along like a jerkbait, retrieving it more slowly and allowing it to sink deeper in colder weather. He’ll often add a small nail weight to get it down, and while he prefers 15-pound fluorocarbon, he’ll go lower when he wants to gain some extra depth. He uses a swivel in front of the worm to add casting weight and achieve additional depth. It’s usually a 130-pound SPRO Power Swivel, but he’ll go larger and heavier to add weight. He uses q 4/0 offset worm hook, but not an EWG. When he gets a bite, he’ll “sweep into him.” All you need to do is “let him go and then just lean.”
The hardest part of fishing the floating worm is putting it down because it’s very much a hot and cold technique. If they’re not eating it, don’t force feed them.
If bass strike the floating worm and miss it, he’ll quickly retrieve the lure and then fire it back to the swirl, but his next cast will be with a wacky worm. That’s a presentation he has rigged in his rod locker or on the deck of his boat virtually anywhere and anytime he fishes for bass. It stays in the strike zone longer, sinks to the fish, and triggers a reaction. Unlike the legions of anglers who utilize a Senko almost exclusively for this technique, he prefers a trick worm or finesse worm. No matter which one you prefer, “nothing skips better than a wacky worm.”
“If you can throw it with an open hook through the middle, that’s the deal,” but in heavy cover or deep under docks, he’ll use a 1/0 or 2/0 Trokar Straight Shank hook rigged in a unique weedless fashion. He’ll throw it on baitcasting tackle at places like Guntersville, but in most circumstances he wacky-worms with spinning tackle. That starts with a 10-pound test leader of braid, “never more.” He then uses an FG knot to attach a leader of 8-, 10- or 12-pound flurorocarbon. He estimates that 90 percent of his bites come on the fall.
If you want to learn some of the other keys to Kriet’s soft-plastics success, including how he rigs a wacky worm to make it weedless but still ensure that it has a high hookup percentage, and his rationale for using the FG knot, check out his full video, direct from the water, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.