Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Floating Worms

By Lynn Burkhead

At times, the plastic worms that 2000's B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, Tim Horton, likes to fish are of a type different from that described in this story's opening.

"In April," Horton offered, "I love to fish floating worms, as you're fishing targets. Since bass spawn around some type of cover that is usually not too thick, it's real important to look for objects that are off to themselves -- maybe not a real thick hydrilla bed, but where there are clumps of grass, or something like that."

The six-time CITGO BASS Masters Classic qualifier successfully used the floating-worm technique in a MegaBucks tournament a few years back on South Carolina's Lake Murray. In fact, more than half of the bass that Horton weighed in at that event came on a floating worm that he was throwing in and around spawning cover.

"The floating worm works really well for that," he explained, "since you can work it through the cover with a more subtle presentation. The floating worm will sink very, very slowly, and in doing so, you can give it some real small twitches, which tantalizes the fish while the worm is in that strike zone."

To give a floating worm that tantalizing action, Horton typically pops his rod tip about 2 to 4 inches, which will actually make the floating worm fold up as the ends come together in the water. "The bait then opens back up," he said, "and when this happens in a short period of time, it can really be enticing to bass."

How does the three-time winner on the BASS circuit rig a floating worm? "I like to use a Yum Houdini worm, which I'll Texas rig with a 4/0 hook," he stated. "Usually I will put a swivel 10 to 12 inches above the hook. My leader will usually be the same pound-test I'm fishing -- something in the 12- to 14-pound monofilament range. As for worm colors, I like yellow, white or a sherbet."

How does the pro angler fish a floating worm setup? "Usually I'll fish it on a bait-casting reel," Horton said. "About the only exception is when I'm trying to get it under overhanging willow trees or trying to skip it around boat docks and get it up under the boat docks. Then I'll use a spinning reel."

According to Horton, you need to keep in mind that strikes on floating worms are generally less aggressive ones -- a bass comes up and quietly sucks the bait in, for instance. "I think it's a reaction strike," he remarked. "A floating worm doesn't really represent a baitfish or crawfish, but maybe a catalpa worm falling out of the trees, or something of that nature."

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