Worms with a twist. You may know them as corkscrew worms, snelled worms, molded worms, twisty worms or just plain, wacky worms. All of these nicknames refer to just one basic worm, the pre-rig worm. What makes these pre-rig worms unique is that they are designed and molded in such a way as to make them spin or corkscrew in the water when they are retrieved. They have their own unique fish catching action right out of the package, which you may or may not have seen before. The worms are generally used for Bass but can and will catch all species of fish, including Walleye, Northern Pike, White bass, Crappie and many others. Now let’s dive deeper into the world of a worm, that is so easy to fish, catches big fish, and will make a weekend angler seem like a “Pro”, that you will wonder why you haven’t tried using them before.
Pre-rig worms are designed to spin or corkscrew in the water as mentioned before, but you might be asking yourself “what makes them spin by just retrieving them in the water”? Well the worms are molded in such a way as to have a kink or about an 80-degree bend in the upper portion in the worm closest to the pre tied loop. This bend or kink in the worm allows it to corkscrew in the water by just reeling it in slow. They come with 3 pre-tied hooks embedded in them. One hook is in the front, one in the middle, and one in the tail of the worm, which are all tied together. The line is usually 8, 10, or 12-pound test. Out of the nose of the worm, is the remaining line, which is usually 3-5 inches in length, which is then tied into a loop, to be used for a snap swivel so that it spins freely on the line. The hooks generally are between sizes 4 and 8 and come in weedless and non-weed less styles. These worms come in many, many different colors and a few sizes. 4 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch, and a big 11-inch size are the ones most commonly made. The most common ones that are used are the 6-inch and 8 inch sizes. Most of these worms also come with a scent molded right into the worm. Raspberry, black licorice, and Anise, are the main scents that are used. These scents give the worm an irresistible, fish catching ability that no fish can refuse. There are quite a few manufacturers of Pre-rigged worms, some of the most well known ones are Willy’s Worm from Innovative Sports Group (ISG), Bill’s Scented Lures, Ike-Con and Little Action Mac. Now that you know how the worm is made, let’s now take a look at how we rig it for different fishing situations.
Rigging the Worm
Rigging the pre-rigged worm is actually very simple. All you really need, is a high quality, ball bearing snap swivel and a few split shot sinkers for added weight, especially on days that are windy. I prefer a spinning rod with 6-8lb. Berkley Trilene XT green line, and a good quality ball bearing snap swivel, black in color to deter any fish seeing it, with a duo lock or snap lock and in sizes 1, 2, or 3. Use a high quality ball bearing swivel because the worm is made to twist and spin through the water and will kink up your line if one is not used. Some manufacturers that make high quality ball bearing swivels that I recommend are Sampo, Spro, Cabela’s and Berkley. All you need to do is open the snap swivel and place the loop end of line of the worm into it. Then close the swivel and you are now ready to fish!
Where to use Pre-Rig Worms
Docks Piers and Boathouses
One of the most well known places to use these worms is under docks, piers, and boathouses. Skipping these worms under this type of structure makes for an exciting way to fish. Here is an inside tip on how I personally fish it. What I generally like to do is have the swivel of the worm about 3 inches from the tip of my fishing rod, this enables me more control of the rig when I try to skip it under the pier or dock. I get as close as I can to the structure without spooking any fish, crouch down low and sidearm cast the worm under it. This may take several attempts to get it under the pier or dock, but once you do, hold on, because if there are fish underneath it, 9 times out of 10 they will smack it willingly and there will be no question about it. Now, let’s take a look how we can put these worms to good use on weed lines and weed beds.
Weed lines and Weed beds
It’s a no-brainer that fish use weed beds and weed lines as cover, to ambush their prey from. So what’s a better way to use the pre-rigged worm, than to use them on the structure that fish relate to most of the time? Weed beds provide cover, oxygen and most importantly, food for predator fish. A high percentage way to boat more fish with these pre-rig worms is to fish the deeper, inside, and shallower weed lines and edges. A good way to start fishing it is to cast out the rig and let it settle down to the bottom. Be sure to watch your line as it is settling, to make sure a fish hasn’t inhaled it on the way down towards the bottom. As the worm lies on the bottom, give the rod tip a quick “snap” and start reeling the rig back in. More times than not, you will have a strike at the initial first “snap” and start of the retrieve. I try to work the weed lines and edges first, then work my way into the weed bed itself. This enables me to precisely work the high percentage inside turns, points, and irregularities of the weed lines and edges first, without spooking any fish that may be in there. I will also fish parallel with the weed lines, so that the worm stays in the strike zone longer, thereby increasing my chances of hooking into a fish.
Wood Stumps and Snags
Fishing in wooded cover, can be a fisherman’s worst nightmare. There aren’t many lures that will enable a fisherman to get into those hard to reach snaggy places. Hooks on most lures, tend to snag deep into the wood, thus making it virtually impossible to get down into those areas where fish relate to for cover. The weed less variety (Shown at right) of Pre-Rigs are a godsend for those hard to reach places. On each of the 3 hooks on the pre-rig, there are small thin wire guards, that guard and protect the points and barbs of the hooks, so that it can be fished easily in those hard to reach places without snagging. Just fish it as you would a normal weedbed cast it out, retrieve, and hang on to your rod!
Advanced Pro Tips
Reading the above article will teach you how to fish with pre-rigged worms right out of the package. But if you want to add even more fish to your bag, use these advanced, tried and true tips that will make you an even better angler out on the water.
In the beginning of the article I mentioned that you should use a black ball bearing swivel, well that’s a good baseline to start out with, but on days that the sun is high and bright, you can actually catch more fish by using a chrome ball bearing swivel, which will enable more “flash” to the presentation and will attract more fish to it, thereby increasing the actual percentage of fish to your pre-rig worm.
When the sun is high and bright, the colors of clear metal flake, purple metal flake, blue metal flake, green metal flake, and red, white, and blue metal flake will increase your bag limits, because of the extra sparkle in the water as the worm is retrieved. It really throws off the shine when it is twisting through the water!
When fishing on weed beds and weed lines you will increase your catch by finding the small indentations or pockets, if you will, in the weed line. Fish tend to hold tight on these spots and are a gold mine, if you can locate them without spooking the fish that may be there, before getting a chance to fish it.
If the normal cast and retrieve system doesn’t seem to be working for some reason, whether it be a cold front, dirty water, or the fish are just “off”, instead, try quickly jerking the rod tip as you work it back in. Kind of like a jerkbait retrieve, but with smaller, tighter pulls of the rod tip. This makes the action of the worm very erratic and may turn on those harder to please fish.
These pre-rigged worms can also be used slow trolling for Walleyes. Just add a 1-2 ounce snap weight about 5-8 feet in front of the swivel and slow troll along points, rock bars and mud flats as you would a crankbait or spoon.
Now that you know what the Pre-rigged worm is, how to successfully fish it, and some key areas to look for when trying to find some fish, you can apply all of this knowledge out on the water and hopefully increase your catch of fish.
Best of luck and please practice C.P.R of the bigger female “spawner” fish.
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