For many bass fanatics, fishing for largemouth means fishing with worms.
And while we don’t really know why bass are so attracted to the fluttering, erratic motion of a soft plastic worm, we do know that among the legion of techniques and lures employed by bass anglers, soft plastic worms may be the most deadly.
A little bit of internet research reveals there were plenty of pros calling for them to be banned from tournament fishing in the early years, as they were so good that using one was tantamount to cheating!
Don’t be afraid to throw big worms to big bass!
In short, worms are ridiculously effective when selected carefully and worked properly. And whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or new to the sport, picking the right worm is critical, and we’d like to help. Keep reading!
Quick glance at the best worms for bass:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Available at: Bass Pro
Available in 4- and 7-inch lengths, Strike King’s Super finesse worm is an excellent option if you like lots of tail wriggle from your soft plastics. Formed from a very supple plastic, this option is far less stiff than a typical Senko, but still very durable.
Its tapered shape guarantees a lot of movement when rigged with a forward weight, and whether you opt for a Texas or Carolina style or go with a shaky head, you won’t be disappointed.
A wacky option, especially rigged Neko style, really allows the Strike King to strut its stuff.
For my money, this is a fantastic choice when visibility is low to nil, as the extra flutter and vibration really works to draw big bass in for a strike.
Available at: Bass Pro
It seems like curly-tailed worms are somewhat passe these days, having been eclipsed by other styles. But don’t let that stop you from rigging a Culprit Original: they work wonders today, just as they have for decades!
Available in 6-, 7 ½-, and 12-inch lengths from Bass Pro, the secret sauce is in the long fluttering tail. Rigged Texas or Carolina style, this worm creates irresistible flutter as it falls.
Shaky heads and Neko rigs are startlingly effective with the Culprit Original, and you’ll find that tail wriggling for all it’s worth as you pop it around.
I also really like it on my drop shot rigs, where it’s free to work its magic.
“Grape shad” is the legendary color of this worm, and there are thousands of anglers who won’t leave the boat ramp without a bag.
Zoom is a dominant force in the soft plastics market, and their Trick Worm goes a long way toward explaining why.
Similar in performance to the Strike King Finesse Worm, but offering more action at the tip of the tail, Zoom’s Trick Worm can work wonders in low visibility situations.
Rigged with a shaky head or wacky rigged Neko style, Zoom’s Trick Worm gyrates and wriggles as it falls, keeping its tail up and off the bottom even when the head is buried.
And as a floating option--run weightless--it’s simply amazing. Erratic turns, tail-wiggling starts and stops, fluttering falls: this trick worm does it all.
A go-to bait for pretty much every angler I’ve ever seen fishing worms, it’s hard to overestimate the popularity of this worm.
Wacky rigging is pretty much synonymous with Yamamato’s Senko or “stick worm,” and these stiff, ridged soft plastics have proven their amazing effectiveness time and time again.
Unquestionably popular, the Senko has earned a dedicated following of anglers anywhere you find bass, and I promise you, you won’t find a tackle bag that doesn’t have a few Yamamotos ready to go.
Wacky rigged, it offers enticing flutters on the lift or pop and tiny shimmies on the way down.
Rigged weightlessly, the action on these Senkos is mind-blowing. They fall slowly and with tiny, erratic vibrations, giving hungry bass the time to home-in on them before they bottom out.
And when popped with a quick move of the rod tip, magic happens.
Don’t believe me? Just check this out:
Available in 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, and 7-, lengths, these versatile soft plastics deserve a place in your tackle box.
A 5-inch alternative to Yamamato’s Senko, Zoom’s Magnum Finesse Worm is deadly on a wacky rig, whether you run it classic or Neko style. But don’t mistake these for the Strike King: their fat body creates an entirely different action.
On a wacky head or Texas rigged, if you just give it a lift and fall, its muted action is perfect for situations in which the bass are spooky.
Rigged weightless and popped, like the Yamamato, you can expect magic movements like crazy turns, slow falls, and wild gyrations.
And one advantage to these Zoom Magnums over the Senko is durability. These guys are tough!
I know anglers who spend more time considering worm color than a teenage girl spends picking out her prom dress.
And there’s some justification for that.
We’ve all seen days where the right color is magic--and anything else means you may as well cast on dry land.
And I can tell you from experience that Culprit's “grape shad,” that particular dark blue, is beloved by legions of anglers in Texas.
I think I know why.
As sunlight passes through water, its higher wavelengths are swallowed the deeper it goes. That means the reds, oranges, and yellows fade first, with the indigoes and violets lasting longest.
“Grape shad” is a very dark blue--almost black--and it’s visible from the surface all the way down to 80 or 90 feet in clear water. That means that at all practical depths for bass, they can see that worm color.
Now while the usual advice is to match the hatch, I’m not familiar with any common 7 ½-inch wriggling eels that are dark blue. So I’m not sure what the Culprit Original is imitating, though experts confirm that to bass, soft plastic worms look like a lot of different things that they don’t resemble to us.
Generally, it’s common sense to throw more subdued, natural colors in clear water and brighter, more vibrant colors in murky water.
But I’m not sure about that with worms.
I’ve had the best luck with three simple color options: watermelon, green pumpkin, and grape shad/blue. I don’t think I’m alone in this experience, and even legends like Bill Dance tend to stick close to one or two colors.
Dance even famously quipped that “Any color will work as long as it is blue.”
Walker Smith recommends that you work with just three colors of worms:
That makes sense to me, given my experience, and also what I know about color absorption in water.
It’s wise to diversify your worm selection, picking a few different styles for various rigs and situations.
But don’t go overboard--two or three styles in two or three colors is plenty.
And keep in mind: there’s no one worm to rule them all! The best option will depend on your needs, your technique, the water color, and how deep you’re working that soft plastic.
We hope this article has helped you pick your next few bags of soft plastics, and if it has, we’d love to hear from you.
Please leave a comment below!