Dan Smith called his shot, spotting the log he’d been searching for over an hour, on the deep part of a flat in the 30-acre lake.

“Ten-inch worm, at the base of that log, biggest bass of the day,” Smith said. “Want to put five dollars on it?”

Cost me a Lincoln, but boy was it worth it.

Smith put down his crankbait rod, and grabbed the one he’d spent at least 15 minutes rigging about an hour earlier. He found the rod, found the quarter-ounce tungsten weights and 5/0 hook fast enough, but it took him a while to find the bag holding the only big worm in the boat.

“I’ve been saving this worm for this shot, this log,” my friend said. “Now, watch this magic.”

Smith’s cast was appropriate, sailing several yards past where it appeared the root wad of the old tree would be. The weight carried the beast worm to the bottom and the line made an obvious twitch when it stopped.

With a quick lift of the rod tip, Smith hopped the worm toward the tree and watched as the line settled toward the ...

“There it is, she’s on it,” he suddenly hollered, reeling up the slack before rocking his 18-foot aluminum boat with the violent hook set.

His 7-foot rod doubled over as the big fish swam right, unexpectedly leaving the security of the roots to race through open water. It was the fish’s big mistake. 

Smith had little trouble coaxing the fish to the boat. He had an even easier time boasting, bragging and then taking my money.

“One of my dad’s all-time favorites was throwing a giant worm around a tree in the heat of the summer,” Smith said. “He taught me that trick I guess about 40 years ago and I’ve been relying on it ever since, especially in small shallow lakes where the bass have little escape from the heat.

“His opinion and I agree wholeheartedly is that this time of the year, in 90-plus-degree water, bass are finicky and are not going to spend a lot of energy to eat something unless it’s big enough that it’s worth its while. I bet I could have sat here and thrown a crankbait, spinnerbait or anything fast like that for an hour and never coaxed a bite. She took that worm on the first offer.”

It’s an old trick for Smith, but hardly a secret. It’s the same kind of pattern fishermen all over the south use in the summer to get a much-needed bite during the heat of the summer.

Smith carefully unhooked the fish, not wanting to do further damage to the soft-plastic worm in a black with green glitter pattern.

“I’m going after another big fish, and I’m sorry, but that’s the only big one I got,” he said. “There’s another big tree right on the edge of the drop up here about 50 yards.”

As Smith used the trolling motor to approach the target, I was busy in the back in my bag of soft plastics. When he spotted the tree and pointed it out, my 11-inch red shad worm zoomed past his head and landed perfectly in the water.

A few minutes later, I had his fish’s twin sister in my hands in the back of the boat. 

“Go ahead Dan, throw it out there,” I said. “And, if you lose it, don’t worry. I got a whole bag of them back here, as a matter of fact, two including that same color. They’re $5 though.”