How to use weightless worms to catch more bass

Todd “Marsh Man” Masson catches numbers of marsh bass using weightless worms in clear water.

Fish find slowly falling plastic lures irresistible

Todd “Marsh Man” Masson is best known for his prowess catching speckled trout. After all, he wrote a book on the subject.

But during the summer, he often turns to his other fishing love — catching marsh bass.

And it’s a safe bet he’ll have a weightless worm tied on one of his rods.

“I think it looks extremely natural,” Masson said of the lures. “It just looks like a dying baitfish, and the fish can’t resist it.”

Masson, who was the long-time editor of Louisiana Sportsman and is formerly a YouTube celebrity for Nola.com, said fishing with weightless worms is really pretty easy.

Rigging up

He uses a medium-heavy rod and a reel spooled with braided line. He ties a 3- to 6-foot fluorocarbon leader because the technique is mainly a clear-water deal.

“I use 20-pound fluorocarbon, which is probably overkill,” Masson said. “But let’s face it … there’s not a whole lot of water you’ve got to worry about fish seeing your leader — especially fluorocarbon.”

The fluoro leader also helps get the bait down because the line doesn’t float.

“I really want that bait sinking quickly,” Masson said.

If he thinks the rig needs a tad more weight, he adds a split shot to the leader. That gets the bait down faster without killing the lure’s action.

He connects the braid and leader with a uni-to-uni knot, creating a connection that’s strong and easily passes through rod eyes.

A 4/0 Gamakatsu EWG hook is tied to the terminal end of the leader, and he goes with either a Zoom Speed Worm or a Yum Dinger.

And then it’s just a matter of casting close to cover. The lure will work around any cover, but Masson has his favorite.

“What I really like (using weightless worms) in is sparse vegetation,” Masson explained. “I also like to focus on the backsides of a point being hit by current.

“I throw it into the dead spot behind the point and twitch it into the current: That’s where the fish are.”

Slow it down

Patience is key, which makes it a challenging approach for many anglers.

“You really have to slow down,” Masson said. “We’re power fishermen — move, move, move. But you can’t do that with this bait. You have to be patient.”

He simply casts it out, lets the worm sink for a few seconds and then gives his rod a couple of jerks.

“It’s just twitch, twitch, pause — a long pause,” he explained.

The strikes almost always come as the lure is fluttering down. But be aware that you will likely never feel a bite.

“You go to do another twitch, and it feels spongy, it doesn’t feel right,” Masson said.

That’s the indication a fish has picked it up.

Therefore, it’s important to put a little pressure on the lure before starting another twitching rhythm, he said.

“You don’t want to give it a hard twitch (after the pause),” Masson explained. “You want to pick up your rod to feel if something is on there.”

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About Andy Crawford 279 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.

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