How to Fish a "Trick" Worm for Largemouth Bass

Photo © Ken Schultz

The so-called "trick" worm is a straight soft-plastic worm that is 6 to 7 inches long. It does not have a tail that is shaped to provide any swimming action, and while it is made in natural-appearing colors, it is often found in very bright colors, some of which are bubblegum (pink), yellow, white, and chartreuse. The name originated from one manufacturing company that used it as a brand name for a particular lure, but other companies make a similar product and the term has stuck for these across the board. Trick worms catch largemouth bass in lakes and ponds and are especially good during the post-spawn season.

Rigging Trick Worm

A trick worm is rigged without a weight and fished almost like a floating topwater lure. Tie a 2/0 offset worm hook directly to the line or put a small barrel swivel about 6 inches above the hook to keep the line from twisting. The barrel swivel may be necessary if you find that your line is getting twisted. You can use a non-onset hook, but you'll need to place a piece of a toothpick through the hook eye to prevent it from slipping down. Most people prefer a very sharp offset hook.

Some anglers like a highly visible line with trick worms, although others prefer something less visible, even if it makes strikes harder to detect. This choice comes down to personal choice and confidence, and perhaps the state of your eyesight. Ten- to 17-pound-test line works, but lighter is better in clearer water. Heavier line helps to get a solid hookup. The rig can be used with spinning or baitcasting tackle, although if you use spinning gear you can skip the worm better if fishing under docks or overhanging trees and brush.


When twitched, a trick worm jumps back and forth like a walking plug, almost in a walking-the-dog manner. It can be fished in many ways but the most effective is to twitch it just under the surface, then pause and let the worm sink.

Sometimes bass come up and hit the worm on top and you can see them. Other times, the worm just disappears when the fish sucks it in. That is why colors are bright, so you can see when the fish hits it shallow and in relatively clear water. Often, if you let the worm sink out of sight, the only indication you have a hit is when your line jumps or starts to move. If you feel the fish take it, however, usually it feels you too and is gone before you can set the hook.

An Older Version

This lure setup is similar to one that called a swivel worm. The worm was tied 18 inches behind a barrel swivel and the hook was inserted into the worm so it twisted as you swam it back just under the surface. The barrel swivel was an absolute necessity because of the twisting or twirling nature of the lure. It was successful, but hard to cast accurately, though similar to the way a trick worm is fished, except the trick worm does not spin. Bass will hit a trick worm when they refuse other baits, so it's worth a try at times.