An often overlooked place to fish for bass, both the large and small mouthed versions, is in the flowing waters that a river provides. And a bait that often also gets forgotten about when it comes to bass fishing are live worms. I mean sure, plastic worms are a very well known bait for many species of bass, but live worms are often not. The truth is that live worms, especially when they are fished in rivers, are an extremely effective way to catch both large and small mouth bass. I know this because I have been utilizing this very well known fishing bait for bass for almost three decades.
Below I will outline a few tips and tricks for using live worms that will help you catch more bass the next time that you are fishing in a river. While these tips will work for any river fishing scenario, they are most effective when fishing in small to medium sized rivers that can be waded and fished effectively.
Let’s begin with the worms that you use, or more to the point the size of the worms that are used. While many river bass fishermen tend to think that “bigger is better”, I have found that smaller portions seem to produce more bites from hungry bass. As we all know the most popular and readily available type of live fishing worm is the night crawler. There are also red worms, mini night crawlers, and leaf worms. While leaf worms and red worms are the perfect size for bass fishing in rivers, I have found that either mini night crawlers or night crawler that has been pinched in half are at least as effective as the other worms and much more durable. The point here is that you want your live worm (or half of a night crawler) to be 2-3 inches long.
Next we have the way in which you rig your live worm. The best way that I have found is something called a “set of gang hooks”, which is simply a pair of small fishing hooks that have been tied back to back on a leader. By rigging your worm onto a set of gang hooks the worm is presented in an outstretched and natural manner, thus appearing exactly as it should to the bass that you are attempting to catch. This method is much more effective than trying to “thread” your live worm onto a single fishing hook as so many anglers choose to do. Rig your live worm onto a set of gang hooks and then “drift” that worm with the current of the river that you are fishing and you are in business.
This technique is referred to as drift fishing and is as effective a technique as there is for catching large and smallmouth bass in rivers. The goal is to let your live worm drift naturally with the current of the river (many times bouncing along the riverbed as it drifts) until a hungry or inquisitive bass decides to investigate. As soon as it realizes that it’s looking at a worm, the bass usually attempts to inhale the easy meal.
Keep these simple tips and tricks in mind the next time that you head out river fishing with the thought of catching some large or small mouthed bass. If you do so, I promise that you won’t be disappointed.