The Power of the Shaky Head Worm

There is just something about bass fishing that keeps us coming back for more. With each generation techniques are passed down and new techniques are developed. The education of a bass angler never ends. There is always something new to learn. The reason angler education is a constant process because each time an angler gets on the water he is confronted with different conditions. Factors such as weather, light, wind, water temperature, water clarity, more or less current, these are what make the fish react different. Change is the only guarantee in bass fishing. I have written many times about the importance of fishing the condition instead of the calendar to become a consistent angler. Often techniques thought of a winter, summer or fall can be utilized when conditions are present that affect the habits of the bass.

An angler's success is his ability to learn various techniques and the ability to change techniques to suit the conditions as they change. The education process is never complete for the angler that wants to be consistent and successful. The purpose of this article is to continue the education of anglers that want to be successful on the water. In it I will cover a popular technique that has consistently been a good choice to go to during changing conditions, the soft plastic worm. There have been more fish caught on some variation of the plastic worm than with any other technique making the classic bait worth an in-depth look to see what many anglers are missing.

We do not hear as much about the plastic worm as we do new baits, new techniques, fads and gimmicks, but let me assure you that millions of anglers are still using the old go to worm in some variation of rigging that suits the condition that they are fishing. Not only does the plastic worm catch numbers, but it catches big bass as well. Consistent anglers that fish for a living know that returning to old school baits and applying forgotten education can be the best way to increase confidence and eventually cash a check.


Techniques of fishing a soft plastic worm including wacky rigs, shaky heads, drop shot, Texas rigs, and many more that have won more professional tournaments that all other lures combined. Let us take a look at just one of these techniques and understand why the shaky head can be so effective for specific conditions at any time of the year when the bite is slow.

The shaky head is one rigging technique that has won many dollars for bass professionals over the years. A finesse technique that is best executed on spinning tackle with light line in the times of transition such as winter to spring, spring to summer and summer to fall. Times when fish will be transitioning from shallow to deep water. Shallow water in close proximity to deep water is the key. Points, secondary points, bends and channel ledges are great target areas for this technique during changing seasons. Secondary points with shallow pockets is the most productive place to determine the depth that the active fish are currently holding. This information is vital. Once you dial in on this you will catch bass. During transition times bass may not bite a jig or a big creature as they acclimate to the change. At almost any time if the year even in deep clear lakes a shaky head can produce.


Anglers are too expecting to catch trophy bass with big baits. Through experience in one situation or watching too many tv programs they often forget the power of a plastic worm. Knowing when to use other baits is where the education kicks in. A plastic worm can build confidence after you have located active fish by catching numbers. The shaky head is a great starter bait for new anglers. And there is a great chance that it will not only be productive, but it will eventually connect the angler to a big fish.

In areas with steep banks where rock changes are found near deep water can be a good place. Chunk rocks changing to gravel during transition times may draw bass. A shaky head worm can't be beat when fished in these tradition banks when visible changes in the rock formations. Boulders to chunk, chunk to gravel, clay to rocks or sandstone to shale are key areas to shake a worm. This pattern has been used productively for many years and is often used by jig anglers. Jigs are known to be a big bass bait, but the shaky head technique is a consistent technique when tough conditions call for a more subtle bait. Transition   times as bass are moving a smaller subtle offering can be the best choice. Choosing a worm with buoyancy is important too. With a tail that is always standing up, it is easier to impart action into the 4" -6" bait on a lighter line.


A long cast without clicking the reel will allow the shaky head to fall straight down on a slack line. If you trip the bell it will stop the line and swing the bait back to you with a pendulum effect. Shake the worm on a slack line with the rod raised high. Pull the bait along until you feel resistance then slightly shake the worm before popping it over the rock then allowing it to fall again on a slack line. The slack is key for a shaky head presentation. Once you feel a bite, reel up the slack and execute the hook set on a tight line.

The soft plastic worm is still one of the most versatile baits on the market. It's uses seem endless. Not to discredit other baits that have their time and place in this sport. It is the worm that is a great all around staple in any anglers arsenal. As a search bait, a follow up bait or the main choice no one can dispute the power of a worm. A four season bait that can fill in the gap during changing conditions, unseasonal weather patterns or just for a child just learning to fish. If you have forgotten or have not yet learned the soft plastic worm give one a try.

Happy Fishing!

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