Heaven forbid, but if we were limited to only one way to fish, one technique that would allow us to catch bass, northern pike, even the occasional walleye, sunfish and crappie, it would have to be a plastic worm on a jig head with a steel leader.
To understand why this rig is so versatile, consider the nature of our Minnesota lakes. Most are relatively clear, with drop-offs ranging from gentle to steep. Weeds grow where the water is shallow enough for ample sunlight penetration. As the water gets deeper and light penetration stops, so does weed growth. This often creates a defined weed wall, or thin border of weeds next to open water. Almost every kind of game fish in Minnesota is found near these weed walls, where they find food and protection from direct sunlight and bigger predators. To catch these fish you need to work through this vegetation and down the weed wall to the lake bottom. That leads us to the plastic worm on a jig head.
The first part of this rig is a wire leader. Without it, northerns will continually bite the worm off. You can make leaders yourself from single-strand leader material. Cut about 18-inches of leader and use a haywire twist knot to tie on a swivel. Thread the wire through the swivel and clamp a forceps to the loose end. Then swing it several times around so the forceps wraps the wire around the standing end. Clip off the excess wire.
Use the same procedure to tie on a 1/4- to 3/8-ounce jighead. Color is a personal preference, but popular colors include bright green, yellow, white and black. Jig style is also a personal choice. Ball-shaped heads work, but pyramid or stand-up styles seem to go through weeds better.
Hook a plastic worm through the head and out the bottom so it flows naturally behind the jighead. Again, worm color and style are your choice. All work, but conditions at the time you're fishing might make one color or style better. Experiment until you find the best one.
Once you're rigged, locate the weed line and position your boat a cast length away on the drop-off. Cast the worm rig past the weedline and twitch it back so it falls down the weed wall where fish can see it. You will snag weeds, but pull the rig loose and keep working it.
You never know what kind of fish you'll catch because they all fall for this technique. It's a great way to fish and should be among your standard tactics.
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