The dreaded dog days of summer can make it tough to earn a largemouth bass bite. Often sulking in deep offshore haunts, or in the shadows of docks or a large laydown trees, fish prefer gobbling one big meal to chasing a bunch of little shad or minnows.
That’s why the classic big worm fits this season so well—it’s usually fished in slow, vulnerable fashion and it looks like a calorie-rich target worth grabbing. Zoom Old Monster, Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic Bull Worm, YUM 10-inch Ribbontail, V&M 10 1/2-inch Wild Thang—numerous options share the common attraction.
Alabama bass pro Jimmy Mason likes the YUM Ribbontail anywhere hydrilla, milfoil, eel grass, etc. offer well-defined zones of aquatic vegetation habitat.
Later in the summer, a lot of this grass will reach the surface and, in some cases, actually lay over to form thick mats. July, however, finds a gap between the top of the grass and the surface—the ideal scenario for a killer big-worm technique.
“One of the ways I like to look for schools of fish holding in the grass is swimming a big worm,” Mason said.
Rigging his big worm with a 6/0 offset wide-gap hook and a 1/8- to 3/16-ounce weight, he knows that covering water is his best chance of getting it in front of a hungry fish. For an ideal fall rate, Mason fishes the worm on 8- to 10-pound Vicious fluorocarbon.
“When I’m swimming that worm, I’m treating it like a spinnerbait,” he said. “I’ll make a long cast over the grass line, let it sink down and then slowly wind it back.
“If I lose contact with the grass, I’ll kill the bait and let it fall back down. A lot of your bites are going to happen then.”
In bright conditions, Mason prefers green pumpkin/purple, watermelon red, and redbug. On cloudy days, Junebug and other darker baits get the call.