Hordes of us bass aficionados have turned to finesse fishing in recent years. It’s the fashionable thing to be doing after all. We pitch, skip, skid, plop, twitch, flick, and flutter little morsel-sized baits on pixie-sized lines with itty-bitty weights. And I’m sure we look good doing it.
As a young tot, a crusty old timer once pulled me aside and confided in me, “you wanna catch big bass son–you gotta throw’em big baits.” Starry-eyed and mesmerized with this spiritual enlightenment, I nodded and stammered, “Yes sir, big baits, big fish.” While my ears were listening, my heart was never really swayed.
That changed one day while fishing with Walter Wickerstaff. Now Walt was a different kind of fellow–not one to follow fashion. Most folks would call him “odd” if they met him. To me, he was just Walt.
One day, he invited me to fish a private lake in central Florida. According to Mr. Wickerstaff, this lake was infested with lunker bass. “Infested?” Now that sounded like a real problem requiring some immediate attention, and I was the right guy for the job (I was also enamored with the “lunker” part too). Let’s face it, an infestation is one thing, but a lunker infestation–that requires the attention of highly trained professionals? I definitely fit the bill.
A couple days later, we loaded up in his aluminum bass boat and headed across the lake to the first of his many “top secret spots.” I love top secret spots. They’re the ones that don’t show up on topographical maps. The only humans who know their guarded locale are the blessed who stumbled upon them (and those who pinky-swear secrecy after they’re passed on to them).
Walt throttled back as we pulled up to his first spot. While I was debating what my first offering would be, I heard this giant woooosh followed by a huge, “keeer-splash.” I thought, “What the…?” I glanced up at the front deck and there was Walt, casting with what appeared to be a stout flipping stick. I asked him what he was doing. “Just fishin’.” After the cast, Walt winched in his bait, lifting with his legs and not his back, he pulled a worm out of the water that had to be as long as an outboard pull-start cord.
My eyes bugged out of my head like I’d just seen Sasquatch. “Walt, what in the world you heaving?” Walt said. “Just a worm,” as another slithery monster went airborne. After splashdown, Walt turned slowly towards me and said, “I’m after really big fish.” I countered, “More like the Loch Ness monster from the looks of that ridiculous bait.” Walt set the hook. What?
Three drag-grinding runs, five boils, one gill rattling jump and plenty of guttural grunts from Walt later–he lipped a fatty, a plump 7-pounder. “Huh, lucky,” I thought. Well, after Walter hoisted two more lunkers from the infested waters, both well over five-pounds, I sheepishly inquired on the availability of one of his ridiculously giant, rubber wonder worms.
Since that day, I’ve never again discounted the fact that big fish crave big baits. Well, Berkley recently re-introduced their 12-inch PowerBait Power Worm. And let me tell you, this is one whopper of a wiggler. This mammoth bait is twelve full-inches of pure thunder crawler, infused with that special PowerBait sauce bass love.
Sadly, I’ve lost touch with Walt through the years–but I’m sure he’s out there somewhere, landing lunkers at one of his top-secret spots with these great new worms. They are, after all–the perfect prescription for lunker infested waters.
PowerBait Power Worms are available in black blue fleck, black grape, black/blue, blue fleck, green pumpkin, motor oil red fleck, plum, red shad, watermelon candy, and watermelon chartreuse. ($6.99/5-pack)