One of the favorite rigs that Bassmaster Elite Series pro David Walker employs for bedding bass is the Z-Man ZinkerZ stickworm Texas-rigged on a 5/0 worm hook, a combination he demonstrated on the spotted bass of Georgia’s Lake Lanier one recent spring.
Bedding fish are extremely territorial during the spawn, Walker noted. If an intruder enters their zone, the bass wants it gone!
Now bass may not bother with something that moves quickly through their territory. “But if some creature drops in slowly and hangs there, the bass wants to let it know that it needs to be somewhere else!” explained Walker.
Enter the stickworm, a cigar-style plastic worm type found in nearly every bass angler’s arsenal these days. Fished weightless, Walker’s ZinkerZ drops slowly with a writhing descent that begs a bass to call its bluff.
“You are really not working the bait,” he says. “It is working best as it is settling to the bottom. The lure is doing the work for you. That subtle fall is what makes it such a great lure this time of year.”
Line watching is critical with this technique. Protective bass are not feeding, so don’t expect the typical strike of a bass inhaling a meal. Anticipate a lot of pick-ups but few commitments.
“Often you will see the line hop or just move off to the side…or even sink faster,” he continues. “That is really all the hit is going to be. It is not going to be a major strike. They will either swallow the bait or grab it and carry it off… and blow it out just to get rid of it!”
He employs fluorocarbon line—Sunline FC Sniper is his top choice—not only for its relative invisibility but for its density, too. Fluorocarbon sinks and offers the angler better feel.