What was the first plastic worm you ever fished? I’m sure for many of you your first plastic worm might have been a pre-rigged Crème or DeLong. The first plastic wiggler I used was a 4-inch purple, pre-rigged bait they sold at Lake Wohlford in San Diego – complete with red beads and a silver propeller. It was a sorry situation, I was about 8-years old and had no clue how to fish the bait so I’d cast to the cat tails and reel it back to the boat. Obviously I wasn’t met with much success.
By the time I was 10 I’d already been a subscriber to Western Outdoor News for a couple years, was fairly well read, and was learning about bass fishing. There was this rig that really intrigued me, a plastic worm rig that promised not to get hung up, in fact, it was weedless. It was the Texas rig – problem was the stores around my house that sold tackle and plastic worms didn’t sell anything but the pre-rigged plastics.
Then one day as my mom was driving me somewhere, I saw a sporting goods store named Reuben’s Sporting Goods. I begged my mom to take me in – thankfully she did.
As I entered it seemed like I’d entered a new world. I’d never seen a place that had so much bass tackle – in fact, many of the baits hanging on the wall I’d only seen in Bassmaster or Western Bass Magazines. I saw my first Bagley’s Balsa B, Scorpion spinnerbait and then the proverbial beam of light came from on high – shining at the coffee cans filled with unrigged Strike King Bill Dance Diamondback worms.
I pulled the wadded up week’s worth of lunch money from my pocket (who needed to eat at school when there was tackle to buy) counted it, looked at the price of the worms (7-cents each) and calculated that I could buy 2-dozen worms (black and blue), a pack of 5/0 hooks and a pack of 1/8-ounce worm weights.
I went home and practiced rigging a worm, as it was shown in one of my magazines, until the worm wouldn’t stay on the hook anymore. That weekend we went to Lake Casitas, still fishing out of a rental boat, loaded with the “new” Texas-rigged Diamondbacks. We headed out of the marina, 6-horsepower Mercury twisted to the max, and made our way to Dead Horse Canyon.
Those that know Dead Horse know the canyon is split into three coves. The middle cove has a large oak tree about half way back on the left. The first cast of the morning resulted in a newly rigged plastic worm stuck in the tree and a backlashed reel. As I was working on the backlash the worm dropped into the water. A few minutes later, after fending off an eagle dead set on nesting in my 5000C and getting the reel straightened out, I reeled up the slack. I reeled and reeled and reeled not coming tight with the bait until it was directly below the boat. That’s when the line went tight and the rod was nearly jerked from my hand. I reared back, set the hook and caught my first legitimate plastic worm fish.
The Black Diamondback had unknowingly made me a “worm fisherman.”
Although Strike King discontinued the Diamondback sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, that memory will stay with me forever.
Do you recall your first worm fish?