Best Trout Worms – Choosing the right bait

I love fishing with worms. They are easily available right on the river’s edge in most places or you can pick up a tub from your local bait shop. If however, you cannot get your hands on any live worms then soft plastic synthetic trout worms are the next best thing.

I have a compost patch in the yard and this provides a plentiful supply of fresh worms all year round, but what happens if you are out and about and decide to drop everything and head off for a fish. You might find the bait shop is sold out, conditions may change during a fishing trip and you can’t get your hands on any.

The one drawback with live worms is they need a bit of looking after. This is where the soft plastic variety (plasticus varietus) 🙂 come in very handy.

guide to catching trout with worms

 A nice ‘brownie’ caught on a worm

Plastic Worms for Trout

So let’s take a quick look at the best plastic worms available for trout fishing. There are a few basics when it comes to bait selection and I tent to stick to the following criteria when buying soft worms:

  • I always go for floating worms – Even if you use lead shot to pull the bait down into the swim you want the worms itself to float up off the bed.
  • I tent to go for something scented as well. This attractant draws in even the most cagey trout.
  • Stick to worms about 75mm in length – You don’t need huge worms like Bass worms for trout and this size works best for me.
  • Color variety is important too as you want to be able to switch them out depending on the color of the water on the day.

Trout Worm Guide

My Favorite Trout Worms

There is nothing really scientific about plastic trout worms but they are deadly on trout. They make a quick impromptu fishing trip simple because you just tie up a quick rig and pop on one of the plastic worms – no mess, no fuss – just straight into fishing. Some plastics look very odd but the action in the water is exactly the same as a real live worm and can be used to great effect against shy or spooked trout.

The scent on the worms really draws the fish out and they cannot resist taking a bite. I always stayed away from plastics because I didn’t think they would be as good as the real thing – how wrong I was…

Here are my top 3 trout worms

Berkley PowerBait Floating Trout Worms

Berkley PowerBait Floating Mice Tails

Berkley PowerBait Power Honey Worms

Choosing the right Worm

You can get all shapes and colors when it comes to plastic worms but on a clear day when the water is running clean, you should stick to the most natural looking worm in the bag. Trout are notoriously fussy eaters – especially when the water is gin-clear so the more natural the bait looks the more chance you have of landing the prize.

Worm Color – What color and when:

A general rule of thumb for fishing trout worms is that the clearer the water the pickier the trout will be and thus you should stick to the more natural colors.

Worm Size – How big does it need to be:

75mm or about 3 inches is perfect for most trout and in most conditions so stick to that. If you find you are not getting the fish to bite try dropping down to a smaller trout hook size and a shorter or chopped up worm.

Working along the banks of a fast-moving river is ideal for this type of fishing as there are always going to be live worms washed out of the river banks and into the swim. A hungry trout will not be far away and demolish your plastic worm as it runs downstream.

Hooks – What size and type do you need:

If like me you fish barbless hooks then a size #10 or so is perfect for this type of fishing. Check out our full review of trout hooks and get yourself set up before you head out fishing again.

If you can’t get your hands on barbless hooks then please squeeze down the barbs before you bait up.

Fishing Techniques For Trout With Worms

When I get to a river I will always have a good look around first to spot the best places to drop my bait in. Be careful to stay back a good distance from the river’s edge so you don’t spook any of the fish. A good pair of polarised sunglasses will help you out a lot here.

Big rocks and hollows are a great place to start but also where the stream goes from fast-moving water and starts to slow down. The fist will ait in these locations for prey to come to them so if you drop a worm in here and let it float down the river into the path of the waiting trout you are in business.

When you use floating worms you may want to weight them down a small bit with some synthetic shot just to get the bait down to their level quicker.

Wacky Rig for Trout

trout worms wacky rig fishing

trout worm on a wacky rig

The most basic way to hook up your trout worms is with the trusted wacky rig.

You just stick the hook through the middle of the body of the worm and let it wiggle about and gives the most natural presentation of the bait as it runs through the water.

You don’t need to worry about adding any weight to the line here as the current and weight f the worm will be enough to pull the bait down into the swim just enough to mimic natural baits.

Fish the line with a tiny bit of tension so you can feel the take. The trout will most likely suck the worm straight into their mouth so by having a small bit of tension on the line you will feel these delicate bites.

If you want to add a small bit of weight to your worm to get it deeper into the swim then add a few small split shot weights (lead-free if possible) and away you go.

The alternative is to add a small swivel up the line a bit to give you some additional weight. This will also stop the line from twisting sometimes caused by fishing worms.

Carolina Rig for Trout

trout worms on a carolina rig

carolina rig for trout

Another rig setup for plastic trout worms is the Carolina Rig. Similar in style and basic setup to the Texas Rig except you attach at swivel to the line and set a small barrel weight above it.

By using this setup your worm has a more natural action in the water. Each time you cast out the weight will drop straight to the bottom but the worm will sink much slower on the fall.

When you start to retrieve the bait you lift your rod tip and then let the weight pull it back down again slowly reeling in the slack line.

Fishing this method show be slow and steady but it does allow you to cover more ground and fish at a quicker pace than the standard Texas Rig.

How To Fish Plastic Worms for Trout

Virtually everyone knows that fishing plastic worms have become one of the most effective techniques ever created.

There is a variety of types, sizes, and colors to choose from often leaving the average angler digging deeper into their wallets to find the perfect combination. If you prefer normal lure fishing check out our page on the best trout lures

Obviously, there are different worms for different applications and no one style of fishing is appropriate for every circumstance.

trout worms roboworm

Why Are Plastic Fishing Worms So Effective?

Because soft plastic worms have a realistic shape, texture, and buoyancy designed to imitate natural food sources. Depending on the type and manufacture of the plastic worms, it may float, sink, or stay neutral in a water column.

This designed buoyancy and action of the worm depends heavily on the type of terminal tackle used including weights, swivels, hooks and even the line.

An Unconventional Way to Fish Plastic Trout Worms

Sometimes the simplest of fishing is the most rewarding. There are some secrets to fishing plastic worms.

By far my most productive and underutilized fishing technique uses a weightless wacky rigged plastic worm with an appropriate rod, reel, and trout hooks. This type of fishing is known as finesse fishing.

It takes practice, patience, and skill to achieve optimum results. Over the years I have caught largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, trout, catfish, and even a few carp using this technique.

Below I Have Listed the Tackle I Use to Optimize My Plastic Worms Presentation
1) My go-to bait is a 4.5 to 6-inch Roboworm, usually straight tail, colors vary upon weather and water conditions.

2) The appropriate hook is a Gamakatsu Drop/Split Shot Hook size #1 or#2.

3) Fluorocarbon fishing line 6-8 lbs, usually with low memory is critical to success! Fluorocarbon sinks while monofilament tends to float, negatively affecting the presentation.

4) A 6’ medium action spinning rod and reel with a sensitive tip and a strong backbone is important. A rod that is too floppy will not cast the lightweight plastic fishing worms well.

5) Small split shot (optional) rarely used, when the current or wind is strong, or when fishing very deep water.

How to set it up

My go-to plastic worm will forever be the 4.5 to 6-inch straight tail soft plastic Roboworms made right here in the U.S.A. I first fell in love with the color, “Aaron’s Magic.” However, as I began to experiment with other colors I quickly found that the “Folkestad Special” was the most productive in the murky waters near my hometown.

The application is simple, using an improved clinch knot, tie a size #1 or #2 Gamakatsu split shot hook directly to the 6-8 lbs fluorocarbon line. Find the middle of the Roboworm and insert the hook perpendicular into the thick soft plastic worm. It really is just that simple and is deadly effective when fished properly.

Tips For Fishing Plastic Worms

Fish generally are found near structure and food sources. Knowing where to find fish is sometimes the hardest part of the process. But I assure you, when you find the fish, fishing plastic worms with finesse will always work. Learning to cast this light line set up accurately and consistently can be a challenge. With time and the proper equipment, any angler can learn to cast quite the distance with precision. This combination of light line, no weight, balanced hooks, and soft plastic worms impregnated salt permit adequate casting distance and unmatched feather-like presentation through the water that fish can’t resist.

The worm should be allowed to sink naturally in the water, approximately 6 inches or less per second depending on the current and depth. Often fish will strike while the worm as it slowly sinking to the bottom; therefore, the angler should be aware of the line at all times, watching and feeling for minor changes. Keeping the slack out of the line helps to detect bites. When in doubt, if you feel a change or a tick in the line or rod, set the hook, it’s probably a fish!

How To Choose The Right Color

There are some general principles when picking the color of your plastic worms. It is important to pick colors that have high contrast but that are not unnatural. As a rule of thumb, I use brighter colors with more flash on clear sunny days and darker colors with high contrast in murky waters and overcast days. When all else fails, tie on an “Aarons Magic Roboworm, the most versatile plastic worm and color ever created.

When In Doubt, Give It Some Action!

Twitching the line causes spontaneous movements like that of an injured baitfish. This is an important aspect of fishing plastic worms. I suggest casting the line in a few feet of water and wiggling the worm to action. In this way, you can see how the straight tail plastic worm responds.

I use a variety of retrieval techniques depending on how active the fish are on any given day. Sometimes I get strikes without any effort at all. Just the currently moving my like gives action to the worm as it naturally swims and descends. Other times I must work the worm methodically to trigger a strike.

The versatility of this fishing technique has yet to leave me skunked! I take pride in catching fish when no one else even gets a nibble, and hopefully, you will too.

Tips for Fishing Plastic Worms

As with any talent, fishing with plastic worms requires some additional skills like reading the line, delicate presentations, knowing where the fish are, and even developing an intuition of “fish on” for those subtle bites. The capacity to detect minor changes in the line is the first key to success.

The angler must be at one with the line, paying close attention to even the slightest movement.

We All Started Somewhere

As a kid who grew up on nightcrawlers and bobbers. I soon realized the more lively the worm the more fish I caught. The transformation between fishing with live worms to plastic worms related to my ability to stimulate a strike when nothing else would.
Wacky rigging plastic worms is definitely my go-to technique because it slows down the presentation and gives a weary bass a few more seconds to evaluate its suspecting snack.

As long as you plan on catching and not just fishing, I suggest you learn the art of finesse fishing for those tough days on the water.

More Fishing, Less Time Worrying About Gear

Utilizing a minimalist technique, all I need is a hook and a plastic worm to get my first fish landed. Granted, this method requires light line, usually 6 to 8 lbs, using a fluorocarbon material.

People always ask me why I use fluorocarbon. The truth is, fluorocarbon line sinks while monofilament tends to float. however, if you attach a sinker to the end of a mono-filament line it will inevitably sink.

Obviously, when fishing light plastic lures such as worms without weight, it is advantageous to use a line that will aid in the descent of the worm.

If the worm just stays on the surface or remains neutral in the water, it most likely never enters a fish target zone. Therefore, I suggest you view my previous page, Fishing Plastic Worms, to view the tackle I use to successfully fish wacky rig style.

It Is All About The Fish

Once you have the right set up, simply cast the plastic worm into a structure such as a weed line, rocks, or whatever is around, and allow the worm to fall slowly through the water. Often fish strike during this time, so watch the line for any change in direction or sudden stop, and set the hook!

If you do not get a strike on the way down, allow the worm to travel to the bottom, do not immediately pick up the bait, but rather wait a few seconds before retrieving.

Gently wiggle the rod just enough to cause minor movements in the line that transfer to the plastic worm. When retrieving the worm, work it all the way in, do not stop giving it action until the worm is out of the water.

I cannot count how many times I caught a fish right before the last few feet of line were retrieved.

When Things Slow Down, So Should Your Worm

I find that on colder days when the fish are less active, I must slow down my presentation. Giving the plastic worms too much action seems to turn fish off due to the unnatural behaviour. But if I use a slow drifting technique, dragging the worm across the bottom of the structure, using very precise and delicate movements, the success rate is much higher.

It is important to realize that fishing the bottom or around the structure will inevitably lead to hang-ups and loss of tackle.

This is expected when fishing with plastic worms or any other lure. One reason I prefer to fish with plastic worms is that I would rather lose an inexpensive worm and hook, rather than to lose my favorite twenty dollar crankbait. It is simple enough to quickly tie on a hook and attach a plastic worm to get back in the game.