Anglers often disagree on whether or not bass actually rely on worms as a primary food source. I’ve never interviewed a bass or swam with them, so I can’t really chime in on that discussion. But it doesn’t really matter to me, because one thing is certain—soft plastic worms have caught bass longer than any of us have been alive and continue to produce great catches to this very day.
Due to the effectiveness and massive popularity of these long, slender hunks of plastic, the market is inundated with them. I’ve tried a lot of them over the years and not many of them have really knocked my socks off. How many different ways can you possibly imitate a tube-shaped, segmented creature?
Throughout this past year, however, the Strike King Rage Tail ReCon Worm has worked its way into my soft plastics arsenal in a pretty significant way. I started experimenting with it when the bass were predominately shallow and it continued to catch ‘em as they moved to deep, offshore structure and cover.
There are three primary factors that have made this bait a reliable, year-round option for me.
- Slow but dramatic action
- Realistic feel
Its action is both subtle and dramatic
Finding middle ground can prove quite difficult when selecting an effective soft plastic bait. It seems as if you’re often left with two choices—lots of erratic action or hardly any at all. Both of these categories have their time and place throughout the year, but what if the bass don’t really prefer either? There aren’t too many baits that offer an “in-between”.
The Strike King Rage Tail ReCon Worm has a very unique action that’s quite interesting to watch in the water. When you take one out of the package, you’ll notice a long, ribbon-like flap that begins halfway down its ringed body. This flap seems to slow the rate of fall on slack line while also fluttering and gently rippling as it falls to the bottom. The soft, slender body-section of this worm barely shimmies on the fall as well, contributing to its unique and enticing action.
The subtleness of this bait stops when you get to the tail, however. The last inch of the worm is adorned with a thick flange on each side, which causes the bait to thump aggressively when dragged or swam. It might look a bit awkward upon first glance, but it complements the rest of the bait surprisingly well.
This non-traditional design has bailed me out of some really tough days of fishing this year. When it gets tough and I’m struggling to get a bite, I feel like I can keep this worm in my hand and give myself a legitimate shot at catching both big and small bass. It’s not going to spook a curious suspended bass as it slowly falls past their nose, but it’s enough to draw some very aggressive reaction strikes when worked on the bottom.
It’s a fairly meaty worm but even in the colder months when small profiles often shine, the ReCon Worm continues to produce bass of all sizes for me.
You can rig it a number of different ways
I’ve had an awesome time experimenting with this worm throughout the entire year. With just a few rigging variations, it has proven effective in both 100-degree temperatures and below-freezing temperatures on my home fishery. Due to the unique design features I discussed, it gives you a lot of options when the bass aren’t cooperating.
- Texas rig— A lot of people will take one look at the ReCon Worm and immediately think about Texas rigging it. That’s not a bad thing because it certainly works well. I like to rig this worm with a 5/0 Offset EWG hook and the lightest tungsten weight I can get away with. I’ve messed around with it a lot and seem to have better success with lighter weights because they give the worm a bit more freedom to move naturally. I have, however, put a 1/2-ounce weight on this bait when dragging it around offshore humps and stump fields in the 20-foot range with success as well.
- Weightless Texas rig— This is probably one of my favorite ways to fish this particular worm. I’ll use a light wire 5/0 Offset EWG hook and burn it on the surface around any shallow cover such as grass beds and shallow laydowns. The tail kicks wildly and produces a big commotion, making it fairly commonplace to see bass go airborne while attacking it.
- Carolina rig— The ReCon Worm is a very, very good Carolina rig bait throughout much of the year. With a slow retrieve and long monofilament leader, it looks extremely natural in the water while its tail lazily bumps back and forth. I have caught fish while fishing it aggressively in the warmer months, but the most consistent producer is most often a slow, deliberate retrieve.
- Shaky head— Before you raise an eyebrow at this one, hear me out for a second. I’ll actually cut the entire ribbon-like flap—Rage flange included—off of this bait when the bite is super tough. Essentially, this leaves me with a slender and very subtle ringed finesse worm that looks incredible on a 3/16-ounce shaky head. It stays rigged on the hook nicely and has an awesome way of fooling finicky deepwater bass.
Soft to the touch
If you were to close your eyes and I handed you a Strike King Rage Tail ReCon worm, I’m willing to bet you’d think it was a real earthworm. Again, I don’t know if big bass roam around looking for earthworms but I do believe this soft feel plays a role in my great hookup ratio.
I’ll be honest—this isn’t the most durable worm on the market. You’ll probably catch three, maybe four fish on each one. But in my opinion, the hookup ratio makes up for its lack of durability. It holds a hook fairly well and when a bass bites, the hook penetrates the plastic quickly and efficiently without a huge, sweeping hookset.
I also think the softness contributes to its great action as well—when you put it in the water, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. You might get a few tears and rips along after a few fish catches but personally speaking, I’m willing to sacrifice some durability for such an interesting profile and action.
If soft plastic worms bore you, take some time to experiment with the ReCon Worm. I’ve really enjoyed using it and you’d be hard-pressed to find my boat without several packs in one of the compartments.