Stick worm with a tail spinner

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A Senko-style bait or stick worm with a tail spinner is extremely effective around fry guarders. The bait pictured here is actually a Big Bite Baits Trick Stick with a Humdinger Keith Poche Power Spinner in the back. But regardless of your preferred soft-plastic stick worm and whether you buy your tail spinners or make your own, this is a bait that excels when bass are guarding fry.

Blind casting this bait around during the latter part of the spawning process has caught my dad and me lots of fish and some big ones. One of the first fish he ever caught on it weighed about 7 pounds and came on Lake Eufaula in south Alabama. Its effectiveness obviously has something to do with that little flash of the tail. I’m guessing the females think it’s a fry that has wandered off from the school and she attempts to take full advantage of its wayward heart. But the 4/0 EWG hook we rig it with surprises her every time. It’s an effective bait too for catching the males that are guarding the fry. So again, who knows exactly why a bass does what it does. But I know for sure a bass will eat this bait really well when there are a lot of fry around.

I do want to offer up a bit of a public service announcement for this particular presentation, though. Make sure to give the fish enough time to eat the whole bait. Their focus on the flash of the tail often leads to them only getting that in their mouth to start with. So if you set the hook when you feel that first tick, you’ll typically bring back a worm and no spinner. Drop your rod on the initial bite, give it a 2- or 3-second count as painful as they may be, and then sweep into the fish. That’s your best bet of turning bites into bass with this bait.