I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

• Zoom Original Speed Worm

The Zoom Speed Worm was an experimental purchase of mine. I did not know what to think at first, so I started out with very few expectations. I had read about swimming these lures through pads and it just so happened that the lily pads were starting to come out of hiding on area lakes. Figured it was worth a try. Like any other new lure I'm considering in-store, I browsed the racks looking for that one color about to run out. I grabbed a pack in junebug and never looked back.

The Original Zoom Speed Worm

(Do not confuse this with the Ultra Vibe Speed Worm)

Immediately after buying a pack of these worms, I was faced with several questions. How would I fish this lure? How would I rig it? Weightless or weighted?

The Original Speed Worm is a 5 1/4" paddle tail worm. Zoom sells them in packs of 15. At first glance, you may not know what to think of a worm like this. The worm seems so simple, but there is a certain undeniable complexity about it. With a blunt nose and straight slender body, nothing appears all that special. The narrowly spaced ridges lining its sides are nothing new to the world of plastic worms. Follow the body down towards the tail and you'll run into a narrow junction where the simple worm meets a wide and smooth flapping paddle tail. This narrow junction is what makes the worm so lively. The paddle tail is 5/8ths of an inch at its widest point and is about an 1 and 3/4 inches long. The uncontrolled flapping could rival even the wildest bobble-head. That's all there is to a paddle tail worm.

Because it is a paddle tail worm, something I had no experience using, I was confused as to how the tail should be oriented. Should the paddle move side to side or up and down? The seam is in line with the paddle. and convention dictates that the hook be lined up with the seam. I suppose you can rig it either way, but I believe the preferred orientation is to run the hook so the paddle rests flat. With rigging out of the way, I moved on to exploring the design in terms of structure and function.

The paddle itself is a great source of vibration. A nearby bass will sense this disturbance in the Force via the lateral line, but also detect the worm visually without much effort. The bumpy ridges along the side of the worm also create very slight vibrations as you swim it through the water. Everything about this worm screams "Pay attention to me!" Because of the extra vibration from the tail, I suspect this worm could outfish many other lures in low-vis conditions. Seeing as how the local lakes are always stained, it seemed like a reasonable addition to my arsenal.

So how do you fish the Original Speed Worm?

Like so many other lures, there is no one best answer. Many techniques perform exceptionally with this worm. Most of them are commonplace in bass fishing, except for the one the worm is named after. The worm can be fished weightless, Texas rigged with a bullet sinker, threaded onto a shaky head jig, Carolina rigged, and speed worming.

So what is speed worming?

Speed worming is an interesting technique. I have no idea where it originated, but from what I can tell, not many anglers are familiar with it. Imagine any scenario in which you might throw a spinnerbait. Speed worming is the plastic equivalent. Using a steady retrieve, bring the worm through any spot, whether it's cover or structure, as if it were a search bait. The paddle tail at the end will flap back and forth and hopefully get the attention of a bass nearby. That's all there is to it. Just a steady retrieve. Of course, you can mix it up with varied hops or even mix in a little slow rolling.

I decided to go with a 1/4oz bullet sinker and a 4/0 EWG hook. I tried swimming it and bouncing it, but I struggled to get a bite on one of these worms. When rigged with the bullet sinker, the lure plummets to the bottom without flapping much at all. When rigged weightless, the sink rate is still fairly quick. To keep the worm from sliding down the hook, I used a barrel swivel to hold the head of the worm securely in place, a tip I wrote a blog post about back in May. I have yet to try it on a shaky head rig, but it's awfully tempting, isn't it? That flapping paddle tail should do well on a shaky head hook. C-rigging isn't as popular on area lakes, but that might make it worth trying as it's a presentation local anglers rarely show bass.

Anglers who used the Original Speed Worm found out that they could cut a slit through the tail and make it a curl-tailed bait. The Ultra Vibe Speed Worm, as I understand it, was inspired by this modification, but people still buy the original and slice it. Should you damage the tail beyond recognition, simply cut it off and turn the worm into a Senko-style bait.

There are two modifications I'm tossing around in my head. One is to somehow expose the tail to a heat source of some kind (open flame or boiling water) and bend it down so as to resemble a swimbait or Swim-Senko. The other is to make cuts (or melt indentations) into the side of the worm like hinges to give it a little more side to side action.

By turning the worm on the horizontal so the paddle moves side to side, it makes for a good trailer option for spinnerbaits, swim jigs, and swimblades.

I have not read about many anglers rigging this worm wacky or on a drop shot, but I would imagine either could be very productive.

The Final Word
I need to give this worm some more time in the field. I have yet to catch anything with one, but I am confident I can find a few bass out there that'll bite. I'm convinced it's a good bait. I only need to dedicate myself to it with a little more diligence. I have a feeling the Ultra Vibe might be a better option for speed worming and the Original Speed Worm might perform better using more subtle approaches.

Other Zoom Products:
Zoom Horny Toad
Zoom 6" Lizard
Zoom Brush Hogs
Zoom Super Fluke
Zoom Finesse Worm


Gene said...

In my opinion, there is no better bait when grass is present. I sometimes go through 3 or 4 bags a day. I have caught them in 51 degree water swimming it all the way to 90 degrees. I think sometimes I throw it to a fault but if grass is there they will kill it. You really need grass or pads for best results. I always fish it with a 1/16th ounce bullet weight and an Owner #4 Z Neck hook. The light wire on the owner hook is key to consistent hook ups. The light weight is also key to this worm doing its best work. I never, ever, ever use a heavier weight even in the strongest wind. 12 pound fluorocarbon seem to be the optimal strength line. I always use the Ultravibe version and stay away from the paddle tail. To work it just real in with a medium to slow steady retrieve or if they are really active you can burn it. When they hit it, feed it to them before you set the hook. They will not let it go and when they hit it they usually turn and hook themselves. The best color for clear water is the watermelon red and in stained i use june bug. The best rod I have found by far, and I mean far, is the Quantum kevin VanDam spinner bait rod. It seems to be perfect. I hate letting out my secret on this bait but I like to see everyone catch fish unless I'm fishing against them. Good luck with them and if you have any questions on it send me an email at gene@fishigwithgene.com

BassFishingDem said...

Thanks for your tips, although it sounds like most of what you suggested applies to the Ultravibe. In fact, most of the discussions on the "speed worm" end up becoming more about the Ultravibe than the paddle tail. Confusion often ensues in speed worm discussions as a result. I'm really trying to avoid that so as to give people more information about the paddle tail worm.

I too decided on a light wire hook, but I thought the 1/4oz weight gave me that extra wiggle for accentuating the flap of the tail. I don't buy into a lot of the hard and fast color rules people have. I stick with pushing confidence in a bait over color. I suspect anglers will also have to let fish take the paddle tail worm good before setting the hook. Glad you brought that up.

Clif said...

I've caught so many fish "speed worming" other baits and had no idea there was a proper name. Usually I make a bad cast and hurry the bait back, getting strikes this way is not uncommon for me despite the bad cast.