By: Mike Wickkiser
Dough bait catches trout. Just like many trout anglers across North America I’ve used dough bait for as long as I’ve been fishing. Many anglers simply cast the dough bait out, let it sit and wait for a bite. I don’t do that. Rather than rolling my bait in a ball I mold my dough bait into the shape of a worm because I believe that trout are more interested in biting that than a small glob of bait. But it’s not just the shape of the dough bait it’s how you work it.
I use Pautzke Fire Bait and don’t mold it into a worm, cast it out and let it sit there. Instead, I give the bait action. Stocked trout are more into moving baits. Trout are chasers. They want bait that’s moving, which is why spinners, spoons, drifting salmon eggs, jigs and minnows are so effective. The reason why I do this with dough bait is because not only does the bait look like a worm, it now has added scent to it (Fire Bait’s garlic is strong).
In recent years we’ve caught more golden rainbows and bigger rainbows, brooks and browns on this method than any other. There’s a lot of dough baits out there, but I use Fire Bait exclusively and have for several years. Fire Bait is more durable than other brands. This enables me to jig it rather than plunk it like most anglers do. If you tried to jig other brands the bait would fall off the hook.
Once you’ve molded the dough into the shape of a worm cast it out, let it sink to the bottom and slowly retrieve it while twitching the tip of your rod. I’d recommend reeling it as slow as you can. Most trout like to hang on the bottom unless they are up eating flies, therefore I cast it out, let it sink slowly twitch it on the bottom. As with any bait you want to keep it in the strike as long as you can, but also to impart action on it to try and get a reaction bite out of the trout.
This method is effective in small creeks, rivers, lakes and ponds. My favorite time to use it is when the water is clear and you can sight fish. When sight fishing if you put your time in you can almost always get them to bite, even when they have lockjaw. Personally, I’ve found that Natural, Chartreuse and Peach Fire Bait work best, but we’ve caught them on all the colors. It’s always best to come with a few colors and let the trout tell you which they want that day.
The Fire Worm Roll
Get jar of Fire Bait, remove lid and use your finger to grab some of the dough bait.
Place the dough bait in the palm of your hand and roll it in the form of a worm. I like the worm to be roughly two inches long.
When fishing the worm I’ll place it on a small jig head. I do this because it helps the Fire Bait sink to the bottom (keep in mind, Fire Bait floats). The jig serves two purposes. It helps weight the bait, while also camouflaging the hook and weight that’s being used to maintain a position in the strike zone.
Editor’s Note: Mike Wickkiser is based in Pennsylvania and constantly fishes for trout. He’s heading to fish in Alaska this week for the first time.