By: Isaac Zettle
I’ve fished for trout almost daily this year. Some days catching is easy. However, there’s other times when trout won’t grab salmon eggs, lures or dough bait. When trout get lockjaw it’s important to change your presentation. I do this by molding Fire Bait into what we call a Fire Worm. The Fire Worm helps spark uninterested trout into feeding. In this blog I’m going to talk about exactly how we do this.
Rather than soaking dough bait on the bottom where trout sit there and stare at it the Fire Worm is a moving bait packed with scent. However, the Fire Worm needs to be in motion rather than sitting on the bottom. When jigged properly it convinces trout to bite. They’ll bite it, swipe at it or chase it every time. In many instances it works better than plastic jigs because the bait takes the shape of a real worm, it more natural and is loaded with scent.
I always create my Fire Worm with Pautzke Fire Bait. I like the Fire Bait because this dough bait stays on the hook, doesn’t fall off when jigged, has vibrant colors and the strongest scent I’ve found in dough bait. Let’s work on how to create this super easy worm imitation that catches trout.
Making the Fire Worm
Step 1: Hook/Line Size
Many anglers make the mistake of using hooks that are too large when fishing dough bait. I personally prefer a smaller hook, which means a size eight to 10 single salmon egg hook. I like Gamakatsu hooks because they are a lot sharper, but if you want to save money the Eagle Claw version works well, too. When using dough bait I tend to run four and six pound test. I’ll use Stren Low Vis Green. The key is to stay light. If your line is too heavy the Fire Worm won’t swim right. The fish see your line.
Step 2: Scoop Fire Bait
For starters, take your finger and scoop out a small piece of Fire Bait. I prefer to only use a small piece because it makes the trout easier to hook. Sometimes large pieces spook trout. It’s best to scoop a piece roughly the size of a two M&M’s.
Step 3: Roll into Ball
Roll the Fire Bait into a ball on the hook. This is how many anglers fish dough bait when they are targeting trout in lakes and want to float it off the bottom.
Step 4: The Fire Worm
Take ball of Fire Bait and place it in the palm of your hand. Then with your fingers extended place your hands together. At this point the Fire Bait should be between the palms of your hands. You don’t want to push too hard to where your hands flatten it. Instead, press just enough so both hands are touching it. Gently rub your hands back and forth like you are trying to create a fire using two sticks. As you do the Fire Bait will transform from a ball to a worm shape.
See image below. For the bait to work properly, the Fire Worm should be fat at the top end (which goes on the hook) and skinny on the tail end.
Fire Worm Tips:
*The Fire Worm should be flush against the hook. Only about a third of the Fire Worm will be on the hook itself. The rest will hang off the end of the hook. This is normal.
*You want the Fire Worm to sink to the bottom. Therefore, place a Water Gremlin split shot directly above the hook. The size of the split shot depends on the amount of current you’re fishing. The split shot serves as a weight to use to control your bait. This helps it sink and enables you to control the jigging motion.
*The Fire Worm concept works with all colors of Fire Bait. However, my favorites are Chartreuse Garlic, Garlic Salmon Egg and Peach Garlic. Reason being, the scent from these colors is potent. Therefore, not only does the action of the worm create reaction strikes, but the scent draws trout in, too.
How To Fish It
Using the Fire Worm is similar to fishing a jig. You want to cast the Fire Worm upstream of the trout and then let it fall to the bottom. If you can see the trout try dropping it a foot or two in front of it. Once the bait hits the bottom twitch it and reel it slowly to give it proper action. It should look like a minnow in distress or a worm fluttering through the water. Because it looks wounded when using this action it triggers trout to bite. It’s incredible how many more bites you get.
Editor’s Note: Isaac Zettle is part of Trophy Chasers Outdoors. To follow his adventures please visit https://www.facebook.com/TrophyChasersOutdoors.