May 5, 2014 by Matt Williams
Just when you thought the soft-plastic worm market couldn’t get any fatter, Florida-based Gambler introduces a heavyweight surface swimmer that is designed to perform significantly better than others with a paddle-tail caboose. It’s called the Burner Worm, but it does way more than the name implies. To hear Walmart FLW Tour pros JT Kenney and Jim Tutt tell it, Gambler’s newest soft plastic is perfect for buzzing on top or crawled beneath the surface without ever missing a beat.
“One of the main things that makes the Burner different from other swimming worms is its tail design,” Kenney says. “The tail is really thick, and it produces a big, hard kick and a lot of vibration, even when retrieved at slower speeds.”
“It has a large profile, and it’s super heavy,” Tutt adds. “You can throw it a mile. That’s a huge advantage when fishing a swimming worm.”
I experimented with the Burner earlier this spring and noticed some unique features the lure possesses that swimming worm fans are going to want to check out.
It’s a hulk. Measuring 7 inches long, the worm has a semi-ribbed texture, a plump body that is a ½ inch in diameter and a bulky tail section that is nearly 1/8 inch thick. All this adds up to a large-profile package that casts well in big wind and moves a bunch of water to coax big bass from a considerable distance.
The big paddle tail is designed in a hook shape that points down, causing it to catch water and buck side-to-side constantly as it swims across the surface. Naturally, the tail action varies from a frantic swagger on a fast retrieve to a more subtle thumping motion on a slow one.
Weightless Texas rig: This is the ideal rig for situations when you want to buzz it across thick vegetation, pads or other surface slop. Tutt prefers a 6/0 Gamakatsu superline hook, but he’ll swap out the stock spring for an Owner TwistLOCK Centering-Pin Spring to make sure he gets the keeper centered in the nose.
Weighted Texas rig: Here’s another good setup for buzzing on top or for swimming it below the surface in thick grass, pads and other junk. Kenney likes to use a 3/32- to 1/4-ounce nose weight, depending on how deep he wants it to run with varied retrieve speeds. He uses a screw-in nose weight or pegs it to hold the weight snug to the nose and to prevent the lure from sliding down the hook shank on hard casts. He prefers a 6/0 standard offset hook.
Belly-weighted hook: The belly weight makes the worm maintain a horizontal posture at varied retrieve speeds while helping it get down in the water column. Gambler recommends its 7/0 Big EZ wide gap equipped with an Owner TwistLOCK Centering-Pin Spring, but assorted 6/0 and 7/0 EWG models with spring keepers will do the job.
Line it up
Getting the hook centered on the body with the tail pointed downward is critical to ensure the worm runs true and achieves the best action. Gambler simplified the task by adding two line-up slots in the molding process – one in the belly and one on the back. The back slot also acts as a hook slot to keep the exposed hook weedless.
In addition to popular solid colors, the Burner is available in several cool-looking laminates, thanks to a unique molding process that allows for creating color schemes that vary top-to-bottom as opposed to side-by-side.
Swimming on the surface
According to Kenney, the Burner Worm can be fished like a buzzbait, but it can go places a buzzbait can’t. He fishes it across thick grass beds and other flooded cover, adjusting the presentation by raising or lowering the rod and adjusting the retrieve speed to keep the lure above or within the surface fringes. The presentation is very similar to that of a soft-plastic toad; however, the profile of the Burner Worm is unique because of its length, making it a true big-fish bait.
Length: 7 inches
Price: $4.79 per five-pack
Kenney’s Burner Worm setup
Reel: 7.1:1 Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier
Rod: 7-foot, 6-inch, heavy-action Halo Daylite Series
Line: Toray 50-pound-test braid
Tutt’s Burner Worm setup
Reel: 6.3:1 Abu Garcia Revo
Rod: 7-foot, 2-inch frog rod
Line: 50-pound-test braid