UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

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Speed Worming with John Cox

Speed Worming with John Cox

Burning various baits over the grass in Florida is a time-honored tradition. Toads, swim jigs, Reaction Innovation Skinny Dippers and other baits will work, and figuring out the right bait to cover the vast stretches of green in Florida is key. One of the most popular choices is a Zoom Magnum Ultra Vibe Speed Worm, and John Cox knows how to apply it as well as anyone. Here’s how the Forrest Wood Cup champ from DeBary, Fla., gets the most out of the venerable bait.

 

The tackle

Depending on the specifics, a Speed Worm can be a very versatile bait. Though Cox acknowledges that the Gambler Burner Worm is a good alternative, he usually sticks with the Magnum version of the Speed Worm and sometimes throws the smaller size as well. Either bait is rigged on a Texas rig.

“I go through phases with it,” says Cox. “One time I was rigging it with a 3/16-ounce weight, and I was reeling it on top as fast as I possibly could, and if I saw a wake coming I would just kill it. Sometimes I’ll just use a little pinch-on piece of lead in front of it. Now I’m to the point where I’m lazy, and I just don’t tie any weight on it.”

Going weightless allows Cox to easily reel the bait back over vegetation, and he usually runs a 4/0 Gamakatsu Offset Round Bend for his hook. For extra versatility, Cox uses 15-pound-test monofilament or fluorocarbon, or 40- to 50-pound-test braid for his worming in various circumstances.

“I use braid in the really heavy vegetation and fluoro and mono in more open-water scenarios,” he says. “I use the mono if I’m going to be reeling it on top, and I use the fluorocarbon if I’m going to be slow-reeling it under the water.

On the rod side of things, Cox uses an MHX MB903 for braid. It’s a 7-6, medium-heavy rod and has plenty of oomph to handle big fish in the grass. For mono and fluoro, Cox says the lighter MHX MB843 gets the call. It’s still a medium-heavy, but only rings in at 7 feet long.

 

How to catch fish with it

“I throw it anywhere there’s water. It works everywhere,” says Cox. “For me, when other guys throw buzzbaits and stuff like that, I throw a Speed Worm. I’ve thrown it everywhere and caught fish on it, but there’s something with Florida where the fish really like it. A lot of people don’t really throw it anywhere else, but I just mix it up.

“You can straight burn it. You can pull it and pause it, and you crank it right under the water like you would a swim jig,” he adds. “And it works like a Texas rig on the bottom too.”

As with any fast-moving soft plastic, getting the hookset right is key.

“I let them eat it,” says Cox. “Once I know they’ve got it I reel down and make sure they’re there. Then I do a sweeping hookset like you would with a Carolina rig.”

Cox is an expert with any number of baits, but fishing a Speed Worm is one of his favorite ways to catch fish and figure them out. Coming up through the ranks, especially early in his tournament career, Cox always had one on his deck.

“Instead of having to go through three or four different baits, you can change it up [with the Speed Worm] and figure out what the fish want,” says Cox. “I’ve had times where I’m casting and they won’t eat it on top, and then I’ll go to cranking it slow and I’ll catch one. Then I might reel the swim jig like that and catch even better fish. It’s something to figure out what the fish are doing on that day.”

If you’re outside of Florida, you might want to take a tip from Cox and pick up a bag of Speed Worms. If you’re a Florida vet you probably already own some and have plenty of appreciation for the explosive action they can provide. 

Tags: florida  john-cox  speed-worm  jody-white  article 

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