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Atkins’ Worm Prescription

Atkins’ Worm Prescription

Fishing a plastic worm is one of the most time-honored ways to catch bass because it flat-out works. This fall Justin Atkins earned his first T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) win with a worm on Ross Barnett, and big worms account for countless bass throughout the season at all levels of competition. Already established as an essential bait, we figured it’d be good to know exactly how the reigning Forrest Wood Cup fishes a worm.

One of the great things about a worm is how dead-simple it is to fish – you mostly just sling it out and drag it back.

“When I’m targeting brush piles I try to get a good line up, throw it out there and let it go to the bottom,” says Atkins. “Then I just start dragging it until I find the brush and once I find it I really slow it down and maybe shake the rod a bit and give it a little action. I try to bring it over each limb until I get it out of the pile and then I’ll drag it a little bit and reel it in. You can feel when your bait is getting close to an object in the water, and that’s when I really slow it down.”

For grass or open bottoms, Atkins prefers a more uniform pace, simply dragging the worm forward with his rod tip, picking up the slack and repeating the process. Even though you can drag a worm anywhere, Atkins mostly applies it around cover and favors a football or shaky head on cleaner bottom.

“When you’re fishing in grass or brush that big worm will come though without getting hung up and you can be a lot more efficient with it,” says Atkins. “It’s the best way to efficiently cover structure that you don’t need to be getting hung on.”

Atkins always fishes his worm with the weight un-pegged and he has some other guidelines he follows as well.

“On a calm day I’m gonna throw a ¼-ounce in anything less than 7-foot and anything deeper I would throw a 3/8-ounce,” says Atkins. “If it’s windy I throw a 3/8-ounce or if I need to stay back off and make a really long cast. If I’m fishing grass I throw strictly a 3/16-ounce weight because for a lot of your grass fishing the fish are in less than 4 foot of water and you don’t want your weight to bury up in the grass.”

For tackle specifics, Atkins doesn’t do anything too out of the ordinary, but he does always snell his hook to protect the knot from his weight. He currently uses a 7-3 medium-heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod matched up with a 7.3:1 Abu Garcia REVO STX and 15- or 20-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. For a 10-inch worm Atkins likes a 4/0 Berkley Fusion19 worm hook and his go-to is the classic 10-inch Berkley Power Worm. Most of the time Atkins likes a green pumpkin or black color in darker water or around brush, but he loves a red-colored worm like cherry seed or plum around grass.

When it comes to setting the hook on a worm, sometimes you’ll see anglers really wind up on a worm hookset, letting the fish eat it for a bit, but Atkins tries to stay away from that.

“When I feel that bite and I reel down and can feel that fish I immediately set the hook,” says the Alabama pro. “Especially when I’m fishing in brush piles, I like to set the hook as quick as possible before he has time to get around anything. Then I horse him out as quick as I can.”

Though it’s a well-established technique, fishing a worm is still making folks money. If you’re unsure of how to go about it following Atkins advice would be smart, and if you haven’t picked one up in a while you might want to dig a pack out again.

Tags: justin-atkins  jody-white  article 

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Champlain Midday Update – Day 1

Takeoff was a little blustery, but overall, it’s been a perfect start to the Costa FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. The event is the kickoff of the Northern Division, which is presented by Gajo Baits, and the tournament itself is presented by Polaris. READ MORE »

Go-Time Again on Champlain

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Each of the last three years have seen the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits kick off on Champlain. This tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but the dominant pattern certainly won’t be spawning smallmouths. Instead, it could be a largemouth slugfest, as the fishing has continued to prove strong on the south end of the lake. READ MORE »

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

Check-in Time: Brian Latimer 

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Brian Latimer.  READ MORE »

Summertime on Champlain

Summertime on Champlain

For three years running now, the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits has kicked off on Lake Champlain. The tournament, which is presented by Polaris, should offer great fishing like usual, but it’s going to be far different than the last two FLW Series tilts on the big Northern lake. READ MORE »

Big Little Boats

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4 Hot New Reels from ICAST

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2019 is the year of the trolling motor at ICAST, but it wouldn’t be ICAST without at least a few next generation reels from some of the best manufacturers in the business. READ MORE »

New Baits from ICAST 2019

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Sign up for Polaris Sportsman Giveaway

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FLW has teamed up with its partners at Polaris to give away a Polaris Sportsman® 570 EPS valued at approximately $7,799. This special giveaway offer is being shared with FLW members and fans. READ MORE »

Ouachita to host Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup

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The Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack will feature up to 238 of the top kayak bass anglers from around the country who have qualified for the event through the FLW/KBF Kayak Open, the KBF National Championship, the KBF Trail and the KBF Pro Tour. They will be competing for a total prize package of $18,000 – a $3,000 Dee Zee gift card and $15,000 in cash. READ MORE »

Winning Baits from the 2019 FLW Tour

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Before we shift our focus to previewing the 2019 FLW Cup at Lake Hamilton, let’s start with a look back at the baits that were used to win the seven FLW Tour events this season. READ MORE »

First 2020 FLW Tour Invites Sent

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Today, FLW sent out 119 invitations for the 2020 FLW Tour to the top performers from the 2019 FLW Tour. These invitations are in alignment with the 2019 FLW Tour rules that were announced last summer that transitioned the Tour to a qualification system, as well as one amendment made to accommodate changes in the pro bass fishing industry. The amendment was announced to pros at the registration meeting for the season finale on Lake Champlain last week. READ MORE »

2019 FLW Cup Roster

2019 FLW Cup Roster

With Casey Scanlon’s win at Lake Champlain in the books – not to mention the crowning of David Dudley as Angler of the Year for the fourth time and Ron Nelson as Polaris Rookie of the Year – the 2019 FLW Tour season is complete. Now, focus turns to Hot Springs, Ark., and the 2019 FLW Cup August 9-11. READ MORE »

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

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Oklahoma pro Kyle Cortiana was involved in an accident near Indianapolis on his way home from the FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain on Saturday. He has since been released from of a local hospital and is now in a hotel room recovering and waiting for a ride home to the Sooner State.  READ MORE »

Nelson Wins ROY

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Ron Nelson blanked on the first day of his first FLW Tour event. Then he got things on track – so on track that he finished the season ninth overall in the standings and above every other rookie to earn the Polaris FLW Tour Rookie of the Year award. Winning ROY is typically a career-setting accomplishment, and to go with the hardware Nelson will also receive a Polaris Sportsman® 570 ATV. READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

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When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Jonathan Henry, 1982-2019

Professional angler Jonathan Henry of Grant, Ala., lost his battle with cancer today. He was 36 years old. READ MORE »

Exploring Champlain with Strelic

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Living about as far as possible from Champlain, Wade Strelic is looking to finish his rookie season strong at the FLW Tour finale. Hailing from Alpine, Calif., near San Diego, Strelic is sitting 28th in points and has made the check cut in three out of six events so far – another good derby will lock him in to the FLW Cup. READ MORE »

Nelson Wraps Champlain Practice

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Ron Nelson is easily in the group of favorites in the event and a bonafide Northern expert, so I was eager to hop in the boat for a morning with the smallie snatcher. Champlain isn’t fishing quite like it was the years he won, but Nelson is still guaranteed to have a lot of eyes on him come day one. READ MORE »

Scouting for Smallies with Felix

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Over the years, a lot of anglers have established impressive records on Lake Champlain, but few have done it as quickly and authoritatively as Austin Felix. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Champlain

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Lake Champlain is a giant of a lake. It stretches 100-plus miles from its beginning down south at Whitehall, N.Y., and runs all the way up to the Canadian border between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York. Though the competitors aren’t allowed to venture into Canada, there is still plenty for anglers to break down for the final event of the 2019 FLW Tour season. READ MORE »