Worm Length: Decisions, Decisions

I’ve said it many, many times throughout my time here at LiveOutdoors and it still stands as true today as it has all along: plastic worms are one of the best baits for bass. They get the job done, plain and simple. Not only that, but their effectiveness also stems from the variety of colors, body styles, and lengths from which anglers can choose. Today, we delve a little deeper into the latter and take a look at how the length of a plastic worm impacts both the worm’s performance and an angler’s tactics on the water.

Worms come in several different lengths, with each one possessing optimal usage in specific situations. Furthermore, there tends to be a consensus when it comes to pairing a length with a given rig. Let’s explore this a little further:

Texas Rig

Here, a 6 to 8-inch ribbon or twister-tail worm tends to be the go-to option.

Carolina Rig

I’ve had great luck with 7 to 10-inch models when Carolina rigging my worms, especially when I use ones with longer ribbon tails.

*With Carolina and Texas, the hook you use will vary depending on the worm length. Generally, I stick with 1/0 hooks for 4- to 6-inch worms, a 2/0 for 6- to 8-inch worms, 3/0 for 8- to 10-inch worms and 4/0 or 5/0 for the really large worms over 10 inches in total length (though worms over 10 inches aren’t used very much outside of regions near California or Mexico).


This is where the phrase “less is more” comes into play, as worms—or even leeches—of 3 to 5 inches are the popular choice.

Wacky Rig

It’s no secret that stick worms and Senkos are the only options here, but sticking with 4 or 5-inch models will yield good results.

Generally, 6 to 8-inch plastic worms tend to be the most popular, length-wise, but when bass have seen too many middle-of-the-road worms, it’s common for anglers to look to the extremes. This means throwing very short or very long worms to over-pressured fish in order to capitalize on fish that will strike at something so out of the ordinary. Keep the brief tips outlined above in mind when picking through your tackle box for another worm this season and you’ll be sure to increase your hook-up percentage in no time.