Curly Tail Worms

Fishing Tackle | Soft Baits | Worms

Curly tail worms are very popular for catching a variety of freshwater fish such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, muskie and others.  These worms work so well on many different rigs (texas rig, carolina rig, shaky head jig, jighead, drop shot rig, florida rig, weightless rig, split shot rig).  Curly tail worms are effective shallow, deep, around cover and in open water.

Tackle Recommendations

Rod, Reel & Line

Curly Tail Worms are popular soft plastic worms that come in a variety of sizes.  Most anglers use curly tail worms for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, but they work for other fish too.  Depending on the fish you’re targeting and whether you’re fishing around cover will dictate if you’re fishing with lighter tackle, heavy tackle and everything in between.

Best Rigs

Shaky Head Jig

Curly tail worms look good on shaky head jigs.  Some of the smaller worms may not fit on most shaky head jigs, but the 7 inch worms on up should have no problem.  Fish it slow with a lift and fall retrieve and you will get some bites with this setup.

Texas Rig / Florida Rig

The Texas rig or Florida rig are very good ways to fish a curly tail worm.  The action is solid with a lift and fall retrieve and by rigging it weedless, you can fish it around all types of cover.

Drop  Shot Rig

The drop shot rig isn’t used enough with curly tail worms by most largemouth bass anglers.  If you take a look at the bait in the tank, the action is better than many other rigs.  The downside is that it won’t be weedless, so it is more of an open water presentation for largemouth bass or you just have to be extra careful when fishing around cover to make sure you don’t get hung up.  If you want this to be a weedless presentation, you can use a Texas rig setup or one of those screw-in hooks that are setup weedless and drop shot it.  You will still have some issues getting the drop shot rig into certain areas, but it can be fished snagless for the most part around wood, docks and some vegetation.


A simple jighead can be effective, especially if you are fishing an area that isn’t full of cover.  Open water, along bigger laydowns or along a stretch of rocks might be good places to go with a regular jighead.

Swimbait Hooks

For some of the bigger worms, a swimbait hook can be a very effective way to rig these baits.  The swimbait hook will give the bait more of a gliding action, which will help get some bites on the fall.


Underspins are great for rigging curly tail worms.  Swim these baits like you would fish a spinnerbait and you will catch some active bass.  Use a worm with a smaller tail in a baitfish color and it can be very effective for fishing open water around schools of baitfish.

Scrounger Jighead

You can use a scrounger jighead to give these worms a little more action.  Use a lift and fall retrieve or slowly swim them in.  Both retrieves can be very effective for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pike and other fish.

Best Fishing Techniques

Hopping Them Along the Bottom

This is a very common technique.  Cast it out, let it fall to the bottom, then hop it up off the bottom and wait.  Repeat this.  Many of your bites will come on the pause.

Flipping & Pitching Them Around Cover

Curly tail worms are great for flipping and pitching around cover.  As the bait falls to the bottom, the curly tail will give the worm a swimming action.  Lift it a few times and let it drop and you will most likely get your bites on the fall.

Swimming Them

Most anglers don’t swim them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.  When bass are in an aggressive mood, you can get a lot of bites by swimming a curly tail worm.

What Eats Them

Largemouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass

Spotted Bass


Northern Pike

Many other fish will eat a curly tail worm as well.

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