On Oct. 9, 2016, we published a gear guide in a Midwest Finesse column about Gene Larew Lures' Inch Worm. Then on Nov. 3, 2016, we published a Midwest Finesse column entitled "Three Days of Fishing with the Folks at Gene Larew Lures."
In both of those columns, we noted that we would publish more insights and updates about how, when, and where to employ the Inch Worm as the weeks and months unfolded. And we hoped some of these insights and updates would focus on Andrew Upshaw's ways with it.
Upshaw of Jenks, Oklahoma, fished at Table Rock Lake, Missouri, on Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Oct. 31, and Nov. 1. During these four days, he was practicing for the Costa FLW Series Championship, and he spent a lot of hours working with the Minnesota Flash Inch Worm that he affixed to a black 1/6-ounce Z-Man Fishing Product's Weedless Finesse ShroomZ jig. The No. 1 hook was exposed but guarded by two adjustable and dual-stranded weedguards. He applied a small drop of Loctite Super Glue Gel to the head of the Inch Worm and the back of the head of the jig. He has found that the glue keeps the Inch Worm adjoined and flush to the back of head of this mushroom-style jig.
He wielded this rig on a Lew's Custom Speed Stick Series LMSR1 spinning rod, which is seven feet long with a medium power and a fast action. His Team Lew's Pro Speed Spin Series 3000 reel was spooled with seven-pound-test fluorocarbon line.
The surface temperature at Table Rock ranged from 69 to 73 degrees. Normally, it would range from 62 to 65 degrees. And scores of anglers on Oct. 29 described the fishing as difficult.
Across the four practice days, Upshaw caught between 30 and 40 smallmouth bass on Inch Worm rig every day. And he caught them in 16 to 22 feet of water by employing a drag-and-deadstick presentation. These smallmouth bass were abiding along main-lake bluffs. He focused on areas where the submerged river channel swung away from the bluff. These areas were not sheer, and they were endowed with a series of ledges. These locales are often described as "channel swings."
Most of the time, his casts were virtually parallel to the bluff. On the initial drop, his Inch Worm rig would plummet into 16 feet of water. When his rig reached the bottom, he would deadstick it for a short spell, and if he did not catch a smallmouth bass, he would drag it until it plummeted to another ledge. When it reached the next ledge, he deadsticked it again. He continued this drag-and-deadstick routine until the Inch Worm reached 22 feet of water. After he deadsticked it on the 22-foot ledge, he reeled it in and made another cast and executed another series of drag-and-deadstick retrieves along another series of ledges along the bluffs.
Upshaw described it as an extremely easy and effective way to catch smallmouth bass in this highland reservoir.
Kyle Cortiana of Tulsa, Oklahoma, spent Oct. 29, Oct. 30, Oct. 31, and Nov. 1, practicing for this championship tournament. He used the Inch Worm on three of the four days. This was the first time that he had used it, and he was impressed with its effectiveness.
Cortiana affixed the Inch Worm to a black homemade 3/16-ounce jig with a 3/0 hook, and it has a 60-degree hook eye. Instead of working with an exposed hook and weedguard jig as Upshaw employed, Cortiana's jig was endowed with a twist-lock bait keeper, and he affixed the Inch Worm Texas-style to the jig.
On Oct. 29, Cortiana spent the bulk of the day fishing cedar trees along a variety of bluffs with a Montezuma's Revenge Inch Worm, and he caught a lot of scanty-sized smallmouth bass, which provoked him to fish elsewhere on the other three days.
He did not fish with his Inch Worm rig on Oct. 31. Instead, he spent the day venturing up several feeder-creek arms, where he flipped and pitched a jig-and-soft-plastic-trailer rig, which caught an array of tiny largemouth bass.
On Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, Cortiana fished an assortment of flat main-lake points. All of them had deep water nearby. Their underwater terrain consists primarily of gravel. One of the points, however, is embellished with a combination of gravel and rocks. All of them are adorned with flooded cedar trees.
On Oct. 3o, he said that he caught "some big largemouth bass mixed with smallmouth bass." Some of these specimens were situated inside, under, or around the edges of some of the flooded cedar trees. Some of them were abiding virtually on the bottom, and some were about seven feet under the surface.
On Nov. 1, Cortiana expanded the flat-point pattern that he discovered around the main lake on Oct. 30. Throughout this day, he discovered several more points that were entertaining what seemed to be a bountiful number of smallmouth bass. As he dissected these points, he discovered that by occasionally switching the colors of his Inch Worm, he would elicit a few more strikes than he could garner by incessantly employing the Montezuma's Revenge. The Sooner Run and Morning Dawn hues were the two most effective alternates.
As he plied these points, his boat floated in 20 to 36 feet of water. He focused on trees that were in 15 to 30 feet of water. When he was dissecting a tree in 15 feet of water, he would wield a 90-foot cast. These 90-foot casts were employed so he would not spook the smallmouth bass that were abiding in the shallower trees.
To probe the maze of limbs with his Inch Worm rig, he held his rod tip at the two o'clock position, and he slowly lifted his rod to gingerly and slowly crawl the Inch Worm through, over, around, across, and into the labyrinth of branches.
He discovered that he could garner more strikes when he used a spinning outfit that was spooled with 10-pound-test fluorocarbon line. But he had a dickens of a time wrenching the smallmouth bass out of the quagmire of limbs with his spinning outfit. So, he opted to use a baitcasting outfit that was spooled with 17-pound-test fluorocarbon line.
All of the points that he fished are located in the lower end of the reservoir, and he estimated that they are scattered along a 10- to 15-mile stretch of water.
As he reflected on the two days that he probed the flat main-lake points, he estimated that he caught about 15 smallmouth bass that weighed more than 2 1/2 pounds, and one of them weighed four pounds.
(1) Here is the link to a Midwest Finesse gear guide about the Inch Worm: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/gene-larew-lures-inch-worm.
(2) Here is the link to a Midwest Finesse column that features the Inch Worm: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/three-days-of-fishing-with-the-folks-at-gene-larew-lures/.
(3) Here is a link to Gene Larew Lures' website: http://www.genelarew.com.