December 26, 2017
A veteran Midwest finesse angler who is always in search for soft-plastic baits emailed a note to the Finesse News Network about Missile Baits' The 48 Worm. He noted that he was surprised to see that it is advertised as a bait that Midwest finesse anglers can cut in half, making it a 2.4-inch bait, and affix it to a small mushroom-style jig.
At his behest, we contacted the folks at Missile Baits and talked to and exchanged emails with John Crews of Salem, Virginia. He is the proprietor of Missile Baits and a professional tournament angler who has competed on the Bassmaster, FLW, PPA, and other circuits during the past 15 years.
Straightaway, Crews described The 48 Worm as an extremely versatile stick-style bait. In fact, it is so multifaceted that Missile Baits is working on a video series that focuses on 48 ways to catch black bass on The 48 Worm, and as of Dec. 15, they were working on the 40th way or tactic.
He said, however, the most popular ways to fish it are with a wacky rig, Midwest finesse rig, and Texas rig.
He also noted that it is made with a denser material than the other soft-plastic baits that Missile Baits manufactures. Even though it is very heavily impregnated with salt, Crews says it is more durable than similar soft-plastic baits, which are often torn to smithereens after one donnybrook with a black bass. Crews has caught six black bass on the same one, and during most outings with The 48 Worm, he catches three or four black bass on the same rig before it is too tattered and torn to stay affixed to the hook.
What's more, it was designed to exhibit alluring shimmies, vibrations, and undulations as it falls towards the bottom as anglers execute their retrieves.
It is 4.8 inches long with a unique body design. Its belly is flat. Its sides and back have a convex shape. Each end is bulbous. One of the bulbous ends is 1 1/2 inches long, and at its fattest point, it has the circumference of .39 inches. The other one is 1 3/8 inches long, and its fattest area has the circumference of .35 inches. Each of the bulbous ends is segmented. The longest bulbous end has six segments, and the shortest one has five segments.
Its midsection is not segmented. It is 1 1/2 inches long. The circumference at the middle of the midsection, which is where most anglers would affix a hook when they whacky rig it, is .315 inches.
When Crews employs a Midwest finesse rig, he either cuts it in half, creating a 2.4-inch bait or cuts a third of it off, making a 3.2-inch bait. He always affixes the bulbous head to the jig, which makes the midsection its tail. Most of the time, he rigs it with an exposed hook. But there are times and places, when he will affix it to the jig Texas style. Crews prefers to use it on an 1/8- and 3/16-ounce jig, and most of his presentations are on the bottom. (He said that Missile Baits is the process of creating a jig for the Midwest finesse riggings, and he hopes it will be on the market in the spring of 2018.)
It is enhanced with anise and crayfish scents.
It is available in 10 colors: Brown Purple Flash, Bruiser Flash, Bubble Gum, Fishalicious, Green Pumpkin, Junebug, Milk Money, Straight Black, Super Bug, and Watermelon Red.
Anglers can purchase a package of eight for $4.99 at some online retailers.
(1) Here is the link to Missile Baits' website: https://missilebaits.com/product/the-48/.
(2) Here is a link to a YouTube about The 48 Worm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ74Dag4O5Y.
(3) Even though Crews prefers to use an 1/8- or 3/16-ounce jig when he uses The 48 Worm and presents it on the bottom, most Midwest finesse anglers will rig it on 1/32-, 1/20- 1/16-, 1/15- and 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jigs and work with all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves. Here is a link to a column about how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers employ their six retrieves: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/.
(4) Crews says he affixes the bulbous end of The 48 Worm to the collar of the jig and shank of the hook. But most veteran Midwest finesse anglers will constantly experiment with rigging it so the bulbous end is the tail. There will be spells when both riggings are equally effective. Then there will be those periods when the black bass prefer the bulbous end on the collar of the jig and shank of the hook, and there will be times when the black bass prefer the bulbous end as the tail. Therefore, unceasing experimentation with riggings lies at the heart of all of the Midwest finesse tactics.