Zoom pro Terry Bolton suggests putting summer-time plastics on a diet

Summer time worming for bass is an art form and few know it better than Zoom pro Terry Bolton. Bolton lived and guided on Kentucky Lake for many years. During the summers he laced miles of the lake’s infamous ledges with a wide variety of plastic worms.  Through those years of experience, Bolton has developed a routine to slim his plastic worms down as water temperatures go up.

“Basically, as the summer wears on, I go smaller, skinner, lighter and with less action in my worm selection,” Bolton explained. “It’s a trend that definitely works on TVA lakes throughout the summer and in a lot of other lakes, too.”

When ravished post-spawn bass first hit the ledges on TVA impoundments around the end of May and first of June, the fish are extremely aggressive and will eat anything that moves, including large worms.

bolton-vert“Not only are the ledge fish more aggressive that time of year, but we generally have more stained water, more current and less fishing pressure,” Bolton revealed. “That’s when I go to a bigger worm with a lot of action like a Magnum Ultra-Vibe Speed Worm with a paddle tail or a 10-inch Ol’ Monster.”

During this early-summer-time frenzy, Bolton tops his big worms with heavier 1/2- or 3/8-ounce weights.

“I employ a lot of lift and drop action to the worm early in the season,” he revealed. “The fish want something falling past them with a lot of vibration.”

But by July, Bolton starts altering his worm selection, slimming them down a bit.

“Once the water starts getting up past 82 degrees, it clears up and the fishing pressure begins to take its toll, I resort to smaller worms with less action,” he said. “The Mag II is awesome for the mid summer months – it’s a little thinner and its tail action is more subtle. I’ll drop down to a 5/16- or 1/4-ounce weight to give the worm a slower, more tantalizing fall.”

By the time late summer and early fall arrive, Bolton says “thin is in” and he goes to Zoom’s straight-tail worms including the original Trick Worm and Magnum Trick Worm.

“For some reason, the later in the summer it gets, the more sluggish the fish become and the less action the fish want in the worm, so I’ll back way off to the Trick Worms with a ¼-ounce weight,” he explained.

As for line size, Bolton employs 10- and 12-pound test fluorocarbons a majority of the time, regardless of the worm size or action.

And for colors, he lightens up as the season progresses, too.

“I like the plums, red bugs or junebugs early in the season with the bigger worms,” he said. “But by late summer and fall with the clearer waters, I move more towards the green pumpkins and watermelons.”

“Just remember, the later in the summer it gets, think smaller, skinnier, lighter weights, lighter colors and less action,” Bolton added. “And that should help get you a few more bites during the dog days of summer.”


  1. Hi Terry.Do you find hovering above the grass on a Texas rig or a dropshot to be more productive than a Carolina Rig going INSIDE the grass in the summer?

  2. We contacted Terry. Below is his response

    I prefer the Texas rig over top of the grass most of the time. If I get in a situation where there is a lot of fishing pressure in a grass bed, I will occasionally go to a Carolina Rig to see if a different presentation will yield a few more bites.

  3. Terry,
    You mentioned what size weights you would use and when,is there a time when you would peg the weight and a time when you wouldn’t peg it?

    Besides imitating the bass’s agressive mood in the early season and then going to matching the bass’s sluggish mood later in the year, are you matching the mood of the bait in that particular body of water? How much thought goes in to the profile of your lure to match the bait throughout the season?


  4. I can’t agree with Terry more. I live in New England where there’s alot of people fishing even the smallest 8 acre ponds and it gets very hard to catch the bigger fish. I even go one step down and fish a Zoom Finesse worm, generally in Green Pumpkin. I have the most luck fishing these on a 18 inch, 10 pound test floro leader, Texas rigged, weightless. Give it a try and hold on! Zoom is simply THE BEST plasic manufacturer PERIOD.

  5. I’m just a 13 year old kid but fishing is my life. Mostly bass, but ill take anything that bites the hook. Ill fish in any weather it dont matter if its 100 degrees or 10 deggrees. In all these conditions i have caught bass cosistently on the ZOOM (best soft plastic bait manfacturer in the world) 10inch ole monster in the junebug color. I texas rig it with a 3/8 ounce sliding sinker and 15 pound monofilament Trilene fishiing line. My largest bass to date is a 6 pounder, but i hope for that to change over this scorching summer of 2010 in southern Mississippi. Tight Lines too ya,

    Bass Master 13

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