The general trend in modern bass fishing seems to be moving towards bigger baits. There is no denying that big offerings catch big bass, however, smaller presentations often trigger bites from fish that are just not willing to chase down and eat something that is 25 percent of their size, or bigger!
One of my go-to spring and summer bass producers is a 4- or 7-inch floating finesse worm. I like to Texas-rig it on a straight-shank 1/O or 2/O worm hook behind a 1/16- to 1/8-ounce bullet weight. I’ll choose the lighter presentation—like a 4-inch worm rigged on a 1/O hook with a 1/16-ounce weight—if the fish are in a post-front funk, or in a neutral to negative mood.
The floating worm has a slow fall-rate that speeds up as hook and weight size increases. Either way, big bass will eat a small worm—I guarantee it!
Another great downsized worm presentation is what bass pro Terry Scroggins calls the “P-Rig.” In essence, it’s just a smaller version of the Carolina-rig. He uses a 4- to 6-inch worm on a 12- to 18-inch leader weighted with a 3/16- to ¼-ounce bullet sinker. The weight is held in place by two bobber stops, which makes the rig highly adjustable.
Smaller horizontal presentations can also be dynamite for big bass. Switching to a cappie-size spinnerbait, or even the legendary Johnson Beetle Spin in a ¼-ounce version will also make a picky bass eat.
Go against the grain and consider smaller baits when the bite is tough or fishing pressure is taking its toll. Smaller baits are harder for fish to identify and often invoke reaction strikes, but often a subtle approach is just what neutral or negative bass need.