Heavyweight Stickworms

By Capt. Steve Chaconas

Photo of a plastic stickworm the Yamamoto Senko

One of the most popular soft plastics since the invention of the plastic worm is the stick worm, created by Gary Yamamoto. The Yamamoto Senko is so popular, that just about every soft plastic maker has their version, most of them identical in every detail, except flutter and weight. Do-it-yourselfers can make them to save money and even improve upon the original!

While softer plastic is fairly easily achieved, using Lure Craft plastic softener, weight has been a hit and miss proposition for most bait makers. The faster drop of the stick worms will trigger strikes or reach the strike zone much quicker. But, the drop of the lure needs to be horizontal. This is the key to the success of the lure. Adding weight to the hook changes the fall only from the center of the bait. Inserting nail weights from the outside of the baits is possible, but more difficult to make them parallel to the bait without kinking the bait, which will affect the fall. But for do-it-yourselfers, pouring or injecting their own stickworms, adding a step in the process will enable a faster horizontal fall.

Photo of a metal injection mold

Injection molds are two part metal molds that allow for perfect round detail in every pour. A plunger draws heated liquid plastic into the tube and allows injecting into a mold for a copycat soft plastic lure. Aluminum molds from Lure Craft produce a perfect physical replica of the Senko. To duplicate the fall rate of a Senko, weigh a Senko on a sensitive gram scale. Then weigh a normal home pour. Note the difference in weight. Cut nail weights to duplicate the weight of the Senko or add more weight for an even faster fall.

Photo of cutting nail weight

Photo of placing nail weight in injection mold

Instead of a straight injection into the Lure Craft aluminum mold, hand pour one of the sides of the mold before fastening together with the opposite side plate. Once poured and before the molten plastic solidifies, add the nail weighs ... a third about a 1/4 inch from either end. And another third near the center of the bait. This will distribute the added weight evenly. When wacky rigging, placement of the weight isn't important, as the hook will be under the O-Ring. But for Texas rigging, placement of the nail weighs must be in an area that won't interfere with hook rigging.

Once in position, finish with the injection process. Here's where even more customization can take place. You can pour the same color or use a different color to contrast with the hand poured portion. Allow the plastic to cool and remove the bait, cutting off the excess plastic.

Photo of injection mold supplies

Now you have a stickworm in the heavyweight class that will be as good or even better for some situations than packaged lures.