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Big Show’s Baits Ditto Whip Worm
The Whip Worm’s backstory
The Whip Worm was another influential soft plastic bass lure put into production by Florida native Bobby Ditto. Bobby Ditto started Ditto Manufacturing in the early 1980s and began producing the Whip Worm, among several other prominent soft plastic lures that now have a firm place within the folkloe of bass fishing.
The Whip Worm was offered in three sizes to accommodate for different techniques and scenarios depending on the fish’s mood. The Whip Worm came in a 4-inch, a 6-inch, and a 7-inch offering – with the latter two sizes being regional favorites in Florida and throughout the southeast.
Bobby Ditto was an incredibly innovative lure maker for his time. Many of his soft plastics helped pave the way for famous lures still available to this day. The Whip Worm has been credited with giving inspiration to numerous worms that are still in production. Specifically, Scroggins says the Whip Worm was directly referenced in the design of the YUM Big Show Paddle worm.
While several of his soft plastic lures were reaching the height of their popularity, Ditto Manufacturing sold his business to another local Florida group (Allen Lures) in the late 1990s. Allen Lures continued to produce and sell several of these influential soft plastics until approximately 2003 when Allen Lures closed and these lures went out of production.
This was much to the dismay of Scroggins, among countless other anglers who had used soft plastics like the Whip Worm, The Fire Claw, and The Gator Tail with success throughout the 1980s and 1990s. That changed for Scroggins in 2010 when he made a fortuitous discovery at a local auction.
“The Whip Worm was one of several molds I came across at an auction here in Palatka,” Scroggins recalled. “I was able to get a pile of original Ditto Manufacturing molds for a heck of a price. I had never poured my own soft plastics before but when I realized what lures the molds made I figured it was time to learn!”
Before becoming a full-time bass fishing pro, Scroggins spent over ten years painting cars along the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida. His intimate understanding of how colors mix and what colors work with each other came in handy as Scroggins learned to pour his own soft plastics with his newly acquired molds. After a few years of trial and error, Scroggins now pours many of his all-time favorite baits in the comfort of his own garage.
Why the Whip Worm is special
What sets the Whip Worm apart from the myriad of other worms on the market is it’s distinctive tail, according to Scroggins. It starts out as a regular round worm at the head of the lure but the back half of the worm is extremely thin, leading down to a flat tear-shaped tail. The round head assists in rigging the worm on a large hook, while the thin back half helps give the bait unique movement.
“The Whip Worm shines when the bite is tough,” Scroggins said. “The worm is buoyant and stands up remarkably well. Most important is the fact that is takes very little water movement (current), and hardly any rod movement to move the tail and give off its finessy action.”
The buoyant tear-shaped tail rises off the bottom and up in to the water column while the back half of the worm naturally flows and undulates with any current present. This action generates bites for Scroggins when other, more intrusive lures fail to.
“Another reason I like the Whip Worm is because my competitors can’t get them,” Scroggins joked. “In all seriousness, if I am fishing a Whip Worm in a tournament situation I know there is a pretty good chance the bass have never seen it before. Showing bass something different is a great way to get more bites, but perhaps more importantly it gives me more confidence knowing I am throwing a bait no other anglers are using.”
For these reasons Scroggins admitted there are few times throughout the year he doesn’t have the Whip Worm rigged up on at least one rod in his boat.
Scroggins Whip Worm setup
The different lengths the Whip Worm comes in affords Scroggins the ability to fish it using different techniques. All three sizes the Whip Worm was offered in catch fish, but they each match up better with different techniques for Scroggins. While the presentation differs, the colors Scroggins prefers rarely do. He employs in the Whip Worm in either green pumpkin or red bug about 95% of the time.
Scroggins favorite way to fish the smaller, 4-inch version of the Whip Worm is in clear water situations on a drop shot. The thin tail and subtle action of the Whip Worm have been extremely effective for Scroggins when bass are being finicky and won’t commit to a lure with a more aggressive movement.
Scroggins nose hooks the Whip Worm when he fishes it on a drop shot and relies primarily on current to impart action into the worm. Noting that it is easy to “over-work” a Whip Worm with too much movement in your rod and reel because of the thin-diameter of it’s tail.
If he had to pick just one size, the 6-inch Whip Worm would be Scroggins go-to.
“A 6-inch green pumpkin Whip Worm on a shaking head has caught fish for me all over the country,” Scroggins admitted. “Anytime I am needing to get a bite on a new fishery or when the fishing gets tough a Whip Worm on a shaky head is one of the first things I reach for. The Whip Worm stands up on a shaky head as good as any worm I’ve ever used and it flat catches ‘em! I’ve also done quite a bit of sight fishing with this 6-inch worm on a light Texas Rig. The tail moves with every quiver of your rod -- bedding bass can’t stand it.”
The 7-inch variant is one of Scroggins favorite worms to fish on offshore brush piles or ledges when a school of bass gets heavily pressured. Throwing them on a ½-ounce Texas Rig or a similarly weighted wobble-head jig, Scroggins has confidence in the Whip Worms muted action.
Scroggins finished 3rd in a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Alabama’s Lake Wheeler fishing the Whip Worm in brush piles and on shell bars. During the first two days of competition, Scroggins was able to fool the schools of bass he’d found with a plethora of different baits. But on the final two days, after he had caught numerous fish from his spots, Scroggins was only able to get quality keeper bites with the 7-inch Whip Worm. Predominantly by dead-sticking the worm in offshore brush piles.
If you would like to hear more about the Ditto Whip Worm, or better yet if you’d like to enter yourself in a giveaway for a Plano tacklbox full of original Whip Worms, head over to Terry “Big Show” Scroggins Facebook page!