Not long after plastic worms came on the market in the late 1940s the materials and instructions for making worms at home became available. Today these supplies can be found in larger tackle stores and from many online suppliers. There's no bigger thrill than catching a big bass on a lure you made, and making your own worms allows you to create worm styles and colors that no one else will have.
Plastic worms are made from a milky liquid plastic which is heated to about 350 degrees F and poured into a mold to create a worm. Before pouring into a mold, softener or hardener, dye, salt and glitter are added if desired. It is important that it is blended completely and a uniform temperature is held; too cold and the plastic will not pour properly, too hot and it will smoke and burn. The mold is then lightly coated with release agent and the plastic is poured in until it is full.
Molds for plastic worms are made from many materials. A simple mold can be made at home using plaster of Paris or 100 percent silicone caulk. Making a mold is easy, just glue the original of your worm to a flat surface, such as a piece of glass, and make an open box around it. Place the walls of your box about 1 inch away from the worm you're molding and hot glue them in place. Coat the inside of the walls, the worm and the flat surface with a release agent, such as spray cooking oil. A light touch is important here, you don't want to create a texture with the release agent. When the plaster or silicone is cure, remove the walls and flat surface to expose the mold. Clean up any excess mold material that has seeped between the worm you're molding and the glass. Wait 24 hours to allow the mold to fully cure before using it. Molds can also be purchased commercially. Mold makers offer many different types of worm and grub molds in both silicone and aluminum models.
A very popular bait for the past few years has been the Yamamoto Senko. This worm doesn't look like a traditional plastic worm; it's stick-like and has no tail. What it does have is salt impregnation. Worm makers before Gary Yamamoto knew that salt was a major attractor of bass, but he was the first to successfully put the salt inside the plastic. Worm makers, including home worm making hobbyists, now add salt on a regularly. Be aware that salt affects worm durability as well as weight and color. Experiment with the combination of salt and dye to achieve the color you are looking for. The salt for worm making is extremely fine to help keep it in suspension. It can be purchased wherever worm plastic is sold. There is almost no limit to the number of colors that can be blended into plastic worms. Dyes are available especially for worm making. There are many base colors, all of which can be blended to make custom colors. This is an area where where you need to keep extremely good records so you'll be able to reproduce the color in the future. Glitters are small flakes of material that are added to the melted plastic. Many different-sized flakes and colors are available, but all must be very well mixed into the plastic to achieve uniformity. Scents are oils that are added to the plastic, or poured over the worms in the storage bag. Softeners and hardeners are chemicals that are added to the plastic to alter its properties. A little goes a very long way, so be careful using them. Generally, soft worms have more action, but are more quickly destroyed by striking fish. Harder worms last longer, but have much less action.
Tips and Warnings
Heat the plastic with a small electric hotplate. Don't heat the plastic over a gas flame due to the danger of fire; the fumes are very flammable. Do this in a well-ventilated area or outdoors because of the fumes and smell. Use a small pan with a pouring lip and a handle for best results.