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USA OUTDOORS

                                                                                                 MAGAZINE

New Rig Produces Big Bass!

By Jill Barnes 

It doesn’t look like much - a little piece of plastic about 3 1/2 inches long.  But don’t let its appearance fool you.  Let it fool the fish.

This little worm, called Jersey Riggs, is a big bass catcher.  Upon examination, one wonders just how it does it.  It doesn’t produce a lot of action in the water.  Actually, it’s the worm’s non-action that attracts the fish.

Inventor Jeff Cammerino got the idea for this worm while watching bass fight for gypsy moth larvae which fell from a nearby tree into a local New Jersey lake.

“I watched as the larvae struggled and wiggled,” Cammerino said.  “The action enticed bass to strike.  It got me to thinking - and experimenting.”

Years later, after he experimented with all different sizes and shapes of plastic worms, Cammerino hit upon the right combination and called it “Jersey Riggs”, in honor of his home state.  Others have called it crazy, but it’s become one of the hottest selling baits along the East Coast and beyond.

The worm has a neutral buoyancy in the water, but impaled on a No. 1 bait hook rigged through the middle of the worm with no sinker, it will sink ever so slowly.  The technique allows it to stay in the strike zone longer.  The weight of the hook is all you need.

As the worm sinks, you reel slowly, twitching it every so often, which makes the worm bend into a U-shape.  Since the lure doesn’t move very far from any bass present, it gives the fish more incentive to strike.  Unlike a spinnerbait, plug, or even a regular plastic worm, it doesn’t move away from the fish.

Cammerino continually tried his new lure at local tournaments, winning a few, and giving out his invention to other bass anglers to test.  He was even successful in getting some big time bass pros to try it.  And it caught fish.

“I kept getting positive feedback,” Cammerino said.  “People were catching fish and catching their limit, so I knew I was on the right track.”

Many bass fishermen look at this little worm and can’t believe it works.  But after they try it, they’re convinced.  Another plus is its durability.  It doesn’t break or get torn as fast as other plastic worms.

While Jersey Riggs reminds some anglers of the Whacky worm, Cammerino’s lure is a bit different in the way it sinks and moves in the water.

No special equipment is needed to fish it.  Regular spinning tackle, 8-pound test on a 5-foot-6-rod, and the No. 1 or l/0 hook is it.  The key is to hook the worm right in the center of its body as you would a regular earthworm.  Cast the lure, and as it sinks, twitch it while reeling slowly.  The action and the extended time in the strike zone seems to drive the fish wild.  Some bass smash it, hooking themselves immediately.  Other fish pick it up and swim away slowly, allowing the angler ample time to set the hook.

Jersey Riggs can be worked in water from 6 inches to 10 feet or more.  Throw it around stumps, rocks, edges of weedbeds and under docks.

“It’s probably not at it’s best when its windy, but no lure is for every condition,” Cammerino said.

The worm comes in a variety of colors, both solid and flaked with sparkles.  Cammerino thinks he’s gotten some of his best results on the gold flake worms.  The purple and smoke black have been hot colors, while other favor the pearl and June bug green.  The bait also has been known to entice crappie and pickerel, and even an occasional trout.

Cammerino has received letters from all over the country, including Canada, telling him his invention works.  “I recently got a note from a young boy in Virginia detailing his catch of a 10 pound bass,” he said.

And local distributors can’t get enough of his product.  “The tackle shops don’t say hello any more.  They just ask, ‘What have you got for me?’,” Cammerino said.

I’ve worked as a fishing department manager for more than 20 years, and I’ve never seen a lure fly off the shelf like the Jersey Riggs,” said Gary Sipos of Meltzer’s Sporting Goods in Garfield, NJ.  “I’ve tried it, so I know it works.”  It costs about $4.95 for a package of 20 worms.

Cammerino is preparing to market his invention nationwide.  “Right now, I have about 1,000 believers that this thing works,” he said.  “But word is spreading among the tournament fishermen and others are beginning to see for themselves that Jersey Riggs catch fish.  It’s just a matter of time.

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