How to Fish a Doodle Rig

by Paul Argodale
The doodle rig presented properly is an effective and versatile lure.

The doodle rig presented properly is an effective and versatile lure.

Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Doodling was originally developed for deep-water trout fishing. Don Iovino adapted it for competitive bass fishing, thus revolutionizing the sport. Best suited for deep, clear lakes, doodling involves manipulating a plastic worm with a series of shaking motions to the butt of the rod, as if you were shaking hands with a used car dealer, so that the soft-tipped rod causes the worm to jump and jerk along an underwater ledge as a crayfish would. Doodling's popularity means that the angler can find a variety of purpose-designed and built tackle, though the basic ingredients have changed little in the 40 years since its initial development.

Items you will need

  • Bait-casting rod, about 6 feet long with a soft tip
  • Bait-casting reel
  • Doodle rig: 4- to 6-inch plastic worm with a 1/0 or 2/0 hook, a split-shot sinker and an 8 mm glass bead
  • Bass boat
  • Trolling motor
  • Sonar
Step 1

Locate a sudden drop in the lake or river bottom with your sonar unit. These bottom breaks should have a vertical drop of about 8 feet.

Step 2

Cast your doodle rig onto the ledge, and shake the butt of the rod so that the tip of the rod jerks up and down, thus causing the rig at the end of the line to bounce and jump around the underwater ledge, while circling the bottom break at low speed with an electric trolling motor. Maintain a tight line at all times in order to feel for strikes.

Step 3

Once you have located the depth where fish are feeding, cast your doodle rig to a point just beyond, reel the rig into the feeding area, and then begin shaking the butt of your rod so that the tip jerks the rig up and down.

Tips & Warnings

  • In order to feel the fish take the bait and properly set the hook, you must never allow the line to go slack.
  • Follow all local boating safety requirements, especially those pertaining to flotation vests.

About the Author

Paul Argodale has written for the "Village Voice" in New York City, as well as several specialized academic journals. He holds a Master of Arts in applied linguistics and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and philosophy.

Photo Credits

  • Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images