I am delighted to bring you this guest post from American Angler Curt. A Published Author on fresh water Bass fishing int the USA. Many of the modern techniques we are now employing with LRF and HRF fishing. The other area of technique is Japan who are also masters at soft plastic lures.
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The Baits That Never Stop Catching Fish
Guest Post By Curt Snow
I’ve been a freshwater bass fisherman for going on 30 years. During those 30 years, I’ve seen soft plastic lures come and go. I’ve fished hundreds and hundreds of bass tournaments and I’m also a professional guide. So you could say that I’ve been around in the fishing world.
I’ve seen hot trends become old news and I’ve seen lures & baits based on gimmicks disappear from the market, never to be seen again. Except, of course if you stumble onto them at a flea market or garage sale!
One thing I can say for sure is that there is one type of lure that perseveres, regardless of how many new “hot” lures hit the market every year. No matter what trends rise and fall, this one type of lure stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to longevity and fish-catching ability.
So what is this fantastic lure… this staple of freshwater fishing? Well, it’s actually not just one lure. It’s a whole category of lures, but they’re all made of the same material; soft plastic, welcome to soft plastic lures.
You know… soft plastic lures like worms, grubs, tubes, shad baits, etc. Regardless of what catches people’s attention on the store shelves or in the colorful catalogs, soft plastics never go out of style. Why? Because they just plain catch fish.
Soft Plastic lures and Fishing Methods
Let’s take a look at some of the different soft plastic baits and the techniques that work so well to catch fish with them.
Soft Plastic Worm
First and foremost on just about anyone’s list of soft plastic lures is the tried and true plastic worm. These baits come in so many sizes, styles and colors that it would be impossible to list them all here. So let’s just talk about a basic style worm in an average size of 6 inches.
The average plastic worm consists of a slender body with some type of curly tail that flutters when the worm is moved.
Even though we look at this bait as imitating an earthworm, fish more than likely see it as a type of fish swimming along, since the only worms that fish ever really see are those tossed into the water on a hook by us anglers.
Plastic worms can be worked just about any way you want to and will catch fish in just about any of those ways. In fact, the same techniques that work for plastic worms will also work for just about any soft plastic bait. We’ll talk about techniques a bit later on, but now let’s take a look at some other soft plastic baits that
have stood the test of time and continue to catch millions of fish year after year.
Next up on our list of ever-productive soft plastic lures is the plastic grub. Grubs come in a few different styles and shapes, as well as a slew of colors.
The most popular size is the 3 inch version, but they can range in size form 1 inch to 6 inches or more.
The smaller sizes are excellent for panfish while the monster sized grubs work well for musky or even large saltwater fish.
When it comes to their looks, grubs can have a curly tail, like the one above, or they can have just a straight tail. These types of grubs with a straight or flat tail are called stingray grubs.
Again, despite the fact that we call it a grub, it imitates a small baitfish in the water. Fish absolutely love grubs! And don’t let its small size fool you. There are some very big fish caught on 3 inch grubs each year across the globe, one of the best soft plastic lures.
Another fantastic soft plastic lure is called the tube bait. It gets its name from the fact that it looks like a hollow, plastic tube. And in reality, that’s exactly what it is!
Tube baits originally gained notoriety on the west coast of the United States when bass anglers fishing in very clear, deep lakes needed something that had a subtle action and would “glide” through the water.
The tube bait imitates a dying bait fish almost perfectly when allowed to fall on a slack line, spiraling toward the bottom of the lake very quietly and subtly.
The tube bait doesn’t have as many variations when it comes to design. Most types of tubes on the market will look pretty much like the one in the picture here, with no real “action” features. It’s just a hollow tube made of soft plastic, with “tentacles” on the end of it.
The main area where tubes will vary will be the size. As with any other soft plastic baits, tubes will come in sizes ranging from 1 inch, which excel for panfish, to large sizes of 5 – 6 or more inches, created for larger game fish.
Tubes work best when fished either in a cast and “let-it-sink” type of retrieve, or by rigging it on heavy line and pitching or flipping it on heavy cover. Because of the lack of any type of “action appendages”, tubes typically won’t generate much interest from the fish if they’re simply cast out and reeled back in.
Shads – soft plastic lures…
The last soft plastic bait we’re going to talk about is the shad body.
The soft plastic shad body is popular in fresh or saltwater throughout many regions of the world. They are a very straight-forward bait to fish with and they will catch just any species that swims.
As with the tube bait, their style doesn’t vary much, other than color or size. The tail may vary a bit with regard to shape, but the body of the bait will look very similar from one shad bait to another.
Shad bodies can range in color from solid white or solid black, to any variation or mixture of colors in between! Color choice should be made based on the clarity of the water you’ll be fishing and the daylight levels.
How to Catch Fish on Soft Plastic lures
So now that we’ve touched on the 4 most popular types of soft plastic lures, let’s talk about how to use them to catch fish! Here are the best types of retrieves to use with these baits, day in and day out. This is very useful to apply to LRF sea fishing.
- Swimming – swimming a soft plastic bait is probably the absolute easiest way to use one. Simply cast it out and swim it back in. Even with this basic kind of retrieve, you can vary it greatly by swimming the bait on the surface with no weight, adding a weight and swimming it just below the surface, or adding weight and swimming it near the bottom of the lake. Different speeds can be used to try to trigger strikes while working these soft plastic lures.
- Hopping – this is by far the most popular and probably the most productive method of retrieve for the plastic worm, but it can also work with the other baits mentioned above. As with swimming, this can be accomplished with or without a weight, but water depths greater than a few feet will dictate the need for adding some kind of weight if the soft plastic lure is to ever reach the bottom.The hopping retrieve consists of casting the lure out and letting it sink slowly to the bottom. As the bait falls, watch your line very carefully and look for any kind of slight “tick” or “twitch”. This will many times indicate that a fish has hit the soft plastic lure. If the bait makes it to the bottom without being bitten by a fish, let it sit for a few seconds and then lift your rod tip up to about the 12 O’clock position to cause the bait to lift up off the lake bottom and move forward. Then drop your rod tip to about the 3 o’clock position and allow the lure to slowly fall to the bottom again, all the while watching the line for that telltale “tick”. Most bites will come as the bait falls back toward the bottom. Sometimes the bite will go completely undetected and there will be no indication that a fish has taken the bait except for a “heavy” feeling when lifting the bait again, or the fact that the line starts moving to one side or the other as the fish swims away with your plastic lure. If any of these indications happens, quickly set the hook and bring the fish in. If you don’t get bitten, continue to lift and drop the bait until you have worked it back to you. Then cast the bait out and do it again. You can fan-cast an area with this method and fish it pretty thoroughly in a fairly short time.
- Do Nothing – The do nothing retrieve involves the least amount of skill, but the greatest amount of patience! As the name indicates, you don’t do anything with this retrieve. You simply cast the lure out and let it sink and sit there.You might be wondering if I’m kidding when I say to do nothing, but it’s not a gimmick or a trick. If the fish are in a non-feeding mood or if they tend to see a lot of lures in a given day, the best thing you can do is to do nothing at all.Letting your bait sit idle on the lake bottom allows the currents in the water to impart very subtle, natural-looking actions to the bait that cause it to sway ever so little and ever so slowly. Sometimes this is exactly what’s needed to entice a fish to bite! As with the lift and drop retrieve, watching your line and paying very close attention to what’s going on is critical if you want to catch these subtle biters. And it’s even more important if you want to set the hook before they swallow your bait and become gut-hooked.
So that covers the basics when it comes to the most popular soft plastic baits. The only thing left to talk about is where to buy your soft plastic lures.
If you’re in a pinch or if you’re new to Sea fishing The best discounts on soft plastics are here.
Buying from a local tackle shop also gives you the opportunity to ask the shop owner specific questions about what colors or baits might be working best on local bodies of water.
Once you become more familiar with fishing soft plastic lures and you know what to look for, you can venture onto the web and buy your baits online at greatly reduced prices. Some people like to buy from large retailers online, but I prefer to buy from the less obvious places.
One of the best places to get great prices on soft plastic baits is the places that sell lure parts and components. These types of sites carry brand names, but they also carry generic baits that are every bit as good as the more expensive brands. They can sell them for less because they don’t use flashy or fancy packaging and don’t spend big money on advertisements.
My favorite place to buy from is LureParts.com. They have a great selection and fantastic prices on dozens of different types of soft plastics lures. There are hundreds of other places to buy from, but this site is my favorite, so I wanted to pass it along to you.
This pretty much wraps it up with regard to telling you about the baits that catch fish day after day, week after week, year after year and season after season! We could get into much more detail when it comes to types of hooks and weights to use, or what bait works best under specific conditions, but that’s for another day.
Now get yourself some soft plastic lures and go catch some fish!Click here to buy – Soft Plastics
About the author: Curt Snow is a professional bass fishing guide located in the USA, in Rhode Island. Curt has been fishing since he was a young boy. He now dedicates his time to pursuing largemouth bass in the southern New England area of the USA.