The rise of the soft plastic lures is well noted. We look at why plastics are arguably the most effective lure today.
If I were to recommend a type of lure that will work in almost any condition and any destination, the soft plastic lure would be the one.
Even if I were allowed to only fish with one type of lure for the rest of my life, I would choose a soft plastic straight tailed minnow rigged on a jighead.
My top go-to lure and technique when the bite is slow, or when there is a lot of fishing pressure, soft plastics has saved me from the dreaded doughnut countless times.
Whether saltwater or fresh, soft plastic lures have proven extremely effective, whatever the fishing conditions are.
We won’t go into much detail in terms of each and every type of soft plastic lure and its techniques. We’ll just focus on the 5 reasons why you should ALWAYS have at least a packet of soft plastics and some jigheads every time you head out for a fish.
They Are Cheap!
The value you get out of a packet of 10 or more soft plastic lures is massive.
They may get destroyed after a couple of fish, but you’ve actually made your money back after the first bite.
Whether made for freshwater or saltwater, the costs are pretty much identical. (Except for those ultra-realistic models.)
No need to really explain further. They are affordable but extremely effective!
Spend a bit and get a few packets of different shapes and colors. It pays to have a few assorted packets in your bag to match the baitfish in the area.
Store them properly by sealing them in well in their baggies and keeping them in a cool and dry place. They last a very long time.
Virtually Unlimited Design Choices
The manufacturing process allows for a wide variety of color options. Strikingly bright colors to natural colors that look exactly like the real thing.
No shortage of shapes sizes, configurations, and colors. From big, bulky and action-packed, to small, slim, and subtle.
There are different styles for different fishing applications. From freshwater to saltwater fishing, big game to ultra-light tackle fishing. Whatever fish species you are keen on chasing, there are soft plastic lures designed for it.
Plenty of anglers swear by scented soft plastics, including me, and almost always use scented soft plastics or apply an aftermarket scent like the Squidgies S-Factor.
It all boils down to personal preference and experience. If you have great confidence in scented lures, go for it. Just aware that there is a chance of an omnipresent rotten fish smell on your boat due to the “lost” packet of lures.
If you get overwhelmed by the choices available, you can never go wrong with the standard straight tail minnow.
Versatility – Depth control
They can be used at virtually any depth. It all depends on how deep you let your lure sink and how fast you retrieve it.
If the water is clear and the structure is visible from where you are fishing, your lure can be used to slowly work a piece of structure and pick it apart. Targeting every cubby, crevasse, sand patch, and hole slowly and with purpose.
Let a weighted soft plastic lure sink to the bottom, then bounce it off the bottom to entice bottom-feeding fish.
Retrieve the lure quickly and make it skip on the surface to imitate a fleeing baitfish scared out of its wits! Reaction strikes will follow suit.
When you’ve marked bait on your sounder, let the lure sink where you are marking bait and work that area of the water column until you get a strike.
Versatility – Action
The swimming action depends on how the angler manipulates the rod and reel. Short and jerky movements of the rod tip impart a frantic fleeing baitfish swim pattern.
Slow straight retrieves will imitate a relaxed or dumbfounded baitfish, unaware of the danger it’s in.
Speed skipping the lure on topwater attracts reaction strikes from aggressively feeding predators.
Soft plastic lures with curly limbs swim with attractively already and are pretty much automatic.
Straight tailed soft plastic require some rod manipulation but provide a subtle yet natural swimming action that makes predatory fish go crazy.
The fun part about soft plastic lure fishing is there is no limit to how creative you can utilize your lure.
Try different swim actions until you get a strike.
Most soft plastic lures come without hooks, so you have to buy soft plastic hooks like jigheads separately.
Rigging your soft plastics with jigheads is my all-time top recommendation. It offers anglers so much versatility in both swimming action and depth control.
You must have a variety of jighead weights with different size hooks to suit different sized lures and different fishing situations. There are no one-size-fits-all hook for soft plastics. This can be a bit challenging for new anglers.
But once you get used to judging the water conditions and anticipating fish behavior, finding the right lure and hook combination will become second nature.
Weedless rigging adds another dimension to your soft plastic lure fishing. This allows you to confidently fish your lure in heavy vegetation with less risk of snagging the structure itself.
Like with anything in life and fishing, it does take some practice to properly rig a soft plastic onto a hook. It is important to get the plastic lure onto the hook straight, or else it won’t swim straight and will look wonky.
There you go, my top 5 reasons why you should ALWAYS have soft plastic lures in your tackle bag.
Not only are they cheap and effective, but they are so versatile, that you can use one lure to cover all parts of the water column effectively.
Whether you’re fishing on a boat, wading, or rock hopping, soft plastics will work.
It’s just a matter of experimenting with what works. Colors, size, hooks, weights, depth, and styles. There are countless possible combinations, making it even more fun!
I’ll make a follow-up to this article regarding specific techniques and rigging options so you can try them out on your next fishing session.
If you want to have a look at the variety of lures and hooks available for purchase, visit Mark Berg’s Addict Tackle as he offers a wide range of products to suit all kinds of fishing.
Their range of jigheads and soft plastic hooks are also great! A one-stop-shop place to buy your soft plastic fishing needs.
Photos of lures and hooks are courtesy of Mark Berg’s Addict Tackle.
After reading this, will you finally take soft plastic lures with you on all your fishing sessions?