Soft Plastic Baits
Soft plastics are among the most popular choices for bass fishing applications. Soft plastics cover a wide range of baits that present diversity in design, function and intended use. Unlike many lures used for bass fishing, soft plastic baits, for the most part, aren't restricted in use by their design. For example, a Yamamoto Senko can be fished throughout the entire water column in any cover imaginable. The use of a specific soft plastic bait is only defined by the rigging method and hardware the angler employs. We've broken down the broad category of soft plastic baits by the genres bestowed upon them by the fishing industry throughout the years. Some categories reference the forage species they attempt to replicate while others are named after their intended use.
Soft plastic craw baits are designed in the image of a natural crawdad. While many liberties have been taken throughout the years, the basic profile is that of a crayfish, one of bass favorite meals year round. This category includes beaver style baits, flipping craws and just about anything else designed to mimic crayfish. These lures are a perfect example of soft plastic baits versatility in use; craw baits can be flipped, pitched, Carolina rigged, Texas rigged and used for just about any other technique the angler chooses.
Soft plastic creature baits refer to designs that look like just about every forage fish without explicitly resembling any particular species. Creature baits generally feature excess appendages that result in a pronounced action which can be beneficial when for many techniques. Creature baits are often chosen for Texas and Carolina rig techniques as well as flipping and pitching. The additional appendages can also slow the rate of fall which is conducive for some techniques and undesirable for others. Popular creature baits include Zoom's Brush Hog series of baits.
Soft plastic grub baits are one of the original artificial lure categories. Grubs aren't solely made for bass fishing, they are an effective lure for just about any species as their shape and action represent a broad spectrum of forage fish. Grubs display a trademark curl tail and solid body which can be rigged in a number of ways, but its action will be only be fully realized while being retrieved. The grubs basic design lends itself to a constant, horizontal retrieve in contrast to soft plastic baits which are more effective when presented vertically with anglers imparting action upon them. If smallmouth bass are your target, try rigging a grub on a ball head and swimming it back to the boats; it's sure to result in some trophies.
Soft plastic jerkbaits are lures that mimic shad and other forage fish. Soft plastic jerkbaits offer a subtle presentation which can be employed with many rigging methods. Soft plastic jerkbaits typically prove most effective from the spawning period through the fall. Anglers most often turn to soft plastic jerkbaits when trying to mimic dying shad due to their general fish-like profile. Suitable rigging methods include a Carolina rig or rigged Texas style weightless. Among the most popular uses include during the summer when bass are feeding heavily upon shad atop the water's surface.
Soft plastic jig trailers are plastics baits which are added to jigs as a method of enhancement. Jigs come out of the package looking a little bare and benefit from the addition of soft plastic trailers to increase their attractiveness to bass. Jig trailers vary in design, exhibiting an appearance that resembles many different forage fish. Anglers choose their jig trailer using a number of factors including the forage they intend to replicate, the rate of fall they wish to achieve and the overall profile size they intend to present. Jig trailers come in many shapes, sizes and colors for matching just about any jig on the market today. The different styles of jig call for different styles of jig trailers - twin tail grubs compliment football jigs quite well, chunk style plastics are great for casting jigs, and beaver baits offer a bulky profile for flipping jigs.
Soft plastic lizard baits are, as the name suggests, baits designed to match the appearance of lizards. Lizards and similar creatures are a staple of many bass fishermen's soft plastic arsenal as they offer a great action that can be used for many techniques. Lizard are great for the Carolina and Texas rigging methods, flipping and for use as a bed bait. The large profile offered by lizards baits is appreciated by anglers fishing waters that hold big largemouth bass. Lizard baits prove their worth day in and day out for both tournament and recreational bass fishermen.
Soft plastic worms are among the original bass fishing baits. The plastic worm category covers a wide spectrum of plastic worm styles and sizes ranging from tiny 3" models all the way up to the largest 16" worms and everything in between. Soft plastic worms aren't necessarily used to mimic worms themselves, but instead they are employed for use as a general forage imitator that covers the entire range of prey that bass feed upon. Plastic worms can be rigged in any number of ways and the list continues to grow. Choosig a plastic worm for your specific needs is based upon several factors including the most widely available food source, size of bass, bass habitat and many more contributing factors. Smaller worms are often chosen for finesse applications such as the drop shot, shakey head or light Texas rigging. We carry all shapes, sizes and designs of plastic worms from the straight tail finesse models to large curl tail worms and everything in between.
Soft plastic stickbaits derive their name from the profile they possess, which to most, looks like just a stick of plastic, but to bass its kryptonite. Stick baits really don't resemble anything that's naturally occurring in nature, however, the action of the bait accurately mimics what many species look like when they are injured or dying. The side to side wiggly action found in stick baits creates, what many anglers consider, the most irresistible bass lure ever created. It's been said stick baits are so good they're use is almost unfair. There's virtually no wrong way to fish a stick bait and believe us, anglers have tried. Those off the wall rigging methods have led to some of the most effective ways of fishing the bait from completely deadsticking to fishing it like a topwater spook bait, there's just no wrong way to use it. If you can think of a rigging method that isn't suitable for stick baits feel free to let us know, because we've yet to discover one. Among the popular uses for stick baits include weedless Texas rigging, wacky style and use as a topwater followup lure. The most popular stick bait is still to this day the original, the Yamamoto Senko. The Senko name is often used as a term to describe the stick bait category as a whole, but still the fact remains, there is only one original Senko.
Soft plastic tube baits are hollow plastic lures that feature a skirted tail. Tube baits accurately mimic the appearance and action of crayfish and other bottom dwelling forage species such as Goby. Although tube baits are effective on all species of bass, they really shine when put to use on smallmouth bass. Anglers targeting smallmouth with a tube will insert a ball shaped lead head inside of the tube and fish it along the bottom incorporating sweeps of the rod that pop the bait off the bottom. This technique replicates the movements of a fleeing crayfish and elicits vicious reaction strikes from giant smallies. Other uses for tube baits include flipping for largemouth or dragging the tube for spotted bass.
Drop Shot Baits
Soft plastic drop shot baits include models from several categories of soft plastic baits each of which is commonly used for the drop shot technique. Dropshotting has found its way across the country from its early bass fishing roots traced back to the clear water reservoirs of southern California. The tactic of presenting a bait suspended above the weight has been used by anglers targeting other species for many years, but the evolution of the technique for bass fishing has established the drop shot as a commonplace technique for bass fishermen everywhere. While light line and finesse may come to mind when referring to the drop shot, anglers have adapted this presentation to suit their needs in many situations. This category of baits maintains the finesse definition of the technique and includes baits which would traditionally be associated with the light line finesse version of dropshotting. Baits include straight tail worms, leeches, minnows and shad shape worms from the biggest soft plastic manufacturers in the industry.