Jigs have been talked about in so many articles for good reason. It’s no secret that a jig and plastic combo is one of the most effective and versatile baits you can have in your box. Because It’s so effective and well documented it’s no surprise the soft plastics market has exploded.
When I first start fishing soft plastics I was about 8. I had one bag of 4 inch white twister tails. I remember when my dad bought that bag for me. I was able to choose from white, yellow and black. Now there as many colors and style’s of soft plastics out there. Some aren’t much different that a crank bait at the fraction of the cost.
One thing I’ve learned about being able to put more fish in the boat is being able to duplicate what works. You can get a bag of four or more soft plastics for the same price or less that the cost of one lure. That’s a huge advantage when trying to building your personal arsenal. There are several things I think about when trying to target a specific type of fish. The main things I consider are color , size, action and scent . Fishing soft plastics allow you address all of these things.
Soft plastics are more porous than the finish on a hard bait. Bang scent line actually soaks into your presentation rather than washing off when entering the water. Not all fish utilize scent as deciding factor to feed. I am convinced that some fish hold on to a soft plastic longer with scent. I’m convinced it helps me put more fish in the boat, especially when I have clients in the boat that have different levels of fishing experience.
Salmon in Lake Michigan are very selective when it comes to size and color. With so many colors available, soft plastics really shine. These fish as much as any other if they want one bait you better have two For Salmon I‘ve found that Bass Assassin 5 inch Sea shad work well in the Spring and 6 Inch sea shad work well in the fall as they . For added action for salmon I run soft plastics behind flashers and Spin Doctors. The large sea shad do have good action and vibration with their large tails. These baits also work well without adding additional motion. We are very successful with soft plastics running them straight behind divers to get them down, as a slider or even straight behind a cannon ball.
Steelhead often key on color and profile as well. Fly Fishing with Streamers of running crank baits are some of the more common presentations. Crank baits work well by being a good visual target and by aggravating fish with movement. Typically we anchor above where fish are holding. We will drop baits back behind the boat to hang them right where the fish are holding. Most of the time we are limited to four lines which normally means four baits. Using a three way swivel we can turn that into eight. A three way swivel with one eighteen inch leader and one forty eight inch leader attached works best. We use 10 to 12 pound Maxima. The stiffness and memory characteristics of this line help to keep the leaders separated. It’s also easier to untangle. We place a diving bait on the short lead and a four inch turbo shad to the long lead. I Snell a # four single hook on with a # 8 treble hook two inches behind. Place the single hook through the nose of the soft plastic with the treble hooked near the back of the bait. The diving bait pulls down as the soft plastic is more apt to stay up and away from the diving bait. With two baits on the same line being pulled against each other in the current the lures have great action. With eight baits swimming in the face of the fish they go crazy.
With all the color and size options out there today there is great opportunity to use them in new presentations. I find that just putting soft plastics in front of fish that aren’t use to seeing them help make them effective. For an outstanding color selection check out Bass Assassin’s web site.