Following on from last weeks post (here if you missed it) comes part 2, this week I would like to share with you the soft plastic lures that have become my go-to and that I trust to the point that they come out with me every trip throughout the Bass season…
Weightless Soft Plastic Lures
Weightless soft plastic lures took a while to click for me but there is no denying that these lures can be devastating when fished effectively and with confidence. These supple, often salt impregnated dense sticks of plastic are becoming increasingly deadly for my fishing and I really wish I had got the confidence in fishing them sooner. I favour them over shallow ground both rough and clean during calm-ish conditions and in the dark. I tend to fish them in natural colours to mimic Sandeel and smaller baitfish along with solid white. Although I do feel I could be missing a trick not fishing them in brighter colours in murky waters and darker colours at night.
OSP DOLIVE STICK
The Dolive is a lure I fell in love with at first sight, from the youtube product video you could see the thought that went into the design to enable it to fall with a balanced roll and subtle tail wiggle that looked so tantalising and screamed it would catch Bass. I then struggled to find any available in the UK for a while but as soon as I got my hands on them they showed huge potential, I remember my first time fishing with it over in Ireland, while wading and I watched through the water a large Bass estimated 7lb+ follow the lure to about 4ft away from me before turning away, heart-stopping stuff. The lure has gone on to catch me plenty quality fish and is a firm fixture in my lure box. The Wakasagi colour is undoubtedly the most popular amongst UK anglers, I also really like the Baby Ayu colour, but with such a variety of colours available it’s down to what you as the angler feel confident, view the full range here. As far as soft plastics go you will be far pushed to find another soft plastic that for its size casts as well rigged weightless, the 6″ weigh at 13g while the 4.5″ weigh 8g. I chose to fish them weightless on a weedless screw lock hook, my favourite being these Owner twistlocks, opting for a 5/0 hook for the 6″ and a 3/0 for the 4.5″
SENKO STICK BAIT
We so commonly call this style of lure a “Senko” in the UK, rather than the proper term stick bait as more commonly used in the States, and there is a whole host of brands and models for this kind of lure that I find much the same from the wider chunkier profile WaveWorm to the slender original Yamamoto Senko. These are in my bag for my night time arsenal where I tend to favour fishing them with my rod held high, on a slow to medium retrieve, while sometimes in very calm conditions waking them along the surface. The concept, in my opinion, is to fish them so that they present a strong silhouette of a Sandeel or baitfish in a natural manner that not only can Bass easily spot in the dark, but mimics the pace that fish move around at in the night. All the soft plastic stickbaits I have used cast surprisingly well for their size and weight due to the dense soft plastic they are made from, and the distances required for night time fishing easily achieved. I again choose to fish on the owner screwlock weedless hooks such as these. 4/0’s for the 5″ WaveWorms and 5/0 and 6/0 for 6″ and 7″ Garry Yamamoto Senkos. There’s currently a shortage of these lures in the UK, in particular the Garry Yamamoto models but the just as good WaveWorms can be found here.
Weighted Paddle Tails
For me, weighted paddle tails were how I got into lure fishing and what built my confidence in catching fish on pieces of plastic. This was back in the days when I did a lot of boat fishing and paddle tails such as RedGills and Savage Sandeels ruled the roost fished on long flowing traces behind a large lead weight, but it built confidence. It was then just a case of using those same style lures for Bass off the shore and from there it was history and I’ve never looked back. A selection of paddle tails consistently come out with me from TT Shads to Spindle worms, but I can’t get away from these two lures covering my needs for the majority of my Bass fishing, while also being superb on Wrasse and Pollock too as a bonus.
FIIISH BLACK MINNOW 120
A genius lure that is just so easy and practical to fish, if for my Bass fishing I was only allowed one lure, this would be it rigged on the 12g Shore Head. It is a simple combination of an articulated weedless jig head rigged on a paddle tail. To really set it out amongst its peers it has the most charming action, with its paddle tail pulsating as its body subtly rolls side to side.
The Black Minnow is the lure that caught me my first Lure caught Bass from the shore back in 2012 and since then year on year it has caught me superb fish. My PB of 12lb is still owed to this lure bumped in a strong flow of current across rough broken ground. I tend to fish them as above and also sink-and-draw across both clean and rough ground, although careful attention is needed when fishing the latter. While I also enjoy carefully fishing them very carefully over the shallow nasty ground and if you’re prepared to risk a few losses deadly.
All colours of the Black Minnows have worked for me and I tend to adapt my colour choice to the conditions; Brighter pinks and yellows in coloured water and then naturals such as khaki, brown glitter and blue in clear water. The lure can also be rigged with a variety of other heads such as a 6g shallow head which I enjoy fishing in the same manner to a shallow diving lure when there is a frustrating amount of weed in the water.
SAVAGE GEAR SANDEEL
Among the never-ending list of paddle tail lures available, I would hazard a guess that there are very few seasoned anglers that haven’t come across the humble Savage Gear Sandeel! There isn’t much to it, its a slim bodied soft plastic with an elongated paddle tail. It’s been interesting to see how the design has changed over time, with the alternation of the angle of the paddle tail to subtle material changes which has seen their bodies become soft improving the action of the lure at slower paces but compromising the longevity of the lure. I like to fish these when there is a swell running, launching the lure into the breakers allowing to sink for a brief moment before bringing them in on a steady retrieve. I can recall some electric fishing I had with Matt Powell last year when I chose to fish these into the surf that was running into some deep gullies and they absolutely slayed Bass in a mad frenzy of 3-5lbers. I tend to fish the Pearl 12.5cm combo the most, which fully rigged weighs 23g (16g head). Although this Lemonback combo has been a real killer…pearl in clear water or bright sun and Lemonback in murkier water, surf or low light situations.
Thank you for reading this week and next Wednesday we will conclude with the final part 3 of my go-to lures focusing on my favourite surface lures and how I fish them!