There’s nothing quite like fishing in the wild and trying to con a fish into taking our artificial bait in its natural environment.
When fishing heavily pressured waters one of my favorite methods is using soft plastics. Some days hard baits just won’t trigger a response and the more finesse, slower style of fishing soft plastics saves the day.
Another great thing when using soft plastic is they can be fished in the snags where fish may be holding by rigging weedless.
Besides Texas Rigging a soft plastic with a sliding bullet sinker, I also fancy rigging the soft plastic onto jig heads with Offset EWG hooks. The example you see above is from the Owner brand and comes in different weights and sizes to match the baits.
These jig heads enable long casts and has a great built-in swim action. One thing about them though is that even though we rigged the hook weedless, the jig head itself can still get snagged even when you tie direct to the leader using a loop knot.
I’ve lost quite a few of these and they can start to get costly.
Rigged to a worm or a swim bait they can be fished in many ways. I’ve had fish taking them on the fall but often the take happens when I’m not doing anything. Yup, you read right, during the pause when nothing is happening. The fish pictured above was caught that way.
Cast out the lure and let it to sink right to the bottom. Keep an eye on your line and allow some slack but not too much. Anticipate a take by staying connected to the fishing line. If there is no take let the lure sit on the bottom for a few seconds. Engage the reel spool and give the lure a twitch and pause again for a couple of seconds.
Start retrieving the lure but very very slowly. The lure must swim on the bottom. Feel the lure hitting structures as you crank. This may get some getting used to if you have never done this before.
Bumps along the bottom may feel like bites and you will soon learn to differentiate an actual take with practice. When you feel a bump, pause. Continue reeling slowly if nothing happens. If a fish has taken the bait you will feel a pull (which may be subtle). Fish actually think soft plastics are real food and may just be holding the bait with its mouth without swallowing. This is especially the case with snakeheads.
Lower your rod quickly if you feel a pull. I sometime disengage the reel spool as well. That is easy with a bait caster reel as all that is required is a press of the thumb bar. The reason for doing this is so that the fish do not feel resistance when swimming away with the bait which will be unnatural and it may decide to drop the bait.
Count to about 3 seconds, engage the reel and yank the rod back hard to bring the strike home! If you have connected to the fish the fun begins. If not, repeat the whole process from the very beginning till you get one!