My Favorite Soft Plastics
I've been thinking...and I think it is an
How to Turn Good Baits into GREAT Ones
Kings, countries and legions of armies went
on mega-missions to find the Holy Grail, but they never found it.
Centuries later, we're a country full of millions of bass
fishermen on a crusade to discover the magic bait. It's a myth,
it doesn't exist. Yes, I will always be looking for the Holy
Grail of baits, but until I find that magic bait, I'll simply use
the best "tools" in my toolbox.
That has often meant Yamamoto to me
for the last 15 years, but NOT exclusively. I use many models of
Yamamotos AND many other brands and models which are the
"best" for me.
I strongly believe Yamamoto makes one of the highest quality
soft plastic line-ups. Yes, I do crow about them. They're great.
I will also tell you right now that when I open my bait bag,
there are a dozen different high quality brands of soft baits in
there, and they are all good.
If Yamamoto stopped making baits? I
would NOT catch any less fish because Yamamoto was gone. I would
catch just as many...on different baits fished with different
techniques...but just as many fish will be caught sooner or
later...of that I am sure. Yamamoto is not magic, only a good
TOOL that can make my job of fishing a lot easier during many
trips. It's what I use. It's what I have learned how to use best,
and what I have years of positive reinforcement made by many
memorable catches on Yamamoto baits, but they're not magic baits
in my eyes. Sadly, there is no Holy Grail.
The best baits will win - not in
articles like this - but one by one on the end of every reader's
string and on every cast that ends in the mouth of every fish you
do (or don't) catch on the bait you buy! That's where our brand
loyalties - and our CONFIDENCE are built - on the end of a string
in the mouth of a good fish in the company of good friends on
good waters. That's what makes a good bait GREAT...for you!
Just like women, there are many,
many soft plastic baits out there...and they're ALL the BEST to
someone sometime! I've tried a few (baits and women), and below
I'll list some of my all time favorites (baits, not women). Of
course, I used these over the course of many years, and I donít
use them all today. But like the women I've known, each was
special in its own time.
Anyway, hereís some of the stuff I have had good success
with from time to time. I am sure that I left out a few good
ones. Sorry for that. But what the heck, you really canít go
wrong with any of the following:
Allen Lures. Cutthroat worms, Fat
Grubs. I used these when they were formerly made by Ditto Lures.
They were good then and they're good now.
Barlow's Tackle Shop. Although
Barlow's is not a manufacturer, it is a mail order source for
Luck-E-Strike G4 tubebaits and generic 4" plastic shad
bodies. Both super, super lures - the best - for stripers. And
don't discount the 4" shad bodies for flipping into reeds,
weeds, docks or sunken treetops on heavy fiberguard jigheads in
summer and fall. It's an unknown tactic.
Berkley. What can we say about
Power Worms? Millions of happy anglers and unhappy fish cannot
all be wrong.
Charlie Brewer's Sliders. Get the
black 4" Slider Worms with the chartreuse tail and youíll
never be skunked again. Ditto on the 3" Slider Bass Grub in
black/chartreuse, pearl white, and smoke/silver.
Culprit. They practically
"invented" the ribbon tail worm. Itís good and basic,
especially the red shad color on a Texas rig
Fish Traps. Swimbaits. Deadly
stuff for all big basses, including saltwater. (619) 273 - 6970
Bobby Garlandís Better Fishing Ways. I
have many fond memories of friends, places and fish caught on all
sizes/styles of the Hyper Tail grubs, plus the Magnum Grub with
Eyes. The 3" Finesse Craw is sweet. The new BG Custom Minnow
is a small, thin profile jerkbait in the same genre as Flukes and
Assassins, only sleeked down real nice! (501) 481-5363
Garry Garlandís Canyon Plastics. There
are six models of the original Gitzit (2-1/2" thin,
2-1/2" fat, 3", 4", 5", 7"). It's like
having six sizes of the same tool. The advantages of this
consistency far outweighs learning to use and unlock the
particular nuances of six different tube baits in six different
color series from six different manufacturers. Catching bass is a
challenging pursuit, and the more I can do to reduce the
complexity - and increase the consistency - of the tools I use,
the better I am able to hit my objective of catching bass rather
than coping with the technicalities of mastering the tools. New
from Garry Garland for 2000, the 3" size is a smallmouth
killer, but virtually unknown to anglers.
Gene Larew. Full line of soft
plastics. Check out the Long John Minnow swim baits for finesse.
It's a "boot tail" similiar to the Slider Bass Grub
(see above), but the Long John's got a thinner, more natural
minnow profile and it comes in two tone back/belly minnow color
patterns that make a difference at times.
Haddockís. Kreepy Krawlír
spider grubs (med. & large). Rugged, compact bodies to use as
replacements for skirts on flipping jigs, on spinnerbaits and
buzzbaits. (800) 825 8795
Kalinís. No other grubs on the
market even come close to having as thin a tail as Kalin's Salty
Lunker Grub. This is true for both the 3" and the 5"
models. These tails wiggle seductively with the slightest
movement by the angler...or even from water or current movement
as the grub lays idly on the bottom...which is often when bass
scoff it up! Also, the 4-1/2" straight Western Weenie Worm
& 4-1/2" ribbontail Salty Finesse Worms have bagged many
bass in clear water for me.
Luck E Strike. G4 tube baits. A
great bait for largemouth, smallmouth and stripers - try the
pearl white, rainbow trout, smoke w/copper flakes, and fire
Lunker City. Slug-Go jerkbait in
3" and 6" sizes (I don't like the 4-1/2" Slug-Go).
Fin-S-Fish in 2-1/2" and 4" sizes. Love that Golden
Shiner color and Black/Red Flash. Lime Shad? Some say it's the
best, myslef included. The 4" HydroTail Grub has a ribbed
back that makes it perfect for tough texposing applications.
Mister Twister. The 4"
Curly Tail on a jig is unbeatable in flowing water where the
thick tail produces a heavy rippling vibration that just cannot
be duplicated by thinner-tailed grubs. It works well as a sturdy
spinnerbait trailer when fished at a fast clip to cover lots of
area. As a trailer on Johnson Silver Minnow spoons, the tail is
thick enough to wiggle frantically through heavy slop and reeds
all day without being torn off. Same with the 6" Curly Tail
which I use to bomb the thickest weeds with heavy weights. And
the 4" EXUDE Fry is one of the best straight-tailed zipper
Venom Manufacturing. The Super Do
fished on a jig head has a cult following among serious
smallmouth addicts, and it makes a great trailer for skirted
micro-jig and mini-spinnerbaits. The Skip Shad is a great
jerkbait. Plus tons of great natural green and brown colors of
Yamamoto Custom Baits. Hula grubs,
single tail grubs, the new Senko and the Baby Craw, full line of
soft plastics. You probably already know how I feel about these!
I canít count how many bass Iíve caught on these.
Zoom Baits. Flukes, Super Flukes,
Chunks, full line of soft plastics. Flukes make the bassiní
world go round!
If you are just a beginner, or if you want to gain some
serious experience in using soft plastics, I would suggest you
find 2 or 3 manufacturers that you like and stick with them
throughout a season. To try more than 2-3 manufacturers in a
season would be unproductive. You won't be able to give any of
them a fair chance. Critically analyze your results over the
winter, and try 2-3 more manufacturers the following season,
comparing them to the ones with which you already have
experience. After a few years, you may find you have more,
different baits than you need or could possibly ever use. At that
point, your fishing skills should be sharp enough to give you
enough CONFIDENCE to rely on your skills with just a handful of
lures, thereby allowing you to scale back and lighten up the load
in your tackle box. And that's what turns good baits into GREAT
ones - your confidence based on past experiences with the tools