Thanks for visiting Improve your soft plastics fishing with these 10 Tips by FishingMad. Without a doubt, soft plastics fishing is my favourite style of fishing. Armed with 1 rod, 1 reel, some jig heads and a few packets of soft plastics and I’m ready to tangle with a whole range of local fish species. But it wasn’t always easy and at first, there is a steep learning curve to catching fish consistently with soft plastics. I have put together 10 key tips which have been paramount to consistent and successful fishing for me which I would like to share with you
Watch our detailed video guide on 10 tips to improve your soft plastics fishing
TIP 1 – Fish Lighter
Be prepared to fish lighter. You might lose the odd fish but it will greatly improve your catch rates and the volume of fish you catch. On many occasions, I’ve been on the water fishing with a group of friends, when we finish the day we compare the gear used including rods, reels, lines, fluorocarbon leaders and jig heads. I’m often fishing much lighter than them and put the success of higher catch rates to fishing lighter. I’m not telling you to take a knife to a gunfight. But instead, really understand the species that you targeting, and how light you can go. I like to spend a little bit more and get a decent quality braid and fluorocarbon leader to get ones that have a really thin diameter. This will help with casting distance, accuracy and catch rates. In the video above I’m targeting pinkies between 30 and 50cm. I’m fishing with a 6lb line and a 6lb fluorocarbon leader. If I happen to hook up with a 6-kilo fish, then maybe there is a chance that it might lose. I generally find if you don’t panic and play the fish without putting too much strain on your gear you can still catch good fish on light gear. Plus, it’s a lot more fun and you will catch more.
TIP 2 – Fish Slower
Locally there are some species that love your soft plastic that worked back fast, this might be species like salmon, snook, and bass. However, the majority of local species here like to take the soft plastic on the bottom. This will include species like snapper, flathead, whiting, redfin, yellow belly and more. So, work your soft plastics slower. Give the fish plenty of time and opportunity to take that soft plastic. Now, most soft plastics these days are made from a buoyant material so they will tilt upright and flutter in the water even when not being worked. Many anglers work the plastic too quickly and take the plastic away from the fish just as it’s building up the confidence to strike. So, work it slowly, and ensure it’s on the bottom or close.
TIP 3 – Fish with Scents
Use scents but not too much, I generally smear a little bit on the tail every few minutes. If you lather the soft plastic in scent, it may detract fish. Now, these days some soft plastics come pre-scented like Berkley, Keitech, Daiwa Bait Junkies. Generally, I will use S-Factor and ProCure which work really well. Smearing a small amount into the tail every 5 -10 casts.
TIP 4 – Fish with the right gear
Did you know there are technique-specific fishing rods? There are moderate spin rods with whippy rod tips perfect for bibed or trebled lures, There are Flexible whippy fibreglass rods perfect for bait fishing. When it comes to soft plastics you really need a graphite or carbon fibre rod with fast action and a stiff rod tip. It’s designed this way because your using single hook jig heads, generally doing a lift and pause type of action. These rods are designed to help with casting distance, casting accuracy, a lightweight blank with sensitivity to feel the nibbles and quickly setting the hook with jig head that has a single hook. All these subtle things tuned in to get better results when fishing with soft plastics.
TIP 5 – Rig your soft plastic straight
It’s an obvious one, but I see people making this mistake all the time. Not getting the soft plastic on straight will negatively impact the swimming action of the soft plastic. If you don’t rig it straight take it off and do it again. I’ve been using soft plastics for so many years, but I still don’t get it right every time. And when I don’t I take it off and start again.
TIP 6 – Fish with your sounder effectively
Marine electronics can play a massive role in finding fish and keeping you on top of them. Learn how to use your sounders ( we cover this in detail in the FishingMad members area ), use sideview to identify the bottom of your fishing, setup split screens, set waypoints when you mark fish and when you catch fish, enable the plotter to set drift lines. All these things make a massive difference to hone in on where the fish are. Take time to understand the features and when to use them. It will make a massive difference to your day on the water.
TIP 7 – Experiment
Don’t do the same thing over and over again. Your growth and experience come from some form of experimentation. Experiment with different profiles, sizes, colours and retrieval techniques. It will allow you to understand what works best in different situations. Now over time, you will build up confidence soft plastics. Soft plastics that make you feel warm and cosy in different situations. It might be a 2.5 inch motor oil grub for bream, it might be a 4 inch nuclear chicken paddle tail for snapper, or it might be a turtleback worm for flathead. That’s OK we all have those but it’s important to expand your arsenal and your ability to use different things in different situations.
TIP 8 – Jig Head Selection
Be smart about your jig head selection. Make sure the jig head matches the soft plastic size and remember that different jig head types work better in different situations. Pick a jig head weight that will optimise catch rates for the depth that you’re fishing for and the species that you’re fishing for. I usually pick a jig head that will sink the bottom quite slowly, to take advantage of the natural built-in action of the plastic. As many catches will happen on that drop. You don’t want your soft plastic to be too heavily weighted and just plummet to the bottom and you don’t want your soft plastic to be too light that it will just drift away with the current. At first, it’s confusing but after a while, this just becomes very easy to identify. Just take into account, the depth of the species and the current.
In the video above I’m fishing in 4 meters deep I’m targeting pinkies, so I’m using a 1/12 ounce jig head and 1-0 jig head gauge size. If I’m targeting bream in shallow flats will likely use a HWS jig head in 1/20 ounce, If I’m targeting snapper 12 meters deep with 5 inch jerk shad I might use a ¼ ounce in 5-0 gauge.
Tip 9 – Use a Fluorocarbon Leader
I see much debate online as to whether fluorocarbon leaders really work or not. Personally, I really see the difference. 3 key things to why I use fluorocarbon leaders.
- Fluorocarbon is fused fishing line its thinner in diameter and harder to see in the water
- Fluorocarbon is abrasion resistant, and braid is not
- Fluorocarbon has stretch and Braid has none
That’s 3 good reasons to use fluro. So, I will always use 1-rod length of fluro joined to my braid with either a FJ knot or a double uni knot. Depending on how thin the guides on the rod are.
Tip 10 – Don’t give up
Stay committed, stay positive and the results will come. For several years I used a bait rod as a security blanket, but it held me back. Fishing is very much a confidence sport and self-doubt is a huge part of fishing. But as soon as you start catching consistently your confidence really grows. Build up your confidence, build up your experience and gain great satisfaction by turning up to a location with 1 rod,1 reel a couple of packets of soft plastics and catching as many fish or more then other anglers around you. It’s an additive style of fishing, so have fun with it, experiment and don’t give up.
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