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Soft Plastic Kayak Fishing | Fishing the Fantastic Plastic

Soft plastic baits arrived on the fishing scene over seventy years ago and still catch an abundance of fish of almost every species. While the material, manufacturing process and looks have changed the results show no signs of slowing up. Soft plastic baits catch millions of fish each year. They can be presented multiple different ways and have proven to stand the test of time. I believe day in day out soft plastics position you to catch more and bigger fish.

Soft Plastic Kayak Fishing
Why you should be pitching plastic

The theory behind why bass and other fish continue to hit soft plastic baits is many faceted. Here’s an in depth look at the pluses of plastic:

  1. Many plastic baits come in slim shapes making them look easy to swallow, a plus for the fish. 2. Soft baits can be presented and retrieved with a natural swimming motion, a top factor in getting the fish to fall for the fake.
  2. With multiple colors you can match the conditions with a choice that ranges from subtle for ultra-clear water to vibrant for muddy water conditions.
  3. “Silence is golden”. In the underwater world sound is viewed by many as an attractant but in fact can be detrimental. Sound travels through water five times faster than through air. For fish that have received a lot of fishing pressure or spooky fish noise could send them scurrying off to deep water or heavy cover.
  4. At the very top of the list is the secret success of soft plastic, RANDOM ACTION. Bass and most other fish as wild creatures can become conditioned to avoid negative experiences. Getting hooked and flopped into any watercraft would qualify as a negative experience to a big old bass. While fishing public waters my guess would be that a five-pound bass had probably been caught or at least hooked several times. Lures with mechanical action, while they do catch their fair share of fish can become more easily identifiable to the fish. (My opinion) Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and others inherently have “mechanical action”, soft plastics are dependent on the angler to supply the speed and action which supplies the random action. Therefore, fish never get wise to them.

Soft Plastic Kayak Fishing

A few recommendations:

We fish braided line almost exclusively on the rods set up for soft plastic baits. The advantages are these, strong, sensitive and zero stretch for delivering solid hook sets. Our rod preferences, Debbie likes the open-faced spinning combo while most of my plastic fishing outfits are bait casting versions. Become comfortable with different rigging techniques. Soft plastics offer a versatility that very few other artificial baits can match. The Texas rig is one of the most popular, but a case can be made for shakey head, wacky rig, Carolina rig or the weightless floating worm set up. Carry straight tail and curly tail worms, tubes and craws at the minimum. You can go crazy (and broke) with trying to arm yourself with every size, shape and color. Experiment and assemble an arsenal of your personal favorites.

Soft Plastic Kayak Fishing

“Is That a Bite” of the biggest questions for the novice feel bait, aka soft plastic angler is how to differentiate between the bottom and a bite. Experience is the best teacher. Always go with soft plastic rig set up an dedicate time each trip to getting used to the feel of the lures. The “pick up”, strike, hit or take can vary from a subtle sensation to the fish trying to rip the rod out of your hands. Cast and keep contact with the lure at all times. You can watch the line, but slack line is your enemy in fishing this family of fishing lures. In the normal application you consider the rod tip as one point of sensing a strike, you can count the rod handle as a second point of contact, but years ago I added a unique contact point. I let the line rest on the back of my thumb to increase my ability to be alerted to a fish taking the bait. The back of your thumb is sensitive and adds another sensation of something creating the increased tension of a fish engulfing the bait. A few words of advice, if you’re throwing a ½ ounce Texas rigged worm and the bait feels like it weighs 2 ounces..SET THE HOOK. Same set up, if it feels like somebody cut your line..SET THE HOOK. If you see your line swimming off to either side or toward you, well you already know, yes set the hook. Any gentle tension or change in feel, lower the rod tip and lean hard on the fish.

Soft Plastic Kayak Fishing

My fishing partner Debbie chimes in, “I enjoy the challenge of fishing the soft plastics and seeing the line take off and not knowing for sure what’s on the other end. My favorite rigging technique is the Ned rig, I’ve caught a bunch of bass using this set up. My biggest bass a 6 ½ pound largemouth came on a Ragetail craw rigged on a 1/8th ounce leadhead.”

Soft plastics range from small four-inch finesse worms to the full one foot long giant plastic worms that are favored by tournament fishermen working deep water ledges and creek channels. I many instances the same type of bait will be available in multiple sizes and every conceivable color.

My personal preferences are Texas rigged ripple tail worms like the Ragetail Anaconda and the 4.5 Strike King Flip-N-Tube. Both have produced trophy size bass. For panfish like bluegill and crappie small tubes or curly tail grubs on light line.
The payoff is pitching that soft plastic lure, sensing a pickup and imagining what may have just fallen for the worm, tube, craw or creature bait. I set the hook with a vengeance and enjoy the topwater dance displayed by a bass being pulled from its hideout.

Fantastic plastic..give em’ a try.