ARTICLE + PHOTOS BY LENNY RUDOW
The number of options in the soft-
plastic-lure category is staggering.
Here’s how to narrow down your
choices and get fish on your hook
Screw tails, like
this Berkley Gulp,
the water as they
plenty of action without any
from the angler.
The Sassy Shad
from Mister Twister
– one of the oldest
soft plastic lure
makers around – is
a classic paddle tail.
ince their introduction 50 years ago, soft
plastic lures have taken over tons of territory in our tackle boxes. But with literally
tens of thousands to choose from, how
will you make the best pick?
Flipping through a catalog of soft
plastic lures is like reading a laundry list
of the creepy-crawly things nightmares
are made of: Leeches, lizards, maggots,
and grubs fill those pages. There are
even some lures merely categorized as
“creatures,” with names like Crazy Legs
Chigger Craw, Twister Mite, and Hyper
Freak. Cabela’s lists more than 625 different styles and brands of soft plastic lures,
which are available, on average, in 12 different color patterns and three different
sizes. That’s about 22,500 total choices!
Bass Pro Shops lists 776 different styles
and brands, Amazon posts 8,079 choices,
and eBay shows a shocking 54,513 listings for “soft plastic fishing baits.” How
can you possibly know which ones to buy?
STrue, some obvious parameters will pare down the list. Even though soft plastics are effective on virtually all spe- cies, you’d never choose a 2-inch tube jig designed for 8-inch crappie when your target species is a 40-inch tuna swim- ming in the ocean, for example. Nor would you use a foot-long plastic squid intended to fool tuna while in pursuit of those crappie. So tens of thousands of choices may realistically boil down to a
Still, how in the heck can any one
angler be expected to know which soft
plastic will be the best choice on any
given day? Truth be told, he or she can’t.
But that’s one of the beautiful things
about fishing – there are very few hard-and-fast rules, and you never really know
for a fact what the very best lure du jour
is going to be until the fish start chowing down on whatever you’ve decided to
hitch to the end of your line.
Some soft plastics,
like this shrimp
(below), are molded
to closely resemble a
specific prey species.