Aggressive Tactics With Soft Plastics

Many people associate soft plastic baits with fishing "finesse". Most of the time this can be true,
but there is a different side to fishing soft plastics that can put a lot of fish in the boat. What I am
talking about are 'aggressive soft plastic techniques'. 

Many of you who know me, know that I am on the MisterTwister/Exude Field Staff. This allows
me the opportunity to try new and different kinds of lures and techniques. Not only that, but being
a teacher gives me my summers off and plenty of time on the water. Fishing lures are usually
broken up into two large categories: Vertical, and Horizontal. Usually soft plastic fall into the realm
of vertical presentations. In this article I want to look beyond that and try to put some of these soft
plastics in the horizontal category. 

One of my favorite rigs for this
aggressive mode is the swimming
worm. I drew a very basic
illustration of what a swimming
worm rig is to the right here. To
rig a swimming worm, you run a
sinker (size depending on depth
start with 1/8 oz and go from
there), a swivel, and 2 small
hooks. You tie one of the hooks
on first making sure you leave
yourself enough of a tag end so
that you may tie on another hook behind the first. Rig a 7" straight tail worm with the first hook in
the nose of the worm exposed and the second hook through the tail of the worm, or there about.
You want the worm to hang in a half moon. Not a full C but an arch. You want this rig to spin as its
pulled through the water. Once you get good at it, you will be able to rig this bait so that it spins so
the hooks face inward and stays fairly weedless. This lure can be used anywhere you would throw a
spinnerbait It's a search lure--simply cast it out and reel it back in at a medium to slow rate. The lure
has its own action, you need to do nothing other than reel it back in. When you do get a bite it will
just feel like pressure. DON'T SET THE HOOK! just reel faster and the hooks will set themselves. 

Another aggressive way to fish soft plastics is to speed up your normal retrieve. I think of a R.T
Slug (slugo) type bait and how slowly people work these, which most of the time this is a good
technique. But at certain times when the fish are aggressive, you can really clean house if you think
of this lure as a horizontal presentation rather than a slow jerk- pause technique. Instead, rip that
R.T.Slug across the surface jerking the rod tip as you reel in the slack. This presentation works
very well in the pre-spawn stage of the year. You may need to add splitshot weights or weights to
the hook so that the lure stays in the depth that you are targeting. 

Lastly, I may go back on what I originally said. You can have an aggressive attack on soft plastics
and use a vertical presentation at the same time. When a cold front and high pressure hit you can
do two things. You can slow your presentation down and shrink your baits. Or, you can get
aggressive and try to pick off the active fish. The best way to do this is by going to a slightly heavier
weight that you may be used to and making your rod actions a little more erratic. Plastic worms,
tubes and craws work best for this. Instead of your normal lift and fall presentation, let your
jig/worm fall to the bottom and rip it up, pop your rod tip so that your lure moves only a foot, but
make the action fast. If you do this right, your lure will only move a foot or less forward, this way
you stay in the strike zone longer. Think of it this way, you got Mr. Largemouth who's feeling kinda
like just hanging out, not into feeding. He sees this lure fall and land on the bottom with a thud (extra
weight, remember) a cloud of stuff flies up from the bottom. So he heads over to see what's going
on, just as he gets there, whatever it is shoots off the bottom...He has to make a split second
decision, and believe it or not his brain will never think, he will just react by eating whatever it is
that is trying to get away. 

Finally, I wrote this just in hopes that I can get you to think outside the lines a little bit...Have fun
with it, you don't have to do what everybody else is doing. You may invent something totally new.

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