Soft Plastic Fishing
By Bob Ives
One of the most enjoyable things about fishing is that, as a
fisherman, you are pitting your skills against nature. You might think
you’re pretty smart, but a bream or a bass may decide you’re more of a
fool. So, if you can win the battle of wits, it makes you feel more
alive and satisfied for having tricked a fish into biting.
In Australia, fishing with crank baits and spinners are a fine way to
catch fish, but fishing with plastics requires the ability to make a
rubbery looking bait come alive and look real to a fish. This can be a
bit more difficult than it seems because the biggest skill required in
this type of fishing is patience.
This is because, unlike regular lures, you have to move most plastics
very slowly, even just a few cm at a time as they creep along the bottom
in an attempt to mimic a large worm, crayfish, lizard or one of the many
other types of wiggly-wobbly plastic baits. These baits are generally
fished with weights to keep them near the bottom.
A couple other types of plastic baits that have made their way into
the hearts of fishermen and the mouths of fish in recent years are
Senkos and Flukes (that’s not a vaudeville team). While it’s hard to be
the old go-to bait, the plastic worm, these baits perform just as well
in most situations and better in others.
Senkos are kind of a cross between a stick bait and a plastic worm.
They have nothing fancy on them, they are just straight, but very
flexible. These are heavy enough to fish weightless and perform better
that way. As with Flukes, there’s really no wrong way to fish Senkos –
you just throw them out and twitch them, bringing them in little by
little. You’ll want to rig these weedless as you would a plastic worm by
running the hook through one end and tucking the point up in the belly.
A close cousin to the Senko is the Fluke. These are totally awesome
when it comes to catching fish because they resemble just what most fish
eat – other fish. They look like a cross between a minnow and a small
blue gill and have enough action for 3 baits. Throw them out weightless
and give them a little twitch and they dart to and fro like an injured
bait fish. It’s very hard for a hungry fish to resist these little
There are also some good plastics for surface fishing that mimic
frogs, horny toads and bait fish. Some of these are very good and should
be looked into. They are great in early morning and evening and around
lily pads and timber. Most of these are reeled in in kind of a jerking
motion to create a ruckus on the surface.
There are a lot of different types of fish in Australia that can be
caught on plastics, including but not limited to bass and bream. A
well-worked plastic can be so life-like that you shouldn’t be surprised
to catch the occasional catfish on one.
One of the best makers of soft plastic baits is Berkley, and their
Big Gulp line is one of the finest. Another good one to look into is the
Storm swim bait line. These look more like fish than fish do.