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How to fish soft plastic baits

The number one tip in fishing soft plastic baits is to fish them slow!

The slower you fish them, the more success you’re going to have. It doesn’t matter if the bait is Texas rigged, Carolina rigged, weightless, drop shot, or any other method of rigging, always remember that the slower you fish them the more success you’ll have. The only exception to this is fishing plastic swim baits. When fishing swim baits, you’ll want to vary the retrieval speed according to conditions and specific situations. If bass are chasing shad or other baitfish, you need to use a retrieval speed that will entice a strike. That is usually a faster speed than when the fish are not in an active feeding mode. Swim baits are also very effectively fished at slower speeds, sometimes referred as to “slow rolling” the bait. Cast the swim bait to the area holding fish and if the fish are on the bottom, or suspended just off the bottom, you’ll want to let the swim bait sink all of the way to the bottom, then start your retrieve and retrieve slow enough to keep the swim bait in the zone holding fish. If the fish are suspended at a specific depth or near the surface, use the countdown method to get the swim bait to the zone before retrieving.

When fishing all other plastics other than swim baits, bass in particular will frequently strike when the bait is at rest, on the fall, or immediately after you’ve moved the bait. The most common method for retrieving plastics is to cast to the area holding fish, let the bait sink all of the way to the bottom and let it rest before moving the bait. Watch for a sudden movement of any slack line on the sink, or if your line is tight, you’ll feel the “tick tick” as the fish inhales the bait. If your line is tight, set the hook immediately. If your line was slack and now has tightened from the pickup of the bait, set the hook as soon as your line has tightened. Remember to set the hook as hard as you can. If you haven’t gotten a strike on the fall or from letting it rest for at least 30 seconds, you can start your retrieve. The retrieve typically consists of a lifting of the rod tip and lowering to allow the bait to rise and fall. Watch for strikes on the fall and at rest as noted. Always let the bait rest for a minimum of 10 seconds between lifts. This method will result in taking a long time to retrieve a single cast but will translate into much more success than hurrying your retrieve.

Look for additional tips and various ways to rig Rude baits in future posts. Mike R.

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