Beginners guide to small soft lures.
(Please note – Links in bold for some of the products on Amazon)
Soft lures come in many shapes, sizes and styles and the short version is that they all work, there’s none really better than any other and they will all catch you some fish. Ask around which are best to use and you will get so many opinions you really won’t get an answer. What you need is a few lures to get you started and a few more ideas to help you get the best out of them. The more you fish with soft lures, the more you work out what’s right for you or what is missing. Remember as a kid those sweet shops with rows and rows of jars of sweets? That’s soft lure fishing for you.
So where to start?
Just keep it simple. Get a small selection of soft shads, such as the Relax Kopyto shad in a couple of sizes. For perch fishing, then two inch and two and half inch sizes are perfect. You want a few jig heads and for these you will want them in sizes 2/0 and 3/0 and these jigheads will be also rated by weight, so choose a light and a slightly heavier weight like 2g and 5g to start and over time a few more. These different weights will help you fish shallow or deeper water. You can now go perch fishing, these lures will catch you perch. Stay mobile, cover lots of features and find some fish.
Is it really that simple?
Short version is yes, but you will eventually come across blank sessions, problems that need another way of fishing the lures, a need to try other methods and undoubtedly you will end up with your own little sweet shop of lures. There is so much to soft lure fishing that this little article will not attempt to cover it all, it will just get you started on the right path.
What other lures should I buy?
Have a look at the various styles of soft lure and after the paddle tail shads, you will find split tails, worms, creature baits, grubs and more. So after getting your first bag of paddle tails, try to get something different. I like to have a curly tail grub and stick bait called a Z-Man Finesse TRD fished on a ShroomZ Jighead as my options. The curly tail grub basically has a tail that flutters away even at slow retrieve speeds and just looks a bit different. A TRD is a stick bait that you mostly work along the bottom, sometimes very slowly, and offers you something totally different. So now you have different options on the bank, different styles of lure and lure retrieves and if you also bought them in different colours you now have a nice little bag of tricks that should help you put more fish on the bank.
How do I work these lures?
No matter which softie you choose, there’s no one way of using it, so start with the basics. Cast it out and wind it in. If you can, have a look at what your lure is doing in the water so you have an idea what happens when you crank the reel handle. Now try speeding it up and slowing it down. Then try to add a pause so the lure sinks and try to lift the rod so the lure rises. Try a combination of all that and see if anything grabs on to your lure. No matter if its a paddle tail, curly tail, stick bait or creature bait. A bit of all that will work, some better than others and eventually you’ll find which works best for each. Generally paddle and curly tails you would wind in, creature and stick baits you might slowly drag along the bottom but none of this is set in stone, see what the fish want. All these lures you can vertically fish two, by jigging them up and down. So for example, stand beside a canal lock gate and rop the lure in by your feet. Lift and lower the rod tip to make the lure dance, and you are now jigging for perch. Try this around any feature you can find, boats, bridges and so on.
If you would like to see more about soft lures then you can also watch a series of four videos over on the Riverpiker Youtube channel.