Soft Plastics


It has taken me a long time to embrace the practice of fishing with soft plastic type lures.  I have picked up packets of them numerous times in tackle stores but just couldn't see them catching fish, especially when compared to bait.

I first used them in the late 80's when Mr Twister and Vibrotails were catching Mulloway hand over fist in the Port River - or so I was told.  I caught bugger all on them.  I had a little more luck with Snook off the Port Giles jetty (they loved pink Vibrotails), but they soon made a mess of the rubber tails.  Over the following years, very rarely, I would jag a fish whilst mucking about with a plastic, but I did not put any time or thought into it.

From there, Bream and Flathead became the number one targets for plastics.  Now, just about anything will eat one.  Even fishing for South Australia's legendary Snapper with soft plastics has become common place.

Not long ago, I decided to have another look at them.  I reluctantly put my favourite metal slices away for the Autumn Salmon Trout run in the Port River and gave the plastics a go.  I spent some time at a few popular land based haunts and watched fisherman hauling in Salmon in bag limit numbers.  Still I remained fishless.  I received numerous tips on how to fish them and what types to use.  I still caught next to nothing. 

After a short respite, I tried again and, at last, I can see what all the fuss is about.  They are great fun to use.  The only thing I was doing wrong was using a jig head that was too heavy for the job.  The lightest you can get away with is the answer.

The turning point came when I pulled up at a location in the Port River that I hadn't fished for 10 years.  It was always a reliable spot for Mullet, Tommies and Salmon Trout, with the odd Bream or two thrown in.  I wasn't very confident, but I rigged up with a light jig head (1/32 oz) and a 2 inch Berkley Gulp Shrimp in the New Penny colour.  I caught six Salmon Trout in as many casts, and had a dozen before I knew it.  I released them all as they weren't very big (legal, but not big).  The tide slowed and the fish moved on, but I was quite happy with the way it went.  I took my son back there a day later and he caught six fish in about 10 minutes - his first ever on lures.

Small Salmon Trout and Berkley Gulp Shrimp (2 inch, New Penny).

The 2 inch Gulp Shrimps cleaned up on those two sessions, but the 3 inch Minnow in Smelt worked quite well too.  As well as the Salmon, we hooked a few Puffer Fish, Mullet and even a few Trumpeters (aka Shitties).

I sitll haven't caught a Bream on one, but I'll keep trying now that I have a vague idea what I'm doing.  If you haven't tried the plastics, give them a chance.  As I mentioned, it has taken me years to have a fair dinkum crack at it, but I'm glad I did.  Just remember to use the lightest jig head you can get away with and try the "lift and drop" method - let it sink a bit, give the lure a couple of tweaks, then let it sink again.  The fish hit it as it drops nine times out of ten.

It seems everyone has their favourite colours, but the natural look has a lot going for it.  The Berkley Minnows (3 inch) in the Rainbow colour worked very well on the Salmon Trout, as did the 4 inch Berkley Power Minnow (Glow).  Bream like the 2 inch Berkley Shrimp in Banana Prawn or Peppered Prawn, whilst the Sandworm type seems to work in a variety of colours.

There are other soft plastic brands other than Berkley and I'm sure if you matched the lure with whatever the food source of your target species, then you will do OK.

Because the lures you'll be using are very light, good quality light tackle has to be used.  Make sure the drag system on your reel works.  Keep lines as light as possible. 

Most of all though, enjoy.  It's not a bad way to spend a few hours.