Fishing tips: 7 great soft plastic lures and how to use them

7 great soft plastic fishing lures
Soft plastic fishing lures for walleye, northern pike, trout, perch, whitefish, and more

In a previous post, I listed the advantages of using soft plastic lures. The above picture shows 7 soft plastic lures I carry regularly. And of course, I use them on a drop-shot rig, which is almost my exclusive angling rig.

These 7 soft plastic lures are (from left to right):
Berkley Powerbait 4” Emerald Shiner.
Berkley Powerbait Realistix 2” smelt minnow.
YUM 4” Walleye Grub.
MrTwister 4” Double Tail Grub.
Lunkerhunt 2” River Worm/Red Worm.
MrTwister 2” Teenie Curly Tail Grub.
MrTwister Nymph (assorted).

Often, keeping things simple makes your fishing trips more successful. For example, for one fishing trip, I use only one rod and one type of rig and tend not to re-tie anything unless I have to (i.e., the rig is broken or will soon). That is to say, I want to keep my lure in the water for as long as possible in a fishing trip.

I typically use a spinning reel, medium action rod, 15 lb PowerPro line (about the same diameter of 4 lb mono-filament line) and size #6 hook on a drop-shot rig for most of fishing trips. It’s like a one-rig-for-all type of thing. This rig used together with the 7 soft plastic lures shown in the picture above are good for:

(1) a variety of fish species: walleye, northern pike, yellow perch, lake whitefish, trout, bass, burbot/ling, and more.
(2) many situations such as bottom fishing, surface fishing (needs a float either close to the sinker side by side, or above the hook), vertical fishing, cast-and-retrieve, fishing in weeds or other structures, finesse presentation, etc. For a drop-shot rig, the sinker is at the tag of your line and it is typically the sinker instead of the single hook (less trouble than treble hooks) that contacts the bottom, which means less risks of snags.
(3) detecting a bite, even a subtle one, fast. In a drop-shot rig, there’s no extra mass (such as a sinker or weight or bobber) in between the hook and your rod tip. So, when there’s a bite, the bite will transfer the highest possible force to your rod and you’ll know it right away.

Two fishing techniques / presentation skills you’ll ever need:
Again, I’d like to keep things simple and numbers small. These two fishing techniques are:
(1) jigging: if you fish on a boat and you happen to have a sonar fish finder, you don’t have to cast-and-retrieve. To jig for fish, you just sink you lure to the right depth, twitch it and let it fall back, then leave it there for a while before twitching it and letting it fall back again. So, it’s like twitch-pause-twitch. Typically, you want to keep your twitching action small (i.e., a few inches). The lure (usually light) will fall back slowly as the lure attached to the line at a position above the sinker. This fall-back-slowly motion makes it look vulnerable and an easy meal for game fish and often can trigger a bite. When you see fish close to your lure (via eye sight or a fisher finder), you’d better just keep your lure still to get the most bites.

Read my post: how to use fish finders to help you catch more fish

(2) cast-and-retrieve: whether you fish on a boat or from shore, cast-and-retrieve allow you cover a large area and present your lure in a good way imitating the real things (e.g., nymph, blood worms, leeches, other aquatic insects, and minnows). To retrieve, you want to retrieve painfully slowly, like 2 seconds for a 4-inch twitch or hop. So, you twitch it, let it fall for a couple of seconds, and then twitch or hop it again. Doing this will imitate a bait fish or bait worm picking up some forage on the bottom. For most aquatic insects, they are not strong swimmers and they have to pause a while after a short burst of movement. These aquatic insects crawl on the bottom as well. For top predator fish (e.g., norther pike, walleye, etc.), you may also retrieve the lure in a steady pace.

Watch the videos below to see how a nymph swim to help you have a better idea of how to imitate a nymph. A good read about how to imitate aquatic insects in fly fishing can be found here.

The curly tail grub actually imitates some nymphs well:

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