I was talking to a mate yesterday evening about various fishing stuff, and believe it or not the talk got onto different lures - partly due I am sure to him flashing a very nice looking lure up on Skype that he had just had delivered. Swine. Anyway, we got onto the subject of soft plastics versus hard lures, and how this increased adoption of soft plastics for bass especially seems to shaping how we fish overall. If you have not been lure fishing since before you were born - like me - then think back and try to imagine where we were, where we are now, and where we might be say another few years down the line. It fascinates me how fishing develops.
Surely if there is one thing that the use of certain kinds of plastics is teaching is, it is that less action often seems to be important. I can't get away from how much I like hard lures and how so many of them move (and glint at me), indeed I am drawn to them as much as ever I suppose, but for me it's catching and seeing fish caught on the senko especially that really gets me thinking about action or lack of action. How many times has a lure with plenty of action actually got too much going on?
Or is that me just speculating? Well much of fishing is speculation is it not? There are plenty of hard facts around of course, but considering that we can't yet talk fish, a lot of what we know is not technically what one could call fact - hence the best anglers will always be those who are most eager and hungry to learn. If you had told me say six years ago that I would be very confidently chucking out what are very boring looking, straight soft plastic "sticks" and reeling them straight in nice and slowly, what would I have said? Well I hope I would have been open-minded about it, but in reality a lack of visible action on a lure tends to freak a lot of us out.
We like action. We like it when the lure is doing something that we can see. It makes me feel that the lure is working away as I reel it in. But do the fish always like it? How come you can sometimes cover a stretch of water with a few hard lures and then change over to say a 6' senko rigged weedless/weightless and hook a fish? Perhaps too many of us equate the predatory instincts of the bass with it being intent on charging in and hitting whatever lure in almost any situation - which of course sometimes they seem to do when they are on it a big way. But what about when they are not?
I often think back to various fishing sessions and wonder what I might have done differently. I don't beat myself up about it, rather the more I learn about lure fishing, the more I wonder if perhaps a different approach might have hooked me a few more fish - and especially when conditions were on the tricky side. When it's bouncing and the fish are on I am pretty sure that bass will hit almost anything, but soft plastics are surely giving us another world of options? By no means am I close to being hugely proficient with using soft plastics, but I am into them enough that I feel very confident these days when I am fishing with a lure that to my (human) eye looks like it's doing exactly nothing in the water. I obsess about soft plastics about as much as I do hard lures these days, and I don't think I could have imagined that happening a few years back. How much more is there to saltwater lure fishing around our coastline? How much more is there for us to find out? Tell me that doesn't excite you.............