Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Soft plastic jerkbaits - a killer technique ?

Considering it was not that many years ago when the only soft plastics I knew about were jellyworms and pre-weighted shads, you are going to have to bear with me here if you already know all there is to know about soft plastics for bass fishing - because I don't, and I have a sneaking suspicion that many lure anglers out there are in exactly the same boat as me. For all the fishing and photography I do that is based around with lure fishing, never for one second mistake any (limited) success I might have with my own fishing for not wanting to keep on learning as much as I can.

I was kind of fine getting my head around using shads/paddletails for bass fishing, and it was a while ago now that the effectiveness of bumping plastics like the MegaBass XLayer on a jig head around in the tide was rammed home to me. Last year I think it was that I really began to get into fishing with the senko/stickbait-type soft plastics for bass, and especially using them "weightless" - in that the plastic does actually weigh something of course, but you are not adding any additional weight to it. I get completely that some anglers fish a senko in a far more subtle way than me for example, but give me some time and I'll get better at it...............

So why on earth have I not been using what I believe are for the most part called "soft plastic jerkbaits" ? They aren't quite senkos/stickbaits and they aren't quite shads/paddletails. The internet threw up the term "soft plastic jerkbait" for me, and with the way that I have been working them it makes perfect sense. What really kicked these soft plastic jerkbaits into gear for me was taking a punt just before I left for Ireland the other day and buying precisely one packet of the OSP DoLive Sticks in the 6'' size right here. Why them ? Because they looked nice, I heard that the winning fish in the recent Cornish bass festival was taken on one, and I liked the fact that the weight of a 6'' DoLive Stick is 13g. Very simple really. And then what really made me sit up and take notice was catching bass almost straight away on them, to the point that I then started regretting only having bought one packet with a whole Irish trip ahead of me (a problem that has now been rectified). We had a situation up in Kerry on what I think was the evening of our first day's fishing when I could not effectively bump an XLayer because the jig head was picking up bits of weed on every drift through, and the other lads were not exactly smashing fish on the hard lures - I might have turned to some kind of senko/stickbait to try and hit some fish, but for some reason my hand almost "found" my single packet of OSP DoLive Sticks in my HPA lure bag and I decided what the hell, it had to be a good time to try them out. I put one of them on a wide gape weedless hook that utilises a hitchhiker arrangement that I so like and whacked it out there. First thought ? Holy cow, they've got wings !! I really like how those Wave Fishing 5'' Bamboo Sticks (we tend to just call them Wave Worms) cast for example, but this 6'' OSP DoLive Stick goes just a little bit better again. They feel dense and pretty heavy (13g) and I reckon I can put them out as far as a number of my hard lures if I haven't got a strong breeze in my face.

Now I accept that I was probably fishing the DoLive Stick with a certain lack of subtlety, and especially when you watch a video like this here which shows the thing fluttering and shimmering its way down on the drop (around 2.55 in is about how I was working them). I was personally doing little more than essentially walking the dog underwater with the lure, and making it swim pretty shallow at that - plenty of pauses and extra little twitches. The action seems to be that little bit different to when you work a senko in a similar way, and perhaps over time I will see no difference in catch rates between them - or perhaps I will..........who knows ? I certainly will never know for sure if I don't give them a proper go.

Fishing is so much about confidence, and although a 6.5lb bass might be no real monster, when it comes pretty quickly after changing to a "new to me" lure and also hits me almost underneath my rod tip, I guess you could say that I very suddenly became really confident with this approach, and especially when no other bass of that size were caught that particular evening. So now I'm liking how these things fish, and of course I then took them out on the rocks the next day over some seriously shallow ground and caught a few more bass by essentially walking/twitching them underwater. Bear in mind that Seamus also caught on a senko, so I'm not saying these jerkbaits are some miracle fish catchers !! I did not suddenly outfish the other lads, but if there is one thing I like to do with my fishing it's experiment with different lures and methods, and I very much like having these different (weedless) options that I am learning about. I did also catch bass on the interestingly named MegaBass "Cattle Tongue" which also casts great and fishes much like the DoLive Stick, but I just don't have any colours of the Cattle Tongue yet that really float my boat. My initial "research" (could just as easily replace with "obsession") has thrown up these as some pretty easy to get hold of options, and some of them are dirt cheap as well - OSP DoLive Stick 6'', Wave Fishing 6'' Shadick, MegaBass 6'' Cattle Tongue, MegaBass Hazedong Magnum, Mann's 6'' Hardnose Jerkbait, 5.8'' Illex iShad, Keitech 5.8'' Sexy Impact and the Keitech 5'' Shad Impact. I would seriously welcome your ideas and thoughts here, and also what other lures like these I should be looking at and how I might better fish them.