Some of the soft plastic lures that I might take bass, wrasse and pollack fishing.
Bait Breath TT Shad (various sizes)
It’s the 4’’ and 4.8’’ versions that I have fished with the most, and I can’t recall coming across a paddletail that you can swim this slowly yet which gives off so much movement. These TT Shads are something else - they cast well, and I tend to rig them on a belly-weighted weedless hook and swim them nice and shallow. The whole body and of course that awesome looking tail just seems to do it for fish.
Deps Deathadder 6''
An interesting soft plastic that I think offers an alternative to the lethal OSP DoLive Stick. This Deps Deathadder 6'' (15g when rigged weedless/weightless) looks like it’s doing largely similar things to the DoLive Stick when you fish it with that deadly twitch, pause, twitch kind of retrieve. I love how it casts and I am really looking forward to seeing is this Deps Deathadder 6'' ends up getting as much time in my lure box as the DoLive Sticks.
Fiiish Black Minnow (various sizes and weights)
Wow is this soft plastic shad/paddletail catching on. In essence it seems to be no more than a well-designed paddletail, but there is definitely something about it that the bass just love. I have seen bass to double figures caught on them now and I am sold. A great concept in that the manufacturers are selling combinations of the correct body/head/hook that work perfectly together and take a lot of the confusion out of the equation. I know more and more boat anglers rave about the Fiiish Black Minnow, and shore anglers are catching on big time. Bump it down the tide, swim it like a minnow, vertical jig it, do what you want, bass seem to love it. Oh, and pollack do as well - big time !! These bass here were caught on the Black Minnow - need I say more ?
Fiiish Black Minnow - 12g Shore Head/120mm body
My go to “paddletail on a jig head” when shore fishing for bass. I love this weight of jig head and length of body from the Fiiish Black Minnow series for bumping down the current in estuaries etc., and I am also starting to learn about a faster kind of sink and draw fishing when out on the rocks - especially in more turbulent conditions. Check here for my thoughts on wrasse fishing with these Black Minnows - ok, so you don’t want to get a load of them chomped by wrasse, but if you need to find out if the wrasse are about and on the feed, it’s my experience that these Black Minnows have an uncanny knack of finding out for you. Yes, wrasse will happily hit this size of Black Minnow.
Fiiish Black Minnow - 20g Shore Head/120mm body
The 20g Shore Head that is designed to fit with the 140mm Black Minnow body makes for a great combination with my favourite shore fishing 120mm size body. I turn to this in rougher conditions and stronger currents as it gives me more control. I could of course use the 25g Off Shore Head that is meant for the 120mm body, but I like the shape and lighter weight of that 20g Shore Head and the way it behaves when I am shore fishing. And it works - check here.
Fiiish Black Minnow - 10g Shallow Head/140mm body
I am ridiculously excited about this Black Minnow combination. OK, so this 140mm body rigged on the 10g Shallow Head is not exactly a distance weapon, but I am thinking about so many different situations where I might use this particular Black Minnow. Swim it, bump it along and just off the bottom, sink and draw with a slower fall rate than the heavier heads, I could go on.
Fiiish Crazy Sandeel (various sizes and weights)
My experience with this amazing looking sandeel imitation is fairly limited, but when the designer of the Fiiish Crazy Sandeel tells you that he’s catching at least double the numbers of fish on this lure over the already killer Black Minnow, you can’t help but take notice. With “Le Crazy”, it’s all about getting that speed right on the lure to get the body undulating - it’s designed to be fished fairly fast, and everything I am seeing and hearing about the Crazy Sandeel leads me to believe that in time it will become another classic lure like the Black Minnow already is. Check out some bluefin tuna fishing on the Crazy Sandeel here, and a report of mine here on the first bass I caught with it and the techniques I was using.
Fish Arrow Flash J 5’’ SW
I bought a few packets of these quite simply because they looked nice, and they have turned out to be lethal !! I am sure you can fish them loads of ways, but I have been rigging mine on a 6/0 weedless hook either weightless or with a small belly weight – they cast incredibly well and when you straight retrieve nice and slowly these Fish Arrow Flash J 5’’ soft plastic lures (5’’ long, 11g) swim just beneath the surface with the most stunning kind of lazy, “S”/slalom action. I nailed bass on them almost immediately doing this and I tend to fish them with my rod tip up to help exaggerate that slalom action. Nope, you won’t be able to fish them like this in lively conditions, but a belly weight does help keep them down that little bit more, but I really fancy this lure to keep producing fish for me over shallow rough ground in calm to calmish conditions. They seem to last great as well – I had four bass on the first one I used and I could see no damage to it at all.
You can find this lure here in the UK.
Gary Yamamoto 5.5’’ Swim Senko
There are various sizes of the Gary Yamamoto Swim Senko, and the 5.5’’ version I think is a good size for bass fishing especially. A cross between a senko and a paddletail, I particularly like rigging this thing weedless/weightless and swimming it nice and shallow with a slow straight retrieve - the Owner Twistlock 5167-161 hook in size 5/0 or 6/0 work well with this lure. The Swim Senko looks awesome when you fish it like this and bass just absolutely launch into it. No doubt there are a hundred different ways you can fish a lure like this. More info here.
MegaBass Cattle Tongue 6’’
Along the lines of the OSP DoLive Stick, this 6’’ 12g MegaBass Cattle Tongue works well when fished weightless as a soft plastic jerkbait. It casts very well, it’s remarkably “stable” in the water for a soft plastic fished with no added weight, and your wide-gape hook sits down nice and weedless in the slot on the back of the lure. Bass kill these things and I really like fishing them over shallow, rough as rats ground. Use a wide-gape hook with a belly weight for added stability if needs be, and no doubt these Cattle Tongues would work well on jig heads etc.
You can usually find good UK stocks of these lures here and here.
MegaBass DOT Crawler (various sizes)
The MegaBass DOT Crawler flies like you would not believe, indeed I have personally never come across such a soft plastic that can be rigged weightless and casts so ridiculously well. I reckon a rattle or two in the end of one of these and you’ve got a killer soft plastic for rougher conditions. It was no great surprise that bass would like a lure like this – see here. Give it a bit of time and I have no doubt that this DOT Crawler is going to smash some serious bass in all kinds of conditions and over all kind of ground.
You can usually find good UK stocks of these lures here.
A top of the range soft plastic lure that is does serious damage on the bass. Again, we have lots to learn about these soft plastic lures for bass. Try twitching the MegaBass XLayer almost like a hard minnow type lure (say the Duo Tide Minnow etc.), to imitate a sandeel or other small baitfish. They also work if you gently "bounce" them on and off the bottom as you retrieve it, or simply let them trundle down in the current. A really good jig head to use for the XLayer is the 7g Decoy SV-67 Bachi Head (as in the photo). Bass seriously kill these things. The XLayer can also be rigged weedless etc.
OSP DoLive Shad
I defy any lure angler not to stare open mouthed at these stunning OSP DoLive Shads moving through the water on a slowish sort of retrieve - wow! Some friends of mine have hammered bass on the smaller 4.5’’ size especially, fished with a belly-weighted weedless hook (I really like the Owner hooks here), and they cast incredibly well, swim lovely and shallow, and that tail just thumps away. Same with the bigger 6’’ version. Another killer soft plastic from OSP. My go-to shallow swimming paddletail these days.
You can buy these lures here in the UK.
OSP DoLive Stick (various sizes)
A soft plastic jerkbait for want of a better word that caught bass straight away for me. I tend to fish the 6’’ version weightless (i.e. no added weight, just a weedless hook around the 5/0 or 6/0 size) and you’ll be somewhat surprised at how well this thing casts. It flies !! There must be a million different ways you can fish a soft plastic lure like the OSP DoLive Stick, but one that works well for me is to work it with a medium kind of twitch/pause/twitch retrieve – hold on because bass tend to just launch into them. I know guys who love the smaller DoLive Sticks for the wrasse, but I reckon the lures are expensive enough without loads of wrasse chewing them up. The proof is in the pudding – check here. I wrote another blog post about this lure here and here.
Your archetypal soft plastic “stick” for want of a better word, and whilst they look like nothing, they can be truly deadly for many of our species. The smaller, say sub-4’’ senkos are killer for wrasse fishing and then the 5’’ and 6’’ versions cast and fish really well for bass and pollack. Rig them weedless and weightless for bass fishing and then Texas rig the smaller ones for the wrasse. Play about with retrieves and on the drop style fishing, but also make sure to do no more than wind them in nice and slowly and hold on !! You can stick a small rattle in the tail for murkier/rougher conditions and then twitch the rod tip a bit to make some noise. Check here for some more thoughts on fishing these rather innocuous looking lures with a slow, straight retrieve for big bass.
Savage Gear Sandeel (various sizes)
A soft plastic lure that I am sure needs no introduction at all for a lot of bass anglers, but to be honest I have only started using them recently, and especially the 22g size. I like how it casts and I like how it’s very different to the killer Fiiish Black Minnow and therefore gives me different options. Most of my fishing with these Savage Gear Sandeels so far has been a case of simply whacking them out and winding them in at different speeds to try and control the depth they are fishing at.
You can usually find good stocks of these lures here in the UK.
Wave Fishing 5’’ Bamboo Stick (my out and out favourite senko)
I can’t get enough of these Wave Fishing 5’’ Bamboo Stick senkos, and I especially like the white ones for fishing at night and when there’s a bit of colour in the water. Often known as Wave Worms here in the UK and Ireland, these heavy senkos cast like missiles - they are about 15g when rigged on a weedless hook - and they survive repeated casting really well. I have tried a bunch of different senkos over the last few years, but take a look in my lure box and you will find these ones. If I ever refer to a white senko on my blog, you can bet your life it’s these Wave Fishing 5’’ Bamboo Sticks I am talking about - check here for proof that these simple looking lures work!
You can usually find good UK stocks of these lures here.