SA Bass

CLASSROOM

- >> Roger Donaldson*

“Basic Rigging for Soft Plastic Baits” It becomes a habit to insert the hook and rig a soft plastic lure perfectly straight – Roger Donaldson

It becomes a habit to insert the hook and rig a soft plastic lure perfectly straight. After hundreds of hours of bass fishing one realises very quickly that bass do not accept a lure nearly as readily (if at all) when it is rigged “skew”.

The rigging techniques we will look at in here will cover all the convention­al styles that you can use in everyday bass fishing with soft plastic lures. You’ll be excited to learn that it is easier than you had imagined.

There is one common denominato­r with all lures and that is they have to be rigged straight. “What is straight?” you may ask. Let’s take a look at a few of the different plastics and how you need to get them onto a hook. >> Jerkbaits, Stickbaits, Grubs and Curly tail worms

(No appendages) The Fluke is an example of a jerkbait and is a “fish” shaped lure designed to dart left and right if jerked strategica­lly, or simply allowed to flutter down casually through the water column. The Senko is an example of a lure shaped like nothing really other than a cigarillo. Why the bass like it so much is a difficult question to answer – but they really do. It has a wonderful way of transientl­y, gliding to the bottom, but also has the ability to be twitched and jerked when retrieved. The body of grubs and other curly tail worms are also straight in design and the tail produces the most vibration and enticing twirling action when the body is rigged straight. We’ll therefore categorise them similarly.

The above descriptio­n of the lures swimming action is important to consider before rigging these baits. If these lures aren’t straight then 99.9% you will not get a bite. So how do you do it?

STEP 1:

Insert the point of your hook dead centre at the top / head of the plastic and continue until the entire shank of the point (until the first bend) is imbedded in the centre of the plastic.

STEP 2:

Now bring the point directly out the side of the lure.

STEP 3:

Thread the hook all the way through until the plastic almost covers the eye of the hook and the knot too.

STEP 4:

You’ll need to swivel the hook 180-degrees now and so that the point of the hook faces the plastic. The eye should disappear inside the plastic now. This makes sure the knot is hidden.

STEP 5:

Rest the hook against the lure and take a measuremen­t with your thumb nail, as this is where the point of the hook must be inserted.

STEP 6:

The intricate part. Imagine a very straight line down the length of the lure, push the lure up slightly and then pierce the hook in at the thumb nail measuremen­t point

and follow all the way through to the other side.

Take a look and make sure your lure is lying straight. Any kinks then try step six again until the lure lies straight.

STEP 7:

The final step. From near the point of the hook you now want to press the plastic up in the direction of the eye of the hook (only 3 to 4mm) and then imbed the point just beneath the surface of the plastic. This will prevent the point from snagging on weed and structure beneath the water.

I hope that wasn’t too difficult to discern from the photograph­s provided. >> Creature baits or lures with appendages

(These may include many different lures, such as the Brush Hog, lizard, frog, etc.)

These baits are designed to be either dragged along the bottom, shot into and around jetties and structures, or lily pads, or even pulled across the surface. As mentioned earlier, the common denominato­r applies; they need to be rigged straight. This will enhance their natural action and make the lure more lifelike.

Any lure with legs or swimming appendages will have a section which we can class as the belly of the lure. This is the point where Step 6 from the above lesson will take place – directly in the middle of the belly.

I used a Brush Hog for this example so let’s see how it works.

STEP 1:

Same as the above example.

STEP 2:

Now bring the point directly out the side of the lure, but position the point to exit at the centre of the “throat” in order to line up the point of the hook with the centre of the belly.

STEP 3:

Same as the above example.

STEP 4:

Also, the same as the above example. Make sure the knot is hidden.

STEP 5:

Rest the hook against the belly of the lure and take a measuremen­t with your thumb nail, as this is where the point of the hook must be inserted.

STEP 6:

Like before, imagine a very straight line down the length and belly of the lure, push the lure up slightly and then pierce the hook in at the thumb nail measuremen­t point and follow all the way through to the other side.

As we described in the previous example, take a look and make sure your lure is lying straight. If the lure is bent, curved, or kinked then do step six again until straight.

STEP 7:

The final step. As before, imbed/prick the point of the hook just beneath the surface of the plastic to prevent snagging.

This should more than adequately cover your general soft plastic fishing techniques for bass, outside of “wacky” worming, drop-shotting and other technical options. I hope to see readers sending pictures of their improved catches using these easy rigging methods.

*Roger Donaldson is an experience­d journalist and knowledgea­ble bass angler who has enjoyed many enlighteni­ng hours with many of South Africa’s top, competitiv­e bass fishermen. As a competitiv­e angler himself, he also enjoys sharing his expertise with fellow bass fanatics in the hope that they find the same joy in this unique sport.

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