Top five soft plas­tics

Our ex­pert makes his bass fish­ing se­lec­tion

Sea Angler (UK) - - TACKLE SEAANGLER -

Noth­ing has changed the world of bass fish­ing in the British Isles so much over the last few years as soft plas­tics. In­deed, look­ing at my own bass fish­ing to­day and how I go about it, and then com­pare it to say five years ago, soft plas­tics are now an in­te­gral part of how I go about my fish­ing.

I now have ac­cess to so many dif­fer­ent soft plas­tics, and I know far more about how to fish them and how the bass of­ten re­spond so well to them.

I’m ac­tu­ally pen­ning this ar­ti­cle while try­ing to keep my eyes open be­cause I was out un­til about 3am catch­ing a few nice bass in the pitch black on soft plas­tics.

If you’d said I would have been do­ing that five years ago I’d have laughed at you.

When I used to do a lot of wreck fish­ing, and soft lures started to en­ter our UK fish­ing scene, we’d be us­ing sim­ple jel­ly­worms on the end of fly­ing-col­lar rigs. When I look where we are now with soft plas­tic lures, it’s amaz­ing how things have changed and con­tinue to progress.

I have used a lot of dif­fer­ent soft plas­tics for my bass fish­ing, but have a few tried and trusted ones that I turn to again and again. Here is my choice…


A friend of mine said he couldn’t imag­ine any­body re­leas­ing a more lethal soft plas­tic for bass fish­ing than the Fi­i­ish Black Min­now pad­dle­tail.

On the one hand this French lure is a clas­sic pad­dle­tail or shad type of soft plas­tic, but the Black Min­now con­cept is also a lot more. I just love how it’s a com­plete, mod­u­lar sys­tem. You’ve got a soft pad­dle­tail body that, at slower speeds es­pe­cially, moves beau­ti­fully in the water, and to go with the body we have a range of dif­fer­ent jig heads that se­cure to VMC weed­less hooks - and the lure is ar­tic­u­lated for ex­tra move­ment.

Con­sult­ing the clever pack­ag­ing, we can eas­ily buy the cor­rect jig heads and hooks for each body size. No more com­pli­ca­tions for an­glers who want to fish with pad­dle­tails for bass.

Swim the Black Min­now at a slow­ish speed or with a slow sink-and-draw kind of ac­tion, bump it down a run of cur­rent with a con­trolled sink-and-draw, and so on.

Be­cause they are weed­less and avoid snags very well, you can also work them over rough ground.

For me, it’s the one lure (hard or soft) that has been re­spon­si­ble for more big bass than any­thing else. Vive la France!


This sim­ple-look­ing soft plas­tic has changed the way I ap­proach a lot of my bass fish­ing. I use the 6in and 4½in-long ver­sions very of­ten, al­ways rigged weed­less and weight­less, and if there is a bet­ter ‘jerk­bait-style’ soft plas­tic that works as well as these things for our bass fish­ing, then please let me know.

They come from the Ja­panese fresh­wa­ter bass fish­ing world, but in our salt­wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment they work per­fectly – heavy and dense enough to cast re­ally well and fish prop­erly in some sur­pris­ingly lively con­di­tions. I urge you to ei­ther twitch one back or swim it nice and slowly and you will not be­lieve how good these lures look in the water.

This stick is the one I turn to be­fore any­thing else for my weed­less and weight­less ‘jerk­bait-style’ soft plas­tic fish­ing for bass.

Fish­ing is so much about con­fi­dence, and ev­ery time I clip on an OSP DoLive Stick I feel supremely con­fi­dent. Rigged on weed­less hooks, these soft plas­tics help us to cover the kind of ground you sim­ply can’t tackle with hard lures.


For many lure an­glers the Sav­age Gear Sandeel needs no in­tro­duc­tion but, to be hon­est, I am a lit­tle late to the ta­ble with this lethal bass fish­ing lure. It’s be­cause I am fish­ing more and more on the north coast of Corn­wall that my need for pad­dle­tails has in­creased (of­ten in live­lier seas).

As with the Black Min­now, I re­ally like how Sav­age Gear has made this soft plas­tic sandeel lure so sim­ple. Cer­tain body sizes go on cer­tain jig heads, and that’s about as com­pli­cated as it needs to get.

I re­ally like how it casts, and how the Sav­age Gear Sandeel gives me a dif­fer­ent op­tion to the Black Min­now when fish­ing on or close to the bot­tom from the shore. Yes, the Fi­i­ish Black Min­now works bet­ter at slower speeds, but when the sea is fizzing around struc­ture and a hard lure won’t re­ally get me where I need to be, I turn to the Sav­age Gear Sandeel.

Whack it out and straight-re­trieve it, us­ing the speed of your re­trieve to vary the depth at which it swims. Lethal!


When noth­ing in my lure box is pro­duc­ing a bass, I clip on the Fi­i­ish Crazy Sandeel.

The trick to this lure is get­ting it work­ing prop­erly. It’s meant to be fished fast – you don’t bump it down the cur­rent like you might a Black Min­now, for ex­am­ple.

I think there has been a fair de­gree of con­fu­sion about the Crazy Sandeel, pri­mar­ily be­cause an­glers haven’t known how it is de­signed to be fished.

Cast it out and rip it back – you will feel the body of the lure come alive as it starts to vi­brate. When you have ripped the lure back to­wards you and go for an­other pick-up, this is when the bass or pol­lack will smash the lure. Of­ten you will get hit when the Crazy Sandeel is on the drop, and fish smash this lure hard.

If you’re into boat fish­ing for species such as bass, pol­lack and cod, you should try the Crazy Sandeel. It is the per­fect lure for search­ing the water col­umn, and dif­fer­ent to how we tend to fish with the Black Min­now.

It’s the most per­fect sandeel im­i­ta­tion I have come across.


Yes, this is one bor­ing-look­ing lure, and at first glance many won­der what all the fuss is about. Orig­i­nally from the US fresh­wa­ter bass fish­ing world, it is a straight plas­tic ‘stick’, but can be deadly for our bass fish­ing.

While I will tend to twitch the DoLive Stick around in day­light, you can fish a senko es­sen­tially the same way, but it’s night lure fish­ing for bass when the senko re­ally comes into its own.

My favourites are the fairly heavy Wave Fish­ing 5in Bam­boo Stick, which you can usu­ally find for sale in the UK. Rigged weed­less and weight­less, it casts re­ally well, and, if need be in a bit more sea, you can use a belly-weighted weed­less hook for a bit more ‘grip’ in the water.

The biggest shore-caught bass I have landed came on a white senko at night, and I have pho­tographed 10lb-plus bass caught the same way by friends.

I know it’s hard to feel con­fi­dent when a lure looks and feels like it’s do­ing al­most noth­ing in the water, but try a senko at night – cast it out and wind it back – that is it.

I don’t know why white works so well at night, and I have no idea how a soft plas­tic ‘stick’ seems to do it for the bass. But if there is one thing that fish­ing with senkos and, in­deed, soft plas­tics has taught me, it’s that less is so of­ten more. ■

Caught on an OSP 6in DoLive Stick soft plas­tic lure

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