5 Basic Techniques To Fish With Soft Plastic Lures

fish with soft plastic lure

How to use and fish with soft plastic baits effectively?

In this article, I will show you my five favorite techniques to work on soft baits to make them much more appealing and deadly.

So, if you want to turn your soft lure into a killing bullet, you’ll love this guide.

Let’s get started.


Among the lures that can be named the most killer are soft plastic lures.

Why? Because soft baits can lure most of the fish.

It is also an effective lure for fish that have been ignoring other hard lures.

Many anglers hesitate to use soft lures due to uncertainty about effective techniques.

If you already know the keys to the game and get used to it; You will be addicted to it.

5 Retrieving Methods For Soft Plastic Lures

Undoubtedly, presenting soft plastic baits is generally a very slow fishing method.

Therefore, it requires a high degree of patience.

Not many anglers are willing to stick with it before getting the first result.

In this article, I will describe the basic techniques of how to play soft plastic lures that have proven to be effective:

1. Straight Retrieves

soft plastic techniques

Most people are skeptical of this technique when using soft plastic baits.

Using soft lures is not as complicated as you might think.

It is an effective technique for trapping fish that are currently active. For example, when looking at a predator fiercely chasing small fish (feeding frenzy).

So why waste time letting our soft plastic lures fall to the bottom?

This method allows for slow, medium, and fast maneuvers.

Using a jig head and a soft plastic minnow lure with a paddle tail is a suitable option.

It’s as easy as throwing, pulling, and maintaining the lure’s speed when you feel the vibration of the lure’s tail.

This method can also be styled with a super slow retrieve mimicking fish that is lazy and careless.

2. Retrieve & Drop

soft plastic techniques

How is this method?

Cast and wait for the soft plastic lure to fall to the bottom.

Then, retrieve the line at an average speed of 2-3 rounds and let the lure drop to the bottom.

In this method, the most important is to choose the right jig head weight based on the area of the fishing field.

The objective to be achieved is for the bait to fall to the bottom in about 1-2 seconds.

Let the soft plastic be at the base for 1-2 seconds to stimulate the fish to make an attack.

Use a heavy jig head for deep water and a lighter one for shallower water.

In addition, the thickness of lines will also increase the fall duration of the bait to the bottom.

Usually, the fish will attack when the bait is falling, fluttering, or landing on the bottom surface.

3. Lift And Drops

soft plastic techniques

This method is more or less the same as the above technique, but the main difference is; the soft plastic movement is done by a rod, not a reel.

Make a cast and let your soft plastic lure fall to the bottom.

Keep your rod at the 9 o’clock position, then lift your rod to the 11 o’clock position.

Then, put your rod back in its original position (9 o’clock) and make a retrieve to tighten the slacklines.

As your rod returns to its original position, your soft plastic bait should be able to hit bottom within 1-2 seconds.

Keep the bait at the bottom for 1-2 seconds (or more) to stimulate the fish to make an attack.

This method is suitable for finding fish that like to ambush.

Attacks usually occur when your lure is about to leave the bottom

4. Drag Along The Bottom

soft plastic techniques

It is easy to catch fish when they are active and appetizing.

– But what if the fish are moody?

One way to overcome this problem is to “focus on the bottom area.”

This method will cover the area more widely and avoid the probability of missing the fish’s hiding place.

The goal is to gain attention to your bait and to be noticed by predators.

By dragging the bait along the bottom it will make the dust on the bottom scattered, mimicking small fish, worms, or shrimp in search of food.

In this method, the pause is the key. Attacks usually occur when we stop the bait.

For this method, I prefer to use a floating soft plastic lure like the Z-Man that uses elaztech material, where the tail will be tilted upwards as if the fish is looking for food.

What is most important is the proper use of the jighead.

If the jighead is too heavy, it will dig the bottom. If it is too light, the lure will take too long to reach the bottom.

If you are unsure about choosing a suitable jighead, read the article on selecting a jighead for soft plastic lures.

Notably, the use of weedless hooks is mandatory to avoid hanging.

Our objective in this technique is to present soft plastic according to its actual nature and behavior in real life.

For example, worms cannot swim. Therefore, you need to give the most natural movement on the bottom surface.

How do we perform this method?

Do the throw and wait until the bait falls to the bottom.

Start the retrieve with this method:

  • Lower the rod’s tip
  • Pull the lure using a rod tip at a 10-20 cm distance and stop.
  • Repeat the above process until you get a strike.

The pause period depends on the fish’s activity.

If the fish is inactive, you can extend up the stop period to 10 seconds.

Yes, this method is tedious, but this is the way if the fish don’t want to open their mouth.

Sometimes, you can make a slight twitch to tap the bottom using soft plastic in shrimp (Zerek Live Shrimp, for example).

It seemed to knock on the house door and make a provocation against the fish to attack!

5. Twitching And Jerking

soft plastic techniques

This method is excellent for tracking active fish quickly.

A slight jerk/flick with a moderate retrieve will help the bait explore large areas more quickly. Sometimes, this technique is effective when all other methods fail.

If you style this twitching action on the bottom, it will cause the sediment and sand on the bottom to rise upwards and mimic the action like an injured fish.

Strikes usually occur between flicks or jerks.

Sometimes, attacks also occur when the bait is stopped (pause).

For this technique, I recommend using soft plastic lures of the paddle tail type that slowly go down to the bottom.

Jerking will activate erratic action, miming an injured fish’s behavior.

Tips On Using Lightweight Soft Plastic Lures

Using a set of spinning reels to cast and work on light SP effectively is the best.

Match the weight and power of the equipment to the SP size and the strength of the target species.

It is wise to use a braided line with a fluorocarbon leader the same size as the length of the rod.

Another consideration is:

  • Use a long, light rod with a soft but strong tip at the base. Sensitive rods are critical.
  • Do not overfill the lines on the reel.
  • Avoid the use of swivels and other small accessories – keep it simple.
  • To improve soft bait action, use the smallest line and leader as possible, but be realistic with the conditions of the fishing field.
  • Hooks should be extra sharp to ensure penetration – especially if rigged weedlessly.
  • Avoid jig heads with thick wire hooks – light wires are better. Use methods that are appropriate to the current situation of your fishing field
  • Always keep an eye on your lines. Sometimes, fish like to pick up bait when the line is loose.
  • Patience is a must.

Conclusion: Do your experiment

The five methods mentioned above are basic guidelines for learning soft baits.

There is no right or wrong way to use this bait; it will all come from experience and experiment (trial and error).

Always explore the potential of your favorite spots. Use different methods or combine several techniques.

Try to find the best method to stimulate the fish to attack the lure.

The most important thing is to be patient.

Building a rhythm and getting the feel of a soft plastic game does take some time. You have to be patient.

After a while, you must be ‘addicted’ after successfully unlocking the secret behind this killer lure.

If you want to know basic techniques for hard body lures, you can always refer to this guide: 7 Techniques To Work On Lures Effectively


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