• Soft Plastics - Tips for Beginners

    ntroduction

    From the beginning one of our major emphasis here at TBGI has been helping the beginning bass fisherman by providing good solid information that will help them when they are on the water. But no matter how much information we provide there is one essential element that the beginning fisherman must supply himself and that is "A Positive Attitude" when learning new techniques. I believe this is especially true when it comes to learning how to fish plastics. Truthfully this is one of the easiest methods to learn and many times can very deadly. If you will focus on the basics and think positively you can become a good plastics fisherman. I appreciate Shay sharing with us some of his thoughts and techniques on fishing plastic baits. As we have discussed in previous articles every one has a "Go To Bait" that produces for them. For Shay it is fishing plastics which he is an expert at using. It is our hope that this article will help you put more bass over the rail on their next fishing trip. Rick McFerrin

    Equipment

    This is one area that the beginning bass fisherman wants to make sure that they are spending their money wisely. Maybe you have heard the phrase "Specialty Rods". What this means is that rod manufactures like AllPro Rod Company produce rods that are designed for a specific purpose or technique. Top Water Rods-Crankbait Rods-Ultra Light Rods-Float N Fly Rods-SpinnerBait Rods-Worm Rods-Flipping Rods-Carolina Rig Rods and the list go's on.

    Shay's best advice for the beginner learning to fish plastics is to buy the best most sensitive rod they can afford designed specifically for fishing plastic baits. Next is a list of the rods that Shay use's which work best for him. (1) For plastic worm fishing Shay uses either a 6 1/2ft or a 7ft medium heavy to heavy action rod and a 6:3:1 baitcasting reel loaded with 15lb or 20lb "Good Quality" fluorocarbon line. (2) When fishing a Carolina Rig Shay uses 7ft medium heavy to heavy action rod and the same reel. We will discuss line later for this technique. (3) When Shay is "Flipping" or "Pitching" he uses a 7 ˝ ft or a 8ft heavy action rod with the same 6:3:1 bait casting reel and 25lb test fluorocarbon line. Make sure that you buy a rod with a telescoping handle so it will fit into your boat and vehicle. To help you make a good choice when buying a rod visit www.allprorods.com on our links page..

    Choosing Worm Or Lizzard Colors

    When looking at plastic worms-French fries-lizards and other plastic baits, if I said there is a rainbow of colors to choose from I wouldn't be stretching it bit. Here are some basic colors that will works for Shay day in-day out in our middle Tennessee Lakes. There are many other colors that will work as well-but just go slow and choose wisely. As far as worm length you can stay with a 6inch or 7 inch worm in most of our lakes. That doesn't mean that you won't catch fish on a 10 inch worm-or on a 4 inch worm but Shay has found that the 6 & 7 inch worms produce more strikes over the course of the day.

    Clear Water: Green Pumpkin-Pumpkin Seed-RootBeer-Black and Black/Blue are Shay's choices. In clear water don't overlook a slim straight tailed worm. These fall a little faster and the fish can see them easily.

    Dingy Water: Red Bug-June Bug-Electric Purple and Electric Blue are Shays

    Favorites. In dingy to muddy water opt for a fatter ribbon tailed worm that will produce more under water vibrations which the fish will feel many times before they can see them.

    Specialty Worms: Colors for floating worms-trick worms and wacky worms range from white-bubblegum-cotton candy and yellow.

    Choosing Hooks

    As far as hooks are concerned, Shay uses 1/0-2/0-3/0-4/0 and 5/0 wide gap hooks based on the size of the plastic bait he is using and the structure he is fishing. Be sure that you don't over power the baits you are using with hooks that are to large. Hooks are manufactured in "Light Wire" and "Heavy Wire". A good rule of thumb when selecting the right hook is (1) Heavy cover/structure-Heavy Line-Heavy Plastic baits...Heavy Wire Hooks. (2) Spinning tackle with lighter line and lighter baits...Light Wire Hooks.

    Choosing Sinkers

    Shay uses a bullet shaped slip sinker most of the time when worm fishing and allows the sinker to slide free up and down the line. The reason behind this it reduces the potential of the fish throwing the bait when they jump. An exception to this is when Shay is fishing heavier cover then he will "Peg" the sinker to the head of the worm. There are a couple ways that you can "Peg" a worm. One is by forcing a tooth pick into the bottom hole of the sinker. The only problem with this is that you run the risk of damaging your line. A better choice is to use a product like T-Stops which are made of rubber and pulls through the sinker holding it in place without damaging your line. This helps the lure not become hung as easily on brush. When Carolina Rigging Shay uses a "Egg Sinker" in weights from 3/8oz to a full 1oz. The reason for the heavier sinker it helps you feel the bottom better. We will address this further in the Technique Section.

    Let's Talk About Techniques

    Fishing a Carolina Rig: Shay explains that this technique has proven to be deadly over and over again for him. Just to review-Shay uses a 7ft Heavy action rod-6:3:1 casting reel and 20lb P-Line fluorocarbon as the main line and 12lb to 15lb test P-Line as the leader. (See Picture of Shays Carolina Rig) The difference between a Texas rig which we will cover next and a Carolina rig is simple. The Texas rig will take the plastic bait to the bottom because the sinker remains close to the head of the bait when you cast. The Carolina rig on the other hand will let the plastic worm-Lizard-French Fry etc float or swim above the bottom on an attached leader because the sinker is kept higher upon the line through the use of an attached swivel. Shay adds glass beads that will make a "Clicking Sound" as you drag the sinker across the bottom helping gain the attention of bass in the immediate area. Once again the weight of the egg sinker will depend upon the depth of the water and wind conditions. To make this technique work for you there must be sinker contact with the bottom at all times. After you cast begin to sweep your rod to the side and drag the bait along. When you feel a hit-reel down on the bass and set the hook.

    Fishing A Texas Rig: Shay explained that he likes to use this method in and around rocky banks-boat docks and log jambs. Sinker size once again will be determined by the depth of the water and will always be a bullet sinker. Shay uses a 6 ˝ and 7ft rod with a 6:3:1 bait casting reel and 15lb to 20lb test line. Shay tries to bounce the worm or lizard off of everything possible to attract a bass. Shay stresses the importance of keeping your rod directly in front of you at a 45 degree angle. At times Shay will move the worm slowly along the bottom other times he will retrieve it with a "Twitch" giving it an erratic movement. Another key Shay stressed was keeping concentration on what your doing. Sometimes the bite will be vicious-at other times it will be ever so light. But when you detect a bite reel the slack out of your line and set the hook.

    Fishing A Floating Worm: This is perhaps one of the most enjoyable ways to fish a worm. The visual strikes this method produces at times is breath taking. As we discussed in the choosing worm color section Shay uses a variety of colors which include White-Bubblegum-Cotton Candy and Yellow. Floating worms or trick worms can be fished on bait casters or spinning gear equally as well. One major key to fishing this method correctly is finding out what the fish want. At times they want a floating worm that is moving like a snake-at other times they want bait that is moving slow and easy. To rig a "Floating Worm" you attach the hook in the same manner as a Texas rigged worm. To rig a "Wacky Worm" the hook is attached in the center of the worm and left exposed. Shay stressed there is just about no wrong way to use this technique.

    Flipping And Pitching: We need to begin by explaining the difference between "Pitching" and "Flipping". Pitching is a long distance version of flipping. Shay uses an underhand flip cast when pitching keeping the bait as close to the water as possible. This method Shay explains is awesome when the fish are very shallow and you want to avoid spooking the fish by getting to close to them. At times you may have to make several long pin point pitches to the same spot and you crawl the bait back toward you. Concentration once again is critical at all times. This method allows you to fish thick cover that might be unfishable in any other manner. On the other hand when flipping you get as close to the fish as possible. You make far shorter flips and you are working the bait up and down in a vertical manner as you climb your bait through the limb and branches. Once again watch your line and keep your concentration. Plastics are normally rigged in a Texas rig manner and sinkers are pegged against the head of the worm. Shay uses a 7 1/2ft or 8ft heavy action rod a 6:3:1 bait casting reel and 25lb test line for this method.

    Conclusion

    I want to thank Shay again for sharing this information with us and our hope is that it will make you a better plastics fisherman. If you have additional questions please feel free to ask Shay by using our "Fish Report" forum we will be happy to help in any manner we can. Thanks again Rick McFerrin Owner www.tennesseebassguides.com

    When looking at plastic worms-French fries-lizards and other plastic baits, if I said there is a rainbow of colors to choose from I wouldn’t bestretching it bit. Here are some basic colors that will works for Shay day in-day out in our middle Tennessee Lakes. There are many other colors that will work as well-but just go slow and choose wisely. As far as worm length you can stay with a 6inch or 7 inch worm in most of our lakes. That doesn’t mean that you won’t catch fish on a 10 inch worm-or on a 4 inch worm but Shay has found that the 6 & 7 inch worms produce more strikes over the course of the day.