Choosing Soft PlasticsPart 1: Tail Styles & Actions
One of the most common questions I get asked concerns choosing the best soft plastic action (as dictated by the tail design, stiffness and density of the lure) for a particular fishing scenario. While there are actually multiple answers to such questions and no absolute “right” or “wrong” selection, here a few guidelines I use every day that I fish. Hopefully, they might help in YOUR decision-making process:
The best way to look at this question is to grade or sort soft plastics by style or design, starting with those models that have the least built-in action (and which therefore track straighter through the water when simply retrieved in a direct line or with a constant retrieve) and work our way up the action scale to the tails that have the most in-built action.
Sort your soft plastics, starting with those that have the LEAST built-in action and working our way up the scale to the tails that have the MOST in-built action.
Sometimes a more subtle, discrete and downright sneaky swimming action is MUCH more effective than a strong, obvious action.
Sometimes a more subtle, discrete and downright sneaky swimming action is actually MUCH more effective than a strong, obvious action, and far more likely to fool a wary fish into striking.
So, when is a more subtle action from the bottom of the action scale likely to be more effective? ANSWER: In at least these four scenarios:
1. Ultra-clear water
2. Super-shallow water
3. On extremely finicky, wary or shy fish
4. Whenever attempting to imitate a food source with a subtle swimming action
The aggressiveness or otherwise of the lure’s action is paramount and should be the FIRST factor you consider!
1. Dirty, discoloured or muddy water
2. In low light or at night
3. At greater depth
4. On aggressive, highly predatory fish
Hopefully, these tips have given you some clues on where to at least START when it comes to choosing a particular soft plastic tail or lure for a given fishing scenario. Obviously, other important factors relating to the size, colour and sink rate of your plastics also play a role in their effectiveness, but in many cases, the aggressiveness or otherwise of the lure’s action is paramount and should be the FIRST factor you consider tweaking.