SOFT PLASTICS FOR THE SOUTH
SOFT PLASTICS FOR THE SOUTH
- Posted by Nick Honachefsky
- On January 3, 2017
Want tips on how to effectively increase your winter day’s catch? Nick shares his take on how effective soft plastics can be on southern inshore species.
A rogue’s gallery of southern species inhabit the marshy channels, crystal clear flats, rushing inlets and calm water docks from North Carolina to Louisiana to Florida. You name it – seatrout, snook, redfish, flounder, jacks, ladyfish, tarpon and many other denizens are on tap and one of the most productive ways to target any southern species is with soft plastics, aka rubber baits. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to soft plastics on the market, but time and again, I’ve found a few particular offerings work best for southern species: When in Florida, you’re basically undergunned if you don’t have any DOA lures in your arsenal. Of particular note, the top model is the DOA Shrimp in Stark Naked and Gold Glitter color patterns, which works astoundingly well for everything from snook to seatrout. DOA CAL paddletails in 3 to 4-inch lengths are also all around solid baits when pilchards and glass minnows are present and utilize pepper/chartreuse tail and Purple haze colorings for the perfect imitation. When targeting snook around Florida docks during the mullet run, toss the 5-inch DOA BFL Original 430 for wicked topwater strikes.
When redfishing the oftentimes murky muddied waters in North Carolina, Mississippi or Louisiana, success has come with an H&H Baby Bull Minnow in Avocado/Red Glitter, or with Zman StreakZ in Root Beer and the Zman Scented Jerk Shad in Redbone and Shiner colorings. Bouncing around the mudflats for southern flounder in Texas, Florida’s clear central bays and North Carolina channels, scented baits such as the Berkley Gulp! 3 to 4-inch Shrimp in New Penny and Swimmin’ Mullet in white or chartreuse are tops, while Bass Assassins 5-inch Shad Assassin in Rainbow Shad, Electric Chicken and Opening Night colors seem to find all southern species of backwater fish.
Quite honestly, you can mix and match any of the aforementioned rubber baits to test in any scenario, but the real key to soft plastic success is to know what weights and when to throw them for every situation. All rubber baits should be rigged with lighter leadheads, 1/8 to 3/8-ounce for trout, redfish and ladyfish in the shallows or on the flats, while upping the weight to ½ to 1-ounce when fishing inlets or off docks and passes for bigger reds, snook and tarpon. The naked straight lead color is fine, but you can up your game for a streamlined effect on lures with colored leadheads in chartreuse, white or pink. Popular mold leadheads include the standard round ball design from various manufacturers, Bomber shad head jigs, and Kalin’s Ultimate Jighead. Obviously, there are hundreds of other soft plastic options to toss and try for species, but I’ve found plenty of southern success with these particular soft plastic/leadhead combinations. There are many shades of preferences when it comes to southern soft plastics, what are your favorite rubber baits for “Down South”?
DOA Shrimp have a live shrimp look and swimming action. With their downward facing, vibration legs and consistent level drop rate DOA Shrimp Lures have successfully fooled almost every species of fish that feed on live shrimp. Just to name a few, DOA Shrimp have caught trout, snook, redfish, flounder, tarpon, ladyfish, jacks, sheepshead, large & small mouth bass.
Z-Man Scented Jerk Shad Lures
As though building 10X Tough ElaZtech baits wasn’t enough, Z-Man has taken another giant leap in soft bait technology. The introduction of NEW SCENTED baits are extremely alluring to saltwater species.While a number of other scented baits are notorious for their stiff, lifeless feel, Z-Man ElaZtech Scented BaitZ are incredibly soft and buoyant and feature life-like detail.
DOA Big Fish Lure
The DOA Big Fish Lure, an 8” long swim bait, looks so natural it even fools humans. This innovative new swim bait gives you many options and you can fish the lure in many different ways. It has proven itself on snook, tarpon, striped bass, trophy seatrout and all offshore species. Its an excellent swim bait for the lunker bass of the West, Southwest and Southeast. Also good for trophy muskies and northern pike.
Berkley Gulp! Saltwater Swimming Mullet
Berkley Gulp! Saltwater baits are made from natural ingredients that release 400 times more scent than plastic baits. Formulated especially for ocean gamefish, Berkley Gulp! Saltwater is so potent it can actually OUTFISH live bait. Plus it’s 100 percent biodegradable for a cleaner environment. Stock up on a full selection of Gulp! Saltwater baits and you’ll experience more action than ever! They all look, smell, and move just like the real thing.