Soft plastic lures have become more and more popular as live or even frozen baits have become more expensive. The designs vary from mullet to shrim,p and every different bait you can find in nature. The materials used vary greatly as well. New polymer baits are offering more durability, more lifelike action and feel, to more ability to hold scent or flavor additives.
The most popular soft plastic may be the shrimp. A number of companies offer some impression of a shrimp. Some of the baits offer flavor additives in the package, such as Gulp Ghost Shrimp. Others offer more lifelike appearance such as Z-Man. The difference in catch seems to be related to presentation. For proper understanding of presentation, you need to consider the way a shrimp moves in the water. The shrimp’s movement is reverse of what you would think just looking at them. The shrimp uses water thrust to move through the water by collapsing it’s tail and body together to shoot through the water. This is important to consider when rigging you’re bait. The head and feelers need to be at the end of the hook, so the bait will look more natural to the fish. The selection of a bait needs to take a lot of parameters into account. Water type, water clarity, flavor and toughness can all play a role in selection. Color is maybe the most important criteria for catching fish. Some colors imitate shrimp color and others are just better for visualization. A chartreuse color can offer better visualization in darker water, while a new penny will look more natural. Shrimp do undergo some molting process and this can lead to differing colors in nature. Most companies offer soft plastics in multiple colors.
The mullet or bat fish lure has the same considerations as the shrimp. A good mimic of the current color and size of live fish available, will help guide a selection of lure. In saltwater the paddletail is more popular the the swirltail lure. A jig head lure will be better for bottom fish while a straight hook lure will be better for suspending fish as it will not sink as rapidly. Castability is a consideration when choosing a soft plastic. Some weight assessment needs to be considered when choosing soft plastic baits, as it is desirable to stay some distance from fish in an effort to not spook the fish. Some colors and shapes look like non baitfish that only appear in nature. Trout love lizzard fish, and a good bait for trout will mimic these odd fish.
As you can see, a lot of soft plastic choices are out there and you will need to assess the type of bait that is best for you’re target species. Most baits will attract multiple fish species, so if you are not targeting a specific species you can go with which ever is best for the conditions of you’re trip. Again water color, current, and depth of the fish are all considerations.
Often the toughness of a soft plastic comes into play. Weather from feisty baitfish or structure issues a more resilient bait can be desirable. Multiple fish on the same bait may not be possible in certain situations without durability of the bait. You may see all of the feelers, arms, claws and antenna are removed by baitfish before the target fish get a look at you’re bait. This may prevent the target fish from biting you’re bait. New baits recently released do take this into consideration, so take some time to research these lures. See these specials.