Selecting Soft Plastic Baits: Pro Tips for Bass Fishing

Soft plastic baits come in a bewildering array of shapes, sizes, and colors. But according to Bassmaster Classic champion Casey Ashley, choosing the right one can be simple. Here’s a breakdown of his pro tips for selecting soft plastic baits based on the fishing technique and target area.

Flipping and Pitching:

  • Ideal for areas with shallow cover like grass, blowdowns, logs, or docks.
  • Choose creature baits that resemble bluegill or crawfish, such as the Zoom Z-Craw, for their bulk and compactness.
  • Creature baits are easier to flip and pitch due to their weight, and generate less action to trigger reaction strikes from bass.

Finesse Fishing:

  • Downsize baits and line for fishing with spinning gear.
  • Shaky head: Zoom Finesse Worm on a 1/8 or 1/16-ounce jighead (winter and pre-spawn) or Zoom Trick Worm (spawn and year-round). Green pumpkin is a versatile color choice, with watermelon favored for gin-clear water.
  • Drop-shot:
    • Smallmouth bass: Tiny baits (3-4 inches) in green pumpkin or black with an open hook and nose-hooked for better hooksets.
    • Spotted and largemouth bass: Straight-tail worms like Zoom Swamp Crawler or finesse worms fished on straight shank hooks like Owner Cover Shot Texas-rigged for better snag resistance.

Offshore and Swimming Worms:

  • Carolina rig or Texas rig with a bullet weight for fishing away from the bank.
  • Carolina rig (post-spawn): Zoom Baby Brush Hog or Zoom Trick Worm. Magnum Trick Worm may be preferred in cooler water.
  • Texas rig (offshore cover): Zoom Magnum Trick Worm or Zoom Ol’ Monster (larger worms preferred in late summer) on a 1/4 to 5/16-ounce tungsten bullet weight (not pegged to allow for better bait action).
  • Swimming worms (around grass): Zoom Ultravibe Speed Worm with fluorocarbon line and a weight no heavier than 1/8-ounce for easy near-surface retrieves.

Jig Trailers:

  • Skirted jigs can be enhanced with soft plastic trailers.
  • Choose trailers based on jig action and target season:
    • Moving jigs (swim jigs): Zoom Z-Craw or twin tail grub for high action.
    • Jigs fished around docks (winter to pre-spawn): Zoom Super Chunk Jr. or Big Salty Chunk.
    • Jigs fished in warm water (post-spawn): Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail Grub for a wiggly action that imitates bluegill.

Remember, these are just some general tips. The best soft plastic bait for you will depend on the specific situation and the fish you’re targeting. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you on the water.

Image/Source: BassResource

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