Tips & Techniques for How To Use Soft Plastic Fishing Lures...
There are many different techniques for using Soft Plastics that many people may be unaware of or have been aware, but not tried yet. Below we look at some of the main techniques you can incorporate into your fishing style when using Gobblers Lures...
Gobblers Lures - Hopping...
The term "Hopping" is one of the most popular techniques and is used about 85% of the time when fishing Soft Plastics.
It can be used for targeting Snapper, Flathead, Mulloway, Threadfin Salmon in the Estuaries and Bays and can also be applied to almost all Offshore and Freshwater species also. The technique for "Hopping" Soft Plastics is very simple and can be used in a wide variety of environments and will catch a huge variety of species.
First, it is imperative you find the bait schools with a good quality sounder. There is no point in fishing where the bait is not hanging for this technique. Big fish tend to hang around bait...so it is your best chance of getting good results.
Make sure you have good shows of Bait Fish on the Sounder, with good shows of bigger fish amongst them
1) Choose a Jig Head that is heavy enough to get your Soft Plastic to the bottom, but makes the Plastic waft down instead of sinking like a brick. It has to look as natural as possible. If the current is running fast, use a heavier Jig head. If it's a slow run in the current, you can get away with using a lighter jig Head, but your lure must be getting to the bottom easily.
A general guide for choosing the correct Jig Head is usually a 1/4Oz Jig Head for 3.75 Inch Plastics. 3/8Oz Jig Heads for 4.75" - 6 Inch and anything up to a 1Oz or 1 1/2 Oz for 6 Plastics where the current is running hard, but this can vary due to the conditions with lighter or heavier Jig Heads applied.
2) Cast your lure out so it falls smack bang in the middle of the bait school, or cast over it, so when you retrieve your lure, it will come back through the bait school. After you cast, make sure you let the lure sink to the bottom before you begin your retrieve. If there is lots of current and you want to anchor up, position the boat so you are not directly over the bait school, but away from it, within casting distance of the bait school and cast at it. If you are drifting, line the boat up to drift back over the bait school once your lure is on the bottom, lifting your lure about 1m up off the bottom every 30 Seconds or so. The Idea is to make the Plastic act like a wounded baitfish...
3) Once your lure is on the bottom, start retrieving your plastic, lifting/flicking "Hopping" your rod tip up after every 3 winds of your handle, from 3 - 12 O'clock, so it lifts the lure a good 1m off the bottom each time, then let it sink again before retrieving any more line. Do this all the way back to the boat or land. Cast again if you didn't hook up. Repeat the process again and again until you get a hookup. This is "Hopping"
Gobblers Lures - Jigging...
The term "Jigging" has been used in fishing since Japanese anglers started bringing new metal Knife Jigs over with them to use on fishing charters for Samson Fish and King Fish.
Jigging has become a hugely popular technique when targeting deep reef fish like Red Emperor, Snapper and Pearl Perch also, but not many people know that the same technique can be applied to a Soft Plastic, and used in an identical way as you would if using a knife Jig.
For best results with this technique, you would almost always be on board a boat offshore, sitting over a large pinnacle on the sounder, showing good schools of bait and possibly some bigger arches of larger fish around it.For this technique, I would look for a bigger plastic, around the 4.75" or 6 Inches in size. Big plastics work best using this technique and a heavy Jig Head would produce the better result, between 1Oz - 2Oz Jig Heads would be Ideal. This is one of the only techniques where you want your plastic to sink like a brick to the bottom.
1) Once your boat is positioned directly over the bait/fish, Drop your plastic straight over the side of the boat and let it sink fast to the bottom.
2) Once you're on the bottom, start retrieving your plastic erratically, as fast as you can, jerking the Plastic / Rod as you wind, straight up off the bottom, getting the line back on your reel as fast as you can. The idea is to make the plastic look like a wounded baitfish trying to flee. You will feel the hookup! Best to use big gear for this style of fishing. Repeat the process until you get a fish. It can be hard work but worth the effort.
Gobblers Lures - Fast Retrieve / Spinning...
The term "Spinning" is a commonly known for casting small metal lures or Slugs at busting schools of fish on the surface, then ripping the lure back to your position at high speed. This can be done from land also.
You can catch all types of fish with this technique, but mainly popular Pelagic species are targeted like Tuna, Mackerel, Tailor, Salmon, King Fish e.t.c...The "Spinning" technique can be deadly when applied to Soft Plastics.
The key to successfully using Plastics to spin is to ensure your plastic swims dead straight when winding it back at high speed. If your Plastic is not swimming straight, your wasting your time and may need to adjust the way it is sitting on your Jig Head. A few test casts will make sure it's swimming straight.The good old "Egg Beater" or "Spin Reel" was specifically designed for this technique and it has proven to be a very successful way of catching fish, mainly because you get to see the fish up on the surface and sight cast to them. The hooks ups are usually spectacular and a fantastic rush for the Angler.
I love this style of fishing. I always have a rod, rigged, sitting in the rocket launchers ready to cast at any busting schools of fish we come across. I reserve a medium outfit for this style of fishing, using a 3000 - 4500 size Spin Reel attached to a 701medium style, Graphite Rod. I run 20pnd Braid with 1.5m of 20pnd Fluorocarbon Leader, as this will catch smaller fish and will also have enough stopping power to deal with anything a bit bigger that decides it wants your plastic. 3.75", 4.75" & 6-inch Jerk Shad style Plastics work best for this type of fishing. Normally a 1/4Oz Jig Head is sufficient, but a 3/8Oz Jig Head will give you more distance when casting.
Weight is not normally an issue with this technique, as you will be retrieving your Plastic at high speed just under the surface, so whatever weight you feel you need to make the distance in casting to the fish too get the hook up can be used.
Here is a fantastic 3min YouTube Video put together by Adam Long on a recent trip to Harvey Bay, where the boys had an epic session Spinning for Tuna on Plastics http://youtu.be/9t1USfXXoXE
Gobblers Lures - Sight Casting...
Sight casting can be done when you can visually see the fish. You can vary your techniques to get the strike by incorporating "Spinning", "Hopping" or "Twitching"
The most common use of Sight Casting is when you come upon a busting school of Tailor or Tuna...and you cast at the school targeting the fish you can see.Sight casting also comes into play around Pylons in Marinas or Estuaries, where you may see boils from fish under the surface. It can also come into play when fishing for Flathead and Mangrove Jack, casting at the mouth of drains or runoffs, up into Mangrove roots, around Rock Bars or around Beacons.
Sight casting is a finesse style of fishing, where the Angler is constantly working the lure and constantly putting in casts.
Gobblers Lures - Drifting...
One of the best techniques by far when using Softy Plastics is "Drifting". Drifting is simply a technique used as an alternative to anchoring up and covers much more ground and can be used when targeting almost all species of fish.Drifting is so simple to do and can incorporate "Hopping", "Dead Sticking" & "Twitching" while the boat is drifting with the current, without retrieving until you hook up...
Simply sound around until you find good shows of bait, then manoeuvre the boat upstream of the bait schools so you drift back over/through the bait schools once your Plastic is already on the bottom.
Keep your eye on the sounder so you know when to impart some action on your lure. Usually, some wave action or swell will do most of the work for you. Once you have drifted over the best shows of bait, wind in and set the boat up again for another drift. Keep repeating this to work the area.
Gobblers Lures - Dead Sticking...
The term "Dead Sticking" is my personal Favorite. It require's absolutely no input from the angler at all, other than choosing the right lure for your area and target species.All you need to do is cast out, ensuring your Plastic is on the bottom, then stick your rod in the rod holder while "Drifting" and let the wave action & current do the work for you.
I have caught some of my biggest fish using the "Dead Sticking" technique. Jerk Shads and Curl Tails are some of the best Plastics for this technique.
Gobblers Lures - Twitching...
The term "Twitching" comes from the short sharp action you put on your lure with subtle flicks of your wrist. It's very similar to the action you would use when popping a small popper on the surface, employing a similar action on the lure. It mimics an injured baitfish and can be an extremely effective way of getting a strike.
Most people use this technique when fishing around Pylons, over reefs or casting in shallow water. It can be used with a wide variety of plastics and works very effectively when rigging Topwater Frogs, Jerk Shads and Curly Tails.
It's a technique you can use in all 3 sections of the water column...bottom, mid-water and topwater. Rigging styles can vary and jig head weight can be matched to the plastic size and the conditions your fishing in.
Gobblers Lures - Trolling...
Trolling Plastics for Pelagic's If you didn't realise this technique can be very effective already, you are in for a treat! Trolling your Gobblers Lures can be a very exciting way to use your Lures and a great way to target Pelagic Fish or any surface feeders.
The principal is no different than "Spinning" but instead of using a fast retrieve, you stick your lure 30m - 50m out the back of your boat and idol up to walking or jogging pace.
This Technique Perfectly suited to Jerk Shad style Plastics and Curl Tails and You can troll any size Plastic.The idea is to use a heavier Jig Head to make your Lure swim just under the surface when on the troll. It doesn't matter if the Lure starts breaking the surface, as it looks like a bait fish trying to escape being eaten and turns the fish on more.
The Lure must be swimming dead straight and not twisting around in the water. Do a few test casts first before sending it out the back and make adjustments on the Jig Head to make sure the lure is swimming properly first...