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Hard vs Soft lures

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I did a search on it but couldnt find anything.

whats the main difference other than saying ones hard and ones soft when it comes to selecting either or?

where would a hard bait lure excel where a soft bait wouldnt and visa versa?

im just asking this because i just scored a bunch of rapalas on craigslist and have never had luck on hard cranking baits. ive had moderate to low success with jerkbaits but i just wanted to know what makes you decide to throw a hard bait over plastics.

 

 

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Generally I'll throw moving baits to try to find active fish, or to get a reaction bite. They also work well when fish are active and willing to chase something down. Soft baits have more action with less movement so in general look like an easy meal. Both have their time and place and some people can make one work when another swears they can't. Just have confidence in them and try to find out the times that work the best for you. 

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This is an utter oversimplification but I fish a hard bait when one of two situations occur:  Either the fish are aggressive or are on a "reaction bite."  Okay, there is a third option:  When I need a search bait to fish water more quickly.  Soft baits are a "probing" bait.  This doesn't mean, of course, that the fish have to be inactive for them to work but that is one definite application.  Soft baits excel when the bass are in a negative or neutral mood and refuse to chase something.  You can fish a specific spot very thoroughly with soft bait whereas (most) hard baits fall more into the category of "Now you see them, now you don't."

Jerkbaits are outstanding baits and Rapala's (especially, in my humble opinion, Shadow Raps) are, arguably, among the best.  They are (or can be) the best of both worlds because you can fish them more quickly while at the same time, pause them and give the bass a moment to think about it (if they are in a contemplative mood).  Jerkbaits are a good early springtime bait BUT they are good all season long.

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I also break them down roughly into reaction(hardbait) vs finesse(softbait).  There are a handful of baits that are an exception to that rule such as a jerkbait worked slowly back to the boat, or, a soft swimbait being burned through the water.  I have more confidence with softbaits as I think they look more natural  in the water and often have scent.  With hardbaits, if I'm not keeping it moving I think it looks like floating debris instead of food to a bass.

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Today I caught 74 bass . probably 50 came on crankbaits ,mainly in open water about 12 foot deep . The rest came on t-rig worms shallower in brush .

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I kinda get on kicks where I throw one more than the other. Especially as a starting game plan. This will get changed depending on the fish. Right now I'm throwing a lot of deep cranks to start and then following up with C-rig plastics. I guess you could say I do most of my searching with hard baits. Then pick areas apart with plastics.

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I used to only fish hardbaits, until I found this site, and starting trying out the things I was reading about.  Now, I use softbaits for all kinds of applications - at least 50% of the time I am using soft plastics now.

A huge consideration is  SNAGS.

As an example: you can rig all kinds of soft baits weedless or semi-weedless, and by simply adding a bullet weight, you have a very versatile and simple bait.  My favorites include T-rigged craws and paddletails.

Both can be tossed into cover with a low probability of snagging.  Both can be fished on the surface, in the middle, or on bottom.  Either can be burned, swam, hopped, jigged, crawled, and deadsticked.

Try finding a hardbait that versatile...

If you do snag and lose a bait not much is lost in terms of cost.  Perhaps $1.00 or maybe $1.50.  You won't feel the same if you snag a $5 to $25 hardbait!

 

 

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I definitely fish more soft baits but man those hard baits sure do catch me at the tackle shops lol.

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I use plenty of both, but I would say 65% of my bass come on soft baits or jigs. I use soft baits and jigs in areas I know there are fish, and in calm conditions with bright sunlight. I will fish hardbaits a lot more in cloudy, windy, or low light conditions. This is a GENERAL rule of thumb though. If I'm throwing a hard bait during the day, it's probably a crankbait if it's fairly calm, a spinnerbait with some chop, or topwaters if it's cloudy. Again, these are rules of thumb. You need to develop confidence in BOTH hard and soft baits to truly be a good basser.

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Soft plastic/hard plastic lures have their specific times that they can be used effectively.For example,I rather use a Rebel pop r in open water applications and a Zoom horny toad in areas filled with aquatic vegetation. 

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I feel you can "finesse" certain jerk baits. Who says you can only fish cranks aggressively?. You're talking about rapalas man I have so many ! And about half of them I fish slow   with jerks and pauses. Examples. The rapala jointed. IMO best fished very slow, with sudden twitches. Same goes for the original floater. Also the jointed shad rap. Which rattles and suspends.can also be fished slow and so can the xrap! So can the rattling rapala and the newer rippin' rap.  My favorite however, setting my obsession aside for all of them , is the shallow shad rap.  For the past few years consecutively I've caught bass 4+ on that lure. In the yellow perch color where there are no perch. It's the action ! I could go on for days about em. And I've had people say they don't like rapala. Never caught much on em. That's fine with me. I don't need a 20 dollar crank bait to catch my bass buddy. And I hope it never changes 

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