Jump to content
ALLCAPS

Why have I always had zero luck fishing with soft plastics?

Recommended Posts

I have lived in FL my entire life which also means I've been fishing for pretty much my entire life. As a kid, live worms were my go to bait, and as I got older I started using minnows and shiners as well. All have done me fine and I've caught a wide array of freshwater fish using these baits.

 

BUT, I have never once caught a fish with soft plastics. For the past two days I decided to try an experiment. I went out with two rods, both rigged with a simple bobber and one small weight and a hook. One rod I would throw a live worm on the hook, the other I'd throw a piece of soft plastic worm. My idea was to fish for whatever that would bite, but since this spot I was fishing is always great for panfish, that's what I was targeting.

 

My first cast with live worm produced a tiny bass, and within the hour I was fishing I caught about 10+ fish with live worms. 1 bass, and the rest panfish. But, my rod that had pieces of soft plastic on it did not get a single bite. I am fishing in pretty stained water with about 2 foot of visibility. I tried watermelon plastics, some green with red flake, some black with red flake, some black with blue flake, and even some fire tiger grubs. I got zero bites. I even tried different ways to hook the baits, some whacky, some I'd hook through just the tip so maybe it'd float and get more action.

 

I was using pieces of Senko's, some cheap Berkley worms, those grubs, and a couple of other random worms. Eventually I gave up and took the bobber off and just kept the weight with a piece of plastic on it and slowly twitched it along the bottom. Nothing. Not a single bite. What am I doing wrong? Like I had the lines in the water right next to each other and the fish could not care less about the artificial baits and would always hit the live ones.

 

and the funniest part, I took a piece of soft bait, put it on the hook, then hooked a small live worm on the same hook. Guess what? Little panfish came up and sucked the real worm off the hook and wouldn't touch the plastic after that. What gives?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why just a piece of plastic? Plastics need to be fished in order to give it action. Live bait can be deadsticked because its alive and gives action. Deadsticked plastics appear to be a floating piece of trash. In a bass rich environment, cast out a 6" senco unweighted on a 4/0 ewg hook. Let it hit bottom. Lift rod to move it a couple feet and reel in the slack. Once it hits bottom, lift the rod and reel in slack. Rinse and repeat. Once its reeled back in, head down shore 10' and repeat. If you don't catch a fish you need to find a new place to fish. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, MainelyBASS said:

What do you mean "pieces" of soft plastics? Are you not rigging a whole worm on a hook? Texas rigged, or wacky rigged?

No, I used just a piece since most of these worms would be far too big for the mouths of panfish (at least the size I was catching).  I did however wacky rig a 3" Senko, and still no luck.  Maybe with a bobber they aren't getting enough action?  I have fished full sized Senkos without bobbers.  Some weightless, some with tiny jig heads, never once got a bite though.

Oh and I mostly only try wacky rigging them.  I haven't tried a Texas rig in years.

8 minutes ago, Mikeltee said:

Why just a piece of plastic? Plastics need to be fished in order to give it action. Live bait can be deadsticked because its alive and gives action. Deadsticked plastics appear to be a floating piece of trash. In a bass rich environment, cast out a 6" senco unweighted on a 4/0 ewg hook. Let it hit bottom. Lift rod to move it a couple feet and reel in the slack. Once it hits bottom, lift the rod and reel in slack. Rinse and repeat. Once its reeled back in, head down shore 10' and repeat. If you don't catch a fish you need to find a new place to fish. 

Maybe I'll give this a shot tomorrow.  I have tried full Senkos before with no luck, but I'll focus more on the drop and getting the presentation down.  I always hear about the love people have for Senkos, so I really want to catch something with one so I can ride that train as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With soft plastics it's the METHOD more than the actual BAIT.  You have it incite the fishes interest by HOW the plastic acts much more than WHAT the plastic is. Use the search function on here and you can be very educated by your next fishing trip. Soft plastics is by far the easiest way to catch fish because they out fish any other bait.  The reason is it looks much more natural to a fish, but ONLY when the bait is worked right...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice is to use smaller baits for panfish. Trying to use a bass lure for panfish will not work most of the time.  They will always go for live bait over plastic. If you wanna go for panfish, small jigheaded grubs and beetlespins will work. Also small inline spinners as well. It’s fun to catch panfish on lures but you gotta match the size to the fish. Even 3 inch senkos can be to big. Also never cut a senko up, it loses its action. One technique that catches me fish of all sizes is a zoom finesse worm on a small 1/16 oz wacky rig with a size 1 hook(keitech mono spin). I’ve caught fish just letting it sit on the bottom. Another good technique is the ned rig. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have to adjust the size of your bait to the type of fish you are targeting. 

 

Panfish, try a 2" trout worm,grub,minnow

 

Bass, 5" senior, trick worm, creature baits   

 

It will work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what you described, I think your modifications to the baits is preventing them from performing the way they were intended so the results you had really can’t be surprising. 

 

Smaller plastics will catch smaller fish if that is your intent. It will be better, as already mentioned to just use smaller plastics. 

 

You also seem to suffer from the belief that the plastic is too big for them and I know because I also used to think like that, lol. 

 

Trust me those smaller fish will hit those larger baits too. I a caught smallie that was smaller than my roboworm, lol. 

 

Since you are fishing stained water you might want to consider using bait with vibration or cause water commotion like spinner baits and cranks. You can add a soft plastic body to your spinnerbaits and that should count as caching one with a soft plastic ... technically 😎

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ALLCAPS said:

No, I used just a piece since most of these worms would be far too big for the mouths of panfish (at least the size I was catching).  I did however wacky rig a 3" Senko, and still no luck.  Maybe with a bobber they aren't getting enough action?  I have fished full sized Senkos without bobbers.  Some weightless, some with tiny jig heads, never once got a bite though.

Oh and I mostly only try wacky rigging them.  I haven't tried a Texas rig in years.

Maybe I'll give this a shot tomorrow.  I have tried full Senkos before with no luck, but I'll focus more on the drop and getting the presentation down.  I always hear about the love people have for Senkos, so I really want to catch something with one so I can ride that train as well.

I was new to bass fishing this year. I did a ton of research here before dropping a couple stacks on tackle. I knew I wanted to start with sencos as these seem to be foolproof, cheap, and when all else fails, the sencos will reign supreme. The problem with this is that it is boring unless you are catching a ton of fish, but better than anything on tv. The best post I read was when bank fishing on a new pond, cast to center of pond, fish it in, walk 10' and repeat. If no fish bite no fish are there. This has been true all season whether it be 60 degrees at dawn or 100 degrees at 3pm. I have caught bass on sencos everywhere I have been using this technique. Hardly anything else works for me, but I have more fun trying new techniques such as walking a frog. I cant wait to get a boat!

 

Give up the panfish bro. This is bass fishing! The big leagues! Leave the bluegills for the kiddos, and as far as live bait is concerned, most here will agree that's not sport fishing. If you are feeding your family, by all means... livebait til you got your limit! If you catch and release sport fish, be proud that you can imitate a baitfish with your knowledge and technique. 

 

One thing I will add is sencos require a very sensitive rod. Just the other day I was fishing and thought i felt bottom. It was the most subtle hit... I started to reel in the slack and the line took off. Low and behold that tiny subtle bite ended up being a 5#er inhaling the bait. Tom said the other day that 90% of bites go unnoticed and after my previous catch, I can 100% see that being true. In bass fishing where most fish are going to be under 4#, reels are a dime a dozen. What you are mainly paying for is longevity. The rod on the other hand is the most important purchase IMHO! Now if you don't have the money to fund a $200 rod, you can always go with a lighter power. The problem will surface when you need backbone and its just not there. My first ned rig rod was an Ugly Stick Elite ML for $50 and I caught many big bass on it. I never had to pull anything out of the muck with it though. Its now a panfish rod and a good one at that! If you drop $50 on a MH rod, you just wont have the sensitivity needed to feel those light bites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know exactly what you are talking about.  Just the other day I was trying to hammer a nail in the wall using a screwdriver and I just couldn't get it to go in.  I think there may be something wrong with my screwdriver...

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the tips everyone, it's really good advice.  I guess I was cutting the baits down because I thought (and I may be entirely wrong) that they'd be too big and a smaller piece would appeal to panfish more.  I like fishing panfish because I mostly fish off my dock.  I live in a complex and my dock is a big floating dock with multiple places to cast from.  When I fish I can always guarantee I'll catch panfish, or catfish (heaven forbid, I hate catching those things), but bass are hit or miss usually.  But that's when I fish with live worms mostly, if I bring out the minnows or shiners, I will almost always catch bass unless just nothing wants to bite.

 

Does color really matter that much or should I focus more on presentation?  I like the suggestion of baits that cause vibrations, because this water has pretty poor clarity.  I've been meaning to buy more spinners since I don't know what happened to the ones I had in the past, and throwing a trailer on them would be nice.  I have some space monkey plastic creature baits that would probably make a good trailer because the "claws" on them do have good motion.  I also made a few swim jigs with little grub trailers recently but I can't for the life of me get them to run true, sometimes they even just spin around and around when reeling in.  But besides, I think something with a blade would be better for me rather than simple swim jigs.

 

You know, I think for the next 2 or so weeks straight I am going to fish nothing but artificial.  This will be the best way for me to learn the tricks needed instead of falling back on the old handy live baits.  Luckily I live where I can walk down and fish within minutes, so after class or work or whatever, I'll head out and try to fish for at least an hour every day (if I can).  By then I SHOULD have at least gotten a hit on some soft plastic.  I'll ditch the bobber as well, and just throw wacky, and maybe try a Texas rig.  I also want to get some jigs as well, maybe something that mimics a crayfish.  I just kind of want to try it all and then make note of what seems to work best.

 

I do also have a boat, well it's my parent's boat, but they'll let me use it.  I know of a few spots I've caught many bass at, usually where there is a downed tree or something for them to bunker under, or an old dock that is mostly underwater.  Think that'd be a good spot to drop something and try to lure them out.

1 hour ago, Mikeltee said:

I was new to bass fishing this year. I did a ton of research here before dropping a couple stacks on tackle. I knew I wanted to start with sencos as these seem to be foolproof, cheap, and when all else fails, the sencos will reign supreme. The problem with this is that it is boring unless you are catching a ton of fish, but better than anything on tv. The best post I read was when bank fishing on a new pond, cast to center of pond, fish it in, walk 10' and repeat. If no fish bite no fish are there. This has been true all season whether it be 60 degrees at dawn or 100 degrees at 3pm. I have caught bass on sencos everywhere I have been using this technique. Hardly anything else works for me, but I have more fun trying new techniques such as walking a frog. I cant wait to get a boat!

 

Give up the panfish bro. This is bass fishing! The big leagues! Leave the bluegills for the kiddos, and as far as live bait is concerned, most here will agree that's not sport fishing. If you are feeding your family, by all means... livebait til you got your limit! If you catch and release sport fish, be proud that you can imitate a baitfish with your knowledge and technique. 

 

One thing I will add is sencos require a very sensitive rod. Just the other day I was fishing and thought i felt bottom. It was the most subtle hit... I started to reel in the slack and the line took off. Low and behold that tiny subtle bite ended up being a 5#er inhaling the bait. Tom said the other day that 90% of bites go unnoticed and after my previous catch, I can 100% see that being true. In bass fishing where most fish are going to be under 4#, reels are a dime a dozen. What you are mainly paying for is longevity. The rod on the other hand is the most important purchase IMHO! Now if you don't have the money to fund a $200 rod, you can always go with a lighter power. The problem will surface when you need backbone and its just not there. My first ned rig rod was an Ugly Stick Elite ML for $50 and I caught many big bass on it. I never had to pull anything out of the muck with it though. Its now a panfish rod and a good one at that! If you drop $50 on a MH rod, you just wont have the sensitivity needed to feel those light bites.

You may be onto something about rod sensitivity.  I actually don't know off the top of my head what sensitivity my rod is.  It's an Ugly Stick rod, with an Ugly Stick reel.  7' if I'm not mistaken.  I have a BC with a nice rod, but it's more for saltwater fishing which I don't do much of.  I'll check tomorrow and see the details on my rod to see if that could be part of my issue.  Usually when I fish wacky Senkos, I'll cast, wait for it to fall on slack line.  Once it hits bottom I'll lift my rod tip up to about the 9-10 o' clock position, and then drop while reeling in the slack.  I'll wait 15 seconds and repeat.  One crappy thing is when I hit a log which often means I lose my hook and Senko (those babies aren't cheap, ya know?), but I've kind of learned where to not cast if I don't want to get hung up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get some crappie jigs to fish for panfish and use the whole plastic worm for bass. Both of those presentations should be done without bobbers. Impart the action to each by twitching your rod tip and reeling in slack. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those pieces of structure are often bass magnets. A basic texas rig skin hooking the senco will solve this problem. Weird that you are not having luck on the whacky. You are fishing correctly. Color doesn't matter. Most use watermelon or pumpkin. Try to stick to 6" Yamamoto sencos until you start catching them and then you can switch up to the cheap knockoffs.  Their higher cost builds more confidence in some, myself included, which is a necessity to be successful in this sport. You are right that they are not cheap and when you are lucky to get 1 fish per worm it adds up quick. Walmart has the cheapest price on them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh yea. Gotta ditch the bobber. Never had a bass guide touch one. Never see a pro in a tournament touch one. Look up videos of fishing various soft plastic rigs to see how it's done.

 

I used to be an almost strict hard bait guy. Then after fishing various soft plastic rigs with bass guides, I came to appreciate how well a soft plastic fished correctly produces. I'm sure that at least half my outings I would have been skunked if stuck with hard baits. (Live bait not something I ever fish).

 

Now I enjoy fishing a Texas rigged ribbon tail worm. Much different from cranking a rattle trap! And usually catches more bass.

 

Karl

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what you describe your just throwing a plastic worm out there and letting it lay just  like a night crawler . Although people do deadstick  soft plastics at time , that is not the way to fish them . You need to move them and bring them to life .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/9/2018 at 12:00 AM, diehardbassfishing said:

Oh yea. Gotta ditch the bobber. Never had a bass guide touch one. Never see a pro in a tournament touch one. Look up videos of fishing various soft plastic rigs to see how it's done.

 

I used to be an almost strict hard bait guy. Then after fishing various soft plastic rigs with bass guides, I came to appreciate how well a soft plastic fished correctly produces. I'm sure that at least half my outings I would have been skunked if stuck with hard baits. (Live bait not something I ever fish).

 

Now I enjoy fishing a Texas rigged ribbon tail worm. Much different from cranking a rattle trap! And usually catches more bass.

 

Karl

 

 

 

To me, the advantage is I can put plastics places that I can't put hard baits and I can keep them there longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know quite what you mean by "pieces" BUT you can't fish (most) soft plastics as though it were cut bait (or inactive live bait).  As others have said, you have to rig it and fish it in such a way as to to impart action to it-like it's a swimming or struggling "meal."  A "piece" of soft plastic (as I envision it) just isn't going to get the job done (most of the time).

 

Not THAT long ago I only occasionally used soft plastics and didn't really have that much confidence in them.  Now, although it is only part of my repertoire, I'd be lost without it-especially when the fish are in a neutral or negative mood.

 

It is hard to beat live bait at times but with the right soft plastic fished in the correct way, you'll soon find yourself catching more fish.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have lived in So. Flo since 1976 and one of my PB was on a dark purple plastic worm fished exactly as Minnow described. I haven't fished plastic worms in a long time but I still keep them around just in case I get nostalgic or need a rest from casting frogs, lizards, and other surface plastics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The OP is a live bait fisherman that doesn't have a clue how to catch fish on artifical lures. This thread reminds of mid winter cabin fever except the OP lives in Florida!

Start reading about bass fishing, so much information available.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try taking the entire senko, texas rigging it and just jig it up and let it sink back down, you're guaranteed to get something eventually.

 

Sometimes deadsticking a wacky rigged soft plastic can be effective at times as well as long as the water isn't completely still.

 

It's all about the action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×