Why Would We Throw That and When to Use Them?
article by Kenny Covington
Recently while fishing with a good friend, we were fishing water less than a foot deep when I caught a bass in the five pound range on a 10 inch plastic worm. As I unhooked the fish my friend made the statement, “I would have never thrown such a big worm in water that shallow”. When I asked him why he replied, “It just never occurred to me.”
As fishermen we get set in our ways and this lack of an open mind can keep us from taking advantage of opportunities to catch fish that exist on each fishing trip. But are we really closed minded about certain fishing ideas or is it that we simply don’t know? It may be a little of both.
When it comes to soft plastics in bass fishing, the choices are beyond numerous. We have finesse worms, croc tail worms, ribbon tail worms, super finesse worms… The list goes on and on, nevermind the numerous creature baits and the abundance of color choices. So how do we know when to use what?
As a rule of thumb, regardless of the type of soft plastic, I always go with basic colors no matter where I am fishing. I know in our area waters I can catch fish on any shade of watermelon, black neon, redshad, plum or junebug no matter where I am fishing. Those five will take care of most of my color choices.
I think the complexity starts when we discuss the size and style of our soft plastic lures. When do we use a small worm or when is the bigger 10 or 12 inch version the better choice? At what point is a creature bait such as a Zoom Brush Hog a better choice over a Sweet Beaver? Here are some basic guidelines that might prove to be helpful.
In warmer and dirtier water use a bigger bait. Like the example I used in the beginning of this article, fish that are located in warm (over 80 degrees) off colored, shallow water tend to feed more by feel than they do by sight. A big bulky plastic worm such as one with a croc tail or Brush Hog that gives off a lot of water displacement makes it easy for the fish to locate even in the muddiest of conditions.
In clearer and colder water or on high pressure lakes, use more finesse. This is very effective in the winter months but finesse presentations work well year round on certain bodies of water, especially those with high fishing pressure or boat traffic. Some cypress tree based lakes, like Cheniere Lake, are good finesse lakes simply because of the personality of the fishery itself.
Techniques such as shaky heads, small Carolina rigs and Texas rigged finesse worms are proven big fish catchers in these lakes completely going against what we program ourselves to believe what a big fish likes.
Color is overrated but let the fish choose anyway. Let’s face it, we all have our favorite color for soft plastics but sometimes it is best to choose your lure color based on conditions instead of what you like. In clearer water use more natural colors that are watermelon based. In stained or muddy water or at night, choose a darker color such as a black neon or junebug. But don’t be hard headed. If your partner is beating your eyes out throwing a color “they aren’t supposed to hit,” don’t let your ego get the best of you. Let the fish tell you what to throw.
Don’t overlook the lake and the conditions you are fishing. In the heat of the summer, larger plastic worms seem to catch big bass. In the dead of winter, smaller creature type baits tend to catch more fish. On Turkey Creek, a Zoom Brush Hog is a standard choice of soft plastic year round. On Caney Lake, a shakey head is a top producer for numbers and big bass alike. Each lake has its own personality and the techniques reflect that.
Some lakes are color specific. A good example of this is Lake Claiborne. Since I was old enough to fish Claiborne, it has always been a chartreuse, green or watermelon color based lake. Bright skies, cloudy days, rain, snow… no matter the weather or the water conditions, I have caught fish using lures that have these color schemes.
Do I throw a craw worm or do I use a sweet beaver? Should I use a centipede worm or go with the finesse version? The questions will always be asked and the standard answers will always be given. I have said many times there is no substitute for experience and when it comes to soft plastics and the when’s and where’s of fishing them it is even more so.
Please be careful when you are out on the water. Use plenty of sunscreen, drink plenty of water and catch one for me! See you next month!