The time has come for me to hand over the Junior Page and move onto feature articles. In an attempt to make my first feature one to remember, I have tried a few fresh approaches.
This month’s article will debunk some widely held misconceptions about soft plastic fishing. Successful soft plastic fishing is usually associated with professional tournament anglers. This image leaves punters believing that in order to be successful with soft plastics it is necessary to have an electric motor, top end gear and a freshly pressed Columbian shirt! This is not true.
This article will test and evaluate some of the set-ups used for soft plastic fishing.
I have approached this article with a tight budget; the tested set-ups are worth around $130-150. This price bracket is often difficult to work within, in terms of picking up a rod, reel and line. The best plan of attack is to target quality combos. I managed to find two combos to test.
Rod: Pflueger President 5’6” (1.67m), 4-8lb
Reel: Pflueger President 1000
Line: 4lb Fireline in Pink ($27)
Rod: Shakespeare Durango 6’ (1.80m) Medium
Reel: Shakespeare Durango 2000
Line: 4lb Fireline in Pink ($27)
The number of variations and colours available in the soft plastics market is phenomenal. After sifting through various tackle shops over the last few years I have come up with a few ‘old faithfuls’. For a first timer not used to soft plastics all of these different names can be intimidating – grubs, minnows, Flick Baits, shads, wrigglers – the list is endless.
So, where to begin? I have found from working in tackle stores that sticking to plastics in the 2-3” range will give you a good foundation for building your collection. There are various plastics that require a different retrieval style. For beginners I suggest small minnows and shads. Dropshots require different retrieval methods to achieve the proper swimming action.
When selecting jigheads, it all boils down to ensuring you have enough weighted heads to get your plastic to the bottom, or to the desired depth. As a general rule of thumb: two lighter heads and two heavier heads should be used during your sessions.
For my first feature article, I put some solid hours into its compilation. I visited a few spots when testing these products – Jumpinpin, Coochin Creek and the Raby Bay Canals. To test these combos fairly I gave each a good run in a few different situations.
Partnered alongside good fishing mate Brett Buchan, I fished The ‘Pin system solidly for around 15-25 hours over a two week period with varied success.
The conditions were pretty poor, with varied catches in between the bouts of lousy weather. We adopted a few different styles in testing these combos. The first was the inside of The ‘Pin bar, where flathead and small trevally were the targeted species. The depth varies in these locations from around .8-16m. We tried to fish the deeper water to test how the reels would perform, and how the rods would fare when fishing a larger jighead. Three jighead sizes were used to fish this area: 1oz, 1/2oz and 1/4oz. All rods performed quite well with the exception of the Durango combo, which seemed to lose quite a bit of action.
Next was Kalinga Bank. With lesser variations in depth, smaller jigheads were used to get the plastics down to the thumpers awaiting our artificial baits. All combos seemed to handle the smaller heads quite well, with seven flathead boated and released. The President handled the smaller heads a lot better, and seemed a lot more responsive.
After driving through the pine forest, we finally made it to the Coochin Creek’s boat ramp. With both rods rigged with small Flick Baits, it was time to work the banks in an attempt to pick up some lazy flathead. After some minor success, we decided to move further up the creek and target the deeper edges. Larger jigs were used to achieve this, and within minutes we managed to have the President combo fully loaded on what ended up being a 3ft shovel nose. Although not what we hoped for, the President easily handled this estuarine juggernaut. Taking on massive runs throughout the fight, the President managed to work well under a locked drag.
Fishing the Raby Bay canals with soft plastics can be one of the most productive and exciting forms of soft plastic fishing. Canal fishing often features in magazines and DVDs, and canals are usually the home of many trophy fish.
Punters often overlook canal fishing, but don’t be fooled. Most canals are packed with huge bream, trevally and jacks. This type of fishing can be quite tedious at times, casting and retrieving plastics all morning, but patience is the key. Whilst fishing these canals, the Durango combo was really put to the test, with a solid hook up on a small jack, the drag was really tested. Although the fight didn’t last long the combo managed to go the distance with minimal shuddering from the spool.
Having the chance to test gear is always a positive, and in this case quite enjoyable. It’s obvious that these combos will catch fish on plastics, and handle most estuary species quite well. For the price, I believe the Durango combo to be the best entry level combo in soft plastic fishing. This combo held its own against the others, and overall turned in a great performance.
I would like to thank the boys at Captain Bligh’s for all their assistance in providing gear and knowledge.
|Atomic||3” Grub Motor oil/ Pumpkinseed||$8.99|
|Squidgy||70MM Fish Jelly Prawn||$9.99|
|Squidgy||110MM Flick Bait Real Bloodworm||$9.99|
|Berkley (PowerBait)||3” Power Minnow Grub Pearl Blue Shad||$9.99|
|Berkley (PowerBait)||4” Power Minnow Pink Lemonade||$9.99|
|Gulp (Saltwater)||3” Shrimp New Penny||$14.99|
|Gulp (Saltwater)||6” Sandworm Natural||$14.99|
|Old Bayside||4” Shadlyn Opening Night||$13.99|
|Slider||3” Bass Grub Glow||$12.99|
Leading fishing stores in Brisbane
|Captain Bligh’s Tacklemart||(07) 3290 0628||6/11 Eileen St, Underwood|
|Captain Bligh’s Tacklemart||(07) 3890 5999||1029 Manly Rd, Tingalpa|
|Fish Head Bait and Tackle||(07) 3206 7999||Cnr Stradbroke St & Broadwater Tce, Redland Bay|
|Gem Bait and Tackle||(07) 3287 3868||281 Jacobs Well Rd, Alberton|
|Tackle Warehouse||(07) 3398 6500||436 Old Cleveland Rd, Camp Hill|