Winter bass fishing is often associated more with hard lures like crankbaits and jerkbaits and skirted lures like jigs and spinnerbaits than it is with soft plastics. But soft plastic lures catch lots of fishing in the winter as well. To make sure you’re not missing out, we’re going to look at five great soft plastic applications for wintertime fishing today.
Anything on a Ned rig
A Ned rig is more defined by the style of jighead than an exact soft plastic, so we’re putting the emphasis here on this lure as a whole and not the exact soft plastic. Basically, any soft plastic that you like that suits a Ned rig well is a great soft plastic choice for the winter.
So miniature craws, creature baits, grubs, tubes and stick baits all work exceptionally well in the winter when combined with a Ned head to create a Ned rig. These soft plastics are good options because they are small and can be fished slowly across clean bottom and around rocks and even some woody cover.
A dropshot is again more of a rig that several different soft plastics can be used well with. A dropshot works well when the water is colder for several of the same reasons a Ned rig does. This setup can be fished slowly and used to target fish along the bottom.
But it is also well suited to target bass that are suspending up off the bottom a bit and relating to vertical cover. Finesse worms and small shad imitators like Flukes and single swimbaits can all be used with a dropshot in a variety of ways, making this a great approach for soft plastics in the winter.
Soft plastic jerkbaits
Now with soft plastic jerkbaits like a Fluke, you actually have a soft plastic that can be rigged several different ways to catch bass in the winter. You can fish a lure like this weedless and weightless, twitched slowly subsurface to mimic a struggling shad. Or you can rig it on a dropshot as previously mentioned.
You can also rig this soft plastic on an underspin or a scrounger, two great tools for catching bass during the winter months. You can fish a scrounger in a lot of the same places you’d throw a lipless crankbait, squarebill or spinnerbait. And then slow roll or yo-yo the underspin a little deeper.
Shallow pitching and flipping
Flipping and pitching Texas rigged soft plastics is another great option. Though jigs do work well around shallow cover in the winter, so do tubes, creature baits and Beaver style baits. And these lures often offer a slightly more finesse approach compared to the bigger, bulkier jigs.
Punching also still catches fish in the winter, anytime you can find a little matted vegetation that’s still lingering around. And Texas rigged soft plastics enter into this vegetation much cleaner than jigs, even when it’s a little sparser.
Soft plastics are also critical components for wintertime fishing when used as trailers for spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs and other types of jigs. Because the baits need to move slower to draw strikes in the colder water, the bass often get a little better look at these lures. A well-suited soft plastic trailer will mask the hook of a spinnerbait or ChatterBait well.
Using craw style trailers to complete the profile of swim jigs, football jigs and flipping jigs also really increases the odds of getting bit using these baits in the winter. A trailer with large appendages will slow down the fall or retrieve of some jigs, which helps a lot in the winter as well. Just be careful not to overpower a bait with too large of a trailer. This will be evident if the bass are short striking the bait a lot, picking off the claws.
Soft plastics certainly have their place in winter time fishing. The numerous rigs and baits we mentioned like dropshots, Ned rigs, Texas rigs, scroungers and underspins can not function without soft plastics. And there are even still those we didn’t mention like Carolina rigs and single swimbaits that are extremely effective in the winter.
There are lures like spinnerbaits and flipping jigs too that can certainly be made even more effective by combining a soft plastic trailer with the bait. Keeping these soft plastics in the lineup throughout the winter will help diversify your offering. And when the bass won’t quite commit to a jerkbait, squarebill or other wintertime staple, you’ll be ready.
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