WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE soft plastic bait and color for the Texas coast? —a good question for the “colder” months of the year.
Live bait can be hard to find. The choices are numerous. Down South, Egret Vudu, Saltwater Assassin, Yum, H&H Saltwater, Storm Soft Plastics, Z-Man, Kelley Wigglers, MirrOlures, Texas Tackle Factory, Berkley Gulp, Home Wrecker etc. —just a few to get the conversation going. I’m sure I left someone’s favorite out.
The soft plastic under a popping cork produces good results. The following are some of the answers given to the question on a popular internet fishing talk page.
Egret Wedge Tail—great action at slower retrieves, tough, and great vibration at higher speeds that provokes reaction strikes when the bite is slow.
Or, how about the Norton Bull Minnow and the Sand Shad Jr.? “I love the action and the colors available,” was one angler’s reply.“Norton baits have been in my box for a long time.” Lindsey said, “Norton Bull Minnows because of their durability, great action, and they catch a lot of fish.”
Durability was a big plus to many of the responding anglers. Built in action was another plus. “With even the slightest current or tide change, with a light jig head they practically work themselves.” Bass Anglers’ six-inch curly tail worms, rigged with a 1/8 ounce lead weight, rigged weedless, works well for one angler.
Most of the guides favorite lures are whatever some company is giving them for free, but they won’t stay on their favorite list if they are not catching fish. Guide Tommy Countz started off with Hogies many years ago.
“They were great lures and still are, he said. “I then went to Gambler, throwing the Gamblers with the flapping tail. Bass Assassin came along in the 80s. Bass Assassin and Gamblers are so soft you went through so many of them. Then I got on the Norton. About four years ago I started throwing MirrOlures, which I have been throwing for four or five years.”
Capt. Jack McPartland in the winter months throws a Pumpkin Seed/Chartreuse tailed soft plastic. “I don’t leave the ramp without that color,” said Capt. McPartland. “When I first started fishing down here, we didn’t have Kelley Wiggler, Hogie and Nortons and stuff like that. Most people threw Speck Rigs, and just little straight worms. Most of them were double rigged. Most of the people back then had either gold or silver spoons and Bingos. Then you had all these others come on the market.
“At this time of the year the shrimp have pretty much migrated out to the Gulf. Bait in the water is bait fish … little mullet, little shad. We try to imitate it. The best way to imitate it is throwing the soft paddle tail, the minnow and shad types.”
“Limetreuse, and for some reason the Texas Roach, is a really hot color,” says Capt. Countz. “I’m a firm believer that color makes a difference about two percent of the time when fish react to the bait.
“The reason the Bass Assassin Sea Shad is so good is because you don’t have to know anything. You can just reel, and the action is built into the bait, one of the few baits available that is like that. The bass guys call them swim baits. You can work it, swim it.
“You just have to find out what works best. Five years ago, the favorite color would probably have been purple/white tail. Ten years ago, it would have been red/white tail. Today it’s Limetreuse, probably thrown more than any other color, especially if the water’s off color.”
Do fish get used to seeing a certain color, and it loses its catching effectiveness? “I would think that would be it,” said Capt. Ralph Frazier. “Then again, one of my guides told me he caught 16 on pink/clear, red/white tails.
I talk to biologists, and they tell me that we know more than they do about why the fish chose one color, and then change to another. When we think we know something the fish will prove us wrong.”
It seems like new soft plastic baits and different colors show up frequently. Some of the new colors are awesome. Whether they will catch fish, only time will tell. I do not recommend any one soft plastic. Like the guides all echoed, everybody has their own favorite.
Email Tom Behrens at ContactUs@fishgame.com