Walk through any tackle shop, and you’ll see a wide range of paddle tails, twister tails, and straight tail soft plastics. So, how are you supposed to know which to choose? Let’s look at the attributes of each.
PADDLE TAILS are great for beginners, because they have an excellent action as they move through the water without any added input necessary from the angler. When you have novices aboard, handing them a rod rigged with one of these lures is a no-brainer. Paddle tails also make excellent trailers for trolling baits for the very same reason – they swim as they move through the water. But, they do have some down-sides. They need to be constantly on the move, because they don’t appear realistic when falling through the water. Also, it takes a minimum amount of water pressure to get that tail swimming and in many cases, they appear quite dead if retrieved or trolled too slowly.
TWISTER TAILS are similar to paddle tails in that they offer an action all their own without the angler twitching or jerking the rod tip. They have an advantage, too, in that those thin plastic tails will swim at just about any pace. However, most offer a much thinner profile. In some cases, they may not match the hatch too well.
STRAIGHT TAILS require you to work the rod actively, and don’t have much action if you don’t. That makes them the last choice as a trolling trailer, and a poor offering for a beginner to use. However, in the hands of an experienced angler they’re about as deadly as it gets. They sink with an attractive motion and can be vertically-jigged as well as worked horizontally through the water column. That makes them quite effective, in the widest variety of situations.
So: which one should you choose? That’s a question we can’t answer. But take all of these factors into account, as you decide which type of tail is best for you.