Try Plastic For More Fish

By Bob Jensen - April 1, 2004
Jigs are great for catching fish: Almost any fish will eat a jig. Tradition has most anglers tipping their jigs with minnows, leeches, or nightcrawlers, and for good reason. There aren't many fish that can resist a jig/live bait combo that is well presented. However, plastic baits are getting better and better all the time, and more and more anglers are finding that plastic tails on jigs can really fool the fish.

The reason plastic baits are becoming so popular is that they allow an angler a lot of flexibility in lure presentation. Minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers only come in one color, but plastic minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers are available in a variety of colors. Color options can be a big help sometimes.

Real minnows, leeches, and crawlers have only one action, but the plastic versions can be found with tails that wiggle a little or a lot. Lure action options can be a big help sometimes.

Bullheads, perch, sheepshead, and a bunch of other fish will nip at live baits and ruin them quickly. Those same fish will nip at the plastic baits, but the plastics are much more durable.

Live bait falls off a jig pretty quickly in most situations, but plastic is very durable and stays on the hook for a long period of time.

When you catch a fish on a jig/minnow combination, you usually need to replace the minnow after each fish. With plastic, you can catch several fish per bait.

Power Bait has been a leader in plastic bait development for a long time. Power Baits are impregnated with scent and come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors that will appeal to virtually any fish.

A new addition to the plastic bait family is actually not a plastic bait. Gulp! products look like plastic, but are made of a different material that allows scent to emanate from it more freely and effectively. Additionally, Gulp! biodegrades, whereas plastic stays in the ecosystem for a long period of time. A Gulp! bait that might fall off a jig will be gone in ninety days.

My favorite way to fish plastic employs a Mimic Minnow jighead and your plastic of choice. For walleyes, a three inch Power Grub or Gulp! Minnow Grub hopped along the bottom is great. You will want to try different retrieves until the productive one is determined.

For bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, a variety of plastics on the Mimic Minnow head will produce. Four inch Power Grubs on a straight retrieve are excellent, while the same head with a worm allowed to fall slowly along a weedline will also be productive. There are many, many, many ways to fish plastic on jigs for bass.

Fish will bite plastic baits early and late in the year and all the while in between as well. Give plastic baits a try this year and you will find out how productive they can be and how simple they are to use

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at www.fishingthemidwest.com.