Monday, 29 September 2014

Sea Bass Fishing with Weedless Soft Plastics

I highlighted in a previous post Top Sea Bass Lures the various lures I like to use when Bass fishing.  All of those lures work well and catch Bass however, I recently had occasion to look into adding weedless soft plastics to my lure fishing tackle box. 

A mark I often fish was in the late summer and early autumn of last year and this year, full of thongweed also known as sea spaghetti or sea thong.  The problem with this weed is that it grows to the surface and sits on the surface making it impossible to fish with shallow diving plugs or surface plugs.  As soon as you start the retrieve, the lure picks up the weed, which is very frustrating.  At high water, there is enough clearance above the weed however; around low water is the best time to fish this mark not high water. 




Thongweed is not the only weed problem I have encountered.  Eel grass just under the surface, seaweed in the shallows, and of course, loose weed have all caused frustrating problems forcing me to fish clearer areas.


  


On a positive note if these areas were fishable, they must be potential fish holding areas therefore, it was clear to me that I needed to look into using weedless lures.

I started experimenting with Texas Rigged soft plastics and the American made Slug-Go rigged with a Texposer Hook as shown in the examples below.






There is nothing wrong with these rigs and they do go through the weed without snagging and no doubt would catch given time however, similar to a plug, I wanted a weedless lure that had some action simply by winding it in rather than having to impart the action with twitches of the rod tip.

I had read about the effectiveness of the Fiiish Black Minnow, which comes ready rigged weighted and weedless.  The lure has an almost vertical paddle tail, which would give the action I was looking for.  Experimenting with the Black Minnow, it does work weedless as regards the hook catching the weed however, on too many occasions I found weed caught at the junction where the line is clipped on to the top of the jig head, which was annoying. That said these are excellent lures and will stay in my tackle box for other occasions such as jigging in deeper water.






Further research led me to the Fish Arrow Flash J 5" SW.




Reports suggested that on a slow retrieve, the Fish Arrow swims just under the surface and has a side-to-side slalom action.  As the ground I wanted to use the lure is shallow, this looked like the weedless lure I needed therefore, I placed an order with a UK supplier The Art of Fishing.

Rigged weedless with a 5/0 weighted swim bait hook the initial tests were promising.  For a soft plastic, it casts brilliantly and felt more like casting a plug than a soft plastic.  It goes through the weed without snagging and on a slow to medium retrieve; it does have a slalom action.  My initial thoughts were to fish this lure in two ways, a straight retrieve, and retrieve and pause.

At present, the lure comes with a choice of ten colours.




Although the lure has a side-to-side slalom action, this is not quite the same as the vibrating rattling action of a plug or the vibrations of a paddle-tailed lure to attract the fish. Therefore, in my opinion the best colours to choose are the high visual but natural colours of UK baitfish such as 100 Sirasu/Silver, 102 Chart/Silver, 105 Maiwasi/Silver, and 109 Glow/Silver.  My first choice is 109 Glow/Silver but unfortunately, this colour is extremely difficult to get hold although eventually I did manage to get some but had to import from Australia!




Whatever lure I use, apart from the fact that the lure is suitable for the conditions I am fishing, the most important factor is confidence.  I have to have confidence that the lure does catch and for me the only way to establish confidence is that it consistently catches.

I first started preparing this post in the late summer of 2013.  Since then I have caught Bass using the Fish Arrow Flash J 5" SW in weedy conditions when a plug would be unusable.  My confidence has grown to the point where I can add this lure to my list of Top Sea Bass Lures.  For a soft plastic, it casts brilliantly and has some action on a straight retrieve.  It works weedless and the size is perfect however, most importantly, it catches!






10 comments:

  1. What weighted weedless hooks do you use? Thanks

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    1. Thank you for the comment. The weight of the hooks are 1/8 oz (about 5.5g). The hooks used in the video are Mustad Powerlock Weighted Weedless Worm Hooks size 5/0 but you can of course use others as long as the hook has a wide gape.

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  2. Thanks. I've seen people use 6/0 hooks with these lures. Is there any need?

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    1. 5/0 or 6/0 work well with these lures and I also use 6/0 in another make of hook.

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  3. Can you still buy these brilliant lures Rob?

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    1. Yes, the Art of Fishing Cornwall sell them. They have the Fish Arrow J 5" in stock. The J 5" SW just means salt water. The J 5" are the same just slightly more flexible than the SW's.

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    2. Hi Rob, thank you for your reply. Those new ones are different though, i think they are less tough but also they don't come in that amazing SW 109 glow silver which was deadly just as you have said before. Have you found any of the new ones as effective?

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    3. The new ones are softer but as far as I am aware you cannot get the SW's (in the UK) unless someone somewhere still have some in stock. Therefore the current ones are the only option. Watermelon and Ayu are fine as colours and you would have to ask The Art of Fishing if they can get the white ones for you or ask Samurai Tackle (Japan) if they can get them. I have purchased Fish Arrows from this company in the past. Here is the link: http://samuraitackle.com/fishing/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=139_66_96_1082_2149 Coincidently you will see they appear to have some 5" SW's but not Glow Silver. They appear to have the 4" in Glow Silver

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  4. Thank you Rob, In your opinion are these new ones as good as the old SW's and have you tried the shad ones, perhaps better in slightly rougher conditions?

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    Replies
    1. Apart from being softer and sightly more flexible everything else is the same therefore, just as good as a catcher of fish from my experience. Never tried the paddle tail versions.

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