Bass fishing can get tricky. If you're not using soft plastics to catch largemouth bass—then you're already doing it wrong!

How to Use Soft Plastics to Catch Bigger Bass

October 2, 2021

By: Jon Stewart

Are you in the mood to step up your bass fishing game?

Well… good news! 💡

The best way for you to do so will be to use soft plastics. These are known as one of the most effective lures to catch largemouth bass. They’re extremely versatile—you can use them throughout several different seasons, different temperatures, weather conditions, and bodies of water.

You know why they work so well? Because they mimic the natural food sources of largemouth bass in a natural and realistic manner. The truth is, you can’t really go wrong with soft plastics. A number of anglers have caught big largemouth bass using soft plastics.

In this article, we'll help you get familiar with the very best soft plastics to use for largemouth bass fishing as well as how best to use them.

The Different Types of Soft Plastics ⚠️

There are a wide variety of soft plastics available for you to make use of. These can be roughly summarized in the following categories:

Several different soft plastic lures for bass fishing of different sizes and colors laying on a table.
When it comes to soft plastics, there is an endless selection to choose from.

Worms 🐛

Worms are most likely the easiest plastic lures to begin bass fishing with. They come in a wide variety of tail styles. These include paddle tails, curl tails, straight tails, vibe tails, and many more. It's the perfect lure to cast around with to make sure that bass are indeed present in the area you are working.

Depending on the size and especially the color of the plastic worm, you can generally use this lure throughout the entire fishing season. When temperatures tend to drop a bit, dark colored worms tend to work best in the fall fishing season.

Creatures 🐜

Creatures are almost identical to plastic worm lures. But they usually have appendages to give them a bit more shake and shimmy. They are good in large, open areas where the fish don't have a great deal of cover to hide behind.

Beavers ✅

Despite its name, a beaver lure looks almost more like a squid than anything else. But it's very effective for gliding in and out of cover areas. This is a dancing motion that will lure bass to bite, thus getting them hooked up for you to reel in.

While bass generally won’t eat beaver—nor mamals in general for that matter—they’ll still go after an artificial beaver lure.

Toads 🐸

A toad is a very effective type of plastic lure because it is sized almost exactly to what most bass prefer to prey on in the water. It's a great lure for sight fishing because its motion mimics the action of a toad swimming in the water.

Tubes ✅

Tubes are some of the most realistic plastic worm lures available on the modern marketplace. You can get them in a wide variety of colors. Brighter colors are better for murky waters. More natural colors are better where the water is bright and fish can hunt their prey using their natural vision.

Soft Sticktails ✅

Soft sticktails are very easy to make use of. You just drop it in the water, let it go all the down to the bottom, and let it flutter around a bit as it works its way back up. This wiggling motion is so natural and lifelike that many fishing experts consider it to the best and most lifelike lure on the market.

Soft Jerkbaits ✅

Soft jerkbaits dance and wiggle around in the manner of an injured bit of prey. This is perfect for the needs of larger bass who may be in a lazy mood and don't mind picking up a bit of second hand prey.

Craws ✅

As their name implies, craw are designed to mimic the look, feel, and motion of a crawfish. This is one of the favorite foods of a bass to snack on. If you rig it up just right, you really can't go wrong.

Trailers ✅

Trailers are designed to flap and gently undulate in a lifelike motion, rather like a worm or a long tailed tadpole. Less active models are perfect for cold water while the more active ones are ideal for warmer climates.

Shad Tails ✅

Shad tails are very versatile. You can jerk them around in the manner of a swim bait. You can also rig them up to act in the manner of a soft jerkbait. The job they do of mimicking an injured bit of prey is truly admirable and well worth the price.

Drop Shot Baits ✅

Drop shop baits can made to dance and swim in a lifelike manner on your command. They are lifelike baits that reel in plenty of bass. They work best in areas of water that are deep and clear.

How to Rig Soft Plastics 🔎

There are 4 major ways in which anglers typically rig their soft plastic lures. These can be listed below as follows:

1. Texas Rigging 🤠

The Texas rigging method is ideal for any situation or fishing area where the prey can hide in places where your lure can easily get snagged. These include areas such as rocks, driftwood, or heavy vegetation.

Texas rigging allows you to conceal your hook so it won’t get caught up or snagged on any vegetation. It’s almost like a magic trick. If you’re going to use soft plastics, you NEED to know how to set up a Texas rig.

A diagram showing what the texas rig looks like with a plastic worm used for bass fishing.
The Texas rig is weedless, offering many benefits—especially in dense water with many obstacles and vegetation.

The best way to rig up a Texas lure is as follows:

2. Shaky Head Rigging 🐠

Shaky head rigging is best used in a situation where the water is deeper. This type of rigging causes the lure, usually a plastic worm, to stand upright in the water.

Shaky head rigging can be accomplished in the following steps:

3. The Wacky Rig Explained 👇

Wacky rigging makes the lure dance around in a very lifelike manner. This can be a source of irresistible appeal to a fish.

All you need to do in this case will be to take a small sharp hook and thread it all the way through the exact center of your bait. Put it down into the water and watch it wiggle about to reel in fish.

A diagram showing what the wacky rig looks like for bass fishing.
The origin of the wacky rig's name is quite obvious—it looks wacky.

4. Nose Hooked Rigging 👃

Nose hooking is one of the easiest ways to rig up your plastic bait. All you will need to do is procure a small but very sharp fish hook. Make sure it is tied in a perpendicular manner to your line. This should be just above the sinker on a drop shot. Hook the plastic lure through the nose and you're ready.

Using Soft Plastics for Bass Fishing: Details 🎣

There are so many things to keep in mind when it comes to fishing for largemouth bass. It's a challenge, and it's not easy—but that's probably one of the reasons why we all love it!

Using soft plastic lures in the correct manner will come down to a number of factors. You will need to know the right color to use. You should also study up on the right size lure you need to use for a specific fish in a particular area. The more info you have on tap, the easier it will be to have a great day out on the water.

Knowing the Right Color 💧

If you should find yourself in dark or murky water, your best bet will be to make use of a brighter colored worm lure. If you have a mix of worms, this will work best if you have one with a bright pink or red tail. Rubber worms don't work well in murky water because they don't make a lot of sound. Use plastic.

When the water is clearer, you can use a range of darker colored plastic worms. This is where your green pumpkin and brown worms will have the best impact. Bass and other fish rely more on their vision in clearer waters. This means that you should use plastic lures that are colored more naturally to catch their eye.

No matter what you do, never underestimate the importance of the color of your bait when it comes to bass fishing.

Knowing the Right Size 📏

The next major bit of info you will need to piece this puzzle together will be to know what size of lure works best in which areas. As it turns out, larger sized lures will work great in warm water, muddy water, heavily weeded areas, and areas where bass and other fish are active. If the water is murky, go large.

On the other hand, there are times when a smaller size lure may work much better for your needs. These include times when the water is open, clear, and cold. A smaller lure also works best in high pressure areas. In places like this, a smaller lure will help you get more action due to a bit of sneaky good luck.

A largemouth bass caught with a wacky rig setup.
A beautiful largemouth bass caught with a wacky rig.

Soft Plastics for Bass Fishing: FAQs ❓

Can Fish Digest Soft Plastics? 🐟

Most experts agree that soft plastics should be used to lure fish in a safe and highly controlled manner. It isn't a good idea to let the fish swallow your soft plastic lure. This is because the plastic content takes a long time to biodegrade. In the meantime, it can swell up in the fish's stomach and kill them.

Do Soft Plastic Lures Go Bad? 🐟

Lures of the soft plastic type can melt or degrade if you store them for too long in a hard plastic tackle box. Even if you store them outside, they can dry out and get way too hard. Your best bet is to leave them in the original bag and then save them in a box that is transparent. This will keep the lures fresh.

Do Soft Plastics Float? 🐟

Not all soft plastic lures will float—some will sink. This is a basic aspect of their design. Many are designed to float easily on the surface of the water. Here and there, they may bob and dip a bit. This makes them even more lifelike from the perspective of a fish. It really comes down to the specific type of soft plastic.

What is the Best Soft Plastic for Bass? 🐟

Most industry experts and fishing enthusiasts agree that soft plastic worm lures are the best for bass. Even in rivers, they perform well. You need to make sure that your soft plastic worm lure has an authentic look, feel, and motion. The best colors for you to make use of for your worm lures will be green pumpkin, watermelon, black, blue, and Junebug.

Summary

So there you have it!

Choosing the right lure is never an easy task. You need to pay attention to the natural food sources available to the bass, their size and color, along with the season, water temperature, and even daily temperature (whether it's sunny, cloudy, overcast, etc.). All of these should be examined when deciding which lure to use.

However, even with all of that said, lures have a number of benefits when compared to live bait. They're easier to store, cheaper, and can be just as effective—if not more effective—than live bait. Many of the biggest bass ever caught were with lures, such as the Ohio state record largemouth bass which weighed over 13 pounds.