In this quick guide, we will go over all the basics of soft plastic fishing lures. How they are made, the different types of soft plastic fishing lures, and how you can fish with them.
How are soft plastic fishing lures made?
Soft plastic fishing lures are fishing lures that are typically made with PVC plastic, the same thing that a lot of household items are made out of, like bottles, pipes, and waterproof clothing. Plastisol is just PVC mixed with a plasticizer making it soft and moldable.
There are lots of different formulas of plastisol and additives used when making soft plastic fishing lures. Additives are added after plastisol is heated up and the plastisol is turned into liquid. These different formulas include different plastisol types, coloring, and flake, giving the bait its properties such as hardness, bouncy, and color, allowing the manufacturer to control how the lures will act and appear in the water.
After the plastisol is heated up and the additives are added, the next step in the soft plastic lure-making process is molding. Molding is what gives the soft plastic fishing lure its shape. Soft plastic fishing lures come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, made to imitate various prey like but not limited to minnows, crawfish, worms, smaller baitfish, and even scorpions!
There are many different ways baits can be molded. The two most popular methods are injection molding and hand-pouring. Injected molding is done by injecting plastisol into a metal mold and is the easiest way to mass-produce soft plastic lures. While Injection molding, special laminating molds can be used, allowing the manufacture to inject different plastisol formulas in the mold at the same time, which gives you lures with that split color look. Hand-poured molding is done when you have a metal mold with an open-top, allowing the manufacture to pour many plastisol layers. Hand-pouring provides for the most control and is commonly done on big detailed swimbaits.
What are the different types of soft plastic fishing lures?
For every species of forage that fish eat, there is a soft plastic fishing lure imitation of it. The main categories of soft plastic fishing lures are Swimbaits, Jerkbaits, Stick Baits, Worms, Grubs, Creatures, Craws, Micro Plastics, and Tubes. Each one of these styles of baits imitates different species of "fish food." Swimbaits and jerkbaits imitate minnows and baitfish. Craws are made to initiate crawfish and are typically paired with a jig. Microplastics are made to imitate small water creatures and are mostly used in pan fishing. Creature baits are made to imitate larger water creatures like big bugs, hellgrammites, and crayfish. The many styles of worm baits imitate worms in different ways; for example, the stick bait was made to represent a worm that just fell into the water. Some baits are more versatile, like tubes and grubs. Tubes and grubs can both imitate a crawfish in the water when jigged off the bottom, as well as a baitfish when you swim them in slowly.
How do you fish with soft plastic fishing lures?
Soft plastic fishing lures can be fished on a jig, hook, or rig; and can be cast, jigged, or trolled. The way you chose to fish them is dependent on the lure style you are using and the fishing conditions such as water quality, weather, time of year, and the type of species you are targeting. The most common ways to fish soft plastic fishing lures include Texas Rig, Carolina Rig, Wacky Rig, Neko Rig, Ned Rig, Drop Shot Rig, and Trailered.