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been trying to get used to using more plastics this year, however this seems to me more aggravating then pleasurable. basically i'm out of my "comfort zone". i need to get back to my cranks and spinnerbaits and hopefully my numbers will go up..after fishing the state park area this morning, i see why you (norm) use the heavier equiptment, the current is quite a bit faster/stronger than upstream where i usually fish..



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I use plastics for smallmouth about 80% of the time during the summer. They are so versitle and you can fish most of the water column and at a big range of depths. The best part is you can rig them snag free. For me cranks and spinners are frustrating when there are weeds, wood, and rock. That just happens to be where 90% of the fish are.


Rigging is the key with fishing plastics effectively. Keeping it simple you can get by with 4 hook designs. 2/0 or 3/0 bass hooks, slider head jigs from 1/8oz-1/4oz, weighted keeper hooks, and leadhead jigs in different weights and hook sizes. The 1st 3 you can fish with the hook buried in the plastic to keep it relatively snag free.


The best tips I can give you is to use enough weight to allow you to make some contact with the bottom depending on current flow and depth. Also use a hook that has enough gap to get a good hookset based on the thickness of the plastic that you are using. A hook that is twice as wide as the plastic works for me. Use a rod and line strong enough to bury a good hookset. The other advantage to fishing plastics is you can fish them slow. This really pays off on days when the bass just aren't chasing lures. Seems to be like that 80% of the time I fish which may explain why I use plastics that often. Some days you have to fish them as slow as you can stand it and then slow it down some more.


Try some stick style baits, flukes, tubes, hula grubs, and curly tail jigs and you should have some success.



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Except for topwater baits, I almost never use crankbaits anymore. Mainly, because I hate dealing with extra treble hooks that are being flung around by an angry smallmouth.

For me, the secret of plastics is to slow down. That can be a difficult adjustment to make after the fast retrieves of crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Work the baits slowly keeping them in the prime spots as long as possible.

Keep trying, once you have some success, your confidence in the baits will increase and you'll do even better.

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I'm a fan of the EWG hooks as well. I can echo the same sentiments as Paul and Scott.

Plastics are wonderful additions to your arsenal, and have many applications.


When the fish are aggressive, you will sometimes get bit as they enter the water, before you have a chance to decide how slow to work them.


We can throw examples around ad nauseum, but Garlic Chomper twin tail grubs are my favorites.

Red Gamakatsu EWG hook.





Oh, and a Red bullet weight....


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Mainly, because I hate dealing with extra treble hooks that are being flung around by an angry smallmouth.




I can't tell you how much I agree with you now that I am fly fishing with single, barbless hook flies. I almost cringe when I watch someone reach for a bass with a mouth full of trebles!


Guess I have turned a little wimpy..........


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I agree with Scott F.; a big key is sticking with the plastics until you develop a feeling for how to work them successfully for bass. Once you get the confidence it will become quite simple.


I think the easiest plastic to try is a simple jig and twister tail grub. Even if you just cast and give it a slow, steady retrieve back you should have some success. I like a 3" grub and 1/16 ounce head to start so you are not as prone to snag the bottom. Make sure the hook gap is wide enough for the grub you choose (3" are usually a bit fatter) so enough hook is exposed. That will help increase your hookup success when a bass does strike.


Just make sure you're casting to the right locations. ;)

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I start with cranks, rattlebaits and spinnerbaits because I want to catch the most agressive fish first and I can cover the the shallower areas where they are feeding much quicker and more efficiently.


Now in deeper, heavier flow cranks are not as efficient as jigs because of the heavy pull on the lures flat wears you out and in the case a lot of cranks they spin out or ride up.


Jigs and plastics have a place in my tackle systems and they get used in real heavy wood/weeds, in deeper harder flows and to follow up the more agrressive techniques.


Using just enough weight so that you make steady bottom contact but not so much you are dredging a new channel on the bottom. Starting with your basic twister tail to build confidence is a good idea. You can always expand your choices later[and prolly will]. Learning how much to lead your target area so that it's on the bottom when it gets there is one one the things you will need to learn. Making accurate casts to seams or ahead of boils is also a skill to develop.


I prefer to quartercast and follow the path of the jig with my rod tip at about 10 or 11 oclock reeling only to take in slack. Learning to distinguish the tic of a fish from the tac of a rock will be the hardest thing to do. Hooksets are free, when in doubt, set the hook. Unless you have hands of stone, you'll develop the feel for that as well with time on the water.

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