|The Lure of Plastic|
Table of Contents:
By William D. Anderson
Plastic worms and tube baits are some of the most popular baits around. There are many different types of plastic baits that come in many shapes and sizes. So how do you choose the right one? Some have salt impregnated tails, bio-scents, rattles, flash; and some claim to out fish live bait. All of them will catch fish at one time or another. So how do you know which one to throw on any given day?
There are two popular ways of rigging plastic worms and tubes. The most popular way to rig a plastic worm is the Texas style. A bullet style weight is threaded onto the line, which is tied directly to the hook. The hook is threaded through the tip of the worm, pulled down and re-inserted into the body of the worm so that the hook is weedless. In some cases a small bead is threaded onto the line between the weight and the hook to protect the knot. It is also done to add noise to the rig to help fish find the bait in murkier water.
Texas rigs are better for fishing heavier cover. The weight will stay closer to the worm and is less likely to get wedged between a branch or a rock. Using heavier line with a Texas rig will allow you to pull a fish out of cover before he has a chance to wrap your line around a branch or stump. Casts should be long enough so that you don’t spook the fish, but not too long so that you lose the sensitivity due to line stretch. Start out by moving the worm very slowly. You may feel a slight tap or notice the line moving off to one side. That’s your signal to set the hook.
The second most popular way to rig a plastic worm is the Carolina method. This consists of a heavy barrel or cone sinker threaded onto the line first. The next section consists of a couple of bearings, then a ball bearing swivel followed by up to three feet of leader material. Many anglers make their own Carolina rigs, while others prefer to purchase ready-made rigs. Whichever you choose, the leader material should be of less tensile strength than your line so that when you snag, all you lose is a hook rather than the entire rig.
A Carolina rig is a better choice for deeper water. You can make longer casts with it and drift across a large area while keeping in contact with the bottom. The feeling transmitted back through the line will tell you exactly what the bottom contents is. Pay attention to the
Plastic tubes are just as versatile as plastic worms and come in as many shapes, colors and sizes. Tube baits can be fished so they imitate baitfish or crayfish. You can ad rattles to tube baits so they are easier to find in murky water. Just like worms, they will give you a good idea of what the bottom content is made up of if you are using the right line.
When using a tube to imitate a crayfish, it’s best to choose a bait that looks as close to the real thing as possible. Crayfish tend to change colors throughout the year and knowing what color the natural bait is will help you choose the right color. Bass can also be feeding on minnows, perch, gobies, shad or any other type of baitfish. If you are using a tube to imitate baitfish, knowing what bait they are feeding on will help you choose your presentation. Tube baits are great because they are almost 100 percent weedless and you can get them into heavy cover where baitfish tend to hide from predators.
Tubes are generally rigged with a hook that is made specifically for tubes. These hooks always point up and may or may not have a weight built into them. I will generally use what’s known as a vertical drop hook and rig them weedless. This allows them to drop vertically while keeping the weight concealed inside the tube. The tip of the hook is re-inserted into the top of the bait so that it doesn’t get hung up on anything else. I can also add a rattle just below the eye of the hook to give it more sound and weight.