Here are some things to be getting on with whilst the weather is bad and you are in doors.
It's the time of year when I am bored but excited that the new season will be upon us soon. My friend "St Ouen" (local Mr Soft himself) came round and went through a few tips for me to get going. I have done a small bit of soft bait fishing but I want to get into it a bit more this year as the potential is vast.
I grabbed a few packets of the soft plastics that I want to start my season with and we set about rigging them up. One thing I do know is you should rig your gear up before you go, as when fishing these baits you can go through quite a few, either through loss or damage.
First I decided to rig some Madness Mother Worms simply with some Xorus 20g heads.
Firstly, look at the shape of the head you are going to use, and cut your bait to the shape of the head, this sounds easier than it is and I am sure it becomes easier the more you do it. What I also do (as I am not that good at judging the gap) is make a mark with a black marker pen to where the hook will come out.
Thread the hook into the worm, making sure you keep it as straight as possible, and make sure you don't start the hook going in too low on the worm, you do want a good ammount of the gape of the hook showing.
Get the bait up to the head, make sure it is straight and you are happy with it and then glue it with super glue or a favoured fast setting adhesive. If the bait is coated in an oil or scent wipe it off around the area you are gluing or your glue just wont adhere to anything.
I then set it aside and finished the packet, it doesnt take long once you start.
Next up were some Megabass Giant Xlayers mounted on some football heads, which I call egg heads, these ones were actually Lunker City 3/4 oz heads.
Once again I marked where the hook will come out with a marker pen. These heads come with a ribbed sleve to hold your soft bait on. If the soft bait is thin around the ared that is near the leadhead then you can cut the ribbed lead away with some side cutters and glue the bait directly to the head.
Althougth the bait was being held in place fine I added some glue seeing I had it open.
Next up I wanted to rig some Xlayers on weighted hooks, I want to use these in quite calm water either twitched over some oyster beds I fish or near the surface over the top of some heads.
The thing with weighted hooks is you can't just thread them through like a normal hook because the weight will stop you. So the best way to do it is to make a hole for the hook with the point of the hook first.
Turn the hook around and work out where the hook will come out. I didnt need to mark these as there was a rib on the worm and I could line it up with that as a marker.
Push the hook through so it comes out nice and flat against the top of the bait.
For storage and also to fish these weedless so you can get your bait right in there amoungst the snags, just pull the point of the hook back a bit and sink it in the bait a mm or 2
Et voila, ready for next month.
Next up Mr Soft showed me an ingenius way to help stop a soft bait from movong on a hook without glue. This one is a Slug-Go mounted on a Decoy 6/0 hook, and we have buried the knot inside the bait too. Push the hook through, turn it around, work out where it goes in and where it comes out
Then the trick is to push a piece of 80lb mono right through the bait and through the eye of hook, then trim the mono off very close, this locks the hook into the soft bait. Very clever, I like this trick.
Next we just threaded a few different heads on plastics just to fill mt box a bit, here is a Megabass Spindle Worm going on a Xorus Jig Head. The Spindle worms are coated in a very oily scented solution that will not let your glue set, so wipe it off and mount some up, these shad/worm hybrids are amazing in the water.
There is a groove in the top of some plastics for where the hook should lay in, this helps when fishing snaggy places, it acts like the weedless point I showed earlier, but here your hook will just lay in a shallow groove.This method is used when you rig the worm with a texasposer style hook like I did earlier with the Slug-Go, with this jig head though the hook will be very pronounced.
Next we rigged a few hooks with cone heads. This is a way of adding weight to a soft bait but not using a lead head. This is a Madness Father Shad, a Xorus 6/o hook, a 15g cone head and a float stop.
Just rig the hook as normal then slide a cone head down the line. You can put a bead between the hook and cone head but I didnt with this one. Add the float stop, you can also use a sliding stop knot made out of power gum or mono, just make sure it doesnt go through the head. If it does then you can just put a bead between the cone head and knot. This method acts like an articulated head, it is cheap and easy to use. I will be doing more rigging soon so I will take some more pictures and show you when I do. I am waiting for some atriculated heads to arrive and some more plastics.
We rigged a few more and called it a day, here are some Xorus Sayori Shads on different Xorus Heads, there is even a Storm ell on a head in there, I am sure it will work well and these are very cheap and available everywhere.
Oh yeah, one last thing we did, if you are getting bites on the end of the lure and the fish are missing the hook, Paul showed me an easy way of adding a stinger in the tail. A doubled piece of strong braid is looped over the eye of the jig, them simply tuck the treble towards the tail and hopefully you'll find out whats been nipping you.