The best soft plastic fishing baits are a topic that is debated nonstop. Usually, the question is about which soft plastic lures you should use for bass or other species of fish. Unfortunately, there is no genuinely easy answer. Whenever you ask this question, you have to first accept that there is no one lure out in the cosmos that will catch every species in every situation.
In fact, this is primary reason why so many line the shelves of local suppliers and retailers. When we are talking about bass fishing however, there are a few that continually catch fish in many different places in many different conditions. The best ones are the ones that have been proven to work again and again. Usually, this is a subjective answer that is up in the air.
You first need to use a bait and catch some fish before you decide how and if to compare it with others first. You should never assume either. Many soft plastic baits catch great fish but they are not all created equal. Most of the time though, the greatest one may simply be your favorite brand name or the one you use a lot more than others. We do suggest trying ten different baits regardless if you go after largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, or even hybrid bass. We love them.
1. Gary Yamamoto Yamasenko – The Best Bass Worm Ever
We believe the best soft plastic fishing lure is the Gary Yamamoto Yamasenko. The legendary Yamasenko has caught more fish than many other lure bodies put together. It is a soft stick bait with a very subtle movement as it falls freely through the water. The action on this lure may seem boring because it barely moves but huge fish just love it. The Yamasenko is known primarily for its role in wacky rigging. Wacky hooks multiply its effect and you get more strikes.
The Yamasenko comes in sizes of four inches, five inches, and huge seven inch models. They generally come in a pack of ten and they cost a little more than other soft plastic stick baits. This is because they work. We consider them to be the one of the best bass fishing lures. It is not only for bass either. Pretty much any species of fish that eat worms on a hook will bite these.
In addition to being extremely effective, this particular style of artificial fishing bait could not be easier to fish and work properly in the water. To fish senkos, all you really have to do is cast it out and let it fall on a slack line. Let the lure body do the work for you to see results.
2. Strike King Shadalicious – A Very Awesome Swimbait
If there is one thing many anglers often forget, it is how to fish a swimbait. Swimbaits are not usually overlooked by many anglers but I feel they are misused. For example, not all swimbaits are created or molded equally and some may work better or worse than others. You can catch everything on a properly selected and fished swimbait. They are the perfect representation of real forage. Finding one that will work almost everywhere is a little bit harder though. Because of this, we want to recommend the Strike King Shadalicious paddle tail. Its one of the best.
Every species that is a predator will strike a Shadalicious if it eats fish. It works well on largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. Even so, it works well with other species like walleye, northern pike, and even all species of crappie. The plastic is extremely soft and this creates awesome action in the water. The swimbait comes in three sizes which are 3.5 inches, 4.5 inches, and 5.5 inches. Depending on the size, it ships in packs of seven, six, and five respectively.
It comes in a rainbow of different color patterns to choose from. There is enough to properly mimic the natural bait where you fish when you want to choose a lure. Because it is so soft, it may rip to soon for some people. For many anglers though, this isn’t an issue and it could mean the difference between going home with a huge paycheck instead of returning empty handed.
3. Zoom Curly Tail Worm – For A Lot Of Fast Action
If a ton of action on a slow retrieve is what you are after, the Zoom curly tail worm might be for you. This bait has a very long tail that moves with even the slightest amount of disturbance. Ribbon tail worms in general are used for bass species like largemouth and smallmouth but these can work well for peacock bass and saltwater fish too. This worm is very versatile.
They work well on a Texas rig and a shaky head. They work well for many species of fish too. Any rig you would use a live worm on can be used with it. The curly tail worm has a ton of different colors to choose from. Like all Zoom baits, it is also salt impregnated to make fish hold on longer. If anything, it is also one of the most cost effective fishing lures on the market.
It only costs around five or six dollars and it ships in packs of twenty. This is great for many anglers who make a whole lot and want to go fishing. There is a reason that these specific baits are used by many guides and tournament fishermen to catch some of the biggest fish.
4. Bass Pro Shops Tender Tube – Versatile For Bass
One bait I don’t think is used enough is the tube. The tube can be used to imitate everything in the water as long as you change the color. It can imitate crayfish, bluegill, sardines, anchovies, and even fry of predator fish. Tubes are usually used in bass fishing but can also be effective for barracuda and other predator saltwater species. They work almost everywhere there is water.
As far as tubes go, the Bass Pro Shops tender tube is awesome. It has some of the highest salt content of any plastic so it can get fish to hold on for quite awhile until you can set the hook. The pulsating tentacles are perfect as a squid imitation to allow you to catch many great saltwater fish. It is actually designed for fishing for bass but we love it because its awesome.
The price is actually a little high at around six dollars for a pack of ten. For you, it may be worth it to try out. It comes in a ton of great colors that can handle any terrain you are fishing in. Try to fish these great tubes on a Texas rig, a Carolina rig, a shaky head, or a drop shot rig. We tend to lean towards green pumpkin for many fishing situations because it copies a ton of animals.
5. Zoom Super Fluke – Our Favorite Soft Plastic Jerkbait
Another very versatile lure that will catch pretty much every species is the soft plastic jerkbait. Many anglers are familiar with hard plastic or wooden jerkbaits but the concept of a soft plastic one is odd. The Zoom super fluke is probably the best one we have found. This soft plastic lure has a very basic minnow profile and can catch any predator species that swims in the water.
We have found that it works best on a traditional Texas rig or a locking hook. The super fluke is very popular with tournament anglers because it is so versatile. You can rig it weightless or with a weight, on a Texas rig, on a Carolina rig, on a drop shot, and even wacky style. This awesome jerkbait is made in the United States of America. Fishing jerkbaits just works and catches fish.
It has a ton of salt to increase appeal, sink rate, and holding time. The soft plastic is extremely durable. They normally come in packs of ten. It is the most popular soft plastic jerkbait ever produced anywhere in the world. The price is also excellent for the allotted value. They rarely cost over five dollars and they come in a ton of different baitfish colors to try out next time.
6. Zoom Trick Worm – To Catch Everything That Swims
One of the most influential and effective fishing lures of all time is actually a worm. Say what you will, the Zoom trick worm is the essential swimming worm in the tackle boxes of many guides, tournament fishermen, as well as recreational anglers. This worm has a swimming tail that produces some incredible action when it is retrieved. The action is some of the best out there.
This worm is extremely effective on a Texas rig, a Carolina rig, a wacky rig, and even on a shaky head. The plastic contains a decent amount of salt which helps the fish hold on longer but not so much that it makes the bait sink. They are also one of the best deals on the market. There is a reason that so many individuals love to keep multiple packs in their tackle boxes.
They come in packs of twenty. and rarely cost more than five or six dollars. They are impossible to fish wrong. You can use them pretty much everywhere in the world and they will catch fish of many species. They efficiently catch bass, pike, walleye, and even saltwater fish hit it hard.
7. Berkley Powerbait MaxScent Lizard – An Exotic Scent
If you are from the southern parts of the USA, namely places like Texas, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, you already know how effective a well fished lizard can be. Even if you are from around those areas and don’t, the first thing you need to understand is that they catch great fish. Plastic lizards, particularly the Berkley Powerbait MaxScent lizard, is one of the greatest ones to throw.
It works well for largemouth bass, snakehead, and aggressive white bass too. They also make a decent alternative to a creature bait or a crayfish imitation for when fish are eating crayfish. These work better in the south during warmer weather but can also be effective elsewhere if fished right. They are smiliar to other plastic lizards but they are infused with awesome scent.
They are infused with Berkley’s signature Powerbait formula which is classified as a fish catching elixir. This line of lures is one of the most foul smelling options to the human nose but to a fish, they are extremely attractive. They are also a very good value. They usually retail for around seven dollars for a pack of eight lizards. They cost an amount most anglers can afford.
8. Berkley Powerbait Power Hawg – For Brush Fishing
The Berkley Powerbait Power Hawg is one is the most unique looking fishing lure designs in the soft plastic lineup. Upon further inspection, many will ask the question regarding what on or off planet Earth it is meant to resemble. This is a Berkley version of a fishing lure called a creature bait. A creature bait usually resembles some exotic alien looking creature from another planet.
Although this looks unrealistic to you and me, most creature baits are supposed to resemble crayfish or other fleeing prey. They are never fished very slowly so the fish never really get to have a good look at it. All they see is something that looks like its swimming away frantically. These are actually effective on many species of fish. They are particularly bass lures.
You can Texas rig them or use them as a trailer on other lures. They can catch freshwater fish like largemouth or smallmouth and also do well in the surf on smaller, inshore, oceanic, species. They are a bit expensive though at around four dollars for a pack of eight. Even so, we believe you get what you pay for and that these are worth it. They are versatile and effective almost everywhere.
9. Strike King Rage Tail Craw – Our Favorite Trailer Body
No tackle box is complete without at least one crayfish imitation. Crayfish are bass candy and are already very effective on their own. Having a good imitation of a crayfish on hand is especially helpful when the fish are naturally feeding on them. Even when they are not, the Rage Tail Craw is a great bait body to heave on hand. You can use it for many things.
You can always just Texas rig it and fish it weightless or you can use a drop shot or something else. The main thing about this plastic lure is that it makes an excellent trailer. You can rig one of these on a football or swim jig for added effect. They also work extremely well on spinning baits, buzzing baits, and vibrating blade jigs. They can be used everywhere too.
They are quite possibly, the best crayfish trailers on the market. The only downside to them though is their price. They do cost a bit more than similar bait bodies and this will close the deal for them. Strike King and elite angler Kevin VanDam prefer to sell these at a slightly higher markup. Even so, we believe you get what you pay for here because they are awesome.
10. Zoom Horny Toad – A Great Soft Plastic Topwater
If you are after some really explosive topwater action, you might want to consider a Zoom horny toad. No, that name does not sound suggestive in the least. The horny toad is a soft plastic topwater frog with kicking legs and a fierce bite. It has an amazing amount of water displacement and can be rigged in a few ways. Being topwater, it works better when its warm.
You would do better to throw these plastic frogs on conventional frog fishing gear. All of the usual essentials. A heavy baitcasting rod, a good quality casting reel, and some heavy braid. Frog fishing of any kind is usually a blast but this bait makes it better. You can do all of the things you often do with a hollow body frog such as walking the dog but reeling it in produces excellently.
This frog comes in a pack of five and is heavily salt impregnated. You can use it as a search bait and it also makes an incredible substitute for a buzzing style bait. These are popular for power fishing and covering a ton of water quickly. The price is also very awesome for this particular lure at only a little over five bucks a pack. That is around a dollar per lure! This value is excellent.
The Best Soft Plastics – Only You Decide
When you put everything together, the best soft plastic lures are the ones you think are best. They are the ones that work best for you. There really isn’t a standard for how well a fishing lure works and its your responsibility to make sure you have a tackle box with your favorites. There are many brands, makes, models, shapes, and sizes too. This is half the fun of bass fishing.
The main thing to remember is that they all work. How well they work depends on the fish in your area, the water clarity, fishing pressure, available food, the temperature, the sun, the list goes on. No bait works all of the time and you shouldn’t expect one too either. You should just have some baits with you that you know can catch you some fish. Other than that, you and only you can decide what works best because what works for you may not work for someone else.
What do you think is the best one and why? Leave a comment below to be a part of our community! You can help us all become better bass fishermen as we learn from other anglers!