Trout fishing with soft lures has become a technique that is more and more used by anglers and is also one of the best options for the beginning of the season. In this article, we will go over all the essential aspects of this technique: shape of the lure, colour, how to rig and how to fish them.
A selection of soft lures for trout.
There are 3 main families of soft lures for trout fishing: shads, finesse and nymphs / creatures. For me one of the main advantages of trout fishing with these lures is that you will be using a silent lure. This can be really decisive on days when the fish are spooky due to the number of anglers on the banks or for fish that have already seen half a ton of lures swim past! I will adapt the type of lure to their activity; if they are out and want to play, I will chose something that will generate a lot of vibrations like the GRUBBY SHAD or the WHIZ. If they seem to be less active, in that case I will rig a finesse type lure like the KIDDY or the TIPPSY. What about nymphs / creature lure then? Well, this year we have a little nymph in the GUNKI range called the NAIAD which, thanks to its many hyper mobile appendages, will make the trout go mad. It's the perfect lure to use to insist in a promising hot spot.
The NAIAD, small in size but big in vibrations.
Which colours to chose? As you can see in the first photo, the majority of lures that I use are of natural colour, and it's the same in my hard lure box. I want to try and imitate what's going on under the surface. If the bottom is dark I will use a colour like the Brown Shinner, if it's sandy then I will tend to chose the awesome Grémille, if there's a lot of vegetation then Jelly Green will be great and if ever the water is really clear, then it will be the Ghost Brown or Holo Grey Shinner. I do have a few lures, hard and soft, in the Hot Fire Tiger pattern but, I keep then for specific conditions. They are great in really low light or when the water is dirty. Then only exception would be for really cold clear water conditions where a yellow base like the Snow Chart is an absolute killer!
The Grémille colour, one of my favourite ones!
The current is only an essential element to take into consideration. A lure that's too soft will tend to "overload" in fast flowing areas, whereas a "harder" soft lure will cope much better. The paddle tail on a shad will help to stabilize the lure in the current. I'll use the current to keep my lure close to the bottom and to do so you need to cast downstream and more or less away from you towards the opposite bank. No need to animate it, the current will do that, all you have to do is to "follow" your lure, letting out a bit of line every now and then and controlling its trajectory with your rod.
Finesse style lures, with a "V" tail, are ideal to be carried buy the flow rather than using it to animate them. I let it sink to the bottom and once I have made contact with it, "flick" it up and let the lure sink back, further down the river. It's a great lure to dangle just in front of a promising hot spot to get that lazy trout to bite.
Nymph style lure are great to use just like you would do if you were fishing with natural baits like a worm for example. I really like to use them in calm zone like pools or deep drop-offs. You cast, let it sink to the bottom and the work it with little twitches. You really don't need to do much as its many appendages will do the rest. With the NAIAD, you can always shorten it a bit depending on the conditions or what the trout fancy.
Shad, finesse and creatures, take your pick!
One essential element in trout fishing with soft lures is the way you rig them. You have to find a compromise in between hooking a trout and snagging. The anti-snagging aspect is really important in conditions when discretion is paramount or just simply not to lose too many lures! With a traditionally rigged lure on a jig head, you will have a lower hook-up ratio than with a hard bait even equipped with single hooks. The shape of the lure and the position of the hooks are decisive. If you use a wide lure like the GRUBBY SHAD, then the hook must have a wider gape than if you use the thinner bodied WHIZ for example. On a "good" day, a normal jig head will be perfect but, if you keep getting snagged, try a weedless rig with a G'FLIP (click on the link to read the review on the G'FLIP). I really like this style of rig as the articulation is a real plus for calm areas. As soon as I fish faster flowing spots I prefer, to use a head that offers little resistance like the G'SLIDE.
Soft lure rigging, loads of possibilities depending on the conditions.
I hope that these few lines will help you catch a few more fish. Considering the water levels after 2 weeks of rain and the number of anglers that will be on the banks, this year, fishing for trout with soft lures will be my early season technique!
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Yannick Line, Pro Fishing Guide in France.