Fishermen who fish in polders and we have loads of them in Holland, use crankbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits or spinnerbaits to catch pike. As only a handful of them use soft baits, the others just don’t know what they are missing! Soft baits are great lures to catch pike in these shallow waters, so let me explain why!

Here I use a shallow weightless rig. So, you need: a shallow screw (easy to make yourself out of strong metal wire), one or two stinger hooks and a Gunki Roller Gun in 16 or 20 cm, the Sweep Gun, Grubby Shad or G'Bump shad work great as well!

Just insert your shallow screw, making sure that the screw is perfectly centred, because if it is not correctly positioned, the lure will not swim straight. I then insert the hooks into the belly to get the lure perfectly balanced.

The result; a perfect rig to fish in shallow polders!

Again: make sure the screw is centred, this really is important.

A beautiful polder zone, without doubt, pike territory! But would you normally find pike in such an area?

Polder type waters in the Netherlands cover massive surfaces; in fact there are just too many venues to fish in a lifetime! Try to focus on the hotspots in these areas and believe me, there are plenty of them. Bridges, canal intersections, weed beds, obstacles, currents, etc. are far more interesting than the 'boring' features-less, never-ending banks of the polders!

I caught this pike right underneath the bridge, a real hotspot!

This greedy pike was hidden in the middle of a weed bed but couldn't resist a 14 cm G'Bump rigged shallow style. He took the bait so hard that the paddle tail of the G'Bump is sticking right out of his gills!

The 14 cm G'Bump is perfect for polder pike as you can also use it with a light jig head to fish it a little faster than when using a weightless rig. I prefer to use a jig head with a short shank hook so that it doesn't hinder the natural swimming action of the soft bait. In this case, it is better to use a sneaky stinger hook.

With a small, light jig head (3 – 7 gram) the soft bait is an easy meal for any average size polder pike. Its flexibility enables the pike to inhale the bait with far more ease than a hardbait and therefore ensures a much better hook-up ratio.

With soft baits it is less complicated to fish these hotspots compared to using a hardbait as you can cast closer to the obstacles. If you make a bad cast with a soft bait, it doesn't matter, 9 times out of 10 it won’t get stuck or break, but if you crack a hard bait on a bridge, it can ruin your day...

Some days you’ll need to use a heavier jig head so that you can fish really fast and trigger reaction bites. The other good thing about fishing like this is that you can cover an important surface of water in a very short time.

The standard gear for polder fishing: a selection of soft baits, jig heads, good pliers and a comfortable bag. Both spinning or baitcasting gear can be used, it is just a matter of which style you prefer.

You can always combine a soft bait with a Fix n' Flash Blade, a chatterbait or a silicone skirt. For example, this polder perch was lured by a Gunki Grubby Frog on a chatterbait.

To illustrate what I have written in this article, here’s a short video tutorial:

Good luck with soft baits in the polders or shallow waters and enjoy your time fishing!


Tight lines, Simon Torenbeek (photos: Jolanda, Craig, Eduard, Kurt, Klaus)