Beginners Guide to Soft plastics and Jigs

Lure fishing is a fun and active way of catching fish. There are so many different types of lures on the market today it can be hard to choose the best one for a certain situation. 

This guide will cover everything you need to know about soft lures and jigs and how to use them. If you are also interested in other types of fishing lures we have a Guide to Fishing with Hard Lures.


Apart from the obvious there are other differences which can have an impact on the way a lure is seen by the fish and used by the angler. Typically soft lures are made from plastisol which is a vinyl plastic, giving it a more realistic texture and appearance than hard lures. 

Soft lures are typically used more when fishing at lower depths as they are less likely to get snagged than hard bait lures. Generally soft lures are also less expensive than hard lures. Soft lures can come in many different styles including small fish to worms and other natural prey. Another important difference is the durability of the lures. Soft lures will generally have a lower durability and can sometimes rip or get the tail bitten off.


When using a lure, depending on the species you're fishing for, it's a good idea to take some sort of leader. When fishing for smaller species it's possible to use fluorocarbon leaders which make it hard for the fish to see. However, when fishing for larger species with sharp teeth like Zander or Pike then using a wire leader will prevent them from biting through it.

When using soft plastics they can come either fitted with a weight inside or will come on their own where a jig head will have to be fitted. Jig heads can easily be attached by putting the hook through the center of the back and slowly feeding it around the bend of the hook until it sits straight. 

There are also a couple of different jig head designs. The most common design is where the head of the jig is weighted and comes in various sizes and weights. The other being a weighted belly section which will perform differently underwater.


There's a few different techniques that can be used when retrieving the jig head. One of the more popular methods is called the flick and twitch. Once you have casted the lure out you'll usually wait for it to hit the bottom, then flick or twitch the lure upwards as you reel in slightly. Wait for it to hit the bottom again and repeat. If you're unsure when the lure hits the bottom a way of detecting this is by looking at the line beyond the rod tip. When a loop forms then the lure has hit the bottom. Jig heads have only got the one hook in the back which makes it great for fishing lower depths as it's less likely to get snagged.

There's a couple of other techniques including the slow roll and the fast burn. The slow roll is when the lure is just retrieved at a low and even pace allowing the lure to wobble from side to side. The fast burn is just a fast retrieval which can entice a bite. All of these techniques can be used together getting the most out of the lure.

When jig fishing it's important to stay mobile and not stay in one location. After a few casts if there are no takes then it's good practice to move on and make sure you're covering as much water as you can.




Jig head sizes range from size 8 to 3/0 with size 8 being the smallest. Generally the smaller hook size you use, the smaller the lure should be used. Also the larger jig heads will have a greater weight which is mostly used for casting further distances. 

You'll want to choose the size depending on the size of the fish you're going for and the distance you are casting at. There are also different styles of jig heads with the most common being the rounded style. Another popular styled jig head design is the bullet jig head. It's shaped like a bullet and many anglers choose this design as it can move faster through the water.


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