Are All Soft Plastic Baits the Same?
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When I was finishing up college at the University of Georgia in the late '70s, you went to the local sporting goods store and looked through the selection of half a dozen or so 6-8 inch firm plastic worms in solid colors like purple, black or red. I spent much of my early childhood in Florida often using a purple plastic worm. If I had cut enough yards or done enough chores, maybe I'd be able to buy a new pack of those lead heads from Mann's up in Alabama (started in 1956 by a Alabama game warden). But as I graduated from Georgia - a change was coming in the soft bait lines. Just a few miles from my home in Athens, in the tiny little town of Bogart, Georgia, a new soft bait company was going to hit the market. I moved to Gainesville, Georgia on Lake Lanier on graduation - and found my first "motor oil" colored worm from Zoom Bait company in Bogart.
Over the past 30 years there have been a lot of companies come and go in the plastics markets. I've seen a lot of worms that look the very same as someone else's worm - but come to find out it isn't as soft, or doesn't swim the same, isn't the right color, doesn't diffuse light the same way, sinks too fast or not fast enough, and on and on. I've seen legs added, shaped tails, split tails, colors beyond the imagination, hardened heads to keep the worm from slipping off to fast, segments cut, rattlers stuck in, lead on hooks, lead slip sinkers, texas style, S.C. style, tooth picks on slip-sinkers, flippin and jerkin baits. Now if you go into that same bait shop - if he is still open - walls of colors of worms and designs are there to tempt the fisherman. How in the world do you choose?
GO WITH THE WINNER
Figuring out which of the worms is the right one might be as simple as looking at the wall of baits and seeing which one is down to only a couple of bags left. Obviously someone is buying those! But if you don't fish the same way as the unknown fisherman, your results may not be too good.
Bruiser Baits (www.bruiserbaits.com) is probably the newest entry into this mature market. They are truly making a splash in this area and I believe may be gaining the upper hand. When I go deer hunting, I hunt most successfully in areas I see deer. When I go fishing, I catch more fish on baits that the pros are catching fish on. These pros depend on their sponsorships and are extremely selective on choosing to endorse any bait. Sure they get a lot of money for that endorsement - but they can't risk endorsing something that doesn't pay off for them on the tournament trail or they will be without sponsors at all.
One of the top leaders in the FLW tour and a top notch fisherman is Scott Martin (www.scottrmartin.com). Now becoming famous in his own right, Scott is the son of the infamous Roland Martin. Scott has just recently endorsed and become a member of the pro team for Bruiser Baits. Having just won the World Championship of bass fishing bringing home $600,000 I like my odds of fishing the same baits he fishes, including Bruiser Baits.
Brandon McMillan and Chad Prough, FLW tour winners stepped up to the podium and said "I caught these on Bruiser Baits!" In fact, in 2011, the pro staff for Bruiser Baits has earned over $800,000.
Finding a worm that works on your lake is up to you. You need to see what colors seem to work in the color of your water. What do other fishermen use that are successful - then find that color in the successful worm series from Bruiser Baits. This is my tactic and it has been very successful for me. If I am fishing a new lake, I ask the local bait shop owner what is the most asked for color. If he says green or pumpkin or motor oil - that is the color Bruiser Bait I put on a hook. Texture, movement, size, all come into play and if the color is right and fished like it should be, I'll drag in some lunkers.
I am sure there are 1,000 different colors and designs of plastic worms out there, and other soft plastic baits. But just like there are 1,000 acres on my favorite deer hunting land, the acre I see the deer on every time I go is where I have the greatest probability of seeing more deer. So with that line of logic, if my livelihood depended on my catching bass, and I see half a dozen folks who are making significant incomes catching bass on a specific line of baits, it seems logical I should at least look for those baits asking my store why they aren't carrying them. That is usually the only motivation a shop keeper needs - a customer asking for something that they will buy if they have it in stock.
If you want to talk to a bunch of folks that know about bass fishing - on a big lake for big bass - contact Bass Busters Tournament Trail that has continuously handled fishing tourney's on Lake Okeechobee going back to 1987!
I don't own stock in any bait company, nor do I work directly for any bait company today. I do own a company that builds a deer stand that climbs the tree for the hunter - the Tree Glider - and that is another whole story.