It’s a great moment when some unseen saltwater predator lunges at your plug. On light tackle you face quite a battle -especially when the fish realizes it’s been fooled. Bass and pollack are just two of the predatory sea species that fall for the attraction of this type of lure.
Plugs are artificial lures designed to look something like fish. They used to be made from wood, but today moulded plastic is the main type of material used.
Not only does a plug look like a fish – it also swims like a sick or injured fish. As you retrieve it slowly, it begins to wobble in a stricken way. Small wonder bass just can’t resist them.
Plugs were invented in Finland, as a coarse fishing method for pike, and spread to America where they are favourite lures for black bass fishing. They are now a popular lure in Britain. The good thing is that you can use your coarse fishing plugs at sea.
If you already have a selection of pike plugs you’ve got a head start in sea plugging. Virtually all of your existing plugs can be used when shore fishing or when boat fishing.
They are generally found in three types: shallow diving floaters, deep diving floaters and sinkers. Many are single piece designs but some are jointed to make them wobble more. The most versatile designs are those which have an adjustable vane in the ‘mouth’ to alter the depth of the dive.
Beating the bass
Bass are a popular fish because they are hard fighters and make good eating. But don’t forget that bass are under pressure from over-fishing. Return all small ones. Shore thing Spinning from rocks with plugs for bass is good sport. When the bass change levels to follow food fish shoals, you can change depth as well by changing your plug or by resetting the adjustable vane, if it features one. Simply reset the vane higher or lower.
Plugs are useful in the openings to wide, rocky gullies where the water is choppy. Big bass wait in these waters for baitfish caught in the breaking water. They have to strike quickly at passing fish in such conditions and this means they have little time to discover the plug is not what it seems.
Also try using plugs over rocky sea beds, clear water reefs and around piers. Cast your lure out some way and bring it back as if the lure is slipping from boulder to boulder or pile to pile. Try watching how fish behave in such waters and see if you can get the plug to mimic this. Boat fishing Bass fishing is partly a question of tide, time and place. Plug fishing from a drifting boat is very effective, provided you know where the fish are. Using plugs with movable vanes means you can find the bass near the surface – preying on schools of sandeel – or in the deeper water down below.
Dawn and dusk are good times for bass. Work a standard Rapala or Abu Killer and you may be surprised at how close to the ^ shore you find them.
Pollack have a go at virtually every type of lure — plastic eels and plugs seem to be the best when you are fishing close to the shore. Again, light tackle with a 7ft rod and a small multiplier or tough fixed-spool reel makes the fishing very sporting.
Plugs can also be used for wreck fishing from a boat. Cast uptide of the wreck, allowing time for the lures to work at the correct depth. Pollack often move closer to the surface at dusk, and they may even jump right out when hitting a surface-fished plug.
The fish then crash-dives with its ‘prey’ and fights all the way down. Don’t panic when this happens. After that initial dive its subsequent struggles are seldom as determined. Other hard fighting fish such as coalfish also take plugs, while mackerel may snap at smaller lures.