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Have softies had their day?

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    Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 12:00pm
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Over the last year, I have got more in to micro-jigging in shallow water. It's got to the point where my go to lure is a microjig and don't even think about softies. 

Microjigs come in all shapes and sizes, and even different materials making them almost as versatile as softies. I like that they have small hooks, whereas big softies require larger hooks. Jigs also cast very well.

When I've fished the two side by side, microjigs almost always come out on top. 

Have softies had their day?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kaveman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 1:06pm
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Good question Andrew
Soft bait definately still part of my arsenal even though i use more micro jigs now. They are so easy to cast and they certainly catch plenty of fish albiet i still think that more big snapper are caught on softbait than small micro jigs
Plenty more options out there now too regarding softbaits , Gulp certainly havent got  the lion market share they once had.
I have had days when softies outfish micro jigs and vice versa so happy to keep using both
My micro jig/ softbait rod can handle either with ease so that helps not having to have another specialist rod
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MightyBoosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 1:19pm
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Thanks Kevin. I've had one day when paddle tail softies outfished microjigs and that was in the Far North, not one of my usual spots. I also use a softbait rod for microjigs. 

I think the one benefit of softies over jigs is that they can be rigged weedless, but I don't see many people doing this in NZ. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Polar_Kiwis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 6:09pm
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Originally posted by MightyBoosh MightyBoosh wrote:


I think the one benefit of softies over jigs is that they can be rigged weedless, but I don't see many people doing this in NZ. 

What hooks do you use to rig weedless? What size softies do you use? I'm keen to try some from shore.
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I'm an old school bait fisherman but have been doing more micro / slowpictch jigging over the past couple seasons - I don't do a lot of chasing workups but when time suits when the fish are schooling I do like dropping the jigs and occasionally softies. 

I have also started throwing a few skutes around past couple seasons and once you get a good technique with the skutes and jigs I think you can pretty much miss the softies out - I have a skute couple seasons old and still catching on it, unlike softies you can pretty much fish one for the whole day. No need to re-bait, I think to it would be great for the environment and fish - no fish eating plastic and people not throwing the left overs over the side....

Heading North in a couple weeks and looking at throwing around skutes, little big eye blades and small diving lures in the shallows will be probably leaving the softies at home....
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote puff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 7:05pm
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No..... to put it simply
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 7:07pm
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Originally posted by kaveman kaveman wrote:

Good question Andrew
Soft bait definately still part of my arsenal even though i use more micro jigs now. They are so easy to cast and they certainly catch plenty of fish albiet i still think that more big snapper are caught on softbait than small micro jigs
Plenty more options out there now too regarding softbaits , Gulp certainly havent got  the lion market share they once had.
I have had days when softies outfish micro jigs and vice versa so happy to keep using both
My micro jig/ softbait rod can handle either with ease so that helps not having to have another specialist rod

Good honest answer Kevin!


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MightyBoosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 7:49pm
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Originally posted by Polar_Kiwis Polar_Kiwis wrote:

What hooks do you use to rig weedless? What size softies do you use? I'm keen to try some from shore.

Good question. I tend to use the Gulp 6 inch grubs with 6/0 Owner Beast hooks and a bait screw. The hooks look huge when you first get your hands on them. It's the gape that makes them look so big, this is useful with those big softies. 

Otherwise, I tend to use small Gulp or Zman paddle or curly tails with 2/0 worm hooks. I think the brand was VMC. I bought them from Marine Deals about 6 years ago and haven't found them since. I cannot track down a small worm hook with decent gauge wire. The hooks designed for freshwater bass in the USA wouldn't last a minute with snapper. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MightyBoosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 7:50pm
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Puff & Muppet - any further comments? Is it that you find that softies catch as many fish as microjigs, or just happy with softies?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 7:59pm
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Not really just simply softies ain't had their day, neither has bait, jigs, inchiku's, ledger rigs, live baiting, trolling..... 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote puff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 8:57pm
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Ditto muppet....
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MightyBoosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Sep 2018 at 10:06pm
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I wasn't suggesting that softies be consigned to the scrap heap, and never spoken of again. More that they have come out the limelight in the fishing media, and have fallen out of favour with ordinary fishos like me.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Downtown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Sep 2018 at 1:07am
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Its hard to find really good fisherman but when you do they are generally good at something specific and can apply their knowledge across a wide range of techniques. For me softbaiting produces what i want eg interactive fishing with results. The day that softbaits have had there day that is the day i stop fishing.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Muppet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Sep 2018 at 5:52am
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Plus MB there are still a lot of fisho's who still have not tried softbaits. And softbait sets are the biggest sellers in my local tackle shop which suggests far from a slow down
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Used softies a few times and caught fish,but my concern is when you get 1/2 a bait back is it floating around or jammed inside throat? Are they're degradable if so how long as find a number around shoreline.
water water everywhere,how many fish does it hold?
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WQould it also depend on where you fish?
 ie going from east coast bottom end to the more murky, bigger currents, heavier sinkers etc of the manukau, and beyond the bars?
 This is the move we are making shortly so have been asking a lot of questions/ whys.
 Thu will as usual also be experimenting/ finding a lot out the 'hard way'
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Sep 2018 at 10:12am
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Originally posted by pjc pjc wrote:

Used softies a few times and caught fish,but my concern is when you get 1/2 a bait back is it floating around or jammed inside throat? Are they're degradable if so how long as find a number around shoreline.

I'd pick up the ones you find along the shoreline and give them a go - they are likely to be Z mans, which float and are much more durable than Gulps (the ones fish bite in half).

I've never had a Z Man bitten in half, they get a bit damaged over time but always still on the hook to dispose of responsibly at home.

You may have seen Grant's announcement about the new Catch Livies softbaits, which appear to be similarly durable and also have environmental credentials.

I've seen plenty of berley bomb bags, pillie bags etc floating around and washed up to know that bait fishers aren't immune to causing environmental issues. Also surf casters and rock fishos leaving miles of thick mono tangled around rocks, weed, lead stuck on the bottom...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Sep 2018 at 10:17am
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[I cannot track down a small worm hook with decent gauge wire. The hooks designed for freshwater bass in the USA wouldn't last a minute with snapper. 
[/QUOTE]

Have you tried the Trokar Flippin hook, made specifically for soft baiting (has a plastic holder near the eye)?
They are very good with grub style softies, and have quite wide gape.
I think Muppet used to use them (3/0 size) and I originally saw Stephen Tapp recommend them in NZ Fishing News.
I use them with a small ball sinker when out on the flats in summer, dragging behind the boat while I cast ahead using a normal jighead.
Using a Z Man (buoyant) which wiggles around erratically they are pretty deadly.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote The Tamure Kid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Sep 2018 at 10:30am
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Originally posted by MightyBoosh MightyBoosh wrote:

I wasn't suggesting that softies be consigned to the scrap heap, and never spoken of again. More that they have come out the limelight in the fishing media, and have fallen out of favour with ordinary fishos like me.

To some extent, tackle companies and the fishing media have to keep introducing new products and writing about new topics on the hot new technique, otherwise people turn off. There's only so much people can write about softbaiting. 
And it's human nature to get into crazes, in all walks of life, then discard whatever craze it is.

The Japanese, in particular, are always innovating with lure techniques, and softbaits have been forgotten a little.

A while ago some people were claiming they had become less effective, as fish had seen them so much. i haven't been fishing them long enough to take a view on that. But I reckon they are pretty effective if fished well.
I am an admirer of Mark Kitteridge as a fisherman and writer, and he did a whole series last year on still loving his softbaiting, ditto John Eichelsheim - though they also are experts with jigs etc, I suspect if they had to nominate one method it'd be softbaiting.
There's something about it that really appeals to me, as a former trout flyfisher, compared to the bait fishing I grew up with.

I think that in 15/20m+ an expert jig fisher (and plenty of you on the forum) would hold their own against any other method. 

In 6-15m in rocky-ish areas, I'd rather softbait. But I think there is great potential for the likes of soft vibes, bibbed lures, sinking stickbaits which the Aussies are much more accomplished in than we are.

 The problem for me is that I'm only just feeling like I'm competent at soft baiting, not ready to start from scratch on another new method and go back to beginner level.

The other point I'd make is that there are two or three distinct methods of soft baiting that I see. One is the lob ahead and fish more or less vertically school, with little twitches and jiggles often done in channels; another is what I do, which is cast well ahead and fish on the retrieve; then there's pure dragging.
I think the lob and vertical is interchangeable with micro jigs in the fluttery style, and even tail weighted jigs (as went through a snapper craze in the 1980s).
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