Soft Stick Baits

Soft Stick baits are a staple soft plastic lure with virtually limitless rigging configurations but perhaps best know for wacky rigging.




How to Fish Soft Stick Baits for Bass

Soft Stick Baits

Soft Stick Baits you can simply Rig one on your favorite hook, cast it out and let it sink. The lure does most of the work as it shimmies side-to-side and slowly falls to the bottom. Many of the bites will happen on this first fall, so if it falls to the bottom without a strike, reel it quickly for a few seconds and let it drop again.

Stick baits are a staple soft plastic lure with virtually limitless rigging configurations but perhaps best know for wacky rigging. Texas-rigged stick baits are an excellent alternative to wacky rigging and standard fluke-style baits. Weightless Texas-rigged stickbaits slide through cover with ease on a long cast. Makes them an excellent choice for covering expansive flats quickly but with subtlety in clear water.

Soft Stick Bait in Action:

First and foremost, fish it slow. You can not fish this lure too slow! I fish it mainly in the grass. I also fish a lot of clear water, so long casts seem to be critical. Keep a loose line after making your cast, but stay in contact with the lure while it sinks. It takes practice, but this is when a large percentage of the strikes will be. You also must have patience because the lure sinks very slowly.

Another unique feature about this lure, which I think makes it successful, is its uncanny ability to fall with the lure positioned perfectly horizontal while it falls, almost gliding, to the bottom. The slightest movement of the rod tip or line and the lure will dart side to side while still holding that horizontal position.

I rig mine Texas-style with a 1/0 to 4/0 EWG hook, depending on the size lure I’m fishing. I expose the hook through the top of the lure and “pinch” the point just under the body’s surface. “Pinching” the hook aids in fewer hang-ups in the grass and allows quick hook-up when a fish takes it. Gamakatsu hooks have an extremely sharp point making hook setting almost effortless with a quick snap of the rod tip.

No weight is usually needed. The style and weight of the lure make it heavy enough not to need any in most cases. If fishing very deep water, a weight might be desirable to get down faster. I recommend a toothpick type weight similar to those used on other soft baits of this kind. Placed the weight in the very center or slightly forward so as not to impede the horizontal buoyancy of the lure.

Typically when a fish takes a Senko, it inhales it rather than an aggressive bite. So the strike is almost undetectable, so be on guard. Set the hook on the first slight jump or movement of the line, or if the line feels taught when you pick up the lure. Unfortunately, because of the slight, almost undetectable bite, this creates deep gutted hooksets. Ensure you have a good pair of extra-long nose pliers or cutters handy so the hook can be removed or cut off without harm to the fish.

Where to fish for Bass with Soft Stick Baits:

Baits such as the Senko, Slug-Go, and Fluke can be fished almost anywhere – on, over, around, and even through most forms of cover and even open water. They’re incredibly productive during the spring and fall when bass move shallow and feed heavily on shad and other baitfish. They’re an eye contact bait meaning the bass has to see it to hit it. Therefore they produce best in clear water.


When fishing around grass, it’s best to use a heavier rod than you might use with other treble-hook baits. This maintains the ability to pop the bait free of vegetation. Make sure it has enough flex in the tip to counteract the extra backbone and keep fish pinned longer.

Any baitcasting rod longer than 7 feet (for long casts) will work. While some prefer a heavy rod for ripping grass, medium-heavy often works fine. Allowing the fish to stay pinned longer when you hook up.

A traditional moderate-action crankbait rod is also an effective choice. Slow-rolling or bombing casts on vast flats where grass isn’t an issue. Helping to keep fish pinned during the fight.

Gear ratio is a little more at the discretion of the angler and the scenario. Some prefer a slower gear ratio (in the 5.4:1 to 6.1:1 range). This will keep the bait in the strike zone longer. Others prefer a higher gear ratio (7.3:1) for long casts. Now you can allow for a fast retrieve as soon as the bait hits the water.


Lee offers these tips when fishing soft plastic jerk-baits and flukes.

  • When Texas-rigging, secure the plastic of choice by applying a drop of super-glue to the eye of the hook before rigging. This will lead to less frustration, especially when skipping the lure under docks, but also when fishing through brush and weeds.
  • Don’t discard stick-baits when they tear. Texas-rig them from the opposite end. When that end splits, save the bait for wacky-rigging. This can triple the lifespan of these baits!
  • Around shallow cover, have a fluke rigged and ready at all times. A Soft Stick Bait is a great throw-back bait for fish that miss a topwater spoon or another offering.
  • Try pairing a medium fast spinning rod with 20 pound Berkley FireLine for skipping around docks. Skipping with spinning gear is easier than with casting gear. The low-stretch line is essential for pressuring fish before they wrap around dock posts and other obstructions.
  • When other lures put a number of fish in the boat from a school, follow up with a soft-stick bait. By dead-sticking, this bait, additional bass can often be extracted from a school.

If you’re not using this versatile big fish catching bait, you are missing out. Soft Stick Baits can be used in a variety of situations and are effective almost all year. They are exceptionally effective during the pre-spawn when bass are looking for an easy meal. Tie one on and give it a try this year, you will be glad you did.
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