The emphasis this year in soft plastics seemed to be on less-traditional worms and swimbaits, with numerous soft squids and shrimps. The trend to increasing realism in hard baits is evident in soft plastics as well.
Prices are rounded to the nearest dollar.
Chasebaits Ultimate Squid
- “Designed to be the most realistic squid ever made,” says this bait’s Australian manufacturer. I saw this in the test tank and indeed the “rolling hood wings” scintillate as if on a living mollusk. Add 3D eyes, fluttering tentacles and squid scent and it seems a pretty tempting tidbit. Available in two sizes (5.9 inches and 7.8 inches); the manufacturer also offers weighted rigs designed specifically for this bait.
- Five color patterns.
- This soft-plastic jerkbait is designed by Patrick Sebile to be particularly versatile, with multiple rigging options. The willow-leaf blade adds flash and vibration, even on the fall, when the lure moves horizontally. The Hyperlastic Softough body is tough and durable. Five sizes (3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 7 and 9.5 inches).
- Eight colors
Engage Twitcher Soft Lure Saltwater
- An extremely durable soft-bodied twitch bait with a great action, says the lure’s maker, Patrick Sebile. The 108-mm (4 ¼-inch)Twitcher is reinfored with a through-wire and has extra-strong split rings and hooks. A slot through the back holds a rattle to be inserted when conditions call for it; its transverse position offer maximum sound with a lure worked side to side. Effective on both a slow, steady retrieve and with a hard pause-and-twitch retrieve.
- Eight colors
Fish Snax Lures Da’Squid
- Fish Snax Lures is based in the Northeast, and while the new Da’Squid have already proven effective for stripers and other game fish, the manufacturers point out that everything everywhere eat squid. These are 7 ½ inches long.
- Three colors
LiveTarget Fleeing Shrimp
- The Fleeing Shrimp is designed to mimic the look/action of a shrimp trying to escape a predator. A silicone skirt folds on retrieve and fans out when resting. Two sizes (2 ¾ and 3 ½ inches).
- Three color patterns.
MirrOlure Paul Brown’s Soft-Dine XL Twitchbait
- Designed for fishing shallow water, with big seatrout and redfish in mind, the XL version of the popular soft-bodied Soft-Dine twitchbait offers a reflective-foil insert for added flash and a sonic rattling chamber for added vibration. Two sizes (2 5/8-inch and 3 ¼-inch).
- 23 color patterns
Savage Gear Salt 3D Swim Squid
- These soft mollusk baits are based on a 3D scan of a real squid, and look it. The manufacturer says the lure, of super-strong TPE material, swims and looks exactly like the real thing. It can be cast/retrieved, slow jigged or trolled; a unique two-part design allows for scent to be added. Four sizes (4, 5, 7 and 10 inches).
- Six color patterns.
Strike Pro Guppie and Guppie Junior
- The manufacturer calls this the “gold standard for handmade wood glide baits.” While the lure isn’t new, the various hand-painted colors are. The glide baits unique long, soft tail should make this hard/soft hybrid tempting for redfish, trout and other inshore game fish (though changing out the thin-wire hooks would be wise). The Guppie measures 5.3 inches; the Junior 4.3 inches.
- Six color patterns
Tsunami Pro Tidal Baits
- PVC construction baits in 3.5- and 4.5-inch sizes designed to mimic real fish.
- Two color patterns (mullet and sardine)
Westin Flat Matt Jig Soft Bait
- The realistic swimming action of this little soft flatfish is enhanced with the curly tail and side skirts. The baits feature 3D eyes and detailed, hand-painted colors. The result: amazingly lifelike. Two sizes (3 3/8 and 5 1/8 inches).
- Four color patterns
Z-Man Trout Trick Jerk Shrimpz
- A tail-first retrieve imitates backward swimming of a fleeing shrimp; wiggly appendages add appeal. The 4-inch ElaZtech plastic bait has a natural gliding action on the fall. Rigs weedless or on a Z-Man jig head.
- Eight color patterns