Softbaits, sometimes referred to as soft plastics, are artificial imitation bait fish and come in all sorts of sizes and colours. Some are even scented.
Softbaiting is a great way to target larger fish and is all about imitating live fish swimming in the water. And it’s much cleaner than conventional bait as there’s no messy real bait involved. Softbait is reusable...unlike normal bait. Show More...
Light tackle is generally used, the rods are lighter and have a sensitive tip to allow more control on the movement of bait. When you raise the rod, the rod provides a steady increase in pressure on the fish as the fish take the bait (there’s no sudden jolt on the fish taking the bait).
Softbaiting is usually performed by drifting through schools of fish. You should cast in the direction of your drift and let it sink to the bottom, raising the softbait off the bottom to imitate a fish escaping a predator. You then release the pressure and allow the softbait to sink to the bottom. This imitates fish diving to the bottom for cover, enticing a predator fish to chase. The reel:
Spinning or baitcaster/overhead reels are both used. Spinning reels are less likely to ‘birds nest’, overhead reels require more skill. The choice of reel comes down to personal preference. The line:
Braid is used. It has a low stretch which allows more direct contact with softbait. Fluorocarbon trace is used at the end (approx. 2m) because it’s invisible to the fish. Fluorocarbon is tougher than standard nylon and is thinner for the same amount of strength. The Tackle:
Jigheads are used for attaching the softbaits. The weight of the jighead depends on the depth and current and how quickly you are drifting. When choosing a jighead, choose a weight that is going to get you to the bottom as naturally as possible for your conditions.
In the Hauraki Gulf the most common jighead weights are 1/2, 5/8 and 1 oz. Kayak fishermen in shallow water use 1/4 oz or 3/8 oz.
Finally, softbait clips are a useful part of your gear as they allow you to change the jighead quickly.
Browse through the pages below for all gear related to softbaiting or, go straight for the relevant sub-category by clicking on one of the boxes above...