We love to fish soft plastics for bass, especially this time of the year, spring time, when bass fishing is really booming. But this can also be the time when largemouth bass and smallmouth bass get very tough to catch because they get into really shallow clear water and suddenly your power game has no game because big lures crashing into inches of water spook the bigger and smarter fish off.
When bass approach the spawn, the popular techniques out of Japan and the mindset of finesse fishing with soft plastics and creative rigging really plays a crucial role in getting those tough to catch bass on the line.
For this very reason, I carry what I call my JDM Soft Plastic Rigging Kit because many of the packs of terminal tackle are from the Japanese Domestic Market. I carry it in a small zipper pouch in my boat and travel bag when I’m on the road. I like making a small pack that usually stays in my boat, but that I can grab and throw in my sling pack I travel with when I’m kayak fishing or traveling to fish with other anglers. I carry it separate from my normal terminal tackle box because it’s so many odds and ends that it can be hard to store in one box. Also, I like to leave them in their packs so I know their intended use.
My kit is full of all sorts of goodies that give me every option to uniquely present various plastics to fish. I’ve used these rigs to land 8- and 9-pound bass in the spring, and I think you will find they will work for you too.
How to build a Custom JDM Rigging Kit
I think the first thing to consider is what you will put in the kit and how you will fish various plastics for bass. There are lots of finesse things you can do to make your presentations a little more appealing or lifelike to bass who get a really good look at your baits in clear water.
The stuff I put in my JDM Soft Plastic Rigging Kit gives me a way to add a unique flare or make the lures do certain things I want them to do. For instance by adding just one piece of terminal tackle or combining a couple pieces of terminal tackle, I can add things or make my bait do things like flash, stand up, trailer another lure, glide backwards, add vibration or separate the lure from a weight or any number of things to add more lifelike appeal.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in my JDM Rigging Kit:
- Nail weights
- Split rings
- Bobber stops, pegs and straws
- Quick snaps
- Screw locks
- Specialty weights
- Specialty jigheads
- Specialty hooks
Specialty Rigging Weights
A lot of rigging plastics is adding weight in various ways to make the bait do different things. For this reason, I carry things like nail weights, moldable weights I can put on hooks, weights that give the lure a different action like creature bullet weights. I will also add weights that can be hung on hooks or snaps for mini swing heads or nose-down plastics.
Rings and Snaps
I like quick snaps, split rings and combination rings that allow me to do things like add a weight to a hookeye or add a sliding swivel to my line, so I can add another bait or leader that can attract a second fish when one fish is hooked or chasing. I can use a split ring to add a spinner to a screw lock to add a small blade to the tail of stick worm. I can make modified Jika rigs or Tokyo rigs with a snap and split ring on the fly.
Stops, Pegs, Spikes and Straws
I keep bobber stops and specialty stops like Decoy Silicone Gripper to keep swimbaits in place, add weights on the line and then separate them from the lure to make mini Carolina rigs or hold a spinner in place. I like the custom spikes like the Neko Hack from Geecrack to give me a way to Neko rig any plastic regardless of it’s shape where it’s impossible to get an o-ring around the body.
Straws can be handy to make baits line through rigs where you have the line go in through the nose and out the back or belly where you tie on a treble hook. You can also make a Inu Rig by folding a worm and using the straw segments to pass your line through the worm multiple times to make the worm contract and open every time you twitch it. I just grab a few of the coffee stirrers at my local gas station or coffee shop. Just make sure they are okay with you taking a couple extra. A couple straws will make several rigs for you.
A screw lock is handy to rig a plastic on the back of a small hook or add something to the tail of a plastic. A lot of guys will add a small blade to soft plastic stick worm, or nose rig a small swimbait on a small hook. I’ve done both with great success in the spring.
Hooks and Jigheads
I will carry some specialty jigheads and hooks like weedless wacky hooks that work for a lot of finesse clear water applications. I also like to carry screw heads for small swimbaits to add a little flash and vibration to a small swimbait. I will also add in some lightly weighted screw lock worm hooks for giving me more options with a stick bait than just wacky rigging. And I also always have a few flick shake heads to wacky rig on a weighted jighead which more closely resembles crawfish than worms.
Where I Buy My Rigging Kit Terminal Tackle
I find my terminal tackle for this special rigging kit in various places but here is a quick rundown of retailers that carry cool rigging options
I’m also on the lookout for new and interesting ways to rig plastics to make them seem very lively in clear water. There is something about fooling a bass that’s skittish in ultra shallow water that is very rewarding to me. It’s the same feeling I got growing up fly fishing tricking those trout into thinking my feathers were a real bug on the water’s surface.
This kit has a lot of crossover in my BFS kit I’ve been building as well (more on that kit in a future article).
Best Makers of JDM Rigging Terminal Tackle
Here is a quick rundown of some of my favorite makers of JDM terminal rigging tackle:
Let me know what cool rigging things you add to your soft plastic rigging kit to give your soft-plastic, bass-fishing lures more action and an attraction.