There are many different types of plug available to anglers today, and sea fishing with this type of lure is increasing in popularity, particularly for anglers targeting bass. Some plugs are designed to float on or near to the surface of the water, whereas others are designed to go under the water, with the size and angle of the diving vane dictating how deep the plug will go as it is retrieved.
Plugs were traditionally made from wood, although plastic plugs are much more common nowadays. Plugs can be a single section or two or even three sections, with two or three treble hooks typically incorporated into the design of a plug. Many plugs incorporate a rattling noise which adds vibrations as a further attractor to predatory fish.
Rods, Reels and Line for Plugging
Many anglers use bass rods for plugging, which seems logical as bass are the most commonly targeted species with this type of lure, although spinning rods of 8 – 10ft can also be used. Because many plugs can be less than 20g in weight many anglers find they cast better with lighter spinning rods, rather than the larger bass rods which are designed to cast 2 – 4oz (56 – 112g). Fixed spool reels are the most commonly used when plug fishing, although anglers should ensure that it is a front drag reel as hard fighting fish such as large bass and pollock can prove too much for rear drag reels which are weaker and designed for lighter types of fishing.
In terms of line, many anglers are happy to use 15lb or similar monofilament all of the way through, finding this is a good balance between being light enough to allow good casting distance while still having the strength to handle any larger fish which may be caught. There is, of course, and an increasing number of anglers using braided line with plugs, finding the strength, low diameter and stretch-free nature make this line more effective than monofilament. There is no definitive answer to what is the best line for using plugs, with both monofilament and braided line proving effective, meaning that it comes down to the angler’s personal choice over which type of line to use.
Techniques and Methods for Using Plugs
Plugs have their own type of action built-in depending on whether they are a floating or diving plug, whereas wobblers and rattlers will all have additional actions as they are retrieved. Anglers can impart additional action to the plugs they are using. The speed at which a plug is reeled in has a big influence over how it behaves, with diving lures submerging faster if they are reeled in quickly, while surface poppers will create more splashing if they are reeled in fast. Furthermore, anglers can add further action by twitching or pulling their rod to one side as they retrieve the lure which will add erratic movements to the plug which will potentially attract predatory fish looking for an easy meal of an injured fish.
Anglers often get success using plugs from rock marks with submerged rocks, weed beds and gullies being key areas where bass may be present. Other signs which may provide profitable for anglers using plugs include places where two different currents meet as this will churn up the seabed and attract small fish which will, in turn, attract larger fish. Although there can be a bewildering range of plugs on the market anglers can soon work out which plugs are the most effective for the marks they fish. Many anglers describe plug fishing as one of the most exciting forms of UK sea fishing, and seeing a bass take a surface plug, or feeling a powerful bass take a submerged diving plug, is one of the most exciting aspects of shore fishing.