Sea Fishing Plugs

Plugs are a type of hard lure which is most commonly associated with fishing for bass, although they can be used to catch many other predatory species such as pollock, coalfish and mackerel. There is a seemingly infinite choice when it comes to selecting plugs, although they can be grouped into broad categories such as floating, diving and jointed plugs. The rest of this article looks at the different types of plugs available to anglers, for the article on using plugs to catch fish, click here.

Colours, Design and Pricing

Plugs Selection
A selection of different types of plugs for sea fishing.

Plugs are shaped like a small fish and today plugs are usually made out of plastic, although traditional plugs can still be found which are made out of wood. Plugs are often designed in natural colours to imitate a preyfish such as a herring, sprat, sandeel or small mackerel.

However, plugs are also manufactured in colours that are not usually found in nature such as pink, orange, yellow and bright green. There is much debate (and no definitive answers) over which is the best colour and shape combination when it comes to plugs, with most anglers using a trial-and-error method to find which plug works best for them from certain marks and in certain conditions.

Plug Sections

Single and Jointed Plugs
From left to right: A single section, two-section and multiple section jointed plugs.

Traditionally plugs were made from a single section, but soon two-section plugs became available, with the belief being that a jointed plug would have a natural action as it was drawn through the water, mimicking the natural movement of a small fish. Today, with improvements in manufacturing technology plugs can be made up of multiple sections, although single-section and two-section jointed plugs remain popular.


Plug Hooks
A plug fitted with three treble hooks.

Typically plugs are fitted with two or three treble hooks, meaning that a fish will become hooked no matter which angle it attacks the plug from. Hooks can be as small as size 8 for mini plugs, while standard plugs for fishing around the British Isles are likely to have size 4 or 6 hooks fitted, although the very largest plugs can have size 2 treble hooks or even larger. Today, with anglers taking a more conservation-minded approach to fishing (and the fact that bass have to be returned to the sea by law for part of the year) the treble hooks are often removed from plugs and standard J-hooks fitted instead. Alternatively, the barbs of treble hooks can be crushed with pliers to make them easier to remove when unhooking a fish.

Floating Plugs

Surface Plug
A surface plug.

Floating plugs work on the surface of the water. As they are reeled in predatory fish see them silhouetted against the surface and attack from beneath. There are, however, some variations in the types of floating plugs. Some will stay on the surface for the entirety of the time they are being retrieved, whereas others will dive slightly and create splashes and disturbances on the surface of the water. These types of plugs are sometimes referred to as sub-surface plugs and can often rattle, wobble or vibrate as they are reeled in as an additional way of attracting fish. Hengjia Floating Plugs and Nomura Real Fishing Floating Plugs are examples of this type of plug which can be viewed and purchased from Sea Angling Shop.

Diving Plugs

Diving Plugs
The green plug has a small diving vane making it shallow diving, while the blue mackerel plug has a very large diving vane, meaning that it will dive to much greater depths.

Diving plugs will initially float when they are cast out and hit the water, but as they are fitted with a diving vane they will dive under the water as they are reeled in. If the diving vane is large and set at a steep angle the plug will dive quickly to a greater depth, while a smaller diving vane at a shallower angle will make the plug dive more slowly and to shallower depths. Most manufacturers will provide information with the plug explaining the maximum depths to which the plug will dive. Most anglers will build up a collection of plugs so that they can present plugs at different depths, ranging from shallow diving plugs to those with an extra-large diving vane that can reach the greatest depths. Cronus Sandeel Plugs are a type of diving plug which can be used to catch a range of predatory species around the coastline of the British Isles, view and purchase these plugs from Sea Angling Shop by clicking here.