View Full Version : History of soft plastic lures

02-03-2009, 05:19 PM
Found this on the web:

A History of Soft Plastic Lures

In terms of angling, the term "soft plastic" is used to describe any of a range of silicon-based fishing lures, termed so because of their soft, flexible rubber texture. Designed to imitate fish or other natural aquatic food sources, their realistic texture and versatility, combined with simple and economical production has led them to become a standard article of modern fishing tackle. Soft plastics are available in a large range of colours, sizes and particularly shapes.


Soft plastics found their origins in the late 1950s and early 1960s, with small worms and grubs being moulded from hard rubber. The stiff rubber used, as well as the basic shapes produced, did not allow the flexible action and effectiveness of modern soft plastics to be observed. In 1972, a lure manufacturer patented the Curly Tail concept, utilising the flexibility of silicon-based plastic to create a rubber lure with a more lifelike action and vastly improved fish-catching effectiveness. By the early to mid 1980s, high sales volumes of Mister Twister lures prompted many new entrants into the market, with competition soon leading to a broad and diverse selection of soft plastic lures being made available in a range of shapes, colours and sizes.


The diversity of soft plastic lures has enabled them to be used in many configurations, rigs and with various techniques. The original, and still most commonly seen use of soft plastics is as a simple lure, using a weighted hook known as a jighead. The hook of the jighead is threaded through the lure so that only the gape of the hook, and the eye, are exposed. Methods vary according to the shape of the plastic used, however is it most often cast and retrieved with short, sharp jerky motions applied by the angler through flicking the fishing rod tip. Experienced soft plastic anglers attempt to emulate the natural movement of the animal the soft plastic imitates, such as a prawn, baitfish or crawdad.

Soft plastics are also trolled and jigged in the same method as metal or hardbodied lures, and used as artificial baits in classic real-bait rigs. The many rigs, techniques and uses of soft plastic lures are as varied as the designs, colours and sizes they are available in. Specialised techniques and rigging methods have evolved from anglers targeting specific fish species or in particular areas, such as the Texas rig and Carolina rig.
The Carolina Rig. Various soft plastic fishing rigs and methods have evolved through anglers targetting specific fish species
The Carolina Rig. Various soft plastic fishing rigs and methods have evolved through anglers targetting specific fish species

Modern Variants

Today, soft plastic lures take on many forms and hybrids. Hardbody hybrid lures, with a solid plastic front half and soft plastic tail for lifelike action and appearance, are now common. These hybrids often use treble hooks, diving bibs and other features once restricted to hardbody lures. Concern over the instance of non-biodegradable plastics being lost in fragile water systems has prompted the creation of organic, biodegradable lures that retain the flexible, rubbery texture and action of traditional polymer soft plastic lures by tackle manufacturers. There is much controversy in the angling community regarding the true nature of this new form of organic soft plastic, which has led to the use of such lures being prohibited in some lure-only angling competitions.