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The Best Soft Plastic Baits for Pike and Musky

When it comes to pike or musky fishing, a lot of people tend to lean towards hard baits which we will write about very soon. This time, however, we are covering soft plastic lures for pike and musky. Fishing with soft lures can be as effective as with hard baits but require a smaller investment. All baits in this article are tested and proved to be worthy to stay in my fishing arsenal. Let’s begin!

Keitech Easy Shiner

I believe that 4 and 5-inch models are among the best pike baits ever created. It looks very simple, it is your typical swimbait or so-called paddle tail, but the devil is in the details. That is why similar lures work from time to time while Easy Shiner is almost an “absolute weapon”.

Keitech Easy Shiner

In my opinion, the perfect combination of shape and material is what makes this fishing bait so great! Japanese engineers use a very soft plastisol with some kind of special scent. This is the only explanation of this bait’s success I could find.

Applications are numerous but I like these 3 rigs:

  1. Jighead
  2. Texas or Carolina Rig
  3. Weightless 

First two are quite obvious and third one proves to be the best in shallow water on small bodies of water in light colors imitating shads.

Keitech Easy Shiner Colors

When it comes to presentation and lure’s animation, you can do pretty much anything. I personally either twitch it closer to the bottom or do the classic jigging "step".

Sawamura One’Up Shad

This is one of my favorite JDM lures which has been copied by many European, Chinese, and American companies. The secret is in bait’s body and a circular connection between body and tail. 

Sawamure One'Up Shad

Besides this circular connection, this swimbait has a relatively large tail which creates a lot of vibration in the water and makes a lure to move from side to side. Combine it together and you get an almost perfect imitation of a hurt shad. The material is very soft and smelly, it is a good and bad thing at the same time. You get a very active bait which unfortunately has to be replaced after a bite or two. 

Sawamure One'Up Shad Rigs

Size wise, I like using bigger lures - 4 to 6 inches are my choices. When it comes to colors, my favorite one is sort of brown back and white belly. It is important to notice that I only rig it on a Jighead or Demountable Jig system with a double hook. Work it slow with sudden drops to the bottom and you will provoke even the most passive pike or musky.

Fanatik Baits Boxer

This fishing lure is a combination of features of some of my favorite soft plastic swimbaits. First of all, it has a circular ribbing along 85% of its body, it creates even more noise and vibration attracting fish from literally everywhere. After that, you get a small but very active tail which turns on on even lightest weights and slightest movements. 

Fanatik Baits Boxer

This lure is not as soft as Keitech but very close to it while being durable. I usually take 2-3 packs in different colors and they work great for me over the course of the day. However, the main surprise of this bait is its scent. It is company’s secret but when you look at the bait’s body closely you will see weird particles which apparently dissolve in water creating a cloud of scent around the lure. It also helps with a hook set as fish doesn’t let go as fast.

Fanatik Baits Boxer catching pike


When it comes to sizes and colors, the most successful colors and sizes were Green Mutant, Pearl White, Purple Nebula, and Wasteland Brown in 3.5” and 4.5”. Smaller size I use with light weights and bigger bait I either use weightless or with heavy Demountable Jigs with Double Hooks.


By the way, we did some testing in Florida last year and figured out that this bait does magic when used as a topwater bait. The light tail does almost circular rotations turning this into a soft plastic whopper-plopper which is one of my favorite baits. I tried it last fall on pike and musky and it worked as good as on Florida bass, just find a shallow water and if fish is there it will get it!

comment 1 comment

Tony calendar_today

I was wondering what size jighead you use on a 4 or 5 inch swimbait.

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