An extremely popular bait when fishing for predatory fish in fresh and salt water is the rubber fish. Even though this lure has been around for decades, the industry has really boomed just in the last few years. Since then, rubber fish are available in all conceivable designs from a wide variety of brands and manufacturers. In this article we would like to give you a short overview of all important information about rubber fish as bait.
Rubber fish in the test
We have already tested the following rubber fishes ourselves when fishing for zander, perch and pike and have written our own test report about them.
Perfectly imitate real fish with rubber fishes
Decisive for success is the special movement method associated with the use of the artificial lure, which you as a user should skillfully implement to suggest a possible prey to the fish. Predatory fish have a particularly well-developed organ called the "lateral line". This enables the fish to perceive even the smallest movements or pressure fluctuations in the water.
Rubber fish and other artificial lures take advantage of this fact by imitating exactly such movements. The predators living in the water identify the object as a weak or injured fish, which in this respect is an easy prey and is consequently attacked.
Basically, predatory fish react to such artificial lures. In freshwater these are mostly pike, zander, perch and trout. However, greater success has also been shown in the area of fishing for eels, chubs or even catfish, which can reach an incredible size and accordingly present the angler with many a problem in the so-called drill.
The right technique when fishing with rubber fish
Characteristic for fishing with rubber fish is the special technique. Once you are able to present the bait in an appropriately natural manner, more frequent success will gradually occur. Inaccurate and consequently uninteresting movements cause the predator to lose interest or not to build up any interest at all.
In the following section you will learn the different techniques of predator fishing with rubber fish in order to outwit even the most stubborn fish.
Jigging / Lazing
One of the most successful methods of fishing with rubber fish is "jigging". In this method, the lure is presented as very attractive to the predator by means of successive tugging movements and subsequent sinking phases. By usually two successive quick turns of the crank, more areas of the base segment are stirred up. The artificial lure rises higher due to the double tugging on the rod and consequently sinks longer. This circumstance leads to increased attention on the part of the target fish.
Jigging with a rubber fish
Basically, the sinking phase of the respective lure is the significant factor. A distinction is made here between short and long sinking phases. Both options each have advantages and should be used accordingly depending on the target fish. Short sinking phases are achieved by using lures with a larger or shorter length. heavier lead head achieved. This is especially suitable for fishing for zander or perch. The heavy weight pulls the lure again and again quickly into the bite zone to be fished for.
Another advantage is that also fish are addressed which are in a rather persistent position at the time of fishing. The slightly harder contact of the lure with the bottom usually animates the target fish, which can ultimately lead to a bite.
Slow and therefore long-lasting sinking phases are created with lighter lead heads and are especially advantageous when the predators are in a biting mood. In general, fishing with slightly lighter artificial baits seems more natural, as the rubber fish is in motion for a longer time. Especially pike can often be transferred with this tactic.
Choosing the right jig head is crucial
Decisive for the respective duration of the sinking phase is the choice of the right lead head. The Erie jig head shape, for example, is very suitable when the bait should sink slowly.
On the other hand there is the "round head", which sinks faster to the bottom due to less resistance. The indisputable advantage of this representative is its universal applicability. It can be used in pretty much for most tactics.
Another method is the "vertical fishing". Conceptually, any form of fishing in a perpendicular orientation is considered "vertical fishing".
Here it does not matter if it is fishing over a jetty, a boat or an ice hole. Basically, this version has proven itself very well with the zander and is used accordingly often. As a rule, the execution requires a precise feel. It is important to know the height of the bait at any moment of fishing. It is important to present your prey to the target fish in as natural a condition as possible to entice it to bite. The bait is moved up and down in a vertical direction at different speeds. In this type of fishing it is advisable to use a rubber fish with a heavy lead head, because it can sink more accurately.
Which rubber fish size for which target fish?
The variety when buying a rubber fish can be overwhelming for many an angler. Nevertheless, certain "know-how" can quickly shed light on the situation. Meanwhile, artificial lures can be found in really all shapes and sizes. Whether large or small, thick or rather narrow rubber fish, the market for such lures is constantly evolving. However, if you do not know exactly which fish you want to hunt and in which conditions you will be fishing, you will not be successful in any case.
It is essential that you take into account the water, the time of year and the weather in general when planning your fishing.
"The small ones get the big ones."Anyone who talks to old-established anglers will have heard this half-truth many times. Basically it behaves in such a way that rubber fish of rather smaller appearance act quite promisingly. The reason for this is that small prey fish fit perfectly into the pattern of any predatory fish. Nevertheless, one should consider the respective season. Especially in times of young breeding fish (mostly in summer), there is an oversupply of rather smaller prey.
Autumn Zander caught on the Fox Rage Slim Shad
In this respect, small rubber fish do not make much sense at these times, because the predator will hardly pay attention to this bait, unless it swims right in front of his nose. Larger lures are more effective for this reason, because they stand out from the prevailing situation in the water and represent a "special case".
Accordingly, a precise assignment of a certain lure size to the respective target fish is not always purposeful, respectively. useful. For example, both big pike and small perch can react to smaller rubber fish and vice versa.
Nevertheless, we have compiled a small guide for you, which has proven itself in the past.
Fishing for zander with rubber fish
Zander, especially in the colder seasons, like to bite rubber lures with a size of 12-18 cm. This is due to the fact that they move less and therefore prefer to eat a few large fish rather than many small ones. Accordingly, in the summer at warmer temperatures, especially smaller lures with a size of 7-12 cm work very well.
However, if you want to catch larger specimens, you should not fish with baits that are too small, even in summer. 10cm should be here at least, better still is 12cm.
Small zander caught on medium sized rubber fish (© ConnySkogberg / stock.adobe.com)
Fishing for pike with rubber fish
Pike can be outwitted with similar lure sizes as well as zander. However, it may be here also quiet times a number larger. Especially in autumn and winter lures with 20cm and bigger are often guarantor for big pike.
© vitaliy_melnik / stock.adobe.com
Capital pike on rubber fish (© vitaliy_melnik / stock.adobe.com)
Fishing for perch with rubber fish
Perch are quite aggressive predators and like to attack lures that are half the size of themselves. However, since they are much smaller than e.g. a zander, is here usually at 10cm end.
Rubber fish in bright colors work particularly well with perch (© Piotr Wawrzyniuk / stock.adobe.com)
Very good are especially small lures of 5cm to locate the perch. If you catch some small perch, then it is worth to choose the lure one size bigger to target the bigger ones. Mostly lures with a size of 7.5cm are a good choice to catch medium and large bass.
Unlike walleye, the principle "the colder the season, the bigger the bait" does not necessarily apply to perch. Due to the aggressive hunting behavior, larger lures are readily attacked even in the summertime.
Shapes of rubber fish tails and their effects
An extremely important role plays the tail shape of the respective bait. This determines both the strength and the shape of the generated pressure waves under the water.
Below is a list of all the relevant shapes and its action potential.
This shape causes a rather expansive movement and thus creates very strong pressure waves. This version is particularly effective when jigging and cranking the lure in.
rubber fish with shovel tail
The shape of the tail provides a strong sinuous movement, which in turn exerts less pressure on the water. Especially when jigging, cranking in and with Texas resp. Carolina Rig mounts this tail shape has a stimulating effect on the respective target fish.
Sickle tail rubber fish
A shape that provides discreet oscillations and delicate tremors. In addition to jigging, jerking and vertical fishing, this tail shape has also proved successful with Texas and Carolina Rig mounts.
Rubber fish with V-tail
Another representative, which provides by means of fast and closer movements for strong pressure waves under water. Especially when cranking, jigging and vertical fishing, numerous successes have been recorded in the past.
Rubber fish with wedge tail
A fluffing and wiggling of the fine and fibrous ends of this tail shape creates a lot of fine vibrations, which can be used for jigging and vertical fishing, but also for Texas and other fish. Carolina Rig mount could prove.
Rubber fish with fringed tail
The beaver tail provides with its shape for a discreet wobble and consequently slightly meandering movements. Also this variant of the tail shape could prove itself in jigging, vertical fishing and the two mounting variants.
Rubber fish with beaver tail
Thread tail / Pin tail
The last version forms this rather inconspicuous-looking tail shape of a rubber fish. Due to its narrow shape, the thread tail provides very fine oscillations and a slight tremor, which has shown to be especially positive when jigging, vertical fishing and the already mentioned mounts.
Rubber fish with thread tail
Not only the shape of the rubber fish, but also the appropriate hook is an immensely important part of predator fishing. If the hook does not sit properly in the artificial lure, it worsens the movement under water. As a result, all vibrations seem rather unnatural. As a rule of thumb, the rubber bait should have about 60% of its body on the hook surface of the lead head. In this way it is able to imitate an effective running behavior.
Avoid bad bites when fishing with rubber fish
Stinger on big rubber fish
Many false bites can quickly cause frustration for the angler. If the fish bite very sharp, it makes sense to attach a fear triplet, also called a stinger, to the lure.
This is hooked into the eye of the jig hook and hooked into the rear third of the rubber fish. This increases the chance to better exploit bites in this area of the bait.
The color of the rubber bait makes the difference!
The circumstance of the color takes in the course of the selection of an artificial lure likewise an important place and should be absolutely considered. Here the color should depend on the respective turbidity and especially depth of the water. Below are all the relevant colors or. Shades listed:
- Blue: well visible at a water depth of 5-15 m.
- Green: can be used universally up to a depth of about 5 m.
- Yellow: is well suited for turbid and deeper waters (5-20 m).
- Red: should only be used in water depths up to 3 m, because it can change color quickly under water in high sunlight.
- UV-active lures: are excellent in murky water or dim light conditions. Have an extremely irritating effect on predatory fish.
Flavored rubber baits
Not only special shapes or sizes of artificial lures find their way into fishing shops. Flavored rubber lures are also becoming more and more attractive.
Rubber bait with aroma (Here the Dude in 12,5cm from Zeck)
Especially in the field of fishing for zander and perch, the use of additional flavors has proven to be successful. Flavors such as garlic, crayfish and fish (especially smelt) triggered the bite reflex in many target fish.
On the other hand there are the water predators, which are well known as "eye hunters" and rely mainly on their sensory organs for hunting. Pike or asp are representatives of this group and in the past showed little interest in the special smell of the rubber baits.
When should I change a rubber fish?
When caring for fishing equipment, the focus should be placed, among other things, on the bait, especially rubber fish. If these are damaged as a result of a strong bite, it is advisable to replace them promptly. Uneven surfaces or missing pieces on the lure make for an unnatural sequence of movements and accordingly look unattractive to predatory fish. As a rule, rubber fish are not too costly and are usually offered in packs of 3 or 5.