Rapala Japan recently introduced a range of new micro soft plastics called the Storm Gomoku Soft series for their light salt game market. Designed to target species such as Chinu (Black Bream), Aji (Japanese Horse Mackerel) and Mebaru (Japanese Rock Fish), the Gomoku Soft Series come in two models, namely the 2-inch Gomoku Soft Straight (GSST20) and the 1.5-inch Gomoku Bulky Ring (GSBR15).
These micro soft plastics have since found their way to our local tackle shops here in South East Asia and their introduction to our local fishing scene has since opened up tremendous opportunities with exciting new methods and techniques to catch fish. From freshwater to saltwater, the Storm Gomoku Soft series have been catching plenty of fish for folks who have taken the step of faith to down-size their tackle to as light as 4lb! That figure may sound ‘normal’ for finesse applications on small fish, but when you’re talking about tackling big, bad Peacock Bass of 10lbs or more, 4lb tackle can be rather hairy!
THE MICRO SOFT PLASTIC ADVANTAGE
Have you ever popped a small, bite-sized snack into your mouth just to know how it tastes even though you’re not hungry? It probably looked delicious. Maybe even smelt really good. But chances are, you’ll never know whether its really tasty until you taste it for yourself. On the other hand, you’d probably be less likely to ‘try out’ something that’s of substantial portion. Theoretically, fishes behave the same way especially when they’re not in a feeding mood. Wary fish are likely to check out a small foreign object or food with their mouths rather than something larger. This is more so in places with high fishing pressure, where fish are often caught and released.
There are also times when fish are zeroed in on a specific baitfish profile and size and simply won’t take anything else. When they’re hunting really small stuff, that’s when the micro soft plastics really shine. The vibrations given off from these small soft plastics are more minute and subtle than their hardbait counterparts, therefore appearing more ‘natural’. That said, these micro soft plastics need to be used with appropriately weighted jigheads. A jighead that’s too heavy will sink abruptly, making the presentation unnatural. That’s why most of these micro soft plastics are matched to jigheads around 1 to 5grams. How heavy a jighead to use depends on the technique you’ll be using. Do you intend to hop the soft plastic off the bottom? Then a relatively heavier jighead will be ideal. Or will you be leaving the soft plastic to drift with the current? Depending on the current speed, you’d then select a jighead accordingly to position your soft plastic in the water column.
ULTRA LIGHT SETUP
To fish the Gomoku Soft micro soft plastics effectively, ultra light or finesse tackle is highly recommended. Unlike larger hardbaits or soft plastics, you’ll hardly feel any resistance or vibrations from these micro soft plastics on the retrieve. It’s almost as if you’re retrieving a bare hook on the other end of the line! Be assured though, that predators can hone in on them, whether by sight or from the very minute vibrations created as the lure travels in the water. 1-4lb or 2-6lb rated rods are fine for most situations. A good quality graphite rod with a sensitive tip is advantageous as it can easily pick up the slightest taps or bites. I personally enjoy using the Rapala RFS Finesse Series Elegance 2-6lb spinning rod. It’s extremely sensitive and does the job well of handling medium-sized Peacock Bass or big Sagai (Longfin Trevally). Paired with a Daiwa Luvias 1003 loaded with 150m of Rapala Rapinova PE#0.4 braid and a short length of Rapinova 8lb FC leader, this setup covers most of my outings with the Gomoku Soft micro soft plastics. As for jigheads, a good range that will cover most freshwater and saltwater applications would be 1.8g, 2.5g and 3.5g weights.
HOW TO WORK THE GOMOKU SOFT SERIES
Catching different species in saltwater and freshwater requires different techniques, rigging methods and strategies. Below are just some suggestions you may wish to try with the Gomoku Soft Bulky Ring and Gomoku Soft Straight. Do bear in mind though that these are not the ONLY ways to work these soft plastics. You may want to experiment a bit to see what works for your local species and fishing conditions. For the suggestions below, we rig them with a standard jighead between 1.8 to 3.5 grams.
1. STRAIGHT RETRIEVE
This method works great for the Bulky Ring. Cast it out, let it sink a bit and retrieve slowly and steadily whether mid-water of just off the bottom. You can add a bit of variation to the retrieve too, for example, pausing every once in a while before resuming your retrieve. The pause actually causes the lure to suddenly stop swimming and sink. This sudden abrupt action often triggers reaction bites. Don’t worry if you don’t feel any pulsating vibration when you’re retrieving the lure. The Bulky Ring’s little ‘heart-shaped’ tail lets off very subtle vibrations that might not be felt at all by the angler but can be picked up by the fish in the water.
2. LIFT AND DROP
This method works for both the Bulky Ring and Soft Straight. Let the rig sink all the way to the bottom. Then lift the rod tip to about 10 o’clock position and quickly let it down again. Pick up any slack line and then repeat the lift-and-drop action. This causes the lure to hop off the bottom, which can be very deadly for bottom-feeding fish. Again, you can experiment with your retrieval, whether to hop the bottom in short, sharp movements or with high and easy sweeps of the rod tip. You don’t want to use a jighead that’s too heavy for this method. Otherwise the drop may be too abrupt and frighten off cautious fish, rather than draw them in.
3. DRIFTING IN THE CURRENT
This technique has been proven extremely effective on Trevally species off Singapore’s southern islands for anglers fishing from an anchored boat. For this technique to work well, the current needs to be moving fairly quickly and the boat positioned up-current from some fish-congregating structure. The rigged Bulky Ring or Soft Straight is allowed to drift on free-spool with the current to where the fish are likely to be hunting down their prey. Once the lure has entered the ‘strike zone’, engage the reel and hang on. You can twitch the lure a little with the rod tip. Don’t retrieve any line though. This subtle movement of the rod tip makes the lure move only very slightly, resembling a tiny baitfish holding its position against the current. If there are no bites after a while, you may wish to allow the lure to drift further or deeper to search for the fish. Pay attention to tiny nibbles, which Longfin Trevally (Sagai) love to do on the Gomoku Soft lures. They nibble ever so delicately but do be prepared for a streaking run when you set the hook! This method not only works for Sagai but also other species such as Yellow-tail Scads, Hard-tail Scads and Fusiliers, just to name a few.
The Gomoku Soft Bulky Ring and Gomoku Soft Straight micro soft plastics are now available at Riverland Tackle (Changi Village), Sincere Fishing Tackles (Yishun), Joe Fishing Tackle (Beach Road), Big Fish @ The Helping Hand (Serangoon) and E-Waves Fishbyte (Clementi).
Have an interesting way of catching fish with the Storm Gomoku Soft series? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us!