Gary R. Soldati, Plug Maker

Juniors  •  Giants  •  SLIMs  •  Sand Pikes  •  Weasels  •  Trollers  •  Jointed Eels

Big Water pikes are meticulously crafted to deliver great swimming action in calm or rough water. And, true to my “big bait, big fish” philosophy, all are designed to catch big fish.

All pikes are turned from northern white or Alaskan yellow cedar, have glass eyes from Germany and, to achieve the desired swimming action, have stainless-steel custom-made lips. The unit is through-wired for extra strength and the hooks are cut VMC trebles. The split rings have been eliminated for a cleaner profile. Tails are customized to each plug’s coloration using buck tail, crystal flash, saddle hackle and/or chenille, and tied extra long to lengthen the plug’s profile and enhance its swimming action.

I hand paint the plugs in traditional (fish-like) colors as well as standard custom (imaginative) and premium custom (complex) colors. Traditionally colored plugs run between $55 and $70 depending on size and weight. Regular custom-colored plugs carry an additional $10 charge and a few premium custom-colored plugs carry an extra $20 charge due to the complexity of the coloration.

Purchases can be made at Striper Day (NY), Surf Day (NJ), Asbury Park Fishing Flea Market (NJ) and the Salt Water Lures Collectors Club show (MA) as well as at Twin Maples, Block Island each June. I also offer online sales exclusively to my subscriber base.

JUNIORS

Surface Junior – 6-1/2″, approx. 2-1/2 oz.

This plug is an excellent choice if you fish from piers, jetties or the shore, especially when you want a bigger profile plug to fish around Peanut Bunker or Mullet. It can be fished with lighter rods and lines. I also use it for big Large Mouth Bass in fresh water. $55, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

Giants

Surface Giant – 8″, approx. 4 oz.

The Surface Giant is the first plug I made and is still, almost always, the first plug out of my bag! It is a big profile plug effective around full-bodied baits (bunker, porgy, blackfish) from boat or shore. It easily handles calm conditions or big waves, and has a lively swimming action on a slow retrieve. You can swim this plug on top or swim it down to 6’. Because of the way this plug digs into the water, it cuts down the bow in your line in strong cross winds. To comfortably fish this plug, use a rod that throws 6 oz. I use a spinning outfit spooled with 30 lb. Berkley Fireline Original Fused (not a braid and better in the rocks as it takes a 50 lb. pull to break it; or you can use 50 lb. braid) and a 50 lb. Seaguar fluorocarbon leader. My initials, GRS, are stamped on the tail end of the plug. Occasionally, I make this plug with a Surfster lip.
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

Medium Diver – 8″, approx. 4-1/2 oz.

The Medium Diver offers similar features/benefits as the Surface Giant, but floats at rest and dives down 8-10’, depending on conditions. Due to its extra weight, it has a slower swimming action, making it the preferred plug for heavy currents – as in the Cape Cod Canal and breachways. It is a heavier plug to cast into a stiff wind. I stamp “GRS” on the back of the plug, and to visually distinguish it from the Surface Giant, I also stamp an “M” on the lip and screw the lip down. Use with the heavier rod and spinning outfit as describe above. (As an aside, most of the bigger fish are caught on my Giant and SLIM diving plugs!)
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

Deep Diver – 8″, approx. 5 oz.

Again, this plug is similar to the Medium Diver, but dives down to 15’. It is very effective when fished under Bunker schools and when fishing bottom in deep coves in big waves. Few, if any, wooden plugs dive as deep as this plug. “GRS” is stamped on the back of the plug, a “D” is stamped on the lip and the lip is screwed down. This plug requires the heavier rod and spinning outfit. Taken all together, the Surface Giant, and Medium and Deep Diving Giants cover the entire water column.
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

SLIMs

Surface SLIM – 8″, approx. 3-1/2 oz.

I made this plug to be able to fish a bigger profile pike when the fish are locked in on sand eels or other slender baits. It is the same length as the Giants, but its slimmer profile and lip mean less weight and a slightly different swimming action. It is an everyday plug for many surfcasters because it is effective in all conditions from MA to southern NJ. When this plug is rigged with a Surfster lip, it is effective in shallow water and rivers. You can use a rod that throws 4 oz. but since we are focused on bigger fish, you would still want to use 50 lb. braid or 30 lb. Fireline Original Fused and a 50 lb. leader.
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

SLIM Medium Diver – 8″, approx. 4 oz.

This pike shares many of the features and benefits of the Surface SLIM. Though, because of its weight, it floats at rest, and when retrieved quickly, it dives 8-10’. It is a versatile plug and fishes well in all condition. Along with my Giant Surface, it is my most popular plug. As with all Divers, its extra weight means slower swimming action and good performance in currents. If you are new to Big Water Pikes, this is a great plug to try. Best to use a rod that can throw 6 oz. and the same heavier line and leader as described previously.
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

SLIM Deep Diver – 8″, approx. 4-1/2 oz.

This plug floats at rest and dives to 15’ or more. It works well in heavy currents and big water conditions. This plug is definitely trending up in terms of popularity! It requires a rod to throw 6 oz. and the heavier line and leader. Taken all together, the Surface SLIM, and Medium and Deep Diving SLIMs cover the entire water column.
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

Sand Pikes

Surface Sand Pike – 8″, approx. 3+ oz., slimmer than SLIMs, lipless

I created the Sand Pike to fish around sand eels and other slim baits. It is slimmer than a SLIM and lipless to gain distance on the cast. It has no real action on its own. I fish it slowly, twitching or dropping the rod, and giving it a sharp jerk causing the plug to dart back and forth. I fish these plugs using my 12′ Century rod rated 3 to 6oz. Or you can fish it on a CTS 11′ rod PJ 1009-2 rated 3 to 6 oz.
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

Sand Pike XL – 10″, approx. 6.5 oz., slimmer than SLIM Troller, lipless

Because this plug is lipless, it casts very well in strong wind and presents well in big water conditions. It has no action on its own though big water will create some. I retrieve it very slowly with intermittent twitches and jerks of the rod. In calm water, I have found that using an eel skin on this plug is a huge attraction for bigger fish. You will need a rod that is rated 4 to 8 oz. and the heavier line and leader.
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.
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Weasels

Giant Weasel – 9”, approx. 5 oz.

This is a newer Big Water pike – I made it because its big ol’ paddle tail is unique and super effective. It is a big-bodied pike with a tail that gives it an even bigger profile. If you fish it on top of the water, the tail makes a sizeable wake; or, swim it down in big water or big waves. The tail does inhibit the casting distance of the plug, but if you are boat fishing, on an offshore rock or the fish are in close, you will have no problem catching on this plug. Use a stout rod to cast this plug and get ready to fight the fish it will attract. Occasionally, I make this plug with a Surfster lip.
$65,  plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

SLIM Weasel – 9”, approx. 4 oz.

This is my go-to Weasel to scout new waters. Likely due to its slimmer (than Giant Weasel) profile, it does cast a little better than the bigger weasel. I have to work to keep this plug on top because it likes to dig in and dive down. Even with the SLIM lip, it stays swimming in big waves and does really well around Bunker and other bigger baits. Use the heavier rod and 30 lb. Fireline Original Fused or 50 lb. braid along with a 50 lb. leader.
$65, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

SLIM Troller Weasel – 11”, approx. 7 oz.

This plug looks big even to me! But when laid next to a full-sized Bunker, the Bunker is still bigger. If I am fishing a SLIM Weasel and I run into fish, I will immediately switch to the SLIM Troller Weasel to see what size fish I am dealing with. This excites me – pushing the limit to get a big fish. I throw this plug with my CTS S-7 rod rated 4 to 8 oz. with 30 lb. Fireline Original Fused and 50 lb. Fluoro leader. Tie direct or use a breakaway.
$70, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

Trollers

Troller – 10”, approx. 8 oz.

This plug is designed for boat fishermen, although I also throw it from offshore rocks. It is fantastic when big bass are mixed in with 6-8 lb. bluefish because the plug is just too big for the blues. You can also throw this plug when the bass are crashing schools of bunker and mackerel. On a slow troll, it will dive to 15’. I use a CTS S-7 rod rated 4 to 8 oz. with 30 lb. Fireline Original (not a braid) and a 50 lb. leader.
$70, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

SLIM Troller – 10″, approx. 7 oz.

I made this plug for surfcasters looking to snag bigger fish among the schoolies. With a slimmer profile and a narrower lip than the Troller, it really shines in rough conditions and has been used by boat, shore and kayak fishermen with great success. It swims great in currents and can be very effective for culling out bigger fish when the bass are crashing the macs in the Cape Cod Canal. You will need a rod rated 4 to 8 oz. to cast this plug with any force, but you can lob it with a lesser rod if the fish are in close.
$70, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.

Jointed EEls

Surface Jointed – 11″, approx. 4 oz.

I based this plug on the giant pikie made back in the day by Creek Chub Bait Company. It is fished best under the surface of big waves. It’s got great swimming action with its eel-like profile and looks totally realistic when I put an eel skin on it. Because of its two-section design and weighting, it folds on the cast, and you can get as much distance as when you are casting a Giant pike. It is best to use a rod that can throw at least 6 oz. and the 50 lb. braid/30 lb. Fireline Original Fused and 50 lb. leader.
$70, plus custom color surcharge as appropriate.