September 7, 2016

How To Rig Jigheads And Soft Plastics So Fish Bite More Often

Learn how to rig jigheads onto various soft plastics popular for inshore fishing. When you do, you'll catch more speckled trout and redfish!

The fishing in Louisiana can get really good.

It’s so good a novice can fish with poorly rigged tackle and still catch a fantastic box.

I know, because I used to be that guy.

old school devin limit of speckled trout

But when the fish got finicky I stopped catching them so easily!  

I eventually learned how to throw a jig, and part of that journey was learning to properly rig jigheads in the first place.

Once I mastered that, I began catching more speckled trout and redfish, especially when the bite got tough.

How to Properly Rig Jigheads and Soft Plastics

In this blog post you'll learn how to rig jigheads onto:

  • sparkle beetles
  • straight tail soft plastics
  • paddle tail swim baits 
  • curly tail grubs

Orient The Lure On The Jighead Correctly

The tail must be pointed down and the hook pointed up.

This is how paddle tail baits are made to swim through the water.

Straight tail baits don’t have this feature, so rig them on a jighead them with the belly down.


One exception to these rules are the Deadly Dudley Rat Tails. Rig those with the textured side up.

Berkley Live Gulp Shrimp in New Penny are another. Sometimes they have the darker color on the bottom of the lure, rather than on top.

Rig these with the darker color on the bottom.

Sparkle beetles can be rigged with the red dot on the side, top or bottom.

rig soft plastic onto jighead

The above picture depicts the incorrect way to rig jigheads.

They are crooked, upside down and, like the sparkle beetle, just plain wrong.

The soft plastics below are oriented correctly on a jighead.

correct way to rig a jighead

Rig Jigheads So the body Is straight, not crooked

If a soft plastic has a straight back then it needs to be rigged onto the jighead in such a manner that it remains straight.

rig jighead soft plastic

The above picture is not the correct way to rig jigheads onto a Vortex Shad.

The body needs to be straight so it swims correctly and hook sets are complete.

how to properly rig jigheads and soft plastics

This is how it’s done! You want the body straight so the paddle tail can do its job. 

Also, the hook is exposed more to better pin the fish.

Rig Jigheads To Be centered, not off to the side

The hook must exit the lure’s body in the center or the bait will not swim correctly.

A funny-swimming bait is less likely to get bit by a fish and makes for inconsistent action when swapping colors or fresh bodies.

crooked rigging of soft plastic

If the hook exits the body off-center the lure will swim at an odd angle through the water.

This can deter a fish from striking, especially during difficult bites like this fishing trip from January 15th, 2019.

hook exit soft plastic dead center

You want to rig jigheads so that the hook exits dead center from the lure body.

This way the lure swims straight through the water and fish are more likely to bite.

  • Knowledge Bomb

A simple trick to rig jigheads is to lay it over the lure body to visualize where the hook should exit.

This way you get it right the first time and avoid destroying the soft plastic with multiple attempts.

easy rigging trick

How To Rig Jigheads On Curly Tail Grubs

Rig these like any other soft plastic, but with the special consideration that the tail is facing down, opposite from the hook.

curly tail grub

This way water flows against it, and not with it, creating maximum action as the bait falls.


So now you know how to properly rig jigheads on popular soft plastics used for inshore fishing: paddle tail swimbaits, straight tail soft plastics and curly tail grubs.

While these details are not as important as finding fish in the first place, they do make a significant impact when the bite gets tough.

If you'd like to learn more, then you should check out this blog post about 3% Theory.

Want to see how I fish these lures to catch limits of fish? Check out LAFB Elite.

Tight lines!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • It works for Michael Iaconelli, and he’s won $2,650,205 in Bassmaster events alone. I’d say that’s the way to rig a curly tail grub. lol

    Of course, speckled trout are not nearly as discerning as largemouth bass, at least not the smaller schooling types often targeted by inshore anglers.

    I’m sure there’s a lot of 3% Theory going on there, but since it takes virtually zero effort to do, it’s how I rig it anyway.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • Have I been rigging my curly tail grubs wrong my whole life?Always rig hook and tail up and. Am a trout fisherman first of all salt species.

  • Yes, I have. It’s referred to as “Whacky Rigging”. I have not seen it to be more effective than what’s described here for catching inshore species, especially speckled trout.

  • Have you ever heard of technique where a plastic lure is intentionally hooked belly side up to mimic an injured bait fish?

  • “Place the jighead on top of the soft plastic to see how it should be threaded and you will get it right every time.” Something so simple, yet it never crossed my mind! Thanks.

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    End The Frustration, Start Getting Results!

    see what these members of my paid courses have to say...

    Devin's courses are easy to watch, and the delivery of each point in his lessons come naturally.

    No one has a course like Inshore Fishing 101 that is more complete when it comes to speckled trout and redfish here in the state of Louisiana.

    Brandon RobichauxRigolets Area Angler

    I learned that I couldn't see the marsh for the bayou. What I mean by that is I was unknowingly doing a lot of things wrong with poor results and just chalked it up to a bad day of fishing. Devin presents a ton of concepts that the average fisherman either overlooks, isn't executing properly or is flat out ignorant of.

    Inshore Fishing 101 isn't just a bunch of random tips! It is an intricate web of interconnected actions, equipment, locations, biology, conditions, techniques, technology, and experience that come together to give you the best chance of filling the box with fish on a consistent basis.

    He shows how simple it is: you don't need a 24 ft bay boat, you don't need 500 different color lures, you don't need the most expensive gear, all you need to is a rod, a reel a lure and a little moving water, clean water and lots of bait in the area.

    Randy AhrabiSmall Business Owner