Ask two anglers how to rig a soft plastic fishing lure, and they’ll show you two completely different methods. Ask them how to fish with a soft plastic, and they’re likely to show you five or ten different methods, then tell you which works when, and why. (Note: six out of ten will probably be lies. They are, after all, fishermen).

How to rig soft fishing lures

So when we shot Got Bait: The Search for Stripers, it was somewhat amazing that angling sharpies Shawn Kimbro (the author of Chesapeake Light Tackle) and Lenny Rudow (that’s me) actually agreed on most points. Most. Here’s where the two of us thought along the same lines:

- Color contrast in your lure is a good thing, and at times, may be more important than the lure’s overall color.
- If you want to rig your soft plastic lure so it stays on the hook longer without being ripped up, slide the hook into it through the back of the lure. If you want to maximize the lure’s action, slide the hook in through the lure’s bottom side, and into the slot, or pocket.
- When fishing with a long, slender soft plastic, give the lure plenty of action.
- Braid line is best when casting and retrieving soft plastic jigs.

And, here’s where we disagreed:

- Hot-rod your lures, to get more color contrast. (Kimbro says yes; I agree it does improve contrast, but the paints make a mess—and if you have kids aboard, make a horrendous mess).
- And… well, pretty much everything else.

Want to see for yourself? Watch The Search for Stripers. And here's the segment on rigging soft plastic jigs, How to Rig and Hot-Rod a Soft Plastic Fishing Lure.


Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld,, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.