Strategic Soft Plastic Rigging For Saltwater

When anglers target inshore sport fish species like spotted seatrout, redfish, snook, and jack crevalle, soft plastics comprise a diverse element of their bait arsenal. For one thing, varying sizes, shapes, and colors is as easy as switching one body for another.

Also, soft plastics offer broad appeal because of the various rigging options. For most anglers, the first line of thinking would be a lead head jig like Mustad’s Shad Darter. Paired with a swimming tail like the Mezashi Z-Tail Minnow, LIVETARGET Slow Roll Shiner, a Mezashi Cross Curly Tail, or a crustacean imitator like the Mezashi Rock Lobster Craw, this straightforward setup allows you to work your bait in whatever hopping, twitching, or swimming action fits the scenario. The trusty lead head certainly accounts for lots of inshore action, but you’ll maximize your productivity by including a handful of strategic rigs into your lineup.

Up Front:

When fishing slender baitfish imitators like the LIVETARGET Ghost Tail Minnow, you’ll create an incredibly lifelike action by nose hooking the bait on a Mustad AlphaPoint Apex Dropshot Hook. With an exposed point and less plastic in the bend, this rig yields impressive hook-up percentages.

Weedless Wonder: A Mustad KVD Weighted Grip Pin Hook allows you to smoothly fish your favorite soft plastic through seagrass without snagging. Ideal for working plastic baits over oyster bars, rock reefs or any other entanglement risk, this presentation style requires a prudent balance between sufficient weight for casting distance, but not so much that you risk bottom contact. Keep a selection of hook sizes and weights handy so you’re ready for any scenario.

Aerodynamics: Occasionally, when anglers favor a soft plastic shrimp imitation, they find they need to make long casts to spooky redfish or snook. For an innovative option that maintains a streamlined profile, cut off the shrimp’s tail, Texas-rig the bait with a Mustad Assault Heavy hook through the back end, and add a Mustad Tungsten TitanX Nail Weight in the head.

This arrangement yields long, accurate casts, even into the wind, while maintaining the natural shrimp posture and backwards scooting action that shows predators what they’re used to seeing.

Elevated View:

Taking a page from the bass angler’s playbook, the dropshot rig benefits coastal anglers in a couple of ways. First, when fishing plastics around grass, if you stop the motion, the bait sinks into the vegetation where fish may lose sight of their target. A dropshot allows you to hold a soft plastic bait in one spot to mimic a live baitfish hovering near the cover.

This rig also helps around oyster bars or rock piles where it’s difficult to maintain a static position without risking entanglements. Parking a dropshot bait over such bottom structure resembles a baitfish relating to the hard spot.

Create the dropshot by tying your fluorocarbon leader to a Mustad AlphaPoint Apex Dropshot Hook with a Palomar knot. Leave the tag end about 18-24 inches long and pass it through the hook eye (top-to-bottom) to make the hook stand out perpendicular to the leader. Add a Mustad Tungsten TitanX Skinny Dropshot Weight to the end and adjust the leader length to fit the area you’re fishing.

Nose-hooking a minnow or fluke style bait creates a natural look, but if drifting grass becomes a snagging nuisance, Texas rig the bait.


Estimated Total$0