Jig Head vs. Weighted Hook: How To Rig Paddletails In Every Condition

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What’s the best way to rig a paddletail?

Although this might sound like a cop out answer, the answer is it depends.

How deep is the water?

Are the fish lethargic or aggressive?

Is there lots of structure around?

These conditions will determine the best way to rig a paddletail and in this video, I’m going to show you some underwater footage of paddletails rigged on jig heads and weighted hooks so you can make the best decision about how to rig them.

Let’s dive in!

Rigging Paddletails On Jig Heads vs. Weighted Hooks [VIDEO]

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Rigging Paddletails On Jig Heads

As a general rule, if the water is deeper than four feet, I use a jig head.

This is because fish are usually feeding on or near the bottom, and a jig head does a much better job of getting the lure down there.

If the water is just about four feet deep and I’m trying to decide whether or not to use a jig head, here are some other questions I’ll ask myself that will help me find the right answer:

Are the fish lethargic or aggressive?

As you saw in the video, the jig head makes the lure bounce up and down quickly, so if the fish are lethargic, I’d avoid using a jig head if possible.

Is there lots of structure?

Unless it’s a weedless jig head, I prefer to not use jig heads in areas with lots of structure because it’s more likely to get snagged.

Rigging Paddletails On Weighted Hooks

As a general rule, if the water is less than four feet, I use a weighted hook.

Weighted hooks give the lure more action both during a straight retrieve (they have a nice wobble) and during a twitch-twitch-pause retrieve (they have a more erratic drop).

And although they have tons of action when you retrieve them, they’re also really good for when the fish are lethargic because they move more slowly through the water.

Finally, I love weighted hooks because you can rig your lures weedless, which greatly decrease your chance of snagging grass or getting stuck on rocks, oyster bars, or dock pilings.

Conclusion

speckled trout on owner twistlock hook

Rigging paddletails on both weighted hooks and jig heads can be really effective, it just depends on the conditions.

My rule of thumb is that if the water is deeper than four feet, I’ll go with a jig head, but if it’s shallower than four feet, I’ll go with a weighted hook.

You can get my favorite weighted hooks, jig heads, and paddletails from our shop here:

Have any questions about rigging up paddletails?

Let me know down in the comments!

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Jeff Copeland
4 months ago

Hey Tony, What speed would you label your retrieve across the pool in this video? and retrieval speed in the salt?

Todd Denmark
4 months ago

Hey Tony,

Newer member here. I’ve posted elsewhere about this issue, but came across your video here and thought I’d pick your brain for your take. The issue is adjusting for CURRENTS. In a pool, no current is acting on your rigs. In the shallow water shot you showed, again, it looked like there wasn’t much current acting on it. We have strong tidal flows in Jacksonville area (up to 10′ shifts, I’m told…routinely 6-8′ is common), which means the rivers and Intracostal waterways are ripping midway between high/low tides. Even in the creeks, we have a good amount of flow which, if paired with a decent windy day, makes it hard enough just trying to stay at the point you’ve selected to fish. Have you had any experience fishing paddletails on either jigs or weighted hooks in higher current flows? If so, what adjustments would you recommend (weight sizes, for example)? I’ve still used jigs (3/8 oz is about the smallest I’ve tried so far) and had success in our currents, but inconsistently. Had a white Berkley Gulp minnow on them. Just got some paddletails from Salt Strong and would like to give them a try, but don’t know if they’d be effective in winter (wait for another season?), what places would be best to use them (you mentioned water depths to over 4′ but how much deeper could you go with them?) or how to adjust for retrieving in stronger currents.

As a side note, I also watched another video of yours fishing for sheepshead in a kayak. Couldn’t tell if you were tied off, but it didn’t look like a lot of current flow was impacting you in it either (didn’t notice current coming around the pilings). I’m realizing that if I try the techniques I’m seeing here on Salt Strong, they aren’t working as well for me in Jacksonville area and the common problem appears to be adjusting for our higher currents.

Thanks in advance,

Todd

David Neblett
7 months ago

Love seeing the underwater view. Thanks for the video.

Gary Kanwisher
7 months ago

Do you ever add a scent to a lure. My local shop recommended Pro Cure. I always add a few drops when I use my paddletail

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