Depth Guide for Rigging Soft Plastics By Depth Range [Cheat Sheet PDF]
Soft plastic lures are becoming more and more popular for inshore saltwater fishermen who are targeting redfish, seatrout, snook, flounder, and a variety of other species.
This growth in popularity has been due to the fact they can work exceptionally well in a wide variety of situations.
The key to success is to be able to match the right rigging hook or jighead to the proper depth for getting strikes with a hook size/type that enables good hooksets even when rigged weedless.
This step is a big struggle for many fishermen, so we put together this lure rigging cheat sheet to take the guesswork out of it.
Rigging Soft Plastics Cheat Sheet
For each of the lures in the chart, the green section indicates the optimal scenario for using that lure.
Yellow indicates that it still works but is not used best in that particular scenario.
There is a green option for every product on the chart to show the best situation to create the ideal presentation.
This cheat sheet (below) allows you to cut down the time it takes to figure out which type of weight and hook to choose for a soft plastic lure.
Traditional Jig Head
- Hook is exposed
- Highest hook-up ratio
- Higher chance of getting snagged on the bottom
- Better for covering more open water
Results may vary based on your retrieve speed, current flow, and wind speed.
When using the Slam Shady Bomber, the Redfish Eye Jig Head will fit the larger paddletail better than the smaller trout eye.
You can mix and match the jig heads to the paddletails, however, the green sections of the chart indicate the best case for a given situation.
If you do use a smaller jig head with the Bomber, for example, it could be torn off by a fish.
Weedless Jigs & Weighted Hooks
- Best if you are fishing tight to structure, in seagrass, up against mangroves, over oysters or around docks
- Less of a hookup ratio but will save you a ton of time and hassle from getting caught or snagged
- Tight to structure is where most of the strikes happen
If the water is really calm, it is best to go with a lighter weight.
You can go with a higher weight if it is windy to increase your casting distance and swim it in deeper water.
A smaller hook still works with a Slam Shady Bomber, it just hurts the hookup ratio a bit and needs a stronger hook set.
The Power Prawn lure has its own custom setup with weighted jig heads because it can be difficult to rig on traditional jig heads.
Power Prawn can also be great for offshore reefs of greater depths for snapper and grouper!
Get the full Depth Chart Cheat Sheet here!
This depth chart cheat sheet allows you to clearly see which hook and soft plastic pairing will work best given the depth or environment you are fishing
Traditional jig heads are best for open water of lower depths to cover more ground and explore the bottom of the water column.
Weedless and weighted jig heads are ideal for fishing near any type of structure, but they have a lower hookup ratio.
If you know of any other lures or jig heads that are not listed here and you want to know more information about them, let me know down in the comments!
Get the full Depth Chart Cheat Sheet here
- HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LURE (PDF CHEAT SHEETS INCLUDED)
- THE ULTIMATE INSHORE SLAM CHEAT SHEET (FREE PDF DOWNLOAD)
- 4 MUST-KNOW REDFISH TIPS (PLUS FREE PDF CHEAT SHEET)
Finding The Fish Help
In order to help make sure that you are targeting the right areas based on the latest feeding trends and upcoming weather forecasts, make sure to use the following 3 resources because they will save you a ton of time.
1. Weekend Game Plans (updated weekly)
These regional game plans will show you exactly what types of spots to target in under 10 minutes… just click the video to start, and you’ll be informed on what to do on your next trip.
2. Smart Fishing Spots Platform (updated every 15 minutes)
This exclusive software literally shows you where the most fish are likely to be feeding based on exactly when you’ll be fishing. It factors in the tides, wind, and weather to help you quickly see which areas to target throughout the day.
3. Community Reports (live feed)
The Insider Community platform is what you can use to see what is biting near you, and you can get to know other members who fish in your area. Plus, you can use it to keep a log of your catches so you can use past trips to help predict future catches.
STOP WASTING TIME ON THE WATER!
Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.
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All of this information is new to me just starting to fish inshore, and the cheat sheets will help as will the Salt Strong app. Slowly starting to understand how to use it watching the videos. Thanks to Joe, Luke, Coach Pat and everyone who has shared so much knowledge into helping the new angler learn valuable information and catch more fish! Thanks you guys! Hello from deep south Texas Lower Laguna Madre area/ Port Mansfield!
Now I just have to find the fish.
Thanks Luke. Saved the cheat sheet and will print it out to save it on my boats
Lots of good information here. I see a few oops in my rigs that don’t seem to work. Will definitely be using this guidance.
Great info. I will definitely be down loading this info. Thanks for all you do to help us maximize our time on the water.
WOW! I didn’t know fishing could be this complicated.
Great Rigging Tips! The chart helps a lot! You guys are great advisers! We’ll find out how good these tips are soon! Getting geared up because our weather is getting right! Lookout Red’s, Trout, and flounder, and whatever is biting!
Hello. PDF is only showing half of page.
Luke…great information in a tight package! Appreciate Saltstrong’s efforts on educating us!
Thanks for making time to post the nice comment Michael!
Luke, In the chart 1 and 2 oz. Hoss weedless football jigs are shown. Are they coming to the tackle shop soon? They would be great for offshore at the depths shown, especially weedless around structure. Thanks for all the effort that goes into this type of work.
Yes. They’ll be available in a few weeks.