Little-Known Paddletail Lure Rigging Secrets (That Increase Strikes)


When most people rig a paddletail on a jig head or weighted swimbait hook, they just rig it the same as everyone else…

But what if there’s a better way to rig them?

What if you rig them upside down?

Or what if you manipulate the lure to better resemble the baitfish your target species is going after?

Could that help you catch more fish?

In this video, I’ll show you a few unique ways to rig or change your paddletail to get more strikes.


Paddletail Rigging Secrets [VIDEO]

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

➡ Click here to claim your FREE pack of Slam Shady paddletails

➡ Click here to join the Insider Club

And if you’re an Insider, you can click here for the discounts on the hooks and jig heads.

Now, let’s get into some of the little-know ways you can rig or manipulate your paddletails for more strikes.

Tip #1: Cut off the tip of the paddletail to help the jig head stay better

Some paddletails (like the Slam Shady 2.0) have a narrow nose.

If you cut the nose off so that where the jig head now goes is thicker, it will help the jig head stay better.

Note: don’t do this if you’re using a weighted swimbait hook because it will make it less hydrodynamic, plus it’s not necessary.

Tip #2: Cut up to an inch off of the paddletail if the baitfish are small

You want to match the hatch, and if the gamefish are feeding on two-inch baitfish, but you have a three-inch paddletail, then cut the first inch off of the paddletail to make it smaller and match the baitfish.

However, make sure to not cut too much off of the front because then the hook could end up coming out too close to the tail and give it less action.

Tip #3: Cut the tail off of the paddletail if the baitfish are small and the gamefish are deep

This is something that Luke has been doing often and it’s been working very well for him.

The tail slows the lure down in the water, and if the fish are deeper than three or four feet, then cutting the tail can help the lure quickly get down deep to where the predators are.

In this case, you’d work the lure just like a jerk bait.

Also, if a pufferfish bites the tail off of your lure, you can work it like a jerk bait instead of throwing it away.

Tip #4: Rig the paddletail upside down

Rigging a paddletail upside down doesn’t seem to have too much of an effect on the action of the lure… if anything, it might even give it more action (see how they compare in the video).

Just like rigging it right-side-up, you can clip the front off of it if you’re using a jig head, but the main difference here is that you want to insert the hook a little lower so that it doesn’t come right out of the slot on the bottom (now top) of the lure.

And the advantage of rigging a paddletail upside down is that the slot allows more clearance for the hook to get into the fish’s mouth.

Tip #5: If you put the hook of the jig head too far back in the lure, pull it back to fix it

If you place the hook too far back in the body of the lure and the lure is scrunched up and crooked, you can pull the tail of the lure back, which rips the lure, but allows it to sit straight on the jig head

This is better than taking the lure off because that will rip the front of it and will keep it from securely staying on the hook.

How To Get 20% Off Of These Hooks & Lures

Because our Insider Club has been growing so much recently, we’ve been able to negotiate some pretty amazing discounts for our Insiders.

If you want 20% off of these hooks, lures, and jig heads, plus most other fishing gear (including expensive stuff, like rods, reels, and sunglasses), click here to join us in the Insider Club.

And if you’re already an Insider, click here to access these discounts.

If you’re an Insider and you have already claimed your free pack of Slam Shady paddletails, click here to get 20% off of your next pack from our shop.


trout on paddletail

Hope you enjoyed these out-of-the-box rigging tips!

Which one are you going to try?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who would love to try some of these rigging tips, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

P.S. To get our best fishing spots, tips, and strategies, plus discounts on the gear mentioned in this video and more, click here to join us in the Insider Club.

Stop Wasting Time On The Water!

Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

  • Weekly fishing reports and TRENDS revealing exactly where you should fish ever trip
  • Weekly “spot dissection” videos that walk you through all the best spots in your area
  • Exclusive fishing tips from the PROS you can’t find anywhere else
  • Everything you need to start catching fish more consistently (regardless if you fish out of a boat, kayak, or land).

Click here to join today.

Related articles:

Related categories:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Barbara Flowers
1 month ago

Who’s your new guy out of Jacksonville Florida

juan pollo
1 month ago

I ordered some but I never got in Mali

2 months ago

Thanks, Tony. I’m new to using paddle tails and was not sure the “right way” of rigging them, not sure which way to was up or down. The many videos helped, but now I realize it doesn’t really matter.

Last edited 2 months ago by Anonymous
3 months ago

I noticed that most of the baits were not straight. Does the curve in the tail straighten out when you reel the bait in or do you need to do something to straighten them out before rigging?

3 months ago
Reply to  Mike

With paddletails, the drag of the water as it’s retrieved will straighten them out, so it’s not a big deal if they are slightly curved in the package.

Forest Duncan
3 months ago

Tony, excellent tips! I have not tried tearing the lure as you demonstrate on a Z-man soft plastic but suspect it is not as easy to do as on the Salt Strong lure. Is that your and others’ experience?

Mark Kenda
3 months ago

Very informative Tony, thank you so much for the great video. I really like the upside down rigging, feeling will make it more weedless. Thanks again.

Mike W
5 months ago

I just thought of something. Not all the paddle tails and other swim-baits I have in my box have a slot cut in them to hide the hook point for better weedless performance (important where I fish) and allow for better hook sets. But I always have a very sharp knife in my pocket. Slap my forehead. Slots for all!

Dave Frymier
5 months ago

Is the SlamShady manufactured by Zman? I ask for storage purposes – will it have an adverse reaction id it comes in contact with other soft plastics? I understand there are several versions of the SlamShady now – which is which if they are different?

5 months ago

The Slam Shady 2.0 is a great lure. I’ve caught a half-dozen trout in the 19-22 inch range with this lure but each one of these large fish swallowed the lure whole. I practice catch and release and its typically touch and go saving a gut hooked fish. Do you have any recommendations for removing problem hooks?

Deana Fannin
7 months ago

I have these lures. I have been Inshore fishing for the last 6 months with no catches and hardly any bites to be honest. I used these lures and literally the first throw I caught a spotted sea trout. I threw out again and caught another one. I was only out for an hour (because of the weather) and I caught one after the other the whole time I was there. I went out the next day and the same thing. I swear by these lures, the fish love them and I caught more with these than I ever have . I have used everything from other plastics to live bait and even cut bait and I never caught anything compared to what I did using this lure. Thank you for these lures. I think everyone need to give them a try they are Awesome!!

7 months ago
Reply to  Deana Fannin

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Deana!

Jim McIlwain
9 months ago

I have some worrisome arthritic issues with my hands, and especially on the terminal hook or fly. Sometimes it is an effort to get the tippet through the eye. What’s the best knot to use for everything, understanding there isn’t a perfect knot. Same in dealing with braid and braid to monofilament.

7 months ago
Reply to  Jim McIlwain

Hey Jim, so sorry for taking this long to reply… I somehow missed the notification when you sent in your question.
My favorite overall knot that can be used for any knot connection is the Uni knot. Here’s a video showing how it can be used on both terminal tackle as well as for line to line connections:

Will Graswich
9 months ago

More good stuff there Tony. Just curious, are you a “teacher” by “trade’, i.e. employment? You do a really good job in these videos, explaining in a very straight forward way the skill / concept you are explaining. Keep them coming Amigo. This old dog in Texas is really enjoting learning “new tricks”… Thanks

5 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

You have the right build for a correction officer.😉😉

9 months ago

good tips, thanks

William H Sprake
9 months ago

Wait, How did you get that twist lock screw into the bait so easily?/

9 months ago

I caught a 22″ LMB with this lure on Easter morning in central Florida.

Cody Baker
9 months ago

Do these new slim shady baits stay on the trout eyes jig heads better than when Zman was making them? I noticed after a few fish the paddletail wouldn’t stay up on the jig head anymore so I’d have to keep cutting the bait shorter and shorter for it to stay on.

Ed Librick
9 months ago

Great info Tony once again. In the section where you mentioned rigging the paddle tail too far resulting in a curved soft bait. You said to pull the hook through the bait for proper rigging by doing so the head of the bait is not torn up by the barbs that keep the bait on the hook. My question is, do you keep your paddle tail rigged on the trout eye when you are done fishing for the day and store it away? I don’t often have the zman getting torn up and having to replace it after one outing. I always take mine off the jig and rinse the jig in fresh water to prevent rusting from the salt water resulting in tearing up the 0addletail where it is hooked on the barbs.
Thanks, Tight Lines

9 months ago

Awesome! Thanks so much, Tony! Always been one of my biggest issues when rigging soft plastics…”Am I doin this right??” I’ve done it both ways, as there are so many shapes to different soft plastics…i just did how i thought would work. Sometimes, i think i got it right! Lol… Been seriously working on my artificial skills… meaning not taking live bait at all & not giving up as quickly on those arties!! My catchin has improved, but I’m sure missing my big live bait reds!
Oh! I never thought about snipping pointy noses… great tip! Thanks again & Tight Lines!

Chris James
9 months ago

Slot on bottom, got it!

Michael Bellet
9 months ago

Great tips Tony. I was always confused about the slot because it seemed reasonable for the hook point to come thru the slot, especially for weedless purposes.

Chris James
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Bellet

Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Am I wrong? Is the slot supposed to be at the bottom?

James Rahn
9 months ago

Thought I knew everything there was to rigging these….I was wrong. Thank you.

Cory R Ponz
9 months ago

Get tip on cutting off for jig heads. Always a pleasure learning from you Tony!! Thank You for your wisdom????????????????????????????????

Randal Houghton
9 months ago

Thanks Tony. Like the advuce about tearing instead of reinserting.

James Tarver
9 months ago

We have a lot of soft muddy bottoms in Texas. Rigging the paddle-tail upside down will kick up a little more mud causing the fish to become more interested. Tight lines.

Richard Hall
9 months ago

Tony… always….. I once again learned something this morning. Wish I could be on the water every day but you guys at Salt Strong always make me want to jump into my boat and go!
Tight Lines and thanks from St Augustine, Fl.

Don Miller
9 months ago

Thanks Toney, while being land locked, I have been doing all that you described before watching, in a small pond behind my house. Now I feel validated!

Gene Doebley
9 months ago

Ha-Ha-Ha, I’m an innovator and did not know it. I always thought the slot was meant as the place to hide the hook so I have always rigged upside down.

Charles Phillippi
9 months ago

Great tips! definitely going to try them.

David Polovina
9 months ago

Tony thanks for the info, being from Pennsylvania and fishing for smallies we use those tricks often. But I have been telling my brother (West Palm Beach) about this. Now with you putting it in writing he will believe me. Also is there a full list of fish species that were taken on a slam shady? I am sure I have more to add like a quillback!! Looks like a freshwater drum/sucker mix. Also use a little crazy glue on the paddletails to hold them on!!!!!!!!!

Chris James
9 months ago

Thanks Tony, but I’m wondering, if you guys designed this bait, why not just put the slot on top of the bait? So no matter how you rig it in the right side up position it still works.

Chris James
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

So, if it doesn’t matter and the presentation of the lure is pretty much the same either way, why not just put the slot on top?

Chris James
9 months ago
Reply to  Chris James

I mean, in other soft baits the slot is there to hide the barb to make it weedless. So let’s say I like to rig mine through the top weedless style, I can’t? I’m just confused as to why have the slot on the bottom?

Chris James
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Ok, so now I know the real reason for that slot. Thanks!

9 months ago

Tony, Several good ideas. I have rigged upside down by mistake. But glad to have your blessing that is ok, maybe better. Fun. Thank you, Tom Watts, Naples, Fl.

Chris James
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Well, I think I rigged it wrong, because I tried rigging it sideways and all that did was spin, then everytime I would cast I would get wind knots. So just a tip. Just rig it right side up or upside down as you said. Thanks!

9 months ago

Good stuff, Tony. Can’t wait to give your tips a try

Bill Zimmer
9 months ago

Great information Tony, will definitely try it next time I fish.

Nick Nemeth
9 months ago

Thanks Tony, great tip! So simple I can’t believe I didn’t think of this. Those barbs on the trout eye were working although it did seem like I was losing some life out of each bait because it didn’t have enough meat to grab onto….Brilliant!

George Layton
9 months ago

Another great tutorial Tony. Another idea is, when rigging the 2.0 upside down, the slot is a great place to put a little Pro Cure into. I’ve noticed on the tougher days, even though they are already scented, a little boost can trigger more strikes.

Gary Friedman
9 months ago

Tony also a quick suggestion, a lot of anglers are unable to fish due to the current situation. So I find myself (as do other anglers) with extra time on our hands.
What about a video on cleaning and what to use to get our rods and reels ready for when we can start fishing again. Something for the rods to keep them clean and the guides maintained. What to use on reels and so fourth….
Just a thought.

Tight lines guys!!!!

Mark Huling
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

I’ll look forward to seeing it!

Gary Friedman
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Do you recommend removing the spool and use the clenzoil to the moving parts, bail, remove handle???

Gary Friedman
9 months ago

Great info Tony. Thanks.


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

Other Fishing Tips You May Like :

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

The SECRET Redfish, Trout, & Snook Lure That Is Out-Fishing Live Bait