Top 3 Artificial Lure Mistakes That Cause Anglers To Get Skunked


Have you ever been in a spot where you can see that fish are feeding on bait… but they just won’t hit your lure?

Or (even worse) have you been on the same boat with someone using the same lure, but they’re catching fish and you’re not?

Chances are, you’re probably making one of these three common lure mistakes.

These mistakes are easy to make and they’ll pretty much guarantee you won’t catch anything…

But the good news is that they’re easily fixed!

In this video, I’ll show you what those mistakes are and how to fix them so you can start catching more fish than ever on artificial lures.

Let’s dive in!

Top 3 Artificial Lure Mistakes [VIDEO]

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Mentioned Videos:

Mistake #1: Incorrect Rigging

Soft plastic lures rigged correctly will move naturally through the water.

On the other hand, baits rigged incorrectly will spin unnaturally and won’t entice fish to bite.

And incorrect rigging isn’t just about how you put soft plastic lures on hooks…

It’s also about the knots you tie with your lures.

Most lures need to erratically dart around for them to be effective, and most of the time that requires a loop knot.

However, many anglers use snug knots with their lures which restricts the action of the lure.

When that happens, you won’t catch as many fish as you could.

Mistake #2: Choosing The Wrong Lure For The Situation You’re Fishing

There’s a lot that goes into choosing the wrong lure for the situation you’re fishing in, but it mostly falls into three categories:

  1. Profile
  2. Size
  3. Color

Choosing The Right Profile

There are essentially two profile categories to choose from: baitfish or crustaceans.

Which one should you use?

Well, it primarily depends on what you’re seeing the fish eating when out on the water.

If you see trout blowing up on baitfish along the surface, then go with a baitfish profile.

If you see redfish tailing and digging in the mud for crabs and shrimp, use a crab or shrimp profile.

Another rule of thumb for if you can’t see anything is this: crustacean baits are better in colder months because baitfish are less prevalent this time of year, and baitfish profiles are better in warmer months.

Choosing The Right Size

When choosing what size lure to use, you want to match the hatch.

If you’re seeing 3″ glass minnows get eaten, use a 3″ lure.

If you’re seeing 6″ mullet get eaten, use a 6″ lure.

Another good rule of thumb to remember is that baitfish are smaller in spring and larger in fall, so a good plan is to use smaller lures in the spring and larger lures in late summer and fall.

Choosing The Right Color

If you’re fishing in clear water, use natural or light colors.

If you’re fishing in dark water, use either darker colors or those that reflect lots of light.

You can learn more about the best color lures in this podcast:

Mistake #3: Improper Presentation

how to catch flounder

There are two big ways people make this mistake:

  1. Fishing the wrong depth (not in the strike zone)
  2. Fishing the right depth, but not retrieving the lure correctly

The right depth is obviously dependent on the recent trends.

Is the water extremely hot or cold?

Then the fish will probably be deeper where the water temperature is milder.

Is the water temperature more moderate?

Then they’ll probably be in shallower water.

As far as retrieving your lure correctly, another good rule of thumb is to use the lightest weight possible to get the lure to the bottom.

In shallow flats, this is often a 3/16 oz. jig head or a weighted swimbait hook.

In deeper water, a heavier jig head (exactly how heavy depends on the depth and current) will be better.

Best Overall Lure

My favorite overall lure is a white paddletail.

And in particular, I like the Slam Shady 2.0 paddletail.

You can fish multiple depths by changing the weight of the jig head or tying it on a weighted hook…

You can use a straight retrieve or add in pauses to catch fish — it’s almost impossible to work a paddletail incorrectly.

And it works well in all colors of water because the white resembles a natural baitfish, but the silver and gold flakes give off enough flash to catch the fishes’ attention in darker water.

When you use this lure, be sure to remember mistake #1 about using the right knots and tie a loop knot with it.

You can get the 3.5″ Slam Shady paddletail here and you can get the 5″ Slam Shady paddletail here.

Click any of the links below to check out all of our proprietary soft plastic lures:


topwater mistakes

The artificial lure mistakes above will cause you to miss fish, but they’re easily fixed once you know what they are.

When you’re using artificial lures be sure to rig them correctly, choose the right lure for the scenario you’re fishing, and fish it in the right depth with the right retrieve.

Have any questions about artificial lure mistakes?

Let me know down in the comments.

And you can get my favorite lure and hooks at the links below:

And if you know someone who wants to learn more about artificial lure mistakes, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Jelani Thornton
1 year ago

Nice video.

Joe Urbanek
1 year ago

Nice video Wyatt, always love your tips. One thing though, I would recommend to check John Skinners video on color testing in deep dark waters. He used a camera and tested silver jig spoons versus price flat black spoons. I saw it a month or so ago. Anyway, he was under the assumption that Silver would be the way to go. in the end, the black far outfitted the silver in deep dark water. He hypothized that the dark color actually gave a better shadow reflection than the silver did and was completely counter intuitive to his and the believe most people hold. I know you guys work with him and I think it would be good to get some of his insight on this particular deep color topic.

Again, as usual, you guys do a great job and I really appreciate it. Joe

Pablo Diaz
1 year ago

Great tips Wyatt!!! Great information

Steven Free
1 year ago

Ah yes while I agree with you I find it very surprising that you just contradicted yourself because the last time you answered my post you said to use a bigger profile in a topwater plug after I said I was using the size I normally use a smaller 3.5 inch and you told me I should try a bigger one because bigger trout sometimes feed on the bigger mullet that sometimes hang around the smaller baitfish schools I usually go with what the hatch is but if whatever is striking sometimes only strikes once and doesn’t connect I’ll sometimes go with the bigger bait because sometimes they see something a little bigger I believe they want to commit more then the smaller baits anyways I know your a young buck but you do know your stuff so thanks for the info and all you do😉👍

1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Free

I saw his response to your other comment as well. I’m pretty sure for your first question… he was specifically talking about large trout, and top water. Where as in this situation, he’s talking about a much more broad spectrum, pertaining to all game fish, using soft plastic lures while sub-surface fishing. Unless I missed something, I didn’t see any contradiction. Different situations get different suggestions. That ole young buck is a fish catching machine

Steven Free
1 year ago
Reply to  John

I know he is that’s why I give him credit when credit is due the only reason why I said that was because of the trout I caught but I know different conditions call for different presentations and yes he is a fish catching machine but remember that’s probably all he does meaning most of us members have a full time job we have to go to and not just fish and study how to catch them on a continuous basis remember practice makes perfect and if that’s what ones job is unless they are an idiot they will become great in there profession enough said 🤔

Jacob Munoz
2 years ago

Wow really great stuff packed into that one Wyatt. I have had the most success in dirty water with my dark lures with gold sparkles but i am going to go back and try my slam shady again to see what difference it makes maybe do a 3 cast and 3 cast like you guys do in a comparison and see what happens!

Jacqueline Brown
3 years ago

Very informative. Really had no clue about any of this. Got skunked last night when everyone around me was killing it. After watching this video I see my paddletail was a bit wonky so no wonder I couldn’t entice any fish. Thanks for the lesson

William F Hawkins
3 years ago

Thanks Wyatt. Great discussion! Very informative. With regard to using larger Paddle Tails, particularly when targeting Flounder, what would be the preferred Jig head. I typically use the Trout Eye but would a longer hook shank aka Red fish eye Jig Head be a better option with the longer soft plastic lure. I’m fishing 1-10″ depths around docks. Is 1/4oz still appropriate at the deeper level?
Thanks so much.

William F Hawkins
3 years ago

10′ depths

Edwin Robles
3 years ago

Awesome breakdown. Well done!

3 years ago

Awesome Wyatt!

George Layton
3 years ago

Excellent tutorial Wyatt !! You explain the details in a simple & very understandable manner. Congrats & thanks !!


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