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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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 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 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 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.


topwater mistakes

The 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 catching fish with artificial lures?

Let me know down in the comments.

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

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Jacob Munoz
8 months 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
11 months 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
1 year 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
1 year ago

10′ depths

Edwin Robles
1 year ago

Awesome breakdown. Well done!

1 year ago

Awesome Wyatt!

George Layton
1 year ago

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

Steven Free
1 year ago

Totally agree Wyatt but I don’t understand how this new 5 inch slam shady paddletail is supposed to work in the wintertime like it’s claimed to do I know here in North East fl smaller lures are the key in wintertime considering the fall mullet run is long over by then anyways I stick with what works for me big lures in summer and fall yes but for winter I downsize and also fish slower works for me thanks for the info😁

Bob Hartwein
1 year ago

Great Information! Whats nice is that you can apply these rules the very next time we go fishing!!

Gary Hartge
1 year ago

Thanks Wyatt! Great info.

Pablo Lizama García
1 year ago

Muy buenos consejos amigos hay ocasiones que no sabemos dónde estamos fallando lastima que es difícil llegar estos señuelos blandos al lugar donde vivo que es Dzidzantun, Yucatán, México. Porque ahora está por empezar la temporada de robalo. Saludos.


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