Finding the best fishing lures is like finding the one – you know, a soulmate, significant other, whatever you want to call it. It takes time, patience and often takes a bit of trying before you find a match.
The perfect fishing lure is up for debate since most of which come with their fair share of rave reviews as well as critical analyses. Who knew you could make a living as a fishing lure expert? Yeah, that’s an actual job title.
CrankbaitThis is one of the most popular kinds of lures. They are some of the best fishing lures for catching bass.
JerkbaitA type of hard lure with a long, slender body. They are ideal for fishing near the surface of the water.
SwimbaitThese baits can be hard or soft. They are best used in clear or slightly murky water and are effective in cold environments.
Worms and grubsThese types of bait may attract most freshwater species. These are best used with small hooks and bobbers.
Topwater baitThis type of fishing lure typically floats along or near the water’s surface.
You, too, can become a lure professional in a few easy steps. In fact, once you start reading up on the types of fishing lures available, you’ll start to notice key differences in the size, shape and composition. Sure, you might not get in on the debate between crankbait vs jerkbait now, but after reading this article, you’ll spit your two cents at anyone with ears.
Another thing about fishing lures: they all have a purpose. You wouldn’t walk into an Italian restaurant and order General Tso chicken, so why would you use a topwater lure in freezing cold water? If you haven’t a clue about what that means, don’t worry. By the end of this article, you’ll have a keen sense of which lures to use and when to use them. Deciding whether you need general purpose lures, species-specific tackle or a mix of both will help get you started.
- Tip: Lures can break the bank if you aren’t careful. Figure out how much you’re willing to spend on a lure before you start shopping. Hand-painted and custom lures like the Big Melosh Smoothie lure can set you back about $300.
There a good chance that you’ll find crankbait inside any angler’s tacklebox you take a peek at. They’re known as the best bass lures on the market and are some of the most popular lure types out there. They come in an endless supply of colors, shapes and sizes, but all feature hard-plastic bodies and bills protruding from the nose. Most have two treble hooks dangling from the tail and belly.
This fishing lure type doesn’t discriminate. Don’t be surprised if you pull up two or three different types of fishing during your trip. If you want to fit in with your fishing pals around the water cooler, start memorizing the word “Rapala” when referencing crankbait. The Rapala Original Floating Minnow is a longstanding classic, but the Rapala Rattlin’ Rap (say that three times fast) is a great alternative that features a lipless design. If Rapala lures aren’t your cup of tea, check out the Heddon Swim’n Image Wakebait.
- Did you know? The size and shape of the bill determine how deep the lure will dive and action that it will provide. For example, a square bill crankbait is best in shallow waters and works wonders when moving over weeds and other debris. A round bill crankbait, on the other hand, dives much deeper. Generally speaking, the larger the bill, the deeper the bait dives.
No, we’re not talking about the mean name you gave your kid brother growing up. We’re talking about a type of plastic bait that you need to have in your tackle box. Jerkbait has a longer body compared to its crankbait counterpart. In a rare instance of shorter being the superior measurement, the smaller bill size of jerkbait makes it ideal for extremely shallow waters.
Since jerkbait is another must-have fishing lure, you can find an array of colors and sizes on the market. This type of tackle imitates dying baitfish and is useful for bass and any other species that go after sounded prey of the sort.
If you’re looking to stock your tackle box with a few types of jerkbait, the Strike King KVD and the Husky Jerk are two of the best-rated lures of this kind on the market. Another great option is the Daiwa TD Minnow 95SP.
Download our mastering fishing guide for more tips and tricks on how to become a better sportsman.
Swimbait is known for one thing and one thing only: catching the monster of all largemouth bass. The bites may be infrequent, but when it hits, it hits. Swimbait fishing lures have soft plastic bodies to mimic the motion of live fish. Some are made with hard plastic but have segmented or jointed bodies to move more easily through the water.
Soft swimbait lures look more like your average winter body – squishy in the middle, jiggly on the end. They typically feature a boot or wedge-shaped tail at the back that creates a swimming motion as it gets reeled in.
Some of the best new swimbaits on the market include Storm WildEye, Berkley PowerBait Hollow Belly and the Live Target Sucker. You also can’t go wrong with the Mister Twister Sassy Shad (a favorite choice of ours, only due to its name), which is the original bait of this type. Get it in the “baby bass” color for best results.
Worms and Grubs
The best part about using worms as bait? A mid-trip snack! Just kidding – we’re talking about synthetic worms and grubs. The original Curly Tail Grub, which came onto the market in the ’70s, is one of the best types of fishing bait that is still popular today. Be sure to add it to your fishing checklist.
Worms and grubs come in hundreds of different options. Long or short, skinny or fat, the choice is yours. However, the original grub is still a favorite among many anglers. Use these lures and other soft-plastic worms and grubs with Texas rigs, drop-shot baits, spinnerbaits and countless other applications. As you stock your tackle box, make sure to include the Berkley PowerBait Grass Pig and Zoom U Tail. Anyone who calls himself a fisherman needs these.
Topwater fishing is – you guessed it – fishing on the top of the water. Now that we’ve cleared that up, it’s important to note that you can use almost any kind of lure for topwater fishing, as long as it’s designed to stay at or near the top. These lures move across the surface of the water in order to entice hungry fish to come up and chomp. Most of these bass lures are designed to float, but non-floating varieties may also travel at the surface as you reel them in.
A “walk the dog” lure is one of the most iconic types of fishing lures when it comes to topwater bait. It gets its name from the way it slides across the top as it gets reeled in. The Heddon Zara Spook is among the most-recognized lures in this category.
To entice the fattest fish to bite, use hollow-body frogs. These lures come with legs or feature a soft plastic fringe that mimics the motion of a frog swimming across the water. If you’re serious about fat fish, get the RUNCL Topwater Frog.
You should also get a few buzzbait lures, which feature a fringed hook that spins as it skips along the water. The Jenko Offspring Buzzbait is a top-rated lure relatively new to the market. There are also plenty of Rapala fishing lures (have it memorized yet?) in the topwater bait category as well.
Want some more tips to make you a better angler? Download our guide on mastering fishing.