Best Fishing Lures, Types of Fishing Lures – Part 1

By now, you should be well aware of the paradigm we have tried to instill into you. If not, here is a quick refresher:

Most fishing equipment is designed to catch the angler not the fish.

Be sure that you commit this fact to memory before pulling out the credit card at Amazon.com., Cabelas.com or Basspro.com. Your bank account and if you have one, your spouse, will thank you.

Ultimately, all fishing, regardless of the fish, comes down to a few simple types of lures. Each new lure manufactured is simply a variation on a previously built lure. To put it another way, all pickup trucks have the same basic design: a cab, a bed, four wheels, engine, transmission, etc. The differences are in the name and design. There is fundamentally no difference in the pickup truck.

As an angler, you have several different options available to you. We have discussed rods and reels for each type of fishing, and we have discussed the different fish as well. Like the rods and reels, it all comes down to one of four fishing milieu:

  • Warm freshwater,
  • Cold freshwater,
  • Inshore saltwater,
  • Offshore saltwater.

Because of the extreme specialization of offshore saltwater fishing, the expense of the rods and reels and lures, this article will not focus on this fishing type. Instead, it will look at the first three.

There is a type of fishing lure for each one of these four, and this article will look at one of each type lure for each type of water to fish.

With each lure, the main difference is going to be in two distinct areas: color and size of the lure. Colors are important because there are times when fish will strike at only a certain color, and size is also important because if a certain size is not working, choosing a size up or down may be the deciding factor.

This does not mean you will need to buy one of each color of each size of each lure, but we will discuss this more during the actual lure sections.

The idea of the best fishing lure is a misnomer. There is the best type of fishing lure for a specific day, time, weather pattern and milieu. This may seem confusing, and it is confusing to the new angler. This is also the reason you are here and reading this page.

Each lure type will be linked to an Amazon.com page. When you visit the page, you will see a huge selection to choose from.

Keep in mind: These are general suggestions on how to fish each specific lure. Your best success will come from the knowledge and experience of local anglers, tackle shops and guides. Most will be more than happy to share with you what the fish are biting, but they are not as likely to share favorite spots.

IN LINE SPINNERS

yakima baitThe inline spinner is a straight line lure with a spinning oval or disc, followed by a colored attractant, and terminating with a hook or hook set dressed with feathers, hair or an artificial secondary attractant that often matches the color of the primary attractant. The spinner on the lure flashes in the water, and the erratic movement of the spinner looks like a wounded baitfish. The combined action of the lure’s color and flash elicit a fish’s natural predatory instinct, the strike.

The primary attractant is also the primary weight of the lure. So, a lure of 1/8 oz. means the center portion of the lure weighs approximately 1/8 oz.

PANFISH – Warm and cold freshwater

  • 1/32 to 1/8 oz
  • Bright colors like chartreuse, yellow and bright green
  • Use in shallow water around structures

LARGEMOUTH BASS – Warm freshwater

  • 1/8 oz. and up
  • Various colors – blacks, blues, red shad are excellent choices
  • Fish around cover, under overhangs and in stumps

SMALLMOUTH, SALMON, WALLEYE – Cold freshwater

  • Similar size to largemouth bass
  • Normally brighter and flashier colors
  • Where to fish depends on the type fish – consult local anglers for best suggestions

PIKE, MUSKY – Cold freshwater

  • Bigger is better – especially for muskies
  • Dark reds, browns, blacks
  • Fish around weed bed edges and across submerged beds

STRIPED BASS, SPECKLED TROUT, RED DRUM – Inshore Saltwater

  • Largemouth bass to musky size
  • Variety of colors from darks to flashy neons
  • Use according to suggestions of local fishermen

The inline spinning lure is one that will work well for covering lots of water at at time. The angler simply casts the lure and retrieves it back with variable speeds until the ideal combination is met.

HARDBODY TOPWATER JERKBAITS

hisea diving fishing luresMost game fish are predators and opportunistic feeders. They want an easy meal and do not want to expend too much energy to find it. This is why many of the best fishing tips recommend slow and steady retrieves or frequent pauses and jerks.

The topwater jerkbait is ideal for this type of fishing. The lure mimics an injured baitfish, and a baitfish resting still on the water’s surface is akin to a $20.00 bill on the ground in front of you. It is irresistible.

There are some instances when different approaches are appropriate, such as the “Walk the Dog” action of certain baits. This video gives you a good idea of how that works, and it is appropriate for all fish types.

These lures can also be retrieved underwater like a crankbait. We will review crankbaits later in the article.

Some baits will have spinners before or after the main body, and some will not. All baits, however, feature treble hooks in sets of two to three for maximum opportunity to hook and land the fish. These extra hooks can be dangerous to the angler, so a pair of pliers is always a good thing to have on hand when fishing these lures.

PANFISH – Warm and cold freshwater

  • Think small – One to three inches in length
  • White or silver bodies with any color of back
  • Twitch lightly on surface or retrieve slowly subsurface

LARGEMOUTH BASS – Warm freshwater

  • Three inches in length and up
  • Three inches in length and up
  • Any color is a solid choice
  • Fish similar to panfish around cover

SMALLMOUTH, SALMON, WALLEYE – Cold freshwater

  • Similar to largemouth
  • Any color from browns to
  • Slow retrieves work best near the bottom

PIKE AND MUSKY – Cold freshwater

  • Bigger is better
  • Bright colors to match forage
  • Fish slow to fast around weed beds

STRIPED BASS, SPECKLED TROUT, RED DRUM – Inshore Saltwater

  • Largemouth bass to musky size
  • Variety of colors from darks to flashy neons
  • Use according to suggestions of local fishermen

SOFT BODY JEKRBAITS

One of the most recent innovations in the fishing industry is the soft body jerkbait. This lure combines the best of all world for predatory game fish: erratic action, soft feel and scent that is impregnated into the lure. Fish are much more likely to bite and hold on because of the soft feel, and the impregnated scent brings fish from hiding.

These types of lures vary in size, shape and length. They also range from small grubs fished behind an offset spinner, the beetlespin, to a saltwater variation of a baitfish.

For the largemouth bass, there is but one lure to consider. The plastic worm has consistently produced more tournament wins than all of the other popular lures combined. This does not mean the other lures will not produce bass, but there is not a largemouth bass angler that will dispute the plastic worm as a go-to fishing lure.

PANFISH – Warm and cold freshwater

  • Think small – One to three inches in length
  • Colors from blacks, whites and bright colors – think insects
  • Retrieve slowly subsurface

LARGEMOUTH BASS – Warm freshwater

  • Three inches in length and up
  • Any color is a solid choice
  • Fish Texas, Carolina or unweighted

SMALLMOUTH, SALMON, WALLEYE – Cold freshwater

PIKE AND MUSKY – Cold freshwater

  • Bigger is better
  • Colors to match forage
  • Fish slow to fast around weed beds

STRIPED BASS, SPECKLED TROUT, RED DRUM – Inshore Saltwater

  • Largemouth bass to musky size
  • Variety of colors from darks to flashy neons
  • Slow, jerked retrieve like in the video below

This is certainly not all the best fishing lures and certainly not all types of fishing lures, but it is a start. We will continue reviewing lures in the next article. Until then, spend frugally, wisely and do not get caught in the flashy, glitzy hot new lure than a recent angler used to catch a large, trophy fish or win a tournament. Start out with only a few of each, master them and then start amassing different colors and sizes.

It will take a lifetime to match one of everything in the lure world, but instead focus on a few of the best of each.

 

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