Saltwater and freshwater fishing lures – The Ultimate Guide

fish weighing scale

Using the best artificial saltwater and freshwater fishing lure makes it exciting to enjoy a quick and painless fish catching in the lakes or the deep sea. No matter your fish favorite – bigmouth bass, trout, walleye, shark etc. a good artificial lure is very important to catching a trophy! The good thing about lures over fishing bait is that with fishing lures you can reuse them again and again and it’s a one-time purchase.

This is the reason anglers put special care and thought in using fishing lures that are very productive to their fishing expedition.

Fishing Lures – what are they?

Fishing lure as the name implies are artificial fish food used for baiting fish in ponds, rivers, lakes and the sea. These artificial objects are hooked to a fishing hook in the hope that a fish will swim to bite and swallow the artificial lure. These lures are in most cases designed to look like fish prey and are purposely used to draw fish to a fishing line.

The most popular lures that you will find with most experienced anglers include crank-bait, jigs, spoons, fly lures, spinners are just a few of the various types that many anglers uses when catching fish. Today, as the fishing brands continue to expand on the new designs, many are incorporating a new LED technology in their designs.

Fishing lures are made of metal, plastic, rubber or a combination these materials so fish will get lured to bite. However, for effective fishing lure, they need to be weighted, and the colors, vibrations and the shiny reflection need to be considered to encourage fish to bite.

Advantages of Fishing Lures

  • Recyclable – good lures are reusable and they are one time purchased.
  • Fun – Its quite complicated when you have so much lures to choose from, but for a fly fish enthusiast, this process is much more fun than actually using them.
  • Odorless – unlike live bait, lures does not emit odors and they are not messy.
  • Have various lures to choose from – there are some lures that are specific to certain fish and reduce the incident of catching unwanted fish.
  • Nicely scented – artificial lures come with nice scents to attract fish to bite.

Disadvantages of Fishing Lures

  • Trial and error – Because of the various types of lures in the market, it can get confusing for rookie anglers to get the best out except by trial and error.
  • Tangled in debris – Since these are artificial prey, they can get entangled in rocks, weeds, and other debris found underwater.
  • Requires good skill to be effective else it becomes a challenge to a rookie to master.

Right Time To Use Fishing Lure?

The best time to use a fishing lure will depend entirely on the circumstances that are available at the time of fishing. However, lures are best used during:

  • When there is clear water
  • When there is warm weather
  • Working on aggressive and predatory fish
  • When there are smaller fish or non-target fish in the water
  • When its for catch and release fishing

How To Use A Fishing Lure

A fishing lure is pretty much different from fishing bait in the sense that lures are artificial made and have no life movement like what you have for baits. This is why a good lure should possess a lifelike resemblance as much as possible.

In this guide, we have listed 20 types of fishing lure that anglers have trusted to bring in the fish when cast in water. They are listed in no order of importance.

Fishing Lures of All Sizes and Fishes

Fly fishing is an outdoor sport activity that involves using lures, reels, rods, and other fishing gears so anglers can have an edge over rival competition. For decades, fishing lures have changed from being ordinary wooden plug concept to more advanced cutting edge baits that resembles the action of bait fish.

In recent time, fishing brands are jostling to outdo each other with newer and better fishing lures. This way, anglers can have advantage over the fish and the water that will be used. For new anglers who are just starting, it can be a bit tricky to fully comprehend the types of lures available and how they are used to effectively catch different species of fish.

This is the reason this article was written, to help experienced and not-too experienced anglers to decide the best fishing lures that are in the market and the right type of lure to use for specific species of fish under any fishing condition.

Here Are the the saltwater and freshwater fishing lures of 2022!

Inline Spinners or rooster tail

inline spinner

For lures that are specially designed to catch bass, bluegills, trout and any other species, the Inline Spinner is a very versatile lure that is ideal for anglers just coming to fishing. This lure can also be referred to as the rooster tail if it is constructed with a hair skirt. It is mostly used for freshwater fishing.

If you are a newbie angler and you are looking to transition from natural bait to artificial lures, the inline spinner is just what you need to keep the fishing momentum going. The good thing about this lure is that it can cover a wide range of water in a short period of time.

Inline spinners are specially designed to mimic the action of small bait fish swimming through water. The lure may come in different sizes and designs, however, what is common about inline spinners is that it has a single blade that is common to all and it comes in shapes of an oval or some other rounded material.

When a fisherman retrieves the inline spinner, the spinner turns and creates a flapping motion that get the attention of nearby fish.  Inline spinners work effectively in muddy, stained water, as well as clear water.

Best offshore fishing lures

Spinner Baits for big fish  – most popular for striped bass fishing

spinner bait

The spinner bait is very similar to the inline spinner but with a bit difference in the shape. The spinner bait is larger with one or more upper blade and a lower jig body. When used in deep water, the blade gives more vibration and flash to attract nearby fish. The spinner bait body is made to have a solid fish-like look for the fish to bite.

The spinner bait is made to work effectively with larger and heavier tackle and can be thrown a far distance and still mimic the action of fleeing fish bait. The level of vibration that this type of bait causes when thrown in water catch big fish (northern pike, pickerel, musky large bass etc) attention.

You can find varieties of spinner bait in sizes as well as the color. The best spinner lure will largely depend on the size of the fish, the water color, depth of the water and the weather. The best tip to make the spinner bait work effectively is to match the bait color with the bait fish in the lake, river or reservoir. These days, some spinner bait comes with special designed head that mimic the appearance of a minnow so that the lure looks more real as it being retrieved from the water.

Surface Poppers – best fishing lures for rainbow trout


This by far is one of the favorite lures that anglers have used time and over again to fish with result. The surface popper is also a favorite meal to many fish as it mimics a slow going prey underwater. For many anglers this is one lure that works perfect for large bass or other types of big fish.

You can find surface poppers in different shapes and sizes mimicking a wounded bait fish or other prey species like frog, ‘hoppers etc. When cast in water surfaces in short sporadic burst, it attracts the attention of big fish especially predatory species that happens to be the anglers target in the water.

The surface popper have been used from past decades by anglers and in today’s fishing world, brands have come up with more exciting features to make the lure even better at attracting large fish in water. These new features allow anglers to use the right colored bait to match the bait in the area and this is perhaps what makes it the best fishing lures for rainbow trout.

A new model that just arrive the market and has garnered lots of reviews is the ‘whopper plopper’ which many anglers have testified to its effectiveness in catching large fish in surrounding waters.



This is another favorite fishing lures for bluefish by anglers because of its flexibility. The jig lure can be used in various ways and is capable of catching different game fish species in either the salt or fresh water. Their design is to mimic different prey fish that larger fish target. However, this lure is the favorite for fishermen to hook bass fish as it mimic a crawfish. The curly tail jigs can also be used on bass, crappie, perch and bluegills.

The concept behind jig lure is to have a metal head that is connected to a hook. You can find a whole variety of this fishing lures for bluefish in pet shops and the ones used in sea fishing is specially designed to look like diving bait fish. A common jig lure among professional anglers is the ‘tungsten’ made with dense metal that can be cast farther.

This lure is compatible with different types of trailers or skirts. The skirt is more preferred as it closely mimics a crawfish and can be moved across the water bottom at a slow pace. Sea jig lures can be rigged with different plastic bait that looks like general prey fish that attract larger fish. The ‘Gulp Curly Tail’ jigs have scents on the bait which can further attract big fish from saltwater to take a bite – fluke and tarpon makes a good example.

Blade Bait Flutter Jigs


Another lure that is popular among anglers to catch a variety of fish including walleye and smallmouth bass is the blade bait flutter jig. This lure is designed to look like a suspended bait fish that is diving and feeding on a prey. It comes in different design and is mostly used in straight down jigging technique where you drop the lure to reach a certain water depth and then suddenly jerked upward and again allowed to slowly drop back. This movement is what attracts nearby fish.

The simple, elliptic-shape lure can be crafted to match different design pattern and many of them looking more like a basic fish shape. To be more effective with catching fish with this lure, you need to match the bait fish with the baits in the area that you are fishing and make sure that the bait you’re using meets the kind of lure that will catch the type of fish you’re looking for.

The flutter jig is ideal for fish that lives in deep depth water and they are quite easy to use especially in winter. They are constructed to have multiple holes n the top of the jig so that the anglers can control how the jig flutters when retrieved.

Scented Lures


This is one lure that continues to increase in popularity as fishing brands releases plastic lures design to attract fish sense of smell. They are produced in large numbers with different kinds of scents that smell like a more natural fishy smell that is meant to appeal to any kind of fish species.

The best brand for scented lure still remains the Gulp or Powerbait which are the companies that are solely involved with manufacturing of scented baits. When they first started, the simple plastic lure is usually sealed in a bag of oily scent liquid. However, the scents do not last long on the lure when used in water. Today, there are better designs that are easily absorbed by the plastic and the scent last a lot longer on the lure and attract more walleye.

Species like the crappie, stripe bass, fluke and many other fishing lures for walleye relies on smell as much as they do on sight to find their fish prey. This scented lures are great option for places where live bait is considered illegal or perhaps difficult to find. In some situation, it is better to use the scented baits as they attract more fish than using a live bait.



Chatterbaits is perhaps the newest fishing lure that has garnered many positive reviews from professional anglers. This lure, designed by Ron Davis, Sr., is very similar to the spinner bait in many ways, however, the vibration that the chatterbait produces when attracting predatory fish is quite unique for catching large fish.

The vibration produced by these lures is of a higher sound, hence the name “chatter” was coined. The success of this bait among anglers leads them to make a joke about it: that the vibration could make their teeth chatter. Today, bass anglers have increased the popularity of this lure for catching small and large bass.

This lure is in different sizes and colors but with the same simple design that is common to all. The construction is of a small square-shaped leaf that hooks onto the eye of the hook. The sound is emitted when the blade rattles to and from when the angler retrieves the bait.

This is where the vibrating sound of vibrations is produced to attract bass fish. You can count on these types of lures when other lures fail to attract bass. The Z-Man chatterbait, while quite expensive, is one of the best chatterbait lures for walleye trolling.

Buzzbait lures


This is one of the few controversial saltwater and freshwater lures that professional and non-professional anglers disagree on as to why it is reasonably the best bait for catching bass at any time. While some anglers will agree that the reason this bait works so well is that it creates a lot of water displacement and noise to anger nearby fish by making them bite.

Others argue that the reason for the buzzbait’s success is that it mimics the action of a bait fish escaping to the surface of the water by swimming to avoid being eaten. Whatever the reason this bait is easy to bait for bass, the fact that they both agree that this bait works to catch bass when used in the right conditions is what makes it the most popular bass fishing lures.

This bait works best during the summer when fish are feeding on the surface of the water or near the water’s edge for food. You can also use it successfully in late spring and autumn.

This popular fishing lure works when a fisherman slowly retrieves it across the surface of the water so that the designed blade actually agitates the water, and this is where the hum effect occurs. Right now there are several brands looking to add more features like jingle sound to hum so it can be even more effective for capturing bass and other bigger species.

Umbrella Rigs – probably the best fishing lure for saltwater 2022

umbrella rigs

Umbrella bait relies on using multiple fishing lures to catch fish. It is one of the few new lures created for sea fishing that was designed by Andy Poss in 2011. The idea behind this lure is to create a school of fish that swim close by.

Umbrella rigs are specially designed to fit the basic structure of an umbrella. And the tight cable that connects multiple fish baits or swim lures. They are particularly heavy but are very effective in producing shots. Since the umbrella platform actually looks a lot like a small school of fish underwater, it can quickly attract the attention of predatory fish.

Many saltwater fishermen use large umbrella rigs to troll species such as bass and bluefish. This is a good bait for fish that focus a lot on targeting bait fish in open water schools.



Crankbaits are uniquely designed lures that have a very distinctive curved beak that sticks out. This beak submerges the lure when retrieved or pulled by the fisherman. Shallow dive tips or lips are called “crankbaits” and typically dive to less than 6 feet. The dive plugs is to dive to specific depths based on the design of the lure. And also the amount of line released and the speed of recovery.

Many times, crankbaits are used to mimic the movement of a swimming bait fish. They can also create the movement of a runaway shrimp near the bottom. Like other types of lures, there are many variations of dive plugs available in all shapes, sizes and colors. It is best to select one that closely resembles the bait fish.

This bait is especially popular during the cold months of the year when fish are often suspended in deep water. At this time of year, there are also fewer weeds to get trapped in. The diver usually has treble hooks on each end. It can be pulled to create the movement of an injured bait fish on the run. It can also be retrieved at a slow, steady pace to allow the bait to dive down.



Jerkbaits are lures that look a bit like a crankbait. But made to look cramped in design like a minnow or fish bait. These types of lures come in a variety of different lengths and sizes. But the overall intent of the lure is usually the same. Instead of producing a dipping motion when retrieved, these baits must be “shaken” through the water to give the appearance of an injured bait fish struggling to make its way through the water.

These jerkbaits have small bill or lip that lets them stay down a few feet below the surface. They are not intended to be fished to great depths unless placed on a downrigger which is possible. The lure should be marked as a sinking, suspending, or floating lure. When the lure is paused the sinking will sink. And the suspending will remain at its depth, and the floating will rise toward the surface.

These types of lures are very effective most of the year. Especially in the warm months of early spring when fish are looking for a simple diet. Jerk baits are often called “stick baits” and can have two or three treble hooks depending on their length. For perches, moss, northern pike, light gray and pike, the mahi mahi fishing lures is a good choice.

plastic lure

plastic lure

Soft plastic is a popular trolling fishing lures for modern anglers. It can be used in a variety of situations throughout the year. These lures come in a variety of shapes, from the common worm design to the unique crab or salamander shapes. Many of the new soft plastic designs increasingly look like real lure. But most anglers say movement is more the act of lure than appearance.

Soft plastics lures can be rigged in a variety of ways. This include Carolina rig, Texas rig, and Crazy rig. They use the soft lure body to allow for all those subtle, flashy moves. Many of these soft plastic baits are now made with special scents designed to attract the smell of fish.


flyfishing flies

When it comes to trout fishing, flies are a great choice for bait. It is mainly used for trout and grayling fishing in small rivers and streams and requires the use of ultralight spinning reel for trout to achieve the full effect and movement of a natural fly. Fly fishing is an art because it is attractive to anglers. Fly fishing requires precise casting skills, and can take years to complete.

Flies are different, but most flies are very effective at catching fish that stick to the surface of the water. Flies are now used to catch everything from bluegill to bluefish.

The choice of bait is very small, but productive in areas with surface flies and aquatic insects. A wet fly with a bowed head is used more often than a dry fly. Most people think of dry flies when they think of classic fly fishing.

Offshore trolling skirts

trolling skirt

Deep sea fishing is not for the faint of heart. Often it requires hours of trolling for many game species away from any coast. Trolling skirts are very popular with anglers. These anglers target different species caught in ocean currents many miles offshore. They created a simple design with a metal “head” surrounded by a colorful skirt.

These trolling fishing lures are most effective for open water trolling because they attract prey, swim and look great. The skirt allows for quick movements that simulate the swimming of squid and small fish, causing shock in most species. Trailing skirts come in a variety of sizes and skirts. Many of which have new designs that are ideal for targeting seeds like mahi mahi, wahoo and sailfish. The top bait is a black and red balile lure, ideal for tuna fishing.



Salmon fishing is a unique style of fishing that uses flashing lights and visible lures to attract the attention of the salmon in the area. Salmon swim in shoals and roll around as they feed. The turn signals are made from a metal or plastic plate which is usually painted to look salmon colored. The flash roll seemed to be eating the salmon and other salmon came to investigate.

A two- to three-foot leader is tied to a herring, fly, or spoon that serves as a fishing lure. It is usually placed with a rigger down at a depth between 20 and 240 feet below the water’s surface. You don’t need a flash to catch salmon, but it’s often used. The purple ultraviolet haze shown above is the perfect color for king salmon and coho salmon.


Big blinkers have a lot of water resistance, but for slow trolling speeds of 1.5-3.5mph, that’s fine.

Worm Harnesses – Fresh Water

worm harness

Worms are a solid choice for many anglers. And they are the best fishing lures for walleye trolling for freshwater live bait. However, a worm rig is another bait used to hit walleye and can also catch walleye and perch. Worm harnesses are designed to tow water and attract fish using a teaspoon and several beads added to the line.

These lures usually have two hooks behind the beads and the general shape of the lure is a worm. Anglers have great success catching walleye. They do this by slowly dragging a rig of worms to specified depths of 15 to 80 feet. Many anglers want to build their own worm rig. This is  because there are so many variations and concepts that have been tried and tested while fishing.

Spoon – fresh water

spoon lure

Fishing spoons are generally shorter than fishing lures. The Johnson Weedless Spoon is a classic old fashioned freshwater spoon for fishing for perch, pike and oysters. It is more common to throw a spoon with a spinning wand or a troll with a traditional wand.

Spoons are usually very heavy and can be dropped. Acme Little Cleo Spoon is great for catching rainbow trout and salmon while roaming the great lakes. The spoon is also great for trolling salmon and glaucoma with downriggers.

In fact, there are several types of spoons you can use to catch salmon in the ocean. A large spoon can be placed around the river channel to allow the salmon to catch the fish. Kelp spoons are usually sucked deep into the side dishes of king mackerel, mackerel, wahoo, and barracuda.

Bunker spoonbills patrol the North Atlantic to catch large striped bass. Small spoons are inserted and removed to catch the blue fish. One of the advantages of spoons is that they are made of metal. Spoons are very versatile and it’s important to get them fast enough to give them the best speed. Heavy buckets retract easier and lighter buckets slower.

Questions and answers

What are the most popular bass fishing lures?

There are many different types of fishing lures, but the most common are lures, jigs, spinners, and soft plastics. These lures have a long history with anglers all over the world and have proven to work all year round. Anglers also use these different lures to catch almost all types of fresh and saltwater fish.

For anglers, it’s best to stick to simple and easy ones like soft plastics and spinners. Once they master this type of bait, they can move on to things like lures and hooks. This can take a little more effort and knowledge to catch a specific type of fish.

What is the best colored fishing lure?

For decades, anglers have been debating the best color to use to catch almost any fish in the world. For many years, anglers have sworn that chartreuse bait is better than any other color. But recent research and studies on color attraction have shown that fish will attack in a wide variety of colors.

The most helpful answer is to use the color that best mimics the fish’s food source. These can range from very dark colors to bright yellow and other brightly colored lures. When it comes to choosing the type of bait, study the specific bait and see which one is commonly used. If you’re not sure which color works best, use bright lures in clear water. And dark lures in dark water and low light conditions?

How do I know which lure to use?

Choosing the right bait really depends on a thorough understanding of the fish in the water you intend to target. It can also depend on other factors such as the weather. Timing can also be important. This is because fish are sharp creatures that can eat one type of bait while completely ignoring another.

Knowing the best bait to use in a particular situation is a trial and error learning process for anglers. This process is one of the reasons why so many people love fishing. This is because there are always mysteries and skill tips for a particular species at any given time.

If you are new to fishing, it is a good idea to broaden your knowledge. It is fun and rewarding to try out new lures and gain useful knowledge about them. This will help you to know the specific type of fish you are looking for. And also improve your skills to make you a better fisherman.

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