Fishing lures are artificial items with hooks that are used to catch fish. They can be made from a variety of materials, primarily wood, metal, lead, and hard or soft plastic, but also include feathers, fur, yarn, and mixtures of these materials.
Lures are designed to look like baitfish and other aquatic animals in order to entice fish to bite them instead of the actual food swimming around. They can imitate food closely, as is true for artificial flies or minnow-style plugs, or suggest it broadly, as is true for jigs, spinners, and spoons.
These items can be found in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and shapes; each is meant to attract a specific range of species. Therefore, they can be classified into several main categories. Equip yourself with fundamental knowledge, and selecting the best fishing lures will come much easier.
Fishing lure types chart?
Depending on the target species and style of fishing, anglers can have multiple choices of fishing lures. The table below shows the most common lure categories, along with the fish species and their applications.
|Fishing Lure Type||Application||Recommended Species|
|Crankbait/ Plug||Casting, trolling||Bass, Walleye, Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, Northern Pike, Muskie|
|Jig||Casting, vertical fishing, ice fishing||Bass, Walleye, Trout, Crappie, Yellow Perch, Panfish|
|Inline spinner||Casting, trolling||Trout, Bass, Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskie|
|Spoon||Casting, trolling, ice fishing||Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskie, Salmon, Steelhead|
|Topwater popper||Casting||Bass, Trout, Northern Pike|
|Swimbait||Casting, trolling, vertical fishing, ice fishing||Bass, Walleye, Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, Northern Pike, Muskie|
|Soft plastic bait||Casting, finesse tactics, ultra-light fishing||Bass, Trout, Crappie, Yellow Perch, Panfish|
|Blade bait||Casting, vertical fishing, ice fishing||Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskie, Crappie, Yellow Perch|
|Spinnerbait||Casting, trolling||Trout, Bass, Salmon, Steelhead|
|Chatterbait||Casting, trolling||Trout, Bass, Salmon, Steelhead|
|Fly||Fly fishing, casting, finesse tactics, ultra-light fishing||Trout, Bass, Salmon, Steelhead|
What are the main types of fishing lures?
In general, there are 11 main types of fishing lures:
- Topwater lures
- Inline spinners
- Soft plastic baits
- Blade baits
Due to the combination of two or more fishing lure types into one, the market has become more and more diverse nowadays.
Therefore, a solid understanding of the key differences between fishing lures and knowing when and how to utilize them can help prevent anglers from being overwhelmed.
10 Types of Fishing Lures (A Complete List)
Crankbaits/ Diving Plugs
When it comes to imitating baitfish, crankbaits are among the finest. They are available in various sizes and hues, with each combination suitable for a distinct species. In addition, this lure type can imitate the escaping movement of a crawfish at the bottom.
Like other lure types, diving plugs come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors. It’s preferable to choose one that pretty matches the baitfish in the body of water where you intend to fish. It includes two main parts: the lip and the body:
- The lip is positioned at the front and at a specific angle. It determines how the lure swims and dives. The greater the angle, the deeper the lure will dive. If the lip is ever destroyed when a fish strikes your crankbait, the lure will no longer swim correctly and will need to be replaced.
- The body is manufactured from a mold to have a fish-like shape. Moreover, it is also elaborately painted to resemble a real fish species or with brilliant shiny colors to entice fish.
They work effectively in both saltwater and freshwater. The key to success when fishing with a crankbait is to pick a lure that will swim at the same depth as the fish are eating.
Thus, you’ll need to try many different baits: shallow, medium, and deep diver. A rattle within the body can be helpful in murky situations when sound may attract more fish owing to poor visibility in the water. Thus, this lure is particularly widespread during the colder months of the year.
Jig lures have hundreds of brands and varieties available in a wide range of shapes and colors. The jig is generally the first must-consider lure of call for bass anglers and other sports fishers since it is specially designed to target predatory fish such as panfish, bass, and even pike.
They are commonly used for anglers with “jigging” or “jerking” fishing types. When you cast your jig out, wait for it to sink and slowly lift it off the bottom to attract a fish to attack it. It’s also quite adaptable to use in both saltwater and freshwater. A jig has two parts: body and head components.
- Most jig bodies are manufactured of silicone or rubber, which mimic the shape of different prey such as lizards, paddle tails, frogs, grubs, and other fish. The general tip is to pick a seasonally suitable hue, such as browns and blues in the summer heat and brighter colors in the winter.
- The jig head is attached to a hook. Several varieties of this lure and saltwater jigs take on an entirely new structure to resemble real baitfish. This type has a metalhead that can be manufactured of many materials. Tungsten is a popular jig material because it is a dense metal that enables a smaller bait to be thrown further.
Swimbaits are more challenging to categorize as a lure type because they resemble plugs and crankbaits in mimicking fish. On the other hand, how swimbaits are retrieved makes it different.
When the line is pulled in, certain swimbaits accelerate their speed, making their tails flap during the process. Others may move similarly to a waving-flag motion on the surface of the water.
One notable benefit is that they are also powerful and effective in floating grass, helping with fewer tangles and snags. That’s why swimbaits are suitable for novices who are not good at control.
They are also a fantastic choice for novices because they may be thrown out from the jetty, the beach, and in shallows and flats at various depths. One notable benefit is that they are also strong and effective in floating grass, resulting in fewer snags and tangles.
Spoon lures, one of the oldest forms of fishing lures, are still widely used today. They imitate tiny baitfish in the water. As its name implies, this type has a spoon-like shape made from oblong metal pieces.
While the bottom end is tight with a treble hook, its top end has a loop to attach it to the main fishing line. Commonly, they come with a colorful design on one side, and the other side is a shiny reflecting metallic surface. Yet, some spoon lures only have a single color, such as silver, bronze, or gold.
Their form and color create movement effects when an angler is winding them in.
While the light reflection on the surface combined with that movement will attract the attention of nearby fish, causing them to chase and eat it. Anglers can use these lures in both fresh and saltwater to fish various fish.
Spoon lures go well with many fishing methods, such as trolling, retrieving, casting, and vertical jigging.
However, spoon lures may be boring for those anglers who want an exciting experience because they cannot create much noise and vibration when moving through the water to entice fish.
Spinners are fishing lures with thin oval-shaped blades made of metal. When you reel in the lure, the blades spin around it, earning the name “spinner.”
The blade’s spinning motion provides a brilliant reflection to attract the fish’s attention and makes them agitated and ready to attack. Spinners are suitable for both fresh and saltwater.
They are available in different sizes and colors. Thus, anglers might prepare a couple of different ones in your tackle box. Yet, always check the lure information to ensure that you are not using a spinner designed for freshwater in the sea area. It will corrode rapidly since it cannot withstand the salt.
A spinner can only be fished by retrieving and casting. Spinners work well for bass and pike fishing, while saltwater versions are better for mackerel, jacks, and small tuna. If your fishing area is murky, spinnerbait is the most suitable choice. Its blades create a bright flash to entice much fish.
Simply keep the fishing rod elevated and the blades beneath the water. Spinnerbaits won’t work if the fish lurk in the deeper area where visibility is poorer. In this situation, add a sinker to create more vibration of your spinnerbait lure.
Buzzbaits are exciting sorts of fishing lures to employ. Their design is pretty similar to spinners, yet they are not set in the same way. Instead, a buzzbait features a bent wire to attach your line.
One end of the wire attaches a molded jig head with an eye-catching skirt and a hook, while a propeller is tight to the other.
The propeller lifts the bait on the surface. Making a churning sound is how this lure type works. This sound entices and irritates the fish. It is so bothersome that a fish will attack it simply to obtain a quiet atmosphere. There are several varieties of buzzbaits on the market today.
The propeller is the only thing that varies. Some are equipped with a single or double propeller or a clacker. The clacker is a piece of metal that the propeller strikes when turning, adding extra sound to this lure and so attracting more fish.
So, buzzbaits are not only colorful and flashy, but they also provide significant vibrations when moving through the water. Anglers often use it for bass fishing because it encourages them to attack powerfully and close to the water surface.
Typically, buzzbaits are used in retrieving and casting. Furthermore, they are ideal for night fishing and near cover. Keep in mind to wind it as slowly as possible while keeping the lure on the surface.
Anglers commonly employ trolling lures while offshore fishing for large pelagics such as dorado and marlin.
Trolling lures have a basic design with a metal head bordered by a colorful skirt that keeps the hooks inside them.
This lure type is available in a variety of colors and sizes. Selecting the proper lure head and skirt combination is critical to success. These lures work best when trolling across open water because they tempt fish to come for a closer look.
One of the most significant aspects is the lure head because the form and weight of the head dictate how the lure swims and the smoke trail or bubble it leaves in the water.
Here is a tip for choosing the color of the skirt: black skirts for gloomy days and bright skirts for bright days. This is to assist the fish in seeing the lures in varying circumstances.
A popper is a surface lure that has been around for a long time. Its design is a long hollow tube attached with hooks at the rear and center. Due to its unique form, a popper produces a splashing and gurgling sound to attract fish.
When the fish attacks, it will create a surface explosion, making it one of the most thrilling methods to fish. This type imitates a floating, injured baitfish or prey such as frogs, crickets, or mice. The angler physically ‘pops’ the lure across the surface of the water, in brief, irregular bursts.
These pops frequently attract the attention of bigger fish, particularly predatory species that are the dominant species in their respective habitats, like tuna, largemouth bass, and huge trevally.
These lures are available in several shapes and sizes. Bear in mind that the bigger the fish, the bigger the popper you choose. For example, for bass, you’ll use a smaller popper; still, for giant trevally, you’ll need a popper with the forearm size.
If you are looking for a real-like fishing lure, soft plastic must be on the top list. Indeed, when a plastic lure is of high quality, it will be challenging to distinguish it from a real fish.
Thus, they are among the most popular lure choices for bass fishing. The soft plastic body is jelly-like, made from flexible rubbery. This type frequently has a dynamic tail with a tiny fin.
That tail will swim at a high frequency once retrieved through the water, giving the lure the appearance of a genuine creature. Furthermore, its soft body provides gentle motions that definitely catch nearby fish’s attention.
This type comes in a wide range of forms and sizes, from the classic worm to the salamander or special crawfish. Many modern soft plastic lures are designed to be more and more like actual bait species. Still, most anglers believe that the bait’s movement, not its looks, entices a fish strike.
Anglers can use this lure type in many different fishing methods: wacky rigs, Carolina rigs, Texas rigs.
One intriguing aspect of plastic ones is anglers can use them as artificial baits in live bait setups. This allows you to save money in the long run.
Fly fishing lures are made up of a single hook and a lively skirt. These lures are designed to mimic insects, crustaceans, or other prey by using feathers, furs, and thread.
Depending on the targeted prey you desire to fish, you can choose different flies:
- Dry flies: they are waterproof lures and can float on the water surface to imitate insects).
- Wet flies: this lure is allowed to sink below the surface and imitate minnows and aquatic insects.
- Nymphs: They imitate crustaceans.
- Emerging flies: These have a design like hatching insects.
- Streamer flies: This type mimics bait fish.
Flies are most commonly employed in trout and grayling fishing in streams and small rivers. Moreover, anglers need to use a fly rod to reach a real fly’s full impact and motion.
Unlike other lures, fly fishing requires an elegant, accurate casting form and technique that might take years to master. As a result, it isn’t suggested for novices lacking experience casting or fishing with almost weightless lures.
How do I choose a fishing lure?
In order to choose a suitable fishing lure, anglers should consider these three factors:
- What species are they targeting?
- Where in the water column does the feed?
- What are these species feeding on?
For instance, to catch walleye, they need to use a fishing lure that can cast close to the bottom because that’s where fishermen can typically find walleye.
Therefore, jigs are one of the best choices for targeting walleye, as they are made to be hopped along the bottom.
Another example would be that if anglers are trying to catch bass in the pond in the summer, topwater baits can be an ideal type of lure to choose. This is because bass will eat little fish, amphibians, and other creatures close to the water.
What are some different types of topwater lures?
Topwater lures are highly popular for bass fishing, especially in the summer since bass actively eats at the surface during this period. These objects include a lot of different baits in various shapes such as walkers, poppers, buzzbaits, wakebaits, minnows, and prop baits. Still, the most common ones are poppers and frogs.
Poppers, also known as chuggers, are wooden or hard plastic plugs with flat or concave faces. They pop, splash, and chug when suddenly yanked, simulating prey struggling on the surface. They are the best surface bait for target fishing. They can be precisely casted and should be worked in close distance to laydowns, docks, rocks, and other structures where bass might cling.
In order to fish, the anglers cast a popper out and quickly jerk their rod tip downward, causing the lure to “pop”, experiment with other cadences until they start receiving bites. A “pop, pop, pause, repeat” rhythm is a nice cadence to start.
The topwater frog was an extremely minor player in the fishing world several years ago. However, anglers begin to notice their big-fish potential as well as the bigger access to previously unreachable basses that were hidden in the densest vegetation.
There are two types of frogs: a soft plastic toad variant that functions like a buzzbait and a hollow-bodied plastic form that floats over the grass. Both are equally effective around wood and artificial cover. A frog can be one of the most snagless lures a bass angler can use.
Frog fishing success truly depends more on “where” than “how”. To catch fish, anglers cast it out and carefully twitch it back to the boat, pausing often in favorable spots. The best “frog habitats” are lily pad fields, matted vegetation, and duckweed, which many fishermen refer to as “slop”.
What are the different types of soft plastic lures?
Soft plastics are available in a wide range of forms and sizes and can be used to target a wide variety of fish species in almost any environment. Due to their lightweight bodies, they may be made to “swim” like the fish’s prey when drawn through the water.
There are many ways to fish with soft plastics, such as jigging and casting. They can also be used as a trailer with a finesse rig such as the drop shot rig, carolina rig, wacky rig, texas rig, or ned rig. Moreover, using soft plastic lures can help target many types of fish effectively, for instance, bass, catfish, trout, crappie, or panfish.
Some of the soft plastic categories are worms, creatures, beavers, toads, tubes, soft stickbaits, soft jerkbaits, craws, trailers, shad tails, and drop-shot baits.
What are some different types of swimbaits?
A swimbait is a particular kind of fishing lure that closely resembles a particular species of baitfish in order to trick the predator fish into biting them.
Swimbaits come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors, but they all share one thing in common: They all resemble baitfish realistically, setting them apart from other lure types like crankbaits and jigs.
There are two main types of swimbaits: hard-bodied and soft-bodied swimbaits. But they can still be divided into subtypes, which makes the general category of swimbaits quite diverse. Currently, there are four most commonly used subtypes, including soft-bodied, hard-bodied, paddle tail, and glide bait.
What are the different types of crankbaits?
Generally, crankbaits, known as plugs, are the most popular types of fishing lures that can be used to catch different kinds of species, ranging from trout to muskie. Same as other types of fishing lures, crankbaits also come in a wide variety of designs, which can easily confuse beginners when they first start crankbait fishing.
Crankbaits are frequently made of hard plastic or wood and the first thing you will notice about crankbaits is the lips or bills on the front of the lure to help the baits plane through the water and get down in the water column. The size of the lure’s bill can generally predict how deep it will dive; the bigger and longer the bill, the deeper it will go.
There are three main types of crankbait bills, which determine the diving depth of the lures:
- Regular bill
- Square bill
- Deep diving bill
Moreover, they also have two large treble hooks hanging from the bottom, which make these objects easier to hang up on the first piece of weed or wood they come into contact with.
What Color Attracts Fish The Best?
When it comes to baits’ color, it is hard to confirm as it depends on the weather conditions, water clarity, water depth, and more subaquatic conditions.
However, in terms of lights, many experienced anglers believe that green and blue underwater fishing light is their best choice. The reason is that the wavelength of these lights can penetrate deep enough into the waters to lure in the zooplankton, which forms the basis of an underwater ecosystem.
When the fishermen drop a fishing light into the water, this attracts these tiny organisms. And the next level in the food chain will appear to feast on the zooplankton congregation, the baitfish. As more baitfish show up, the target species do as well.
What Lure Is Best For Bass?
The best types of fishing lures for bass are:
- Crankbaits: are designed to resemble foods that bass would like to eat. They usually create a rattling sound as they go through the water. Bass are drawn to the bait by this sound, which tricks the fish into believing they are pursuing a small fish, amphibian, or invertebrate.
- Jigs: are designed to mimic one of a bass’ favorite foods – craws. These lures are very versatile and are one of the essential baits for every tackle box.
- Soft plastic baits: are frequently effective at luring fish to cling to a hook and giving you more time to set your hook.
- Topwater lures: are designed to resemble a frightened or hurt prey animal when they are pulled through the water, fooling bass into biting.
- Swimbaits: are jointed and hollow bodied which enables them to imitate the swimming movements of small fish and other prey species.
- Spinnerbaits: are attractive to bass as they create a flash of light that resembles small, shiny fish, like quick-moving minnows.
Aside from these, anglers would choose a fishing lure for bass depending on the time of year, the bass’s location, and the foods they feed o.
What Lure Is Best For Saltwater?
The top three saltwater lures are swimbaits, spoons, and crankbaits. All these types are large enough to perform well in saltwater while smaller ones are rarely used for saltwater fishing.
What Lure Is Best For Beginners?
A good fishing lure for beginners should have three things:
- A bite should be easy to recognize.
- The lure should catch a wide variety of species.
- The lure must work well with a basic fishing rod.
Regarding these traits, soft plastic lures, spinnerbaits, jigs, crankbaits, and topwater lures are all well-suited for novices.
The tip for choosing a proper lure is straightforward. First, you might discover the fishing place and your targeted fish. Then, just pick the lure that perfectly imitates what that fish eats.
This will help you increase the success rate of catching it. This article has given you helpful knowledge of types of fishing lures. We believe you are ready to choose the suitable lure for the next fishing journey
Born in Lakeland, Florida, Daniel has started fishing since he was just a tiny little kid. His father was a real good fisherman, as he taught Daniel tricks and tips to catch the fish better. From those childhood memories, Daniel has built up his love for fishing. Until now, he has been participating in several bass tournaments and currently serves as the Chief Editor of fishingonsunday.com to share his precious knowledge and experiences with many more people.