Most Common Types of Fishing Lures – All You Need to Know
Jun 29, 2020 | 6 minute read Comments
34
Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’ve ever used a fishing lure to catch fish, you know how effective they can be. For those of you who haven’t, a fishing lure is a type of artificial fishing bait used to attract fish. Lures come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, each designed to attract a specific range of fish species. Of course, what works with one fish won’t necessarily work with another. So, how do you know which fishing lure to use? Today, we’re going to examine the most common types of fishing lures and how to use them. After you’ve read this, you’ll be able to catch your limit in no time!

leaping snapper caught with a fishing lure

Using a fishing lure is the most common alternative to live baiting. Before we dig into the various types of fishing lures, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of using them, when compared to using live bait.

The pros of fishing lures are:

  • Lures allow you to cast further than using live bait
  • Using lures is less messy than using live bait
  • Lures are better for catch and release, because the fish are less likely to gulp the entire hook
  • Using lures allows you to target a species more accurately
  • Lures are easily interchangeable

The cons of using fishing lures are:

  • Lures are generally more expensive than live bait
  • Lures can get snagged on underwater structure
  • Using lures requires you to constantly move them in order to attract the fish
  • Some lures require skill to use effectively, which makes it harder for beginners
  • Lures are not as effective as bait in colder waters

If you use them correctly, fishing lures can be your best friend. They are equally effective in freshwater and saltwater, and can be used to catch a wide variety of fish species. Naturally, there are many different types of fishing lures. Some of the most commonly used are:

Plugs

Plugs or crankbaits are hard plastic fishing lures shaped and colored to resemble bait fish or other prey. They’re made out of a solid or hollow piece of plastic, with a thin sheet of metal or plastic attached to the front. This sheet is called a lip. The lip is sometimes adjustable to make the lure wobble. Plugs feature two or three treble hooks. Depending on the design, plugs can float, sink, dive, or hover.

a plug lure

Fishing with a Plug Lure

Most plugs float on the water’s surface or suspend in the water, but dive sharply when retrieved. You can take advantage of this with a series of reel-and-stop moves that will resemble the behavior of live bait fish. Change your twitching intervals and reeling speed for variety.

Jigs

Jigs have a weighted head on one side and a hook on the other. Featuring either a feather skirt or plastic grub, jigs are generally considered to be one of the most popular types of fishing lures. Thanks to their weight, jigs sink easily. This makes them great for bottom feeders.

a jig lure

Fishing with a Jigging Lure

To take advantage of the jig weight, cast it out and let it sink to the bottom. You’ll know that your jig has sunk the moment you see the line go slack. When this happens, start jigging: lift your rod up (slightly), and then retrieve the line as you lower it again. Experiment with different speeds as well as big and small movements to see what works best. Keep your eyes on the line – a strike can make the faintest pull on it.

Spinnerbait

Spinnerbait lures are a little different because they move horizontally through the water. They come in many shapes and colors depending on the targeted depth and species. Spinnerbaits come with a skirted hook on one side, and one or more metal blades which spin like a propeller, on the other. The spinning of the blades creates vibration and color reflection, which pretty accurately mimics minnows and other bait fish. These lures are perfect for catching species like Bass, Perch, and Pike.

a spinnerbait lure

Fishing with a Spinnerbait Lure

If the water you’re fishing in is clear, pulling your spinnerbait just beneath the surface is a great way of attracting game fish. The spinning blades will make a great visual effect and should attract a lot of fish. Just keep your rod high and make sure the blades are beneath the surface. If the water is murky, this will not work. Add a sinker and rely on the vibrations of your spinnerbait lure.

Spoons

Spoons are curved, concave metal lures. Spoon lures got their name because they were originally just that – spoons with the handles cut off. Their concave shape makes them shine and wobble as they move through the water. The bigger the curve, the wider the wobble. A wobbling lure resembles injured bait fish, and this is something game fish can’t say no to.

spoon lure

Fishing with a Spoon Lure

You can cast a spoon lure or troll it. For casting, anglers usually go for 10–20 feet below the target zone, and then retrieve the lure right through it. Make sure to take a good look at the moving spoon to determine the adequate speed of retrieval. If the spoon moves too fast or too slow, it won’t wobble properly. Same goes for trolling. Trolling with spoons usually requires downriggers for setting a desired depth.

Soft Plastics

Soft plastic lures are flexible rubbery baits that imitate a variety of aquatic critters. These can be anything from minnows, worms, and crawfish to lizards and frogs. Soft plastics are frequently used for Bass fishing.

soft plastic lures

Fishing with Soft Plastic Lures

Be sure to select the right size and color of your soft plastic. The color of the lure should fit in naturally with the surroundings. Go with brighter plastics on a clear day, but stay away from them when the sky is overcast. Wounded creatures tend to swim in spurts and soft plastics will allow you to mimic this movement very accurately. Let the lure sink to the bottom, and twitch your rod a few times. If you get no hook-up, pull the lure up in a few jerky moves.

Flies

Flies are a type of fishing lure traditionally used in fly fishing. Thanks to the development of new materials, they can be sometimes be used in spin fishing, as well. Fly fishing lures consist of just a single hook and a skirt. Using furs, feathers, or thread, these lures are tied to resemble insects, crustaceans, or other prey.

This resemblance can be mind boggling, mind you. That’s because fly tying is not easy – many even consider it to be an art form. But that’s one of the reasons why fly fishing is so immersive and addictive for those who try it.

a fly fishing lure

Fishing with Fly Lures

Flies work great in areas where fish approach the water’s surface. Some fly lures are designed to float (surface flies), while others are designed to sink (subsurface flies).

Depending on what type of prey your targeted fish is more likely to eat, you’ll be using dry flies (waterproof lures that float on the surface to imitate insects), wet flies (lures designed to sink below the surface and imitate minnows and sunken insects), nymphs (imitating crustaceans), emerging flies (hatching insects), and streamer flies (bait fish).

So there you have it. What are your favorite types of fishing lures? Which one would you like to try out next? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments (34)
  • John Wilson

    Feb 17, 2020

    I am a Disabled American Veteran who absolutely lover to fish. Seems I do more wishing fishing. What do you consider the best lure, whether soft plastic or rooster tail, to use to catch trout. I live in Colorado Springs and trout is the about the only game fish. Thank you

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      Sean

      Feb 17, 2020

      Hi John,

      Thanks for reading.

      If we’re talking one single all-round lure for Trout, we’d probably go with something like a Panther Martin Spinner. The color should obviously depend on the conditions you’re fishing in. For murky waters, go for something darker, and something with a little more color for clear water.

      Hey, I bet there are a thousand anglers that would trade their tackle box in a second for a chance to catch Trout every day!

      Tight lines!

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      Joseph rister

      Mar 6, 2020

      Try fly fishing.lots of good fly fishing opportunity to do in the west. Takes some practice but lots of fun but it’s more river, steam technique if lake fishing spinners like panther Martin or rooster tail if trolling try a dick nite or a walleye rig with a worm also power bait works good and the power worms trout love.

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      Brian

      Apr 16, 2020

      mepps #3 black fury yellow dot buck tail. rapala1/4 oz silver diving minnow. Those are my 2 favorites

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      Eduardo Hernandez

      May 25, 2020

      First of all thank you for your service sir. 2 days ago I went fishing and I used a soft plastic lure with white body and green tail and I caught 5 trout’s that’s the limit here in Texas that’s what I use if you do decide to use it good luck

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  • Robert Odom

    Mar 9, 2020

    Fishing is like playing the lottery .You never know when and if you are going to hit the BIG one

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      Sean

      Mar 10, 2020

      Couldn’t agree more, Robert!

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  • Rafal

    Apr 2, 2020

    If fishing was like playing lottery. I would be a multi bilinear today. Fishing is great you just have to learn just like every thing else in this world

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      Sean

      Apr 6, 2020

      Hi Rafal,

      Couldn’t agree more!

      The best part is, you could spend a lifetime on the water, and still learn something new every day.

      Tight lines!

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      Joseph

      Apr 11, 2020

      *billionaire*^

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  • Les Wallis

    May 4, 2020

    Krocodile spoon can’t go wrong have caught large mouth Bass, stripped Bass, trout, fresh water or salt most versatile lure

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      Sean

      May 4, 2020

      Hi Les,

      We sure can’t argue with that, those are some of the most productive lures out there.

      Thanks for sharing, and tight lines!

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  • Kay Dee

    May 8, 2020

    This may be a stupid question. The hooks that are attached to these lures, are they supposed to be left empty, or do you bait the hooks?

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      Albert

      May 11, 2020

      Hi Kay,

      Not a stupid question at all!

      You don’t normally bait hooks on lures, as the movement and color of the lure itself is what tempts the fish in. However, people do sometimes use scents on their lures to make them attract fish better.

      I hope that helps. Thanks for getting in touch!

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      Seb

      May 13, 2020

      Thank you that is so helpful
      Does it matter how far away the hook from the bobber is.

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      Albert

      May 14, 2020

      Hi Seb,

      I’m glad you found it helpful!

      Short answer, yes. It all depends what fish you want to target, as well as the body of water you’re fishing in.

      Different species tend to hang out in specific parts of the water column. On top of that, you’ll use very different tactics in a pond compared to a deep lake or the ocean.

      I hope that helps. Sorry I can’t give you a more specific answer.

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      Seb

      May 14, 2020

      that was very helpful. Thank you. Does the size of the pond or lake matter how big the fish are??? like would the fish be big even in small lakes. Thanks that was helpful

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      Albert

      May 14, 2020

      Hi Seb,

      You can actually find some pretty huge fish even in small streams. For example. some species of Catfish reach enormous sizes and still hang out in small creeks. However, most large predatory fish do tend to hunt in open water.

      To answer your previous question, fishing is generally most productive around sunrise and sunset, although it’s also affected by other things like tides and water temperature. On top of that, some species hunt mainly at night.

      All the best!

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      Dean Burton

      Jun 21, 2020

      Umm, I know this is am a mature fishing move, but if I’m fishing a lure where the hook doesn’t have a lot going to there, (like a spoon, or a trailer hook,p), sometimes l like to put a salmon egg or two on there, just for kicks, and maybe some tiny fish, ex. sunfish or crappie.

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      Sean

      Jun 22, 2020

      Hey Dean,

      If it works – it works, right? The lure-bait combos like the ones you mentioned sure can make a difference, especially when the bite is slow.

      Thanks for sharing, and tight lines!

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  • Seb

    May 13, 2020

    I just started fishing and I have been researching what lures to use what is your opinion on which lure to use???

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      Albert

      May 14, 2020

      Hi Seb,

      As I touched on in your other comment, it all depends on the situation. What kind of fish are you normally targeting?

      To start out, I’d recommend talking to some of the anglers you come across while fishing, or watching videos of anglers in your area. Youtube can be a great source of information for beginners.

      Congratulations on discovering an awesome new hobby, and tight lines on your next trip!

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      Seb

      May 14, 2020

      ok thank you. do you think it is better to go fishing early in the morning or late evening???

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      Dean Burton

      Jun 21, 2020

      Hi, both are great times (I prefer early morning though) and sometimes fishing mid-day with a spoon is awesome too.

      Cheers!

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  • Pete

    May 19, 2020

    Hi, just after a bit of advice please. I’m a fishing novice. I’ve bought a spinning rod with a casting weight of 15-55 grams. I use 10[b line and lures/plugs within that weight range but never seem to be able to cast more than a few feet. It’s not that I can’t cast, I’m more than happy with the range I reach when using a metal spinner or lead weight. Could anyone give me any tips please?

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      Sean

      May 19, 2020

      Hi Pete,

      Thanks for asking.

      Since you’re casting at a good range when using a lead weight, I’d recommend you checking the position of the reel bail. It should be positioned so that it comes up, in a position closest to your index finger.

      Number two, you might want to check if you’re squeezing the line too hard with that index finger. Squeezing the line against the rod prevents it from flying out freely.

      Three, don’t allow your lure to drop more than 8 inches below the rod tip before casting. Staying in the 6-8 inch range should give you a nice momentum.

      And four, visualise your target. Once you’ve decided where you want the lure to land, make your cast, and make sure that the tip of your rod is pointed in the same direction.

      And that’s about it. I hope you’ll find this helpful, Pete.

      Good luck!

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      Pete

      May 19, 2020

      Hi Sean,

      Thanks for the tips, I’ll give it a try tomorrow.

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      Sean

      May 20, 2020

      Happy to help, Pete,

      Good luck!

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  • Valerie

    May 28, 2020

    We’ve rented a house in Jamaica Beach (Galveston) in mid June and plan to fish in the canals and cove behind. Any suggestions? The water looks pretty green in the pictures.

    Thanks.

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      Sean

      Jun 1, 2020

      Hi Valerie,

      Thanks for reading.

      Soft plastics are a good choice for early morning topwater fishing. If you’re fishing deeper waters or grassy areas, you can go with spoons. The waters might look green but if the weather turns out to be cloudy, I wouldn’t go overboard with brightly colored lures. Try to go a variety that blends in with the surroundings. You can always ask what’s been working lately in the local tackle shop.

      If you’re interested in some more reading, check out our articles on the best Redfish baits, and Galveston Pier fishing.

      Tight lines!

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  • Jayden

    Jun 25, 2020

    Hi my name is Jayden i love fishing.

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      Sean

      Jun 25, 2020

      Hi Jayden,

      We do too! Feel free to check out some of our other articles.

      Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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  • Elizabeth Leibrand

    Jun 29, 2020

    Hello,
    I am going fishing for a Girl Scout badge with my troop. I am leading it, and I was wondering if you would like to give me a few tips, that I would need to know about lures and bait that are not listed here. Anything helps! Thank you.

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      Sean

      Jun 29, 2020

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for reading.

      Well, I’d say that the most important thing is that you select the adequate type of lure for the fish you’ll be targeting. If you’re fishing for bottom fish, go for one of the lures with a sinker. If you’re fishing closer to the surface, go for a spinnerbait or a spoon.

      One other thing you’ll want to pay attention to is how the lure behaves as you’re retrieving it. You want the lure to move exactly as a live baitfish would. Try testing the motion a few times to set the right speed.

      I would also recommend you checking out a few of our articles on fishing hooks, bottom fishing, and catching live bait.

      I hope you’ll have a great time.

      Tight lines!

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