Expert Fishing Advice for Saltwater Anglers

Basic Guide to Saltwater Fishing Lures

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Having the right lure for various situations you encounter on the water can make a difference in how productive/successful your day turns out. Rather than spending countless hours testing a variety of saltwater fishing baits and lures, we’ve created a list for you.

SOFT BAITS

Soft baits (also referred to as Soft Plastics) fall within a vast category of artificial lures.  They are made to mimic every fish as well as crustacean in the ocean that are fed on by other fish.  They can be rigged with lead heads, as shrimp, eels, finfish, worms, grubs or simple attractors as well as weedless; soft bait configurations are nearly endless.

Casting Swimmers

These below surface plugs that are great for rough conditions when it is difficult remain in touch with your lure so to speak. Casting swimmers are ideal in cross wind situations for this same reason. 

Jigs / Jig Heads:

It’s never a bad time to throw a bucktail jig. The variety of available weights and styles will enable you to find the right lure for the depth, structure and weather conditions you encounter. There’s a reason you’ll find a bucktail in most survival kits. 

Flutter Jigs

Predators all over the world, in all depths, find flutter jigs irresistible. Designed to be fished with a vertical walk-the-dog action, they are effective both on the fall and the retrieve. The distinctive action, and versatility, makes this an essential in any tackle box. Classics include: Shimano Butterfly Jig, Williamson Flutter Jig.

Bucktail Jig

No matter where you are and what type of water you are fishing, a good old-fashioned bucktail jig is hard to beat. Anglers can fish these using a variety of retrieves in both shallow and deep water. The simplicity of the design gives anglers a wide range of versatility when it comes to fishing with them. Classics include: Upperman’s and Spro Bucktail Jigs.

Eel Skin Jigs:

Fishing eel skins, much like fishing live eels themselves, just works. Eel Skin Jigs allow you to go deep, getting your eel skin down to where the fish are holding. 

DARTERS

These are a must when for fishing waters with strong currents

Tins:

An excellent choice when a long cast is needed due to the location of the fish/structure or wind conditions. The variety of tins available ensure you’ll find the weight and action you need to work these lures at the optimal speed and depth for any situation. 

Needlefish:

Casting distance and proven effectiveness make the needlefish the first plug to come out of many a surfcaster’s plug bag. There are many types of needlefish on the market. Find needlefish with various sink rates so you’ll be able to fish a wide-range of conditions without hanging up. Don’t be put off by the needlefish’s seeming lack of action. This is a big-fish catcher for sure so stick with it! 

Surface Poppers:

Classic Saltwater Lure. crawling one of these through the wash with an occasional “”pop”” is a great way to induce exciting surface strikes. The slower the retrieve often the better when targeting striped bass. 

Metal Lipped Swimmers:

A “”go-to”” lure when bunker, herring, or other large baitfish are present. It’s reputation as a poor-casting lure, while well deserved, shouldn’t scare you off – This is a great BIG fish lure. 

Pencil Poppers:

This lure combines the ability to cast long distances with the ability to call fish up from the depths by causing a commotion on the surface. Many of these lures respond best to a high-rod-tip, walk-the-dog style retrieve. 

Plastic Lip Swimmers:

You won’t find many plug bags that don’t contain this “”staple”” of saltwater angling. Bombers and Redfins are just a few examples of these “”classics””. Many find success employing a slow retrieve with these lures. 

Casting Jigs:

Whether used in a vertical presentation or casting situation, these lures will catch most anything that swims. These are a popular choice for anglers pursuing pelagics such as albies, bonito, and bluefin tuna. 

Surface Spooks:

This lure has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years being reinvented as a larger saltwater lure from it’s freshwater counterpart. The side-to-side or walk-the-dog action produced by this lure provides a more subtle presentation than the splashier pencil popper.

Fluke Rigs:

Pre-rigged and ready to catch fluke. Tip these w/ your favorite choice of bait for success. 

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Matt Spector


Over the last 25 years, Captain Matt Spector has established himself as an expert fisherman and Captain. He's taught thousands how to be safer, smarter, more efficient anglers! There's simply nothing more satisfying than sharing a lesson, recommendation or tip that helps another angler be able to yell...GottemonDood!

Captain Matt


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