Whether you're fishing inshore or offshore, you want to make sure you're casting with the best saltwater fishing lures available. Rather than spending countless hours testing a variety of saltwater fishing baits and lures, we've gone ahead and taken care of the heavy lifting for you. We polled our staff and reached out to some of the best fishing tackle experts in the game to create this list and you won't be disappointed with the results. From saltwater jigs to the best topwater lures for saltwater fishing, you'll be hard-pressed to find a more in-depth list.
That's why we've put together this
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.
Yet another artificial that came from the bass fishing world, crank baits quickly found a home in the salt. Small beads on the inside of these hard baits rattle to attract, and the their action screams “easy meal.” They are simple to work and are especially deadly in off-color water. Classics include: Rat-L-Trap
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.
As effective as traditional casting spoons may be, they are designed to run relatively shallow. Jigging spoons on the other hand offer the same enticement, and all the effectiveness and attributes of a spoon in deeper water. Classics include: Hopkins Hammered Spoon
Sometimes lures that swim erratically draw the most strikes, while other times, a steady swimming action is more appealing to predators. Lipped plugs do both. By altering the retrieve, lipped plugs can be twitched to look like a wounded baitfish, or like forage trying to get away. Classics include: Rapala X-Rap, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow, Bomber A-Salt and Sebile Koolie Minnow.
When you need to raise a ruckus to draw fish a surface popper is often the best bet. Most predators prefer prey that’s easily captured. When retrieved erratically, the sound of a popper on draws attention and looks like an easy meal, something game fish can’t ignore. Classics include: Rebel Magnum, Sebile Splasher, Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bull and Bomber Chug-A-Lug.
Sinking Twitch Baits
When your target species doesn’t want to feed on the surface, slow sinking twitch baits can be the ticket to success. With a slight twitch of the rod, these lures dart from left to right on the retrieve to mimic injured baitfish, an easy mark for hungry fish. Classics include: MirrOlure 52 M.
This large family of artificial lures, in nearly endless configurations, mimics every forage fish or crustacean in the ocean. They can be rigged weedless or with lead heads, as shrimp, eels, finfish, worms, grubs or simple attractors, for unmatched versatility. Classics include: Bass Assassin’s Saltwater Shad Assassin, Sassy Shad, Slug-Go, Berkley Gulp and Hogy Soft Baits.
Predatory fish often have to react quickly to catch their food. Flash, one element that can entice a reaction strike, which is why spoons in a variety of colors and styles are so effective. Most spoons cast long distances, which makes them a great prospecting lure for unfamiliar water. Classics include: Krocodile, Dardevle, Johnson.
Top Water Jerk Bait
There’s nothing better than working jerk bait on the surface of the water with a walk-the-dog action and having a big, aggressive fish explode on it. Top water jerk baits are tailor-made for this type of retrieve. It might take a little bit of practice to get just right but when you do — get ready for some heart stopping eats. Classics include: Heddon Zara Spook, Yo-Zuri Sashimi Pencil, Bomber Walkie Talkie High Pitch and Shimano Orca.
This One Goes to 11!
We had a lot of suggestions, but it came down to the Clark Spoon. One of these suggestions came from Robert of New Orleans, he writes:
Clark spoons have been good on many species including Spanish Mackerel, Reds, Trout, Dolphin, Bonita, Black Fin Tuna and Cobia. I have worked them inshore in the marsh, at the barrier islands in the gulf and offshore. Lures are productive whether jigging, casting or trolling.
Thanks Robert for filling in the list to 11! Thanks to all who emailed their recommendations, too.