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10 Best Saltwater Fishing Lures

Catch fish anywhere with these versatile saltwater fishing lures.

Updated:

June 13, 2022
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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 jigs to the best topwater lures for saltwater fishing, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more in-depth list of top fishing lures.

No doubt about it, one of these lures will work for your favorite type of saltwater fishing.

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Top Saltwater Lures

  • Bucktail Jigs
  • Crankbaits
  • Vertical Jigs
  • Hammered Spoons
  • Lipped Plugs
  • Topwater Poppers
  • Twitchbaits
  • Soft Plastics
  • Spoons
  • Topwater Jerkbaits
  • Clarkspoons
  • Artificial Shrimp
10 best lures versatile tackle bucktail jig
Add a trailer to a bucktail jig such as a soft plastic or natural bait, or leave the hook completed naked.

Bucktail Jigs

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. Bucktail options include Upperman, Spro, VMC, Berkley, Mustad, and S&S.

10 best lures versatile tackle crank baits
Lipless crank baits imitate a fleeing baitfish.

Crank Baits

A popular artificial that came from the bass fishing world, lipless crank baits quickly found a home in saltwater fishing. Small beads on the inside of these hard baits rattle to attract, and their action screams “easy meal.” They are simple to work and are especially deadly in off-color water. Crankbait options include Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap, 13 Fishing, Berkley, Rapala, LiveTarget, and Savage Gear.

10 best lures versatile tackle vertical jigs
Different types of metal vertical jigs can be retrieved fast or slow.

Vertical Jigs

Predators all over the world, in all depths, find flutter jigs, vertical jigs, speed jigs, slow jigs and other types of metal jigs irresistible. Designed to be fished with a vertical erratic action, they are effective both on the fall and the retrieve. The distinctive action, and versatility, makes this an essential in any tackle box. Metal jig options include Shimano, Williamson, Mustad, and Hogy.

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10 best lures versatile tackle hammered spoon
A hammered spoon is a popular lure for striped bass.

Hammered Spoon

As effective as traditional casting spoons may be, the Hammered Spoon lures 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 and Acme.

10 best lures versatile tackle lipped plugs
Depending on the length of lip, lipped plugs can dive deep underwater and swim erratically.

Lipped Plugs

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 when diving underwater. By altering the retrieve, lipped plugs can be twitched to look like a wounded baitfish, or like forage trying to get away. Options include Rapala X-Rap, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow, Bomber A-Salt, Berkley Flicker Shad and Mann’s Stretch 15.

10 best lures versatile tackle topwater popper
Jerking the rod tip causes a topwater popper to spray water from its cupped face.

Topwater Poppers

When you need to raise a ruckus to draw fish up, a surface popper is often the best bet. Most predators prefer prey that’s easily captured. When retrieved erratically, the sound of a topwater popper draws attention and looks like an easy meal, something game fish can’t ignore. Options include Rebel Magnum, Rapala X-Rap Magnum Xplode, Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bull and Bomber Chug-A-Lug.

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10 best lures versatile tackle twitch baits
Sinking or suspending twitch baits provide gamefish with an easy target when the angler allows the lure to pause.

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. Twitchbait options include Paul Brown, Yo-Zuri, Savage Gear, LiveTarget, and MirrOlure 52 M.

10 best lures versatile tackle soft plastics
The soft plastic might be the most popular inshore fishing lure. There are plenty of styles and brands to pick from.

Soft Plastics

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. Options include Z-Man Diezel Minnowz, D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad Tail, Bass Assassin’s Saltwater Shad Assassin, Sassy Shad, Slug-Go, Berkley Gulp! and Hogy Soft Baits.

10 best lures versatile tackle, spoon bait, spoon lure
A flashing spoon draws quick strikes from aggressive predators.

Spoons

Predatory fish often have to react quickly to catch their food. Flash, one element that can entice a reaction strike, 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. Spoon options include Krocodile, Dardevle, Johnson, and Bomber.

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10 best lures versatile tackle topwater jerk bait
The proper cadence executed with a topwater jerkbait produces a classic walk-the-dog presentation.

Top Water Jerk Baits

There’s nothing better than working a 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. Options include Heddon Zara Spook, Yo-Zuri Sashimi Pencil, Bomber Walkie Talkie High Pitch and Shimano Orca.

Bonus Saltwater Lure Picks

10 best lures versatile tackle, clark spoon bait, clarkspoon bait
The Clarkspoon is popular for anglers targeting fast-moving species such as Spanish mackerel.

Clarkspoons

Reader Pick: Clarkspoons catch many species including Spanish mackerel, redfish, dolphin, bonito, blackfin tuna and even Cobia. Work them inshore in the marsh, at the barrier islands in the Gulf and offshore too. Clark Spoons are productive whether jigging, casting or trolling.

10 best lures fishing tackle artificial shrimp lure
Artificial shrimp lures are fish-catchers if you work the baits slowly near the bottom.

Artificial Shrimp Lures

Just about everything eats a live shrimp, so it’s no surprise that shrimp imitators are popular for inshore anglers. Artificial shrimp lures come in a variety of designs and shapes. Popular ways to rig your fake shrimp are threaded to a jighead (hook exposed) or on a weighted worm hook (rigged weedless). Some shrimp lures come pre-rigged straight out of the package. One popular area to cast shrimp lures are on shallow-water grass flats. Options for shrimp lures include Z-Man Fishing, D.O.A. Lures, Savage Gear, Berkley Gulp!, Tsunami, Egret Baits, and LiveTarget.

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