The lures we’re going to cover today are so effective they should be BANNED!
But we’ll keep that secret between you and me. We’ve asked hundreds of fishermen what lures they recommended that most people don’t know about. Below is a list of their top picks.
Make sure you add them to your arsenal!
Listen to this post on the Cast & Spear Podcast
If you also target freshwater fish, but sure to check out our 15 must-have freshwater lures.
Best Saltwater Fishing Lures Reviews for 2023
- Diamond Jigs – Ahi Assault
- Ecooda 7in Floating Topwater Pencil Lure
- Big Hammer Swimbaits
- Lucky Craft Flash Minnow
- Tady Surface Irons
- Shimano Colt Sniper
- Last Cast Tackle Bucktails
1. Diamond Jigs – Ahi Assault
Diamond jigs have been around for hundreds of years. It’s been said that they were first made out of whalebone and thus have been perfected as a deadly tool for catching fish.
The Coach passed along his favorite diamond jig that he’s been using to catch everything from rockfish to tuna, and that’s the Ahi Assault jig. It has full circle rings, strong hooks, and a metallic body.
If you want to make these a bit more deadly, try hanging a strip of squid off the hook and throwing it out. Depending on your current, you’ll need to attach the right jig for the job. My favorite is the 8oz in either metallic or mackerel.
2. Ecooda 7in Floating Topwater Pencil Lure
This saltwater lure is designed by ECOODA to hang big fish in blue water.
It uses both high-strength ABS material and conjoined welding wire to make the lure handle 200lb of tensile strength.
No need to exert much control when trolling as it’s easy to control and very flexible when swinging left and right. This swimming action is very stable and natural.
Perfect to target a variety of pelagic species from tuna, mackerel, mahi-mahi, wahoo, barramundi, king, marlin, and narrow-barred mackerel.
- Floating Weight: 2.9oz/82g
- Length: 7 in/18cm
- Very realistic actions and look.
- High quality and holds up well.
- Affordable pricing.
- Easy to see in clear to moderately clear water.
This lure is hard to beat and should be part of your tackle box if you plan to go after pelagics this season.
3. Big Hammer Swimbaits
It’s hard to go wrong with a swimbait, especially if you’re targeting calico bass, stripers, redfish, jobfish, or big sea trout. Big Hammer has been one of the best brands at producing swimbaits that get hammered out of the package.
Many fishermen use smaller swimbaits, but if you want that trophy fish, it’s best to start with the big swimbaits and then work your way smaller if the bite isn’t there.
You’re going to need to attach a jighead on these swimbaits so you can cast them and get them down deep in the kelp, beach troughs, and holes or near structure.
4. Lucky Craft Flash Minnow
If you’re looking for a jerk bait to use either surf fishing or on the boat, then hands down you need to pick up a few Lucky Crafts.
Fishermen here in Southern California swear by them and know they are deadly for halibut, perch, and even yellowtail off the West coast boats., or even the beach. Similarly, they work great for redfish, trout, flounder, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel.
With any lure, it’s important to know how to use them. Most fish will bite when you stop your reeling for a split second to let the tail of the jerk bait fall.
If the Lucky Craft is too expensive for you, check out the Daiwa SP Minnow as well. This lure is a favorite of the Coach for its castability and great ‘slow roll’ action.
5. Tady Surface Irons
Tady surface irons are a staple here in Southern California for catching large pelagic fish. If you’re going after tuna, yellowtail, bonito, and more, then you’re going to want a few different surface irons in your bag.
The popular colors seem to be blue and white, scrambled eggs, and mint. Outside of color, what makes them work is their erratic motions when reeling them in. You want them to jerk out violently during the retrieve. This means you’re going to need to test out a few to find the one that works.
Interestingly, this bait works great for surface action on King mackerel, jobfish, and even muskellunge in pressured areas, as they have never seen this bait in the water.
Make sure you’re comfortable casting before you take these on the boat. Nothing is worse than seeing a boil on the surface, but you can’t reach it or your birds’ nest.
6. Shimano Colt Sniper
There’s just something about the Shimano Colt Sniper that leaves the fish dying to bite it. My guess is that it’s how it presents while falling down. The teardrop shape flutters down and piques the fish’s attention, and they’ll nail it on the drop.
It works both vertical jigging and casting, making it a super versatile jig. It also has a realistic color, pattern, and huge eye on it, which is sure to help a bit to make the fish want to strike.
It’s worth having a few of these in your tackle box, that’s for sure.
7. Last Cast Tackle Bucktails
Rounding out our list is what some might consider one of the best bucktail jigs. These have been used for ages to catch fish, everything from rockfish to halibut. You can put one at the end of your line or rig them in series using a dropper loop rig to increase your chances.
You can also tip the hooks with squid, Gulp! Curl tail lures or other bait to make them even more attractive to fish.
When Should You Use Saltwater Lures?
When it comes to saltwater fishing, you must have the best and the toughest equipment. Your saltwater fishing gear needs to stand up to the toughest conditions and sharpest teeth.
This is especially true with saltwater fishing lures. These lures have to stay strong through aggressive strikes and hold up to saltwater itself.
You should use the best saltwater lures you can find when you’re fishing for large species found in the ocean and ocean outcrops. Saltwater lures can handle large fish species and saltwater conditions.
How Are Saltwater Lures Made?
Making lures uses lightweight wood or foam with thin sheet metal. If you add plastic on the front, it makes the lure dive under the water’s surface and swims with a “wobbling” movement on retrieval.
Some are handmade, while large production runs use machines. Some of the best surf fishing lures and topwater poppers are handmade.
What are the Best Saltwater Lures for Each Set of
Topwater Saltwater Lures
Topwater lures work best in warmer conditions, while fish species are feeding close to the top, often at dawn and dusk.
Deep Sea Saltwater Lures
These lures are for the larger fish and/or cooler water fish that tend to feed lower in deeper water.
Trolling Saltwater Lures
The best trolling lures get dragged “trolled” behind a boat, as these lures work well for faster-moving fish.
Surf Fishing Saltwater Lures
Surf Fishing lures and surf fishing rigs are designed for use when fishing from the bank. These lures work well for fish that feed closer to the shore.
Pier Fishing Saltwater Lures
Several different types of saltwater fishing lures can be used when pier fishing. Type and style depend on the fish species you are fishing for.
Gotcha plugs are common on the east coast and gulf piers for Spanish mackerel, while small diamond jigs like the assault jig and sabiki get used on the west coast for chub mackerel and jack macks. A smaller double-rigged bucktail can be a deadly tactic almost anywhere!
Frequently Asked Questions
The best lure depends on what you’re targeting. If you’re going saltwater, we like a diamond jig saltwater fishing lure, and if you’re going freshwater, some kind of soft bait or jerk bait usually works.
This depends on the species of fish you are targeting. While many saltwater fishing baits work great, live bait, shrimp, or squid is always a good choice.
– Assorted Poppin Corks
– Berkley Gulp Alive Shrimp
– Bomber Long-A-Lure
– Bomber Lures Badonk-A-Donk
– DOA Shrimp
– H&H Secret Redfish Spoon
– TTF Hackberry Hustler
– Heddon Super Spook
– MirroLure Suspended Twitch Bait
– Nemire Red Ripper Spoon
– Rapala X-Rap
– Strike King Redfish Magic Spinner
– TTF Red Killer
– Yozuri 3D Popper
– Yozuri 3D Shrimp
Soft plastic lures, jigs, and hard baits all work great to catch fish like Reds.
– Diamond Jigs
– Berkley Gulp Shrimp
– White Bucktails
– Shimano Cult Snipers
– Big Hammer Swimbaits
– Surface Irons
– Lucky Craft Flash Minnows
Topwater lures ( plugs ) work for warm water active fish that feed close to the surface, whereas dive baits work for the larger bottom-dwelling saltwater fish.
Different style lures have different actions on the angler’s part to make them look as realistic as possible. For example, a trolling lure would be fished being pulled by a boat, whereas a topwater lure would be “finessed” by jerking movements.
A lure is intended to resemble prey or an injured fish. It is important that you “work” your lure in such a way that it imitates the prey or fish it is designed to resemble.
The most desired action is not to have the spoon spin around on the retrieve but to have it wobble back and forth without spinning. This slower wobble allows the flash to be spread out effectively. A crippled baitfish wobbles in this same manner. They do not spin in circles.
Cast your jig out away from the boat and let it sink to your desired depth. Many times a fish will hit the jig on the drop, but if it hasn’t been hit, then start to reel it in at varying speeds. Depending on the type of jig, it’ll perform a motion that will elicit a bite. For example, a surface iron will be erratic every few moments, and that’s usually when a bite happens.
Also known as “surf fishing”, you can use live bait or lures depending on the saltwater fish you are fishing for. For example, if you’re in Baja, you can use a saltwater popper, or another one of your roosterfish lures to land a trophy rooster from shore.
Spoons come in so many shapes and sizes because there are so many ways to fish this lure and so many different kinds of fish that will eat them.
Vertical Jigging is the number one spoon technique most anglers think of when they find this lure in their tackle boxes. Spoons excel here.
No other lure can give you the flash and flutter of a well-made spoon on the drop, and there isn’t a fish alive that resists a wounded-baitfish wobble.
Gotcha lures are simple to use. Cast and reel in using short, sharp jerks of the rod to produce a deadly swimming action.