Types of Lures for Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing

What exactly are the different types of fishing lures? If you are a new fisher, you will have to get to know these little plastic fishing accessories very quickly, as they are essential to landing your fat bass or turbot.

Artificial lures are smaller plastic fish that trick the real fish into thinking that they are prey. Pretty neat, huh? This is a way to replace edible bait, which can often go off, start to lose its smell and flavor, and can be quite expensive to purchase, especially if you’re not buying in bulk.

However, there are many types of fishing lures that are available for many different styles of fish. If you are a fisher that travels far and wide to various lakes, rivers, and even oceans, you’ll know that different fish will respond to different types of bait.

Fortunately, or perhaps, unfortunately, if you’re a particularly indecisive person, there are thousands of different options when it comes to fishing lures. Many companies have narrowed down the art of artificial baiting so that you can hook a catch within seconds.

So what exactly is the best way to get started with so many different varieties of fishing lures? How many different varieties are there, and how can they accentuate your fishing experience? How much will a decent fishing lure set you back in terms of price?

If you want to elevate your fishing game to higher standards of excellence, then we certainly would recommend that you continue reading this article. Having a good idea about what each fishing fly does before you get into the shop will certainly help you find the best type for your particular fishing needs.

Having the best fishing lure will not only help you draw the fish closer to your line, but it will also actually change your whole style of fishing. This will give you everything you need to snag those larger fish and make you the envy of your local fishing club.

The Different Breeds Of Lure

There are many different types of lures for catching many different types of fish. The design and the material are crucial in having the correct fishing fly that works with your setup and equipment.

The Jigs

First, we’ll look at one of the most popular fishing lures that most fishers use for targeting fish such as bass, panfish, and even more aggressive predatory fish like pikes. This is ideal for anglers and sports fishers who need reliable bait for hooking their latest fish.

There are plenty of colorful designs and weights on this bait, giving you everything you need when hooking your next meaty fish.

This bait is composed of 3 different parts: the hook, the lead sinker, and the body, which is split up into a head portion and a tail portion. The design is what accounts for its interesting movement in that it jerks and bobs in the water in an upward and downward motion in a manner that represents a real fish.

These types of bait make for a very secure launch and strike onto the surface of the water. This will cause enough water disturbance to make sure that the fish are adequately attracted to it. This is great for fast reeling, too, especially where fish strike a lot quicker and you need that faster pull back.

This is also a very versatile style of lure. You can use it in both your freshwater and saltwater environments, giving you the ability to catch a wider variety of fish.

This type of bait mimics smaller prey such as minnows that often can be found swimming in cooler water climates. These are also called jerk lures in that they replicate the jerking motion that is common to these fish behaviors. You can control this bait using a series of pauses and jerks while the line is slack.

You can set up the hook a lot faster and efficiently with this bait. You can cast it out into the water within a minute of attaching it to the tip of your line.

The construction of this style of lure is quite ingenious, made from rubber or silicone; they are very resistant to water. They can also take the shape of other types of prey favored by larger fish, including lizards, frogs, grubs, paddle tails, and other types of fish. 

We would recommend that you use a color that is appropriate for the season. So if you are fishing in the summer, then choose blues and browns, whereas, in the winter, you should try opting for lighter colors like pink and white.

The heads of this bait will take numerous styles, although the main ones that are favorites of bass fishers are football, grass, and flipping head types.

If you are just starting with your bass fishing, you might want to use a jig for the ease you can attach it. You can also buy weed guards that will help you to prevent any casting snags and weed clogging up your line. You can also get a weight distribution that will make casting your line a lot easier.

You can buy internal rattles for your jerk bait, as this will increase the number of vibrations in the water. This will draw your fishes a lot closer to the bait and ultimately increase the number of catches that you’ll get during a day. So you better be prepared to haul in those catches!

You can also get various models of this bait, one being a suspending model, which will allow your bait to be cast deep into the surface of the water. However, the floating models do just that – keeping on the surface so that you can count on a very quick response when you drag it from the water.

Having these jigs be useful for all types of fishing will come in handy if you are the type of fisherman who likes to mix it up with fishing styles.

Next Read: Best Buzzbait for Bass.

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The Spinnerbaits

Next up, we have a type of bait that is very old, used for centuries by fishers to hook various types of catch using a metal blade on the outside that spins through the water, causing vibrations that attract fish.

These lures are also recommended for beginners as they have an amazing price range that will allow you to pick up a few for just a couple of dollars. They don’t require any special technique to use, which is not true of some of the other lures on this list.

This type of bait is common to a family of lures that we’ll discuss later. It is the most common of all of them, with other varieties such as in-line, safety pin, and spinnerbaits being other types that you can use. These breeds of lures have different attributes that you can use for your specific needs.

This spinner comes with a lead head molded onto a hook with a wire arm that can hold up to around four blades. When you cast this one out, the blades will automatically spin to generate a rotation that will start churning the water as soon as it hits the surface.

This will attract larger, more predatory fish in a manner that is more different from other types of lures. We would certainly recommend this product to reel in pikes, bass (learn the best way to hold a bass here) fish, and perch fish. This lure activates the ‘lateral line system’ in these larger fish, allowing them to feel and touch objects far from them.

If you are a newbie to the world of fishing, we suggest that you pick up bait with narrow blades, which is great for fishing in areas of heavy grass. However, if you are fishing in areas with stumps or large rocks, you should opt for larger blades.

When buying any lure, weight should be a consideration. A lot of these lures weigh somewhere between ⅛ of an ounce and 2 ounces. Light spinners have been designed to be used in more shallow areas like ponds and rivers. Heavier ones are better for use in deeper waters such as lakes or oceans.

It’s best to stick with simple colors for this kind of lure, as fish can often become disturbed by the combinations of bright colors. If you are fishing during the day, you can expect your fish to see more of the lure, so having something more subdued will be better.

If you plan on doing some night fishing, then having a spinner that combines white and black colors will be great for increasing visibility. The contrast will encourage the fish to take an interest in the lure and prompt it to take hold.

You can also control the depth of a spinner a lot better than you can with a lot of other lures, which are all part of the weight. If you reel this lure very fast, it will stick very close to the surface; however, reel it in slowly and quickly sink. The size of the blade will also determine where it’ll rest in the water.

If you have a larger spinner, it will help elevate it once it is in the air. However, having a much narrower size will give it a lot less lift once it is in the air.

Next Read: Best Tube Baits for Bass

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In-Line Spinners

In-line lures have been popular for the last century, becoming more popular as time has gone on. These have a noticeable lack of features, but they have proven themselves time and time again. However, they are still used in fishing and give you that old-fashioned authentic feel on the end of your rod.

These are part of the spinner line of baits, having a metal blade that rotates around a central axis, attached by a wire that comes around in a C-shape (also called a ‘clevis’). These have weights installed behind the blades that cause them to spin as they are propelled through the air.

This will also minimize the amount of twisting on the line, which will mean that you won’t get snagged or have to untangle your line. It will also decrease unnatural movement in the water, making predatory fish nervous and causing them to swim away from you.

This bait is often used for a multitude of different species, for both small and largemouth bass, as well as pike and muskies.

You can also get bucktail spinners, which are oversized in-line models favored by these larger predatory fish. Those that are trolling anglers (see the best trolling rods for salmon here) can often be seen with in-line spinners in their tackle box too.

The blade itself is made from willow leaf, which is perfect for deep-surface fishing in deep water. The blade is an important part of the in-line fishing bait; the smallest size is 0 for trout and 10 for gamefish. You can get blades that come in tomahawk, chopper, and ripper types of blades.

Most blades are made from metal to have a decent cast and spin, with a good depth and strike in the water. You can easily buff and plate your blades for extra durability and presentation. 

Flashing is a unique attribute of this style of bait, with a polished surface in the blade that reflects enough light to give you everything you need for attracting other fish. These are usually made from hammered nickel-style blades. Coupled with their unique water vibrations, these go that extra mile to lure in your fish.

Fluorescent colors are very important to have in the daylight, as they’ll reflect the light towards your fish and encourage them to take a bite on your hook. The colored blades will also operate very well in low lighting.

You can also decorate the hook of your in-line spinner, attaching to it whatever trinket or feather of your preference. You can also use hairs for dressing, and some of the die-hard fishermen swear by an incandescent flash or rainbow flash.

When dressing your hook with a trailer, which are plastic dressings that make up the lure’s tail, it is to have something that matches the swivel of the blade. These dressings are also meant to hide the metallic flash of the hook, which some users suggest scares the fish.

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The Safety Pin Spinners

The safety-pin lure is crucial for attracting pike, redfish, and bass anglers. This is manufactured to mimic the shape of a dying minnow, which will draw in larger predators. This lure is also known as the ‘overhead arm’ and has a very different shape from the other in-line lures in its family.

This is constructed from a 90-degree angle, with an arrowhead shape made from lead to aid surface plunging. It is twisted around the hook that is situated just behind it. 

A reason why some of these novices use them is because of how easy they are to use. They are dependent on the reel like many other spinners, and if you reel them fast, you can create a bulge on the surface by creating a trail.

If you reel this one in very slowly, on the other hand, you can create another effect, using your lure like a jig, bumping it across the bottom of a riverbed as you retrieve it.

The blades on the safety pin style work similarly to an in-line spinner, although they are placed differently on the head. They use a swivel to hang over the overhead arm. These blades are also very open to modification, allowing you to add another blade in line with the lure by using a clevis.

Modifying your spinner, you can create a ‘tandem lure’ spinnerbait that some of the pros who use them call a double blade or a multi-blade if there are more than two.

You also have a lot more options when it comes to trailers. You can have a split-eel trailer, which is when a trailer is divided in two, which increases the coverage of the hook and further lures in the larger fish. Experienced fishers prefer to use these over the traditional soft plastic trailers.

Another plus point of the safety-pin lure is that you can extend the time to set the lure. This is because the lure hooks onto the fish’s gill after being sucked into its mouth, making the fish quicker to react and allowing the hook to set more effectively, meaning that you certainly won’t miss a catch.

If you have a shorter arm on your safety pin lure, it will move vertically through the water. This means that the blades will sit closer to the hook, making the lure much easier to handle. This makes it a great type of lure for a novice fisher.

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The Beetle Spinners

The next most popular type of spinner after the jig is the beetle spinner. This has a unique design, with a wireframe formed in the shape of a spring clip. This type of fishing lure was developed in the 60s and is typically used to catch panfish.

A beetle spinner also contains a jig hook, which faces the same direction as the inside blade. They are often combined with a plastic curl tail grub and a straight-style tail trailer.

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The Tail Spinners

Another very popular style of a spinner is the tail spinner, which has a blade in its tail and is traditionally used for fishing vertically in deep waters. This is because they have an increased central weight that allows them to sink quicker.

You can always tell a regular spinner from a tail spinner in that they have a treble hook on the bottom with a lead body on the top with a line tie point. This might be trickier for a beginner fisher, simply because they are a lot harder to reel in owing to the more complicated head. You also run an increased risk of snagging with this lure.

With both tail spinners and beetle spinners, you can use their unique properties to target various types of fish. Deciding between which spinner to use is often a matter of preference for professional fishers, as the performance of each is roughly the same.

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Next up, we have a lure with a unique shape, usually manufactured from metal or shell; they get their name from their unique oblong shape. These spinners are specially designed to reflect the light and move very unpredictably in the water, with a concave design.

These are often touted as being some of the best lures in the game. Beginners and seasoned pros both love them because they are so easy to use. They are also incredibly cheap; you can get a handful of these lures for just a few dollars.

You normally wouldn’t fix this lure with a dressing like you would with spinners or a jig. They usually come treble or single-fixed at the end of your line. This is perfect if you want to get up and start fishing, you won’t have to waste additional time attaching trailers and tips.

Another reason to buy one of these spinners is for the casting ability. You can throw this one far and wide; not only can you gain a lot of distance, but you can also have a significant amount of accuracy with this one. This hook will stay far longer in the water without you having to cast your line out again and again.

There are additional benefits to spoons, one of the main ones being that they are made from rubber parts, which increases their overall longevity and resistance to water. A spoon will also be a lot easier on the fish than something like a crankbait, which has more hooks and will leave more holes in your fish.

However, some anglers might not be tempted to use the spoon, as it is not a very interesting or experimental lure. It is very plain in design and does not offer that much versatility. Some fishers want a fun lure that they can get stuck into, and the spoon doesn’t present too much of a challenge.

Spoons also don’t have that much striking power in the water. Multiple blade spinner rigs often create a lot more noise and vibration in the water, being a more aggressive method of encouraging fish.


This is a hard-bodied type of lure and is the most popular of that kind. Crankbaits are also known as plugs, minnows, deep-divers, wobblers, and shallow divers. They resemble short-bodied prey like frogs and fish, except the minnow style, which has a much longer body.

This lure is typically constructed from wood or plastic, making it slightly less resilient than the spoon lure. However, a crankbait is a bit more sophisticated than these other lures, as they include a flexible hinge in the center that mimics the movement of the fish’s body.

Another great feature of this lure is the plastic lip or metal sheet at the front of its body that you can adjust easily, allowing the angler to set its movement and diving depth.

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These kinds of bait are generally very similar to lures such as plugs and crankbaits in that they have physical similarities that you can use to mimic the types of bait that will draw in the large predatory fish.

However, the one standout characteristic of this type of fishing lure is how they retrieve the fish. Certain types of swimbait increase their motion as the line is brought in, fluttering the tails and more accurately imitating the movement of living prey—some types of swimbait flag and wave at the surface of the water.

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