Does your tackle box contain a random assortment of old rusty lures piled together in a tangled mess? Having the right lures tailored to your target species, conditions, and fishing gear can transform your success and enjoyment on the water.
This in-depth lure guide will overview popular styles, explore factors that influence lure selection, and provide tips to upgrade your arsenal. With lures dialed in for your local fisheries, you’ll save time, attract more strikes, and reel in more fish. Let’s dive in!
Types of Fishing Lures
Fishing lures come in endless styles, colors, and configurations to mimic prey and trigger strikes from a variety of gamefish species. The main categories are:
Crankbaits – Versatile Search Baits
Crankbaits feature plastic or balsa bodies with diving lips to vary running depth as retrieved:
- Shaped and colored to imitate baitfish, crayfish, etc.
- Different models dive shallow, medium or deep depending on size, bill shape.
- Effective on bass, walleye, pike, trout, and more.
Pros: Cover water to locate fish, provoke reaction strikes, versatile
Cons: Treble hooks prone to snags in dense cover
Brands like Rapala, Strike King, and Yo-Zuri offer quality cranks.
Spinnerbaits – Flashy and Vibrating Temptations
Spinnerbaits combine a metal blade with a lead body, swinging hook and skirt:
- Spinning blade flashes and vibrates to mimic small fish
- Single or tandem blade configurations for flash and water resistance
- Sizes, colors, and blade shapes for any scenario
Pros: Easy to use, bumps over cover, blade flash attracts strikes
Cons: Requires consistent retrieves to maintain action
Top brands include War Eagle, BOOYAH, Strike King, and Terminator.
Soft Plastics – Endless Versatility
Soft baits like worms, craws, and curly tails tempt everything with fins:
- Made from flexible vinyl or TPE plastic in endless shapes/colors/sizes
- Texas rigged, jig heads, or rigged weedless to match conditions
- Affordable prices allow experimenting to find hot options
Pros: Incredibly versatile, cost effective lures for all species
Cons: Tear easily if snagged around heavy cover
Major brands like Zoom, NetBait, Berkley, and Yum offer every style imaginable.
Spoons – Simple and Effective
The curved metal spoon imitates injured baitfish with wobbling action:
- Size and shape influence sink rate, oscillation, flash
- Casting or vertically jigging over structure, cover and schools
- Catches many species from bass to salmon
Pros: Easy to use, mimics wounded prey, versatile for most gamefish
Cons: Prone to line twist on casts if not tuned properly
Brands like Acme, Luhr Jensen, and Eagle Claw lead the way.
Jigs – Ideal for Bottom Fishing
Jigs combine weighted lead heads molded to hooks in endless configurations:
- Adorned with hair, feathers, plastics, live bait for attraction
- Favored for vertical presentation over cover, structure
- Allows feel as bait moves along bottom
Pros: Bumps cover and structure to trigger strikes, great for bass
Cons: Snags easily in dense woody cover or rocks
Top options from Strike King, Booyah, Berkley Gulp!, and Z-Man.
Now let’s explore how to select the best lures tailored for your needs and fishing scenarios.
Choosing Fishing Lures for Your Situation
With the overwhelming variety of lure choices, focus your selection using these key factors:
Fish Species You’re Targeting
Match lure profiles, colors, action, and running depth to species sought:
- Understand the type of prey and behaviors different fish key in on
- Consider the zones in the water column fish feed – surface, mid-water, bottom
- Select colors that stand out in the type of water clarity expected
- Factor in how active vs lethargic fish will behave in different seasons and conditions
Choose lures that match forage fish and finesse presentations needed for your targets.
Fishing Conditions and Environment
Let water clarity, temperature, depth, and cover dictate ideal lures:
- Clear water – consider translucent and natural colored options
- Stained or muddy water – go bold with solid colors that show up
- Cold water – slow moving baits that lure lethargic fish
- Heavy cover – snag resistant weedless rigs and soft plastics
- Shallow or deep water – floating, suspending, sinking, or diving action
Time of Year and Season
As feeding patterns change with seasons, adapt your lure selections:
- Pre-spawn windows often see reaction bites to fast moving lures
- Summer’s warm temperatures bring topwater poppers over grass
- Post-spawn stages find fish targeting craw patterns on bottoms
- Cold water sees fish move deeper – slow bottom bouncing jigs or spoons
Keep an arsenal ready for all seasons.
Ensure lures pair well with your setup:
- Spinning vs baitcasting outfits influence ideal lure choices
- Rod power suited for the lure size and weight
- Line visibility issues with braided line for weary fish
- Reel capable of holding enough line for crankbaits
- Leader strength for fighting fish attracted to big lures
Match lures to perform best with your actual tackle.
Frequently Asked Lure Questions
For additional insights, here are answers to common lure questions:
How many different fishing lures should I carry?
Around 10 covering versatile styles gives flexibility without overcomplicating choices. Focus selection on proven producers, then have a few of your favorites in multiple colors.
What are the best all-around freshwater lures to start with?
It’s hard to go wrong with a selection including worms, jigs, spoons and in-line spinners. These allow effectively targeting most panfish, trout, bass, walleye, pike and more.
How should I store and organize my tackle box full of lures?
Invest in plastic tackle boxes or trays with compartments to keep lures sorted by style or running depth. Avoid just loosely tossing lures together in bags or boxes. This causes unneeded tangling.
Where can I research and find hot new fishing lures to try?
Fishing tackle blogs, magazines, YouTube channels, and talking with fellow anglers are great ways to discover new patterns. Attending fishing shows allow you to see the latest offerings and innovations across the industry.
How do I fix fishing lures that don’t run straight or have action issues?
Check that all hooks are aligned properly and hang straight. Make sure split rings are tightly closed without gaps where hooks can twist. Fine tune lures by bending or tuning wire components.
The right fishing lures make time on the water more efficient, enjoyable and successful. With an arsenal tailored to your local waters and target species, you waste less time and catch more fish.
Hopefully this lure guide provided helpful knowledge for choosing productive options tailored to your specific fishing needs. With such a wide diversity of offerings, it pays to understand the strengths of each lure style and how to select your lineup. Continuously experiment and integrate new lures into your repertoire that are proven producers on your home waters.
The right tackle is one of the most important components for fishing success. Invest in a selection of versatile lures aligned with the species you target at various times throughout the seasons. You’ll eliminate unproductive options, while having confidence that your offerings will get strikes when fish are active. Stop wasting time and start luring more fish consistently!
What are your “go-to” fishing lures? Share your favorite producer and fishing techniques in the comments to keep the discussion going.