A Guide to Fishing Lures: From Types to Techniques, All Essentials Covered

A Guide to Fishing Lures: From Types to Techniques, All Essentials Covered

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You've surely found one of the alluring secrets to a successful fishing trip, and it's no surprise - fishing lures. Their magic lies in their incredible ability to mimic a fish's natural meal, making them an irresistible temptation underwater. Crafted from a variety of materials like plastic, rubber, metal, or wood, the variety of fishing lures available is as diverse as the fish you're hoping to catch.

Let's delve deeper into the types of fishing lures that top the popularity charts amongst us anglers. Crankbaits with their lively motion, spinnerbaits with their enticing flash, the reliable spoon lures, versatile soft plastics, and the intricate fly lures. Each one brings its own unique charm to the art of angling.

Remember, this only scratches the surface. The wide array of fishing lures out there is as vast as the open sea. This overview serves to highlight some well-loved types, but there's always a new lure on the horizon to enhance your fishing game.


Pros and Cons of Fishing Lures

Unraveling the world of fishing lures, it's essential to consider their advantages and potential drawbacks, playing an instrumental role in becoming a more informed and successful angler.

Talking about the pros first:

  • Versatility is a standout feature of fishing lures. With an array of types available, you're bound to find one that suits every situation, species, and water condition. You can switch from soft plastics to spoon lures, from fly lures to crankbaits, adapting to the behavior and preferences of the fish you're after.

  • Another advantage is the lure's ability to cover more water quickly. Fishing lures can be cast farther than baits, making them ideal for probing large areas and increasing your chances of attracting a bite.

  • The realistic design and motion of fishing lures often make them hard to resist for fish. They are designed to mimic the movement, vibration, and color of a fish's natural prey, triggering a predatory response.

Despite their benefits, fishing lures also have their cons:

  • One notable drawback is that lures require more skill to use effectively compared to natural bait. Timing, precision in casting, and knowing how to work the lure are all part of the learning curve.

  • Another potential downside is cost. High-quality lures can be expensive, and losing one to a snag or a particularly feisty fish can be disheartening. Not to mention, the need for different types of fishing lures for various conditions can add up over time.

  • Finally, fishing lures, especially those with treble hooks, may pose a higher risk of injury to the fish, particularly if you're practicing catch and release. Always handle fish with care and consider using lures with single, barbless hooks to minimize harm.

Understanding these factors will empower you to use fishing lures more efficiently, finding the perfect balance in your angling adventures.




Common Fishing Lures


Crankbaits are hard-bodied lures made of wood or plastic, measuring around two to three inches. Great for catching bass or pike, crankbaits are designed to imitate the movement of the creatures that these predatory fish eat. They can be manipulated by more anglers to further tweak their twitch or wobble. They also have a couple of treble hooks attached. Some have patterns or colors that make these fishing lures blend with the environment, while others have colors that make them stand out.



Spinnerbaits are also hard-bodied lures, but they have a blade that spins, vibrates, and flashes when the lure is retrieved, imitating the movement of baitfish or other small creatures. They are great for catching bass, walleye, perch, and trout. 



Spoon lures

Spoon lures get their name from their shape, which is long and narrow like the head of a spoon. They are made of metal or sometimes shell, and they shine and move in ways that make fish want to eat them. Spoon lures work well for cast-and-retrieve fishing and trolling. Some of the fish that are attracted to this lure are trout, musky, salmon, and bass.



Soft plastics

Soft plastic lures are made from a soft, flexible plastic or silicone that is molded into different shapes and sizes. They come in a wide range of colors and can be printed with different patterns, either to blend into the environment or to stand out. Their movements resemble those of worms, lizards, or frogs, especially injured ones, which many fish can’t resist. Compared with hard lures, they’re meant to be moved more slowly and subtly. Sometimes, anglers like to add scents to soft plastic lures to make them smell more like prey.



Fly lures

Fly lures, also known as artificial flies, are made to look like insects. They attract both saltwater and freshwater fish. Depending on how they're designed, they can be used on the surface or subsurface. Speaking of design, there is a mind-blowing amount of design that goes into fly tying as there are so many ways to mix and match materials to make them look like insects or crustaceans. Feathers, fur, plastic, and rubber are just some of the materials used for fly lures. Many also have quirky and interesting names, including Crazy Charlie, Club Sandwich, Royal Wulff, Dave’s Hopper, and Bow River Bugger, to name a few.



Lures versus natural bait

Using fishing lures instead of natural bait like minnows, worms, or leeches has a number of benefits. Lures are less messy to carry, easy to swap out, and enable you to cast further than you could if you were using natural bait. They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, which means that you should be able to find one that will attract the specific type of fish you’re after. They can also be purchased from any local tackle shop or online.

Artificial lures are reusable, unlike natural bait, which can get torn up by fish easily. They can also be used in both freshwater and saltwater, making them very versatile. You can even bring a variety of lures to cover all parts of the water column, from the top to the bottom. They’re also used by many anglers who practice catch and release fishing, as some lures tend to injure fish less.



But even though lures have these benefits, they may not be the best choice in some situations. For example, you should use live bait when there is a lot of structure underwater that they could get snagged on.

In contrast to live bait, which moves on its own, the angler has to keep lures moving all the time.

Traditional fishing lures may not be the most sustainable choice either, since most of them are made of materials that don't break down, like plastic or rubber, although newer ones are made to be better for the environment.

Lastly, anglers also debate about how well they work in colder water.


Which fishing lures are best for freshwater fishing?

Navigating through the serene waters of freshwater fishing, choosing the right lure can indeed make a substantial difference. Crankbaits, with their wide-ranging shapes and colors, can be a fantastic choice, enticing everything from bass to walleye. The spinnerbaits, with their flashy appearance, are highly effective in muddied waters or low light conditions. On the other hand, soft plastics, especially those mimicking worms or crayfish, can be incredibly productive in almost all freshwater scenarios. Fly lures too, with their authentic lifelike imitation of insects, are an absolute go-to for trout and other fly-fishing favorites. Finally, don't overlook the simple yet effective spoon lure, whose wobbling and flashing movement can provoke an attack from a variety of species. The key lies in understanding the habits of your target fish and tailoring your lure choice accordingly.


Can fishing lures be used for saltwater?

While we've discussed freshwater fishing lures, it's worth addressing the question: can these same fishing lures be used in saltwater?

Absolutely, fishing lures can be just as effective in saltwater environments as they are in freshwater. However, there are crucial considerations to keep in mind.

The species of fish found in saltwater often differ from those in freshwater, and their feeding habits and preferences reflect this. For example, certain types of fishing lures, like poppers and jerk baits, are incredibly effective for saltwater predators like barracuda and trevally.

Material is another important factor. Saltwater is corrosive, and not all fishing lures are made to withstand these harsher conditions. Always check whether your lures are saltwater-rated to ensure they last and perform well.

Lastly, the size of the lure often needs to be larger in saltwater. Many saltwater fish species are significantly larger than their freshwater counterparts and are attracted to larger prey. Using a larger lure can lead to more strikes.


How often should I replace fishing lures?

The lifespan of your lure depends on various factors such as the frequency of use, the harshness of conditions, and the care with which you handle and store them.

Fishing lures don't come with an expiration date, and their effectiveness isn't solely tied to their newness. However, they can suffer wear and tear due to regular use and harsh environmental conditions. If your lure is showing significant signs of damage, such as broken or missing parts, deep scratches, or fading colors, it might be time to consider a replacement.

Moreover, if you notice that a once successful lure is no longer attracting fish as it used to, it might have lost its allure. This could be due to the loss of the original color, scent, or movement.

However, not all signs of wear necessitate replacement. Minor scratches can sometimes make a lure appear more realistic, and some anglers swear by their "battle-scarred" lures that have seen many a successful fishing trip.

Ultimately, the decision to replace fishing lures hinges on their condition, performance, and the confidence you place in them. Regularly inspecting your lures and keeping them clean and well-organized can significantly extend their life and effectiveness. As an intelligent angler, it's up to you to assess whether a lure still has the potential to bring fish to the boat or whether it's time to retire it to the old tackle box in the sky.


Does the color of fishing lures influence fishing success?

Does the color of fishing lures influence fishing success? In a related post - Does Lure Color Matter - we explore whether the color of fishing lures can influence the visibility of the lure to fish underwater and potentially affect their decision to strike. Don't miss that post if you want to know the answers to these questions!


Are there any tips for using fishing lures in different weather conditions?

Navigating the waters of angling requires adapting to ever-changing weather conditions. Each shift in the weather patterns has its own influence on the underwater world, and knowing how to adjust your approach accordingly can significantly enhance your fishing experience.

When the sky is clear and the sun shines brightly, fish often benefit from high visibility, making them more discerning and likely to retreat to deeper waters or find cover. Using natural-colored lures that mimic the fish's usual prey is a wise strategy, helping you blend with the surroundings and convince the fish to bite.

On overcast or cloudy days, fish tend to roam more freely, often venturing closer to the surface and the shore. This is the perfect time to utilize more vibrantly colored or flashy lures, which can grab their attention even in the lower light conditions.

Rain can stir up the water and often stimulate fish to feed, making it an ideal time for fishing if you don't mind getting a little wet. Try using lures that produce more noise or vibration, such as spinnerbaits or crankbaits, which can help fish locate your lure amidst the turmoil.

In cold weather or during the winter months, fish metabolism slows down, and they tend to be less active. Smaller, slower-moving lures can be more effective in these conditions, simulating the less energetic movement of their prey.

Whether the sun is beaming, clouds are looming, or raindrops are falling, an intelligent angler knows how to adjust her strategy and select the most effective lures for any given weather condition.



Regardless of your personal preference, it's indisputable that fishing lures are an essential component in the tackle box of anglers of varying expertise. So, how about you? Have you identified a favorite type of fishing lure yet? Or is there a specific fishing lure you're keen to experiment with on your next angling adventure?



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