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How to Fish Using Lures

Updated on June 7, 2013
A Luckycraft LV 500 Lure
A Luckycraft LV 500 Lure | Source

Lure Fishing Basics

The basic goal of fishing with lures is to cover large areas of water that may be holding fish and get them to bite either out of hunger or out of natural instinct, also referred to as a reaction strike. There are countless combinations of styles, sizes, and colors to let anglers match the perfect lure with the fish they are targeting, depending on the weather, time of year, water conditions, forage species available, and types of cover and structure that is present.

Instead of sitting under a tree with a cold beverage and a worm under a bobber, just dreaming of a fish swimming by, start to actively pursue the fish and cast different baits and retrieve them to mimic the characteristics of the fish's favorite meals.

Different Types of Lures

There is a huge number of different types of lures. The following are some of the most popular styles of lures that anglers use for both freshwater and saltwater species.

  1. Soft Plastics
  2. Hard Baits
  3. Jigs
  4. Spinners
  5. Fly Fishing

There are other specific types of lures and within these major lure styles are sub groups.

Bass Fishing Lures

Soft plastic sweet beavers
Soft plastic sweet beavers | Source

Using Soft Plastic Lures

Soft plastic lures provide anglers a wide range of different styles to use depending on the type of fishing that you are doing.

Saltwater - Most saltwater fisherman will have a box full of plastic grubs in a variety of sizes and colors that are excellent for catching many different species. These lures have a round plastic body and then a large tail at the end that vibrates and pulsates while being worked through the water column. These excel in bottom fishing techniques when rigged on a heavy lead jig. Other popular saltwater lures include paddle tail swim baits for tuna fishing as well as squid skirts that are used for trolling to entice most of the larger pelagic fish that roam the oceans looking for their next meal.

Freshwater - Soft baits are used for bass fishing more than almost any other species and come in a range of styles and sizes, from plastic worms to creature baits designed to imitate crayfish. Steel head anglers also use pink plastic worms and small plastic egg sacks to imitate the popular salmon egg when drift fishing. Large paddle tail swim baits are also effective in the northern lakes for species like musky and other freshwater species like Stripped Bass will succomb to these offerings as well.

Baby Bass Spook Top Water Bait
Baby Bass Spook Top Water Bait | Source

Tips for Using Sppoks

Using Hard Baits

The most common forms of hard baits include: the crank bait, spinner bait, top water lures, spoons, and other styles made from wood, hard plastics, or metal.

The lures are generally retrieved at a faster pace and are best at creating a reaction strike from the fish that they are presented to. This type of instinctual response from the fish allow these lures to perform during times that the fish may not be aggressively feeding. When the fish are aggressive these lures allow you to cover water and find bites, but they are also excellent fior coaxing a lethargic, turned off fish, by generating a strike due to the nature of a bass. By utilizing reaction lures to make sluggish fish bite a lure when they otherwise are inactive, is possible to turn a boring day with nothing in the boat to an amazing day on the water. I would always rather cast a crankbait or jerkbait and get 5 - 8 bites a day from good size fish versus dragging finesse soft plastics weeding through tons of non keepers and small fish.

Skeet Reese Demonstrates How to Use a Jig


The common jig is a hook with a lead weight poured into the front and is best when used as a way to deliver soft plastic lures. Almost any soft bait can be fixed onto a jig head and depending on the location and species that are the target for the day an angler may use a jig head as light as 1/16 of an ounce fishing a two inch grub for crappie or as heavy as 12oz. in 200 feet of water in the ocean for ling cod with a 8 inch version.

Bass fisherman also use a jig that is skirted. The skirts are made with rubber and silicone strands and provide both flash of color, but also a presence underwater that make the bait appear larger and present the profile that a crayfish has underwater, when paired with a soft plastic chunk bait, like a zoom chunk or super pork chunk.

A few of the best soft plastic trailers used on jigs include the following:

  • Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Twin Tail Grubs
  • Zoom Chunks in all size varieties
  • Reaction Innovation Sweet Beaver
  • NetBait Paca Craws and Chunks
  • Any custom hand pour jig trailer

The most popular jig color combinations include:

  • Black and Blue
  • Green Pumpkin
  • Brown
  • Brown & Purple
  • Black and Red

Which Catchest Most Fish

Do you have a favorite lure style

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    • W1totalk profile image

      W1totalk 4 years ago

      I love this article and how informative it is. I have a Gary Yamamoto bait. The concern I have is how to draw the bait through the water, with its twin tail. Good article.