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Most Common Types of Fishing Lures

In places where live baiting is unsuitable or prohibited, fishing lures are a great alternative. There are many different types of lures, all suited to different conditions and game fish. However, it’s important to keep in mind that fishing lures present their own unique pros and cons.


There are several pros to using fishing lures. The following are just a few.

  • Lures can be cast further than live bait.
  • Lures are less messy.
  • Lures are better for catch and release because the fish is less likely to swallow the entire rig.
  • Lures allow you to target specific species.


While lures are a popular bait option for catching fish, they also present some cons.

  • Lures are more expensive than live bait.
  • Lures can require skill to use properly.
  • Lures are generally less effective in cold water.
  • Lures can get caught on reefs and other underwater topographies.

When used properly, fishing lures can be extremely effective. Lures can produce results in both freshwater and saltwater, and they can be used to catch a huge variety of species. There are many different types of lures available on the market, each optimized for different conditions and applications.



Jig fishing can be very effective. Jigs feature a weight on one side and a single hook on the other. The weights make them sink very quickly, so jigs are effective when fishing for bottom-feeding species. Jigs often feature a feather skirt or plastic grub to attract attention in the water. They have become one of the most popular types of lures.

When jig fishing, it’s important to take advantage of the weight of the lure. Cast the line and let it sink all the way to the bottom. From there, lift your rod slightly and pull in some line as you lower the rod again. You may want to experiment with this technique at different speeds and with different sized movements. Keep in mind that a bite on a jig won’t make much of a pull, so it’s important to keep an eye on the line itself.



Plugs, also known as crankbaits, are made of hard plastic. They are colored to resemble actual prey. Plugs can be either solid or hollow, but they always feature a ‘lip.’ This is a thin sheet of metal or plastic attached to the front, which can be adjustable to create a wobble with the lure. Plugs always have two or three treble hooks. Depending on what plug you buy, they can be designed to float, sink, hover, or dive beneath the water.

Generally speaking, plugs will float on the water or remain buoyant just below the surface. When a fish goes for the lure, the plug will dive sharply into the water.

By using reel-and-stop movements, you can use a plug to imitate the behavior of live bait. Make sure these movements are varied in speed to attract the fish.



Spoons, also referred to as trolling spoons or casting spoons, are curved metal lures with a concave shape. These lures were originally built from spoons with the handles cut off, but have since been refined into ‘proper’ lures. The concave shape reflects light and makes them wobble as they go through the water. The more curved a spoon lure is, the more it will wobble. Spoon lures’ wobbling movements are meant to resemble injured baitfish -- an easy snack for game fish.

You can either cast or troll a spoon lure. When casting, aim for 10-20 feet below the target zone and pull the lure through the area. Try to get a good eye on the lure as it moves to determine how fast it is being retrieved. If you move it too slow or too fast, the lure won’t wobble properly. When trolling with a spoon lure, you’ll need a downrigger to set your desired depth.

Soft Plastics

Soft plastic lures, a type of soft bait, are made of flexible, rubber-like materials that are designed to imitate aquatic creatures. You can buy soft plastic lures that imitate minnows, worms, crawfish, lizards, and even frogs. Soft plastics are generally most popular for bass fishing.

When fishing with soft plastic, size and color are the most important considerations. The lure’s color should fit in naturally with the surroundings -- use bright plastics on a clear day and darker plastic on cloudy days. Soft plastics will allow you to mimic the swimming behavior of wounded creatures. Let the lure sink, and twitch your rod repeatedly. To further entice fish, pull the lure up in several quick, short movements. The combination of movement and color will help attract gamefish.



Until very recently, flies were only used for fly fishing. But thanks to recent developments in construction, flies are increasingly being used for spin fishing too. A fly fishing lure is a single hook and a skirt. Through the use of furs, feathers, or thread, fly lures are tied to mimic insects and other prey. Tying a fly takes a lot of time and practice. It is a skill that develops over time, and that is why many fly fishermen find it to be so addictive and enjoyable.

Flies work best in places where fish closely approach the surface of the water. There are several different kinds of flies, each designed to mimic a different kind of bait. These include dry flies to imitate insects, wet flies to imitate minnows, and streamer flies that imitate baitfish.