Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities, with avid participants around the world. When it comes to what's at the end of your line, anglers have the choice between natural bait or artificial lures. There are a plethora of different types of fishing lures to choose from, and they all have their own unique features that make them perfect for catching certain fish or performing in certain conditions.
There are a number of reasons why an angler may choose to use a lure over natural or live bait. For one, the cost. You pay for a lure one time, and are able to use it for many fishing outings. Live bait gets pricy, and is expended. You are also able to cast further with lures, and don't need to worry about them flying off the hook on a hard cast. Accessibility is another benefit. Bait shops may not be around, or open for business when you are looking to do some fishing. You also don't need an aerator or bait well to keep lures, just a tackle box.
Let's take a look at some of the more popular types of lures, and what makes them unique from one another.
Spoons are very popular due to their effectiveness and simplicity. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, but the common characteristic is that they curve outward, much like the shape of a spoon you'd find in your kitchen utensil drawer. The shape allows for fast, flickering movement as it is retrieved through the water, mimicking fleeing baitfish. Spoons are effective on fast, predatory fish such as mackerel and barracuda.
Jig is a bit of a broad term, typically referring to a lure with a weighted head. These are popular for their versatility. The weight allows them to be cast far, and anglers can fish them along the bottom, or go for a speedier, twitching retrieve. Jigs can be used to catch everything from bass to tarpon, and are a staple in any tackle box.
More popular with freshwater species such as bass and pike, the spinner employs a skirted hook built into a bracket with a flashy blade or blades on the opposite end. A steady retrieve is typically used, making these easy lures to fish. The flash of the blade attracts predators
Crankbaits are characterized by a typically painted body with a plastic or metal lip attached to the front. This lip allows the lure to dive and wobble during retrieve. Similar to jigs, these can be fished a variety of ways, ranging from a steady retrieve to erratic. Crankbaits are used from fishing neighborhood ponds for bass to trolling offshore.
As the name implies, soft plastics are soft, rubbery baits that imitate insects, fish, crustaceans, and more. Another versatile lure, soft plastics are used in freshwater, or for nearly any saltwater inshore predatory species. They are offered in seemingly endless combinations of style, size, and color. Which type would be right for you depends on what you are targeting. A good starting point would be trying to match whatever your target fish feeds on in your fishing grounds.
Although a variety of topwater lures are available, the two most popular types would be poppers and "walk the dog" type lures, also known as "spooks." These lures do not sink, and are designed to mimic a struggling baitfish on the water's surface. Poppers get their name from to a recessed section in the front, that allows them to "pop" the water's surface when twitched during a retrieve.
"Walk the dog" style lures float as well, but do not have the recessed section for popping. Instead, they are constructed with a weight distribution that allows them to zig-zag back and forth when twitched. The act of retrieving the lure in this manner is known as "walking the dog." Not only do these lures produce fish, but they are very rewarding to use. There is nothing more exciting than a big fish blowing up on a topwater lure!
Fishing lures come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The shape of the lure determines what type of fish it is best suited for catching. Spoons are good for fast-moving predatory fish while soft plastics can be used to catch a variety of species depending on their favorite food source or baitfish appearance. Crankbaits are designed to dive when retrieved, with a wobbling lip that attracts prey by imitating struggling baitfish, while topwater lures imitate an easy meal at the surface which makes them more fun to use!