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What type of lures should be used for saltwater fishing?

Saltwater fishing can be an exhilarating experience, with various fish species that can be caught. Understanding what type of lures should be used for saltwater fishing to get the most out of your fishing trip is vital. The right lure can make a difference between catching a few fish and catching a boatload, so knowing what type of lure works best in different situations is essential. This article will discuss the types of saltwater fish, the different kinds of saltwater fishing lures, and tips for using them.

Types of Saltwater Fish

Saltwater fishing is a popular activity among those living near the ocean or visiting the coast, and for success when fishing in saltwater, choose the right type of lure. Saltwater fish respond to different types of lures, and fishing techniques may require different lures. Knowing what types of lures are available and when to use them can help any saltwater angler make the most of their fishing experience. 

The most common saltwater fishing lures are soft plastic, jigs, spoons, and surface lures. Soft plastic lures are typically used for bottom fishing and can be used to target a variety of fish. Jigs are weighted lures used for bottom fishing and trolling and are a great way to target fish in mid-water. Spoons are lightweight lures used in trolling and casting and are a great way to target pelagic species. Surface lures are designed to float on the surface and are often used for top-water fishing. 

Related Read: Top Fishing Spots in the United States

Types of Saltwater Fishing Lures

Soft plastic lures are an excellent choice for saltwater fishing as they are versatile and highly effective. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors to accommodate different types of fish. They can catch virtually any saltwater fish, making them a popular choice for anglers of all levels. Soft plastic lures are typically made from rubber or plastic and are designed to mimic the movement of natural bait. Many of these lures have a lifelike texture, allowing them to attract even the most finicky of fish. 

Jigs are another popular type of saltwater fishing lure. Jigs are weighted and generally come with various hooks for added attraction. They come in multiple sizes, colors, and weights, making them an ideal choice for targeting different types of saltwater fish. Jigs typically target bottom-dwelling species, such as flounder, cod, and halibut. 

Spoons are a type of lure designed to mimic a swimming baitfish. They are usually made of metal and are designed with a concave shape, which causes them to move in a wiggling motion when retrieved. Spoons typically catch mid-water to surface-dwelling species, such as mackerel, tuna, and striped bass. 

Surface lures are designed to be used on the water’s surface, usually in shallow waters. They typically feature a feather or fur tail, which creates a rippling effect on the water’s surface, attracting the fish’s attention. Surface lures generally target top-feeding species, such as mackerel and sea bass. 

Whatever type of lure you choose, selecting the right one is crucial. Different types of lures are best suited to different kinds of fish, making it essential to understand which lure will work best for the situation. It’s also a good idea to buy a rod for saltwater fishing specifically designed for the type of lure you’re using.

Soft Plastic Lures

Soft plastic lures are versatile and can catch a wide variety of fish. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and are often used to imitate baitfish. Soft plastics can be used in various ways, such as on jigs, spinnerbaits, and as jerk baits. They can be rigged on jigheads, weighted swimbaits, or fished unweighted.


Jigs are one of the oldest fishing lures, consisting of a weighted head and a tail of feathers or plastic. They come in various sizes, colors, and shapes and can be used to catch many types of saltwater fish. When jigging, the head’s weight causes the lure to sink, and the tail provides movement, attracting the fish. Jigs can be used in deep water, over reefs, and near shorelines. Additionally, jigs can be combined with live bait for an even more effective lure.


Spoons are one of the oldest and most versatile lures for saltwater fishing. These metal or plastic lures are designed to imitate baitfish and can be used for various species. They have a curved or spinning shape that gives them their name and can be used for trolling and casting. Spoons are available in multiple sizes and colors and can catch everything from marlin to snapper.

Surface Lures

Surface lures are made to attract fish by imitating the look and movement of prey on the water’s surface. These lures may resemble insects, baitfish, frogs, or even birds. They can be used with various techniques, such as popping, walking, or skittering. Surface lures target surface-feeding fish such as Spanish mackerel and tuna.

Choosing the Right Lure for the Right Situation

The right lure for the right situation is vital for successful saltwater fishing. Each type of lure is designed for specific conditions and different fish types. Generally, if you’re fishing for larger species such as tuna or marlin, you’ll want to use jigs, spoons, and surface lures to attract them. On the other hand, if you’re fishing for smaller species, such as snapper or bream, you’ll find that soft plastics are more effective. Consider your fishing conditions and target fish type before selecting the right lure. For example, if you’re fishing in shallow water, you may want to opt for a surface lure, while if you’re fishing in deeper water, a jig or spoon would be more appropriate. Similarly, if you’re looking to target a particular species, the type of lure you choose should match the baitfish they usually feed on. 

When using any type of lure, it’s important to remember to keep it moving. Saltwater fish are used to seeing their prey moving, so it’s best to mimic that motion with your lure. Vary your retrieve speed and the direction and depth of your lure to maximize your chances of a successful catch. If you’re fishing from a boat, you can also drift with the current, which will help you cover much ground. When fishing from the shore, cast in different directions and areas to ensure you cover as much of the area as possible. Lastly, when using a surface lure, it’s important to remember to pause every few casts. This will give the fish time to locate and strike your lure.

Tips for Using Saltwater Fishing Lures

When using saltwater fishing lures, there are a few tips to remember. First, match your lure to the fish species you’re targeting; different lures are designed for different types of fish. In addition, you’ll want to ensure your lure is the proper weight and size for the depth of water you’re fishing in. It’s also essential to make sure your lure is moving through the water in the right way; for instance, if you’re fishing for redfish, you’ll want to make sure your lure is moving in a way that’s natural to them. Lastly, you’ll want to use the right rod for the job. A good quality rod designed for saltwater fishing can help you cast farther, and it can also help you detect more subtle bites.


In conclusion, saltwater fishing lures can be an important part of your success when fishing in saltwater. When you know what type of fish you want to catch, you can choose from the many saltwater lures available to ensure you get the best catch. Depending on the situation, you may need to select the correct type of lure for the job. Using the right lure in the right situation can also help you get the most out of your saltwater fishing experience. With some knowledge, research, and practice, you can easily find the perfect lure for your saltwater fishing needs.

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