CHECK OUT THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES  

 

140-04gl_bomber16

140-04gl_bomber16

Bomber 16A
BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES It wasn’t the first plastic minnow-shaped plug to come on the salt water scene, but it was certainly the one that popularized them for millions of anglers, whether they fished from jetties, beaches or boats. At 7 1/2 inches long with a molded-plastic lip and thick-walled, hollow plastic body, it floats at rest. The original came with weak hooks and split rings that had to be replaced, but it was more than worth the trouble because they caught heavy-duty fish. Worked slowly, it rolls seductively just under the surface, leaving a V-wake. Pick up the speed and it dives a couple feet. In black it’s deadly at night. Sold today under the name Bomber Long A, it has the right hardware out of the box and it’s still the favorite swimmer of tens of thousands of fishermen.

 

140-04gl_bucktail

140-04gl_bucktail

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

Bucktail
Doodlebug, Smilin’ Bill, Lima Bean, Upperman, Hopkins Hammered, SPRO Prime, ProFish Fishskin Jigs – no matter the style, brand or nickname, a painted leadhead jig dressed with the hair from the tail of a whitetail deer was and still is one of the most fish-catching lures ever devised. Cast one out, let it sink and retrieve it by lifting and dropping the tip of the rod to give it an up-and-down motion and something is sure to eat it. For drift-fishing, drop it straight under the boat and yo-yo to get the same results. Add a strip of bait or Uncle Josh Pork Rind, maybe a stinger hook, too, and it is twice as effective. White is the number one color with yellow a close second. If you could only have one lure to fish with anywhere in the world, a white bucktail would be a wise choice.

 

113-04gl_johnson_minnow

113-04gl_johnson_minnow

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

Johnson Silver Minnow
If there’s another lure that’s caught more redfish and specks, please let us know, because after 90 years of continuous production without a single change, the Johnson Silver Minnow still slays ’em. It has a unique, elongated teardrop shape and the metal is slightly thicker in the middle than on its edges, which is the key to keeping the hook up and imparting its side-to-side wobble on the retrieve. Add a plastic grub, twister-tail or pork rind trailer and it’s even more effective. It’s as close to snag-proof as a lure gets and runs slightly nose up just under the surface leaving a noticeable wake that pulls in shallow-feeding fish like a magnet. Gold-plated in 1/4-ounce and 1/2-ounce weights are the most popular models.

 

113-04gl_highspeed_spreader

113-04gl_highspeed_spreader

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

High-Speed Spreader Bars
Okay, so it’s not a lure per se, but about 20 years ago some enterprising tuna trollers figured out that if one daisy chain was good, three on the same line was even better and the high-speed spreader bar was born. The original commercially available bars were crafted by New Jersey tackle-shop owners Grant Toman and Dave Arbeitman of the Reel Seat, and featured a thin titanium wire bar with three chains of hollow soft-plastic squid. Only the last squid down the middle is armed. The combination of the near weightless squid and flexible bar brings it to life in the water, expanding and contracting as it skips across the surface raising tuna to attack the “school” of baitfish. After a hookup, its light weight does not hinder the fight.

 

113-04gl_drone_spoon

113-04gl_drone_spoon’

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

L. B. Huntington Drone Spoon
Patented in 1919 after nine years of development by Levon B. Huntington, a.k.a. Fishhawk, and still in production in Norfolk, Virginia, today by his grandson, Lev Huntington III, the Drone spoon catches pretty much anything that swims and eats other fish. Originally designed to mimic the flash and movement of Chesapeake Bay alewives when trolled behind Fishhawk’s rowboat, it was eventually available in many sizes and color patterns. Its unique shape and action is deadly.

 

140-04gl_DOA

140-04gl_DOA

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

D.O.A. Shrimp
Build a better mousetrap – that’s exactly what Mark Nichols did in 1989 in his garage in Palm City, Florida. He grew up on the Gulf Coast, spent years running a shrimp boat and all his spare time fishing. His experience helped him create a dead ringer for the prime shallow-water forage. His original three-inch shrimp became so popular that in 1993 he started D.O.A. Lures to manufacture and market them. In a few years they were being sold all over and catching fish wherever shrimp were found. Today anglers gobble up four sizes in a variety of colors.

140-04gl_diamond_jig

140-04gl_diamond_jig

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

Diamond Jig
In 1929, John Schumke, an avid Connecticut fisherman and employee of the Bridgeport Silverware Company, developed a four-sided, plated metal lure and called it the Bridgeport Diamond Jig. Made by the silverware company, its finish was dazzling and its fish-catching ability remarkable. In 1955, the diamond jig division was sold to Bead Tackle Company and Schumke went with his lure, which had gained worldwide distribution and popularity. Today, Bridgeport Diamond Jigs and Bead Tackle are manufactured in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and are still the highest quality available. The diamond jig is a beach fisherman’s go-to lure when sand eels are in the wash, and from a boat it catches pretty much everything. Stripers, bluefish, weakfish, cod, pollock, tuna, grouper, snapper – the list is endless. Cast and retrieved or fished vertically, it’s hard to beat.

 

140-04gl_creek_chub

140-04gl_creek_chub

 

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

Creek Chub Pikie
In 1920, the Creek Chub Bait Company of Garrett, Indiana, introduced one of its most popular and enduring plugs, the Pikie. Initially made in fresh water sizes, this fat-bodied wood swimmer featured glass eyes and a metal lip that induced a rolling wobble. Larger sizes followed and found their way to the coast. Through the ’30s and ’40s, its popularity in salt water grew and led to salt-water-specific models and the creation of the Creek Chub Surfster in 1953. But its larger contribution was as the catalyst for the East Coast salt water plug-making revolution in the 1940s and ’50s.

113-04gl_rapala_magnum

113-04gl_rapala_magnum

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

Rapala Magnum
In the 1930s, a humble Finnish fisherman with an uncanny ability for observing fish behavior realized that gamefish homed in on baitfish that swam with a slightly off-center wiggle that distinguished them from the rest of the school. After years of whittling, he hit on a minnow-shaped lure that captured that defect and the world of fishing hasn’t been the same since. Lauri Rapala’s original balsa minnow became so popular that a through-wired salt water version made from hardwood was developed and became as popular as the fresh water original. It also spawned a host of plastic imitations, some that worked and many that didn¿t. No list of the best of all time would be complete without a Rapala.

 

113-04gl_slug-go

113-04gl_slug-go

‘BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

Slug-Go/Fin-S Fish
Soft-plastic lures have become the preferred light-tackle baits for millions of anglers since they started tearing up the inshore scene in the early 1980s, and one company lays claim to the two most popular of the genre – Herb Reed’s Lunker City Lures. The Fin-S Fish is a fish-shaped soft bait that can be threaded on a leadhead and fished like a jig or impaled on a plastic-worm hook and fished as a weedless jerkbait. It comes in sizes from 2- to ten inches and catches everything from weakfish and snapper blues in estuaries to horse-size striped bass and bull redfish shallow or deep. The Slug-Go (shown), Reed’s unique soft stickbait, has a slender, flexible body with a tapered tail and is usually fished without added weight.

113-04gl_wildeye_shad

113-04gl_wildeye_shad

BEST SALT WATER FISHING LURES

Storm Wildeye Shad
There’s another revolution in soft-lure design underway popularized by the internally weighted, realistically shaped Storm Wildeye Shad that has been available for about eight years. Originally thought to be too pretty to be effective and too fragile to stand the test of time, it has wormed its way into the hearts of fishermen with the pulsing action of its swimming tail and the way fish gobble it down on contact. It is a dead ringer for a menhaden, the most prodigious forage species on the East and Gulf Coasts, casts like a bullet, sinks on a tight line and swims like a live baitfish on the end of your line. Even though a toothy critter can snip off the tail in a single bite, fishermen still cough up dough to buy more.