Types of Fishing Lures

An Angler’s Guide to the Different Types of Fishing Lures

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

types of fishing lures

The Art of Choosing the Right Lure

Hello, fellow fishing enthusiasts! If you’re anything like me, you know that there’s nothing quite like the thrill of feeling a fish tug on your line. However, any experienced fisherman will attest to the fact that the key to a triumphant catch frequently hinges on the selection of the lure.

Picking the appropriate fishing lure can indeed be a pivotal factor. It’s not just about picking the most colorful or the largest one in your tackle box. It’s about understanding the behavior of the fish you’re targeting, the conditions of the water, and how different lures can mimic the movements and appearances of various types of prey.

What’s in Store for You

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the world of fishing lures. We’ll explore the different types of lures, from the simple yet effective spoons to the versatile soft plastics. We’ll discuss how each lure works, which fish species they’re best suited for, and when to use them.

Whether you’re a beginner angler just starting your fishing journey or a seasoned pro looking to expand your knowledge, this guide is for you. So, let’s embark on this exciting journey together and discover how the right lure can turn your fishing trip into a memorable adventure.


The Purpose of Fishing Lures

The primary purpose of fishing lures is to attract fish, making it easier for anglers to catch them. They achieve this by mimicking the movement, vibration, and color of the fish’s natural prey. Here are some specific reasons why fishing lures are used:

  1. Versatility: Fishing lures can be used in a variety of fishing conditions, whether it’s freshwater or saltwater, shallow or deep waters.
  2. Target Specific Species: Different lures are designed to attract specific species of fish, allowing anglers to target the type of fish they want to catch.
  3. Environmentally Friendly: Unlike live bait, fishing lures are reusable and do not harm the environment.


Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fishing Lure: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the right fishing lure can make all the difference between a successful fishing trip and a disappointing one. However, given the extensive selection of lures in the market, deciding on the perfect one can appear overwhelming. I’ll share some key factors you should consider when choosing a fishing lure. By grasping these aspects, you can make a well-informed choice and enhance your probability of reeling in a substantial catch

Understanding the Target Species

The first factor to consider when choosing a fishing lure is the species of fish you’re targeting. Different species exhibit varying preferences for their food. For instance, bass are known to be attracted to lures that mimic small fish or crustaceans, while trout may prefer lures that resemble insects. Therefore, understanding the feeding habits of your target species can guide you in selecting the most effective lure.

Consider the Fishing Environment

The environment in which you’re fishing plays a significant role in determining the type of lure you should use. Here are some environmental factors to consider:

  1. Water Clarity: In clear water, fish can see your lure from a distance, so it’s best to use lures that closely resemble their natural prey. In murky water, however, fish rely more on their sense of vibration and sound, so lures that create movement or noise can be more effective.
  2. Water Temperature: Fish behavior changes with water temperature. In colder water, fish tend to be less active and may prefer slower-moving lures. In warmer water, faster-moving lures can trigger more strikes.
  3. Depth: The depth at which you’re fishing also influences the type of lure to use. Some lures are designed to sink and are ideal for bottom-dwelling species, while others are designed to float and are better for surface-feeding fish.

Lure Size and Color

The size and color of your lure can also impact its effectiveness. Generally, larger lures are known to attract bigger fish, while smaller lures tend to be more successful with smaller species.

When it comes to color, consider the lighting conditions. In bright light or clear water, natural colors and shiny finishes can be effective. In low light or murky water, brighter colors or lures that create a silhouette can be more visible to fish.

Experimentation is Key

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes, a lure that “shouldn’t” work according to conventional wisdom might just be the ticket to a successful catch. Try different types, sizes, and colors of lures until you find what works best for you and the specific conditions you’re fishing in.


Types of Fishing Lures:

There are several types of fishing lures, each with its unique design, purpose, and the type of fish it attracts. Here I am presenting only the main types of fishing lures:

  • Jigs
  • Spinner
  • Spoons
  • Plugs
  • Soft plastic baits
  • Artificial flies


Jigs are weighted lures that are typically used with a jerking motion to mimic a wounded prey. It has a lead sinker with a hook molded into it. The body of the jig is usually covered by a soft material like rubber or hair to attract fish. The substantial weight of the jig enables it to descend in the water, making it perfect for fish that dwell at the bottom.

Best Uses: Jigs are best used in situations where the fish are located near the bottom of the water body. Their weight allows them to sink, and their movement can entice fish out of hiding.

Types of Fishing Jigs

There are several types of fishing jigs, each designed for specific fishing conditions and species. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Jig Heads: These are the most basic type of jig and consist of a lead head with a hook. The head can be painted to resemble various types of prey.
  • Swim Jigs: These jigs are crafted to move through the water with a side-to-side motion that imitates a swimming fish.
  • Flipping Jigs: These are heavy jigs designed to be flipped into heavy cover or structure where big fish like to hide.
  • Finesse Jigs: These are smaller jigs used for delicate presentations, often in clear water or when fish are not aggressively feeding.
  • Football Jigs: Named for their football-shaped head, these jigs are great for bottom fishing, especially in rocky terrain.



A fishing spinner is a type of fishing lure that spins, or rotates, in the water as it is retrieved. This spinning motion creates vibrations and flashes of light in the water, which can attract fish. Spinners are adaptable and can be utilized in both freshwater and saltwater conditions.

Best Uses: Spinners are excellent for covering a lot of water quickly. They are effective in both clear and murky water.

Types of Fishing Spinners

There are several types of fishing spinners, each designed for specific fishing conditions and species. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Inline Spinners: These are the most basic type of spinner. They consist of a metal blade that spins around a wire axle as the lure is retrieved.
  • Spinnerbaits: These are larger lures that feature one or more spinner blades on a safety-pin-like wire frame. They often include a rubber or plastic skirt and are particularly effective for bass fishing.
  • Tail Spinners: These compact lures have a weighted body with a spinning blade attached to the end. They’re great for vertical jigging or casting.
  • Buzzbaits: Similar to spinnerbaits, buzzbaits have a propeller-like blade that churns the water surface, creating a buzzing sound and lots of splashes. They’re perfect for topwater fishing.



A fishing spoon is a type of fishing lure that is typically made of a thin piece of metal shaped like the bowl of a spoon. The spoon shape gives the lure a distinctive, erratic wobbling action as it moves through the water, mimicking the movement of an injured baitfish. This movement can be irresistible to predatory fish, making spoons an effective choice for a wide range of species.

Best Uses: Spoons are ideal for trolling, a method of fishing where the lure is cast out and then drawn through the water at a slow speed. They can also be used in jigging, where the lure is rapidly pulled up and allowed to fall back down.

Types of Fishing Spoons

There are several types of fishing spoons, each designed for specific fishing conditions and species. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Casting Spoons: These are heavier spoons designed to be cast long distances. They’re ideal for targeting fish in deeper water or when fishing from shore.
  • Trolling Spoons: These spoons are lighter and thinner, designed to be used when trolling. They flutter more than casting spoons, mimicking the movements of small baitfish.
  • Jigging Spoons: These are thick, heavy spoons that are dropped vertically into the water and then “jigged” up and down. They’re great for ice fishing or deep water fishing.
  • Weedless Spoons: These spoons feature a hook guard to prevent them from getting snagged in heavy cover. They’re perfect for fishing in areas with a lot of vegetation.


Plugs or Crankbaits:

Plugs, also known as crankbaits, are designed to resemble small fish, one of the primary food sources for many larger fish species. They are available in a range of shapes and sizes, with some engineered to float on the surface and others to plunge beneath the water upon retrieval.

Best Uses: Plugs are versatile and can be used in a variety of fishing conditions. They are particularly effective in areas with a lot of underwater structure, such as rocks and fallen trees.

Types of Fishing Plugs

There are several types of fishing plugs, each designed for specific fishing conditions and species. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Crankbaits: These plugs are designed to dive under the water when retrieved, with some models capable of reaching depths of over 25 feet. They are excellent for targeting fish in deep water.
  • Topwater Plugs: True to their name, these plugs float on the water’s surface. They are designed to mimic the movement of prey on the water’s surface, attracting fish from below.
  • Jerkbaits: These plugs are designed to be jerked or twitched during retrieval, creating an erratic motion that mimics an injured fish.
  • Popper Plugs: These topwater plugs are designed with a concave or flat face to create a popping sound and splash when jerked, attracting fish to the surface.


Soft Plastic Baits:

Soft plastic baits are fishing lures made from flexible plastic material. They are designed to imitate a range of natural prey, from worms and grubs to small fish and crustaceans.  The soft, lifelike texture of these baits can entice fish to bite and hold on longer, giving you more time to set the hook.

Best Uses: Soft plastics are adaptable and can be used in a variety of scenarios.  They are particularly effective when fished slowly, making them a great choice for colder water when fish are less active.

Types of Soft Plastic Baits

There are numerous types of soft plastic baits available, each designed to target specific species of fish or to be effective in certain fishing conditions. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Worms: Soft plastic worms are among the most popular and versatile types of soft plastic baits. They come in various lengths, colors, and styles, including straight-tail, ribbon-tail, and curly-tail worms.
  • Grubs: These small, soft plastic baits are typically used for panfish, but they can also be effective for larger species. Grubs usually have a rounded body and a curly tail that provides enticing movement.
  • Swimbaits: Soft plastic swimbaits are designed to mimic the look and movement of small baitfish. They often have a realistic design and a paddle tail that wiggles in the water.
  • Craws: These baits mimic the look and movement of crawfish, a favorite food of many freshwater species. Soft plastic craws often have flapping claws that create enticing movement.
  • Tubes: Tube baits have a hollow body and tentacle-like tails. They can be rigged in various ways and are effective for species like bass and walleye.



Fly fishing is a unique and rewarding method of angling that requires a special type of lure known as a fly. These artificial lures are designed to mimic the natural food sources of fish, from tiny aquatic insects to small baitfish.

Types of Flies:

Dry Flies

Dry flies are designed to float on the surface of the water, mimicking adult insects that land on the water’s surface. They are frequently used in trout and salmon fishing, where these species are known to feed on insects like mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies.

Best Uses: Dry flies are best used in calm, clear waters where fish are likely to be feeding on the surface. They are often used in rivers and streams with a healthy population of aquatic insects.

Fish They Attract: Dry flies are particularly effective for catching trout and salmon, but can also be used for other species that feed on the water’s surface, such as grayling and panfish.


Wet Flies

Wet flies, as the name suggests, are designed to sink below the water’s surface. They can mimic a variety of underwater prey, from nymphs (immature aquatic insects) to small baitfish or crustaceans.

Best Uses: Wet flies can be used in a variety of fishing conditions, but are particularly effective in deeper waters or when fish are not feeding on the surface.

Fish They Attract: Wet flies are versatile and can be used to catch a wide range of fish species, including trout, bass, and panfish.



Nymphs are a specific type of wet fly that imitates the nymph stage of aquatic insects. These immature insects live underwater and are a major food source for many fish species.

Best Uses: Nymphs are best used in rivers and streams with a healthy population of aquatic insects. They can be fished at different depths, depending on where the fish are feeding.

Fish They Attract: Nymphs are particularly effective for catching trout and grayling, but can also be used for other species that feed on aquatic insects, such as bass and panfish.



Streamers are larger flies that imitate baitfish, leeches, or other larger underwater prey. They are often used when targeting larger fish species.

Best Uses: Streamers are best used in larger, deeper bodies of water where fish are likely to be feeding on larger prey. They can be particularly effective when fished in moving water, such as rivers or streams.

Fish They Attract: Streamers are effective for catching larger fish species, including trout, bass, pike, and salmon.



Terrestrial flies are designed to mimic non-aquatic insects or creatures that might end up in the water, like ants, beetles, or even mice.

Best Uses: Terrestrial flies are best used in the late summer when many non-aquatic insects end up in the water. They can be particularly effective along the banks of rivers or lakes.

Fish They Attract: Terrestrial flies can be used to catch a variety of fish species, including trout, bass, and panfish.


Last Words

In the vast and varied world of angling, understanding the different types of fishing lures is key to a successful fishing experience. Each lure, from plugs and spoons to jigs, soft plastics, and spinners, has its unique design and purpose, tailored to attract specific species in particular fishing conditions.

Choosing the right lure requires a deep understanding of the target species, their feeding habits, and the environment in which you’re fishing. It’s a blend of science, experience, and sometimes, a little bit of luck.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fishing lures. What is effective one day might not be the next, and what works for one species might not work for another. It’s this unpredictability and the thrill of the chase that makes fishing such a captivating pastime.

So, whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner just starting your fishing journey, take the time to understand the different types of fishing lures. Experiment with different styles, sizes, and colors. Learn from each fishing trip, and over time, you’ll develop an instinct for choosing the right lure for any given situation.

Ultimately, fishing is about more than just the catch. It’s about connecting with nature, learning about different fish species and their habitats, and continually improving your skills. And with the right lure, you’ll be well on your way to creating memorable fishing experiences. Happy fishing!

You may also like our related article about lures-

Fishing with a Chatterbait

Rod For Swimbaits

Night Fishing Lures for Bass

Tuna Fishing Lures

How to Fish a Shaky Head

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top