Best Saltwater Lures for Every Situation: Gear Up for Pier, Surf, Inshore, and Deep Sea
Saltwater fishing is a great way to catch fish of all kinds.
You’re not the only one who is unsure which lures work best. This is a common question that we receive a lot. It’s time to find the definitive answer.
Below are reviews of our top saltwater lures. They are grouped by type of fishing.
Here is a quick overview of the products that we recommend.
Best Saltwater Lures for Pier Fishing
- Sea Striker’s Surf Spoon
- Mepps #5 Inline Spinners
- Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Flopper
- Capt. Jay’s Fishing Bucktail Jig
- Croft Enterprises Bucktail Jig 3-pack
Best Saltwater Lures for Surf Fishing
- Last Cast Tackle’s chrome diamond jig
- Acme’s Little Cleo Spoons
- Acme’s Kastmaster Spoon
- Strike King’s Rage Swimmer
- Rapala XRap
Best Saltwater Lures to Inshore Saltwater Fishing
- Split-Tail Minnow by Beoccudo Fishing
- Berkley Gulp! Berkley Gulp!
- Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Pencil
- Zara Spook by Heddon
- Magnum Force Rat-L-Trap
- Johnson’s Silver Minnow Spoon
Deep-Sea Fishing Lures:
- DAMIDEL Simulation Squid Fishing lure
- Vertical saltwater jigs by Goture Tuna Lures
- Bost #39 Wahoo Witch
- Bost #36 San Sal
- Mold Craft’s Super Chugger
- Bimini Lures’ 9-inch Rigged Chugger
- AMYSPORTS Saltwater Swivel Bullet Sinkers
- Mustad 9/0 J hook
- Alwonder Stainless steel Split Rings
Best Saltwater Lures for Pier Fishing
Sea Striker’s Surf spoon is a great choice for anglers who fish from a pier. The heavier of the two sizes are 3/4 ounces. It casts like a dream.
With reflective tape, the Sea Striker raises the flash ante with its addition.
This lure’s magic is a deadly combination of flash and wiggle. It works on all kinds of fish, from mackerel to jacks, regardless of whether it is used alone or behind a sinker.
Clarkspoon is another excellent spoon. Although it may not seem like much to someone who is used to freshwater, this spoon is a true legend. It weighs 3/8 ounces and is 3 inches long. This gives it plenty of weight to cast and lots of flashes.
Simple, sure. Yet, it is undoubtedly highly effective.
You want them to move quickly with either one of these spoons. Fish with teeth can swallow the lure and cut the leader if they are not careful.
I love in-line spinners for pier fishing because they combine ease of casting with lots of vibration and flash.
The Mepps is one of my favorite spinners. These little gems work equally well in saltwater as they do in freshwater.
These large in-line spinners from Mepps can kill aggressive species such as speckled trout.
These are the #5 sizes, each weighing 1/2 ounce. These are large enough to draw attention from hungry predators and the blades flash like lightning. The bullet-shaped bodies are bright enough to attract fish.
To prevent bit-offs, I prefer to use a strong leader. These spinners are loved by everyone from blues to kings. Lock-up is easy and quick when you have a large treble hook.
Topwater is an option for those who have difficulty getting to the pier, especially if the bottom is full of obstacles and hang-ups. A big popper is the best option for this situation in salt.
My first choice when I’m on the surface is a YoZuri 3D Inshore Popper.
This is a job that no fish can resist!
These 1/4-ounce YoZuri poppers measure 2 3/4 inches in length and are simply insane! The wide mouth allows for you to effectively walk your dog or pop and stop it.
Each color has a lot of iridescence, backed up with a flash of red on the lips. The paint job on these guys is simply amazing. My favorites are “Mullet”, “Silver Black”, but I would not hesitate to run any other color.
To top it all, every time this lure is hit, there’s a huge treble hooking waiting.
These poppers look great with a good loop knot or swing.
To get the best from these lures, I recommend using a loop knot such as the Kreh. You’ll also need strong leaders to stop bite-offs.
A good bucktail is an essential jig for pier fishing. The versatile and reliable bucktail jig is a great choice for saltwater fishing. It can be used for both deepwater fishings from long fishing piers or shallows fishing.
Capt. Jay’s Fishing has a variety of heavy options, which are great for deeper waters and stronger currents. These fish-headed jigs are available in sizes 1/2 -ounce, 1-1/2-ounce, and 2-ounce. They have a long skirt and a flash of color.
You can increase your chances of winning by sweetening a jig using shrimp or cut bait.
Croft Enterprises 3-pack is another option, especially for shallower waters where you need a lighter jig. These jigs are available in white, which is a great choice for pier fishing. They also come in a variety of weights that range from 1/4 ounce up to 2 ounces.
These lures are just right for triggering a reaction strike. The long skirt also creates great action in the water.
I love a strong leader for my jigs, especially if I run into something sharp!
Best Saltwater Lures for Surf Fishing
There is no surfcasting method that I know of better than the diamond-jig.
The diamond jig can be cast far enough and withstand strong currents and tides. It is heavy enough to catch almost every species that you will encounter from the shore.
Last Cast Tackle has the diamond jig that I prefer. The shiny metallic sides make these lures shine like mad and ring the dinner bell for all kinds of fish, from specks to reds, blues, to big croakers.
These diamond jigs are tipped with a hook that is equal to the weight of the lure. They come in two, four, and eight-ounce weights.
These lures can be attached to a length of tough leader with a loop knot, similar to the Kreh.
There are many good options for throwing from the sand. But I never leave the house without a few Acme Little Cleo spoons. The Little Cleo is as effective in saltwater as it is on lakes all across America. They have been catching large fish from shore since 1953.
There are many colors and patterns available, as well as sizes ranging from 1/16 to 1 1/2 ounces. I prefer big surfers.
They are a dream cast and can wiggle like mad on a loop knot or swivel, and you can count upon a sharp triple on the business end to do its job when it comes.
Acme also offers the Kastmaster spoon, another great option. This lure is a favorite choice for fishermen fishing from shore. Its legendary casting and action make it a popular lure.
The 2 1/4-inch, 3/8-ounce Kastmaster lure is a formidable lure. It’s a powerful lure that will attract fish and provide maximum distance. There are many options available, so you can find the one that is right for you and your fishing.
Although I love the neon-blue and chrome bucktail models, not all of them seem to work for me!
A good swimbait is undoubtedly one of the best options for stripers on the beach. You’ll typically use a jighead to add weight to your soft plastic. This allows for longer castings and gives you more options.
Strike King’s Rage Swimmer is one of my favorite models. I love both the 5 3/4-inch and 3 3/4-inch models. I also have several colors in my arsenal.
Don’t underestimate the power of a paddle tail in the surf.
These soft plastics have a lot of magic thanks to their ridges and their paddle tails. Although they may seem small, the tail generates tons of vibration and the paddle tails trap air bubbles which create bizarre shimmies when they drop through the water.
This gives me priority to two techniques.
These guys are my favorite to crank slowly, stopping and starting occasionally to trigger a reactive strike. I also enjoy working on sandy bottoms. I like to rip the lure from the sand and let it fall while I take in the slack.
Fish are triggered when there is falling action. I take in as much slack as possible to make sure that fish get a strike.
You don’t realize what you’re missing if you haven’t tried a crankbait on the beach!
It’s not unusual to be the only one – many crankbaits aren’t made for saltwater and aren’t built for deep diving and long casts.
The size 12 Rapala X-Rap lure is the perfect choice for fishing for mackerel and specks from the sand.
Rapala X-Rap is my favorite crankbait for casting.
You’ll get lots of hits regardless of the color you choose. Two sharp single hooks will make sure your hooksets take.
This crankbait’s big bill, along with its weight and balance, allows it to dive to 4 to 5 feet. It is the perfect depth for surf fishing crankbaits.
Do yourself a favor, and add this lure into your arsenal.
It’s so good, it’s amazing!
Best Saltwater Lures for Inshore Saltwater Fishing
Nearly everyone throws a paddle tail minnow in Louisiana’s salt marshes, where both the reds (and specks) run. They can do magic when you match the hatch, which is why they are so popular in Louisiana salt marshes.
Split-tail minnows from Beoccudo Fishing are a good choice when minnows serve as primary prey. These little guys measure in at 3 inches and swim like crazy, no matter if you use a jighead or a bare hook.
This is a look that fish can’t ignore!
Berkley Gulp is another perennial favorite! The Alive Minnow. The motor-oil color option looks just like real Gulf shrimp when the shrimp are running. It’s deadly!
This combo pack gives you many options. I love to have a few of them.
A good technique to use to get to the bottom of the water is to swim these guys at an irregular cadence. Another option is to lift your swimbait and grab slack so it can move across the sand, mud, or water. To prevent them from catching grass and weeds, you can rig them Texas-style.
Specks can’t resist!
Inshore fish are often associated with baitfish and nothing grabs their attention faster than an injured mullet.
Yo-Zuri 3D inshore pencil is one of my favorite lures. This stickbait measures four inches in length and features a bead-driven vibration, wriggling action, and iridescent shine. This Yo-Zuri is a great way to walk your dog.
Heddon’s Zaraspook is another top choice. The legendary 4 1/2-inch, 3/4-ounce stick bait is legendary. It has filled more coolers than any other lure for inshore anglers.
The Zara Spook can do anything, except spook fish!
It can cast like a dream and allows you to stand apart from productive areas without being spooked (see what I did?). Fish. There are many options for color and patterns.
My favorite? My favorite? White Red Head.
The Rat-L-Trap lure is so well-known that it became synonymous with the style. Inshore anglers love this lure. The Magnum Force series of lures, which weigh in at 1 ounce, is my favorite for the inshore. They rattle like an angry snake and rattle like a snake.
For inshore fishing, the Rat-L-Trap is a reliable and trusted tool.
Rat-L-Traps can cast well in any wind condition. However, their flash, wiggle, and vibration really make a difference when the water clarity is low.
Hungry stripers won’t stop, and in a few seasons, your favorite Rat-L-Trap may have the scars to prove it.
I like to stop my retrieve now and again, looking for a reactive strike. However, I will let the heavy lure drop into the deeper water column just like a jig-headed swimming bait. As you would expect, you will often be hit by the fall.
I don’t think there is an inshore angler that doesn’t use a weedless spoon. At least, everyone I’ve met uses one!
Johnson’s Silver Minnow Spoon is the most popular, according to my experience. It is designed to work and has a swaying action that flashes in a way other manufacturers would envy. You can chalk that up to the detail of the lure’s sweep, but it just works.
Inshore, weedless spoons such as the Johnson Silver Minnow are a great option.
Multiple sizes and colors are available. For salt, I prefer the larger sizes. I love the 2 3/4-inch and 3 3/4-inch options.
Deep-Sea Fishing Lures:
When you are working offshore, trolling big crankbaits is a common practice. This lure is useful for hunting submerged peaks, shallow trenches, or other attractive topography that could be used to attract pelagic species.
The DAMIDEL Simulation Fishing Lure is great for tuna and other squid-hungry species.
These crankbaits have a 5 1/2 inch squid body and a colorful, streaming skirt. They are perfect for trolling. They can dive deep with their big bills; the monster treble hooks keep them locked in place.
You can also add a plumb to make them go deeper. This will allow you to target specific species such as grouper over a reef.
A big vertical jig is the best when you are looking for a large snapper, grouper, or jack. The Vertical Saltwater Jigs by Goture Tuna Lures are excellent. These jigs are loved by tuna!
These jigs are 6 1/2 inches in length and weigh 2 1/4 ounces. They work great for yo-yo jumping.
Nearly everything has been seen on these. This is due in large part to the bright, UV-reflecting paint jobs that shine and flash like scales. These paints also have a fluorescent strip that glows in the dark, which works extremely well at night.
These can really work miracles!
Let me warn you, a large tuna can hit these jigs. The hook included in the package may not be up to the job. If this is the action you are looking for, I suggest spooling some heavy mono and changing the hook to a 9/0 J-hook. You should also swap the split rings out for a stronger, heavier option.
This will give you a tuna jig with a solid foundation that can take on the largest, most dangerous fish!
Wahoos are like Mac trucks and will destroy lures the instant they strike – unless they have a Bost #39 Witch at the end of your line!
Are you paying too much? Yes. Is it effective? Ask the winners of every tournament!
These lures are made from almost indestructible resin and have a fluffy skirt that attracts lots of attention. The skirt and colors of the Wahoo are loved by all species, including Mahi, Tuna, King Mackerel, and Sailfish.
The only thing you should worry about after wahoo savage is to replace the skirts!
Bost #36 San Sal is another good option. It has a conical nose, trailing skirt, and a long, conical nose. This lure measures 13 inches and is ideal for trolling at 6-16 knots. It’s also trusted by amateurs and pros alike.
Bost’s team is most likely responsible for more trophy wahoo than any other option. So if this is what you are after, don’t hesitate to get in touch with them.
The classic chugger is an excellent off-shore staple. It can be eaten by almost any fish, including marlin, tuna, sailfish, or wahoo.
Mold Craft’s Super Chugger is one of my favorite trolling options. It has a long, full-length skirt that big marlins love.
Bimini Lures is another well-respected option. Bimini Lures’ chugger can be used for anything, from tuna to sailfish, to Mahi-mahi. It measures 9 inches and has enough skirt to attract strikes.
These chuggers have bright colors, iridescent heads, and long skirts that attract sight predators such as tuna and Mahi Mahi. The concave head shape gives the chugger its nickname and creates enough vibration to call large fish from deep.