Getting to Know Basic Fishing Lures and Tips to Consider When Choosing One

Fishing is a fantastic hobby that combines nature’s serenity with the catch’s thrill. Understanding fishing lures is crucial whether you’re just starting or an intermediate angler looking to up your game. Fishing lures are bait substitutes designed to attract fish by mimicking their natural prey. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, each with a specific purpose and ideal conditions for use.

Get To Know These Lures


Jigs are probably the most versatile fishing lures in your tackle box. They consist of a weighted lead head and a hook molded into it, with a body made of animal hair, rubber, or soft plastic. You can adjust the jigging action (how the lure moves in the water) by changing the speed and rhythm of your rod tip movement.


Spinnerbaits are unique-looking lures with a safety-pin-like wire attached to a lead head body. When the lure is retrieved, one or more blades spin around this wire, creating vibrations and flashes that mimic small fish or other prey. These lures are great for covering large amounts of water quickly.

Soft Plastic Baits

Soft plastic baits are designed to imitate worms, crawfish, lizards, and other creatures. They’re versatile and very effective. The soft body of the lure mimics the feel of real prey when a fish bites, which can help convince the fish to hold on longer, giving you more time to set the hook.


Spoons are curved, shiny metal pieces that wobble when dragged through the water, mimicking an injured baitfish. They’re simple, easy to use, and effective, making them an excellent choice for beginners.

Plugs or Crankbaits

These lures look like small fish or other creatures that larger fish prey on. They’re typically made of plastic or wood and come in various sizes and shapes. Plugs are perfect for beginners because they’re easy to use. Simply cast it out and reel it back in at a steady pace. The lure does the rest, wiggling and diving to mimic a small, injured fish.

Matching Lures to Conditions

A crucial part of successful fishing is matching your lure to the conditions. Consider factors like water clarity, temperature, depth, and the type of fish you’re targeting.

  • Water Clarity: In clear water, go for lures that closely mimic natural prey in size, shape, and color. In murkier water, switch to lures that create more vibration and flash.
  • Temperature: Fish are cold-blooded, so water temperature can affect their behavior. In colder water, slow your retrieve and choose lures that operate deeper. In warmer water, fish are more active, so faster, more aggressive lures can work well.
  • Depth: The depth at which you’re fishing can significantly influence your lure choice. Topwater lures are great for shallow water, while jigs and deep-diving crankbaits are better for deeper water.

Understanding Fish Behavior

Before you can master fishing lures, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of fish behavior. Fish are attracted to lures that mimic their natural prey, so think about what the fish in your chosen location might be feeding on.

  • Season: The time of year can significantly impact fish behavior and the type of prey available. For example, in the spring, fish often feed on smaller prey so that smaller lures can be more effective. In the fall, many fish feed aggressively to prepare for winter, making larger, more aggressive lures a good choice.
  • Time of Day: Fish behavior can also change throughout the day. Many species are most active during dawn and dusk, known as the ‘magic hours’ for fishing. During these times, topwater lures can be particularly effective as fish come closer to the surface to feed.
  • Location: The type of water body you’re fishing in (lake, river, ocean, etc.) can also influence fish behavior and, therefore, your lure choice. Research the species common in your location and their preferred prey.

Caring for Your Fishing Lures

Proper care and maintenance of your fishing lures can extend their lifespan and effectiveness. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Cleaning: After each fishing trip, rinse your lures with fresh water to remove any salt, dirt, or debris. This prevents corrosion and keeps your lures looking their best.
  • Drying: Before storing your lures, ensure they’re completely dry to prevent rust.
  • Storage: Store your lures in a tackle box with individual compartments. Keeping your lures organized prevents them from banging together and causing damage.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any skill, mastering fishing lures takes practice. Spend time experimenting with different types of lures and retrieval techniques. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, and don’t be afraid to switch things up if a particular lure or technique isn’t working. Remember, fishing is supposed to be fun, so enjoy the process!

Final Thoughts

While there’s plenty to learn about fishing lures, don’t let the information overwhelm you. Start with a few basic lures, get out there, and start fishing. As you gain experience and confidence, you can expand your lure collection and try new techniques. Happy fishing!

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