Complete Fishing Lure Guide – Crankbait, Jerkbait, Spinnerbait, Spoons, and Jigs 
It can be confusing when looking through your local tackle store at the thousands on thousands of different types of fishing lures. Different shapes and designs, some with bibs and some bibless, different colors, depths, hooks, and motions.
Thankfully you can narrow down these thousands of options into a few simple categories. This will help you to identify which type of lure you should be looking for and then selecting a few different sizes and colors that you can change during your fishing adventure depending on what the fish are looking for.
I have put together this overview of the most popular types of fishing lures available and how they work, when they should be used, and an example of the best seller product available at the moment.
Table of Contents
Crankbaits are one of the most simple and popular fishing lures in North America. They are named Crankbaits because of the way you use them – just crank your reel. The lures are designed to move through the water in a specific way at a specific depth at a normal retrieval speed.
The only thing you may want to adjust is how fast your retrieve your lure – just place it in the water at the surface and retrieve it until you see it begin to dive and move in a motion that would attract fish.
Most crankbaits are hard body lures with a bib on the nose to control their depth. The depth that you select will depend on the species of fish you are targetting and the location – for example if you are fishing in a shallow lake then you won’t want a deep diving lure.
Target Species – Almost all fish species
How to Use – Retrieve your crankbait in a slow and steady motion to the target depth
- Tournament-winning bass lure
- Reliable durability
- Kick-out paddle reduces hang ups
Jerkbaits are more suited to retrieving fast for a few seconds and then stopping for a few seconds – hence a jerking motion.
Jerkbaits often don’t have a nose bib to control their depth and will sink on casting. So to control the depth you have give a few seconds for it to sink before you start retrieving it.
Jerkbaits come in a variety of materials from a hard body to a soft plastic. They are extremely versatile and will suit most water conditions and fish species.
Target Species – Almost all fish species
How to Use – Retrieve in a stop/go motion, allowing the jerkbait to sink in between
- Minnow Fishing Lures - Widely targeting at predator fishes such as catfish, perch, bass, redfish, trout, bream, muskie, roach, walleye etc for both freshwater and saltwater.
- Simulated body - 3D Life like eyes with Fish-attracting laser printed body provides excellent appearance of fishing lures.Simulate the swimming style of a real fish.
- Rings and hooks - With double flat strong rings and #2 high carbon steel treble hooks offers continuous metal flash and special vibration to attract fishes. Stainless steel BBs inside lures’ Chamber...
Spinnerbaits have a spinning body that creates a fast moving motion when retrieved. This gives off a noise and motion that attracts nearby fish.
Target Species – Spinnerbaits are primarily used for predatory fish such as bass, pike, and perch.
How to Use – You need to test your retrieve speed to make sure the spinnerbait stays at the correct depth with its proper motion. Too fast and you can pull the lure out of the water, too slow and it won’t move enough to attract fish.
- Each Spinnerbait Weight:17.5g/0.62oz.Length:3.15"-4.72"Diving Depth: Whole swimming layer.
- Comes with a high Carbon Steel Razor Sharp Treble Hooks(4#),Great for Bass, Trout, Walleye, Northern Pike and Salmon.
- Most anglers retrieve spinnerbaits shallow, these lures can be very effective when crawled across the bottom, and fished in a slow , deep, lift and drop manner
Spoon lures consist of a metal weed guard around a hook. The guard gives the spoon a spinning motion through the water and gives off a lot of reflective light that attracts predatory fish.
The movement of the spoon is based on it’s shape and thickness, so get a few different sizes to give you enough flexibility to adjust depending on what the fish are biting.
Target Species – Spoon lures work best for predator fish like pike, bass, muskies, walleye, salmon, and trout.
How to Use – Retrieve your spoon in a slow and constant motion
- STREAMLINED SHAPE:Fishing spoons lures are easy to cast great distances.With streamlined shape lends spoons lures to a quicker retrieve.Can be used for trolling, cast spinning and jigging.
- ATTRACTIVE LUMINOUS SPOONS: Casting spoon fishing lures come with luminous coating,Highly visible which create brilliant flash to attract more fishesSpoons with Bucktail
- RAPID DIVING ACTION:We've upped the action and increased the appeal of casting spoons by dressing the rear treble hook with red flipper. Not only does the red heart add color to this spoon lures, but...
Soft plastic lures are similar to jigs. They consist of a plastic body over the top of a weighted body with a hook protruding from it. The hooks often protude upwards which gives it better protection from structure and weed on the bottom.
Soft plastics have gained popularity and are always coming out with new shapes and sizes.
You can also get soft plastic lures in the shape of frogs, mice, and almost any other type of bait that you can imagine. One of the most famous soft plastic lures is the Berkley Gulp!
Target Species – Soft plastic lures can be used for almost all fish species.
How to Use – retrieve the soft plastic in a stop/go motion and allow it to sink in between to reach the target depth.
- Versatile lure that catches bass whether they're feeding or not
- Soft plastic bait presents a very subtle life-like action that even highly pressured fish can't resist
- Unique hook slot that provides better hook-ups
Fly Fishing Flies
When fly fishing, anglers use flies to mimic the insects and bugs that are native to the area. This means you need to be looking and aware of the size, shape, and color of your local bugs. The closer you can mimic the food of your target fish, whether it is salmon or trout, the more success you will have.
Fly fisherman often but in hours of work creating the perfect fly. My advice is to make sure you have enough variety so that even if your fish few don’t work you can change and still have a succesful fishing trip.
Target Species – Trout and Salmon
How to Use – Cast your fly onto the surface in your target spot and leave it to float for a few seconds before casting again.
- Anglers can never have too many flies. FISHINGSIR large selection of flies includes trusted patterns (such as Adams, Woolly Bugger, Elk Hair Caddis, Griffith's Gnat, Stimulator, Egg Fly, etc.) used by...
- Created by fly-fishing professionals and 100% handmade produced, these flies are exactly what you need to bring large trout, picky and high-pressured fish to surface. Our flies come in a variety of...
- FISHINGSIR offer 4 different types of flies sets: MUST-HAVE SERIES: 64PCS/Box, 100PCS/Box and 120PCS/Box; CLASSIC SERIES: 110PCS/Box. All sets come with tough ABS plastic made fly box with amazing...
A jig normally consists of a sinker with a hook attached and covered in a soft plastic. This gives the lure a particularly useful motion as the head moves up and down in the water and the hook/body follows it just like a real fish would.
Jigs have grown in popularity over the last decade due to their variety of shapes and colors. You can truly get a fishing jig that suits all purposes.
You can jig from all locations including a boat, beach, shore, river, or lake. The depth is set by how long you let the lure sink before beginning your retrieve.
Target Species – Almost all fish species will strike a jig similar to a jerkbait or soft plastic.
How to Use – You would normally retrieve it in a similar stop-go motion to that of a jerkbait.
- You will get: the package includes 15 pieces of fishing jig head hooks with 1 piece of plastic box; There are different colors for you to choose from; Sufficient quantity for your daily use and...
- Portable size: the size of the plastic box is 13 x 6.3 x 2.5 cm/5.12 x 2.48 x 1 inches; The box is divided into 5 parts in order to separate fishing hooks with different colors; The box is portable to...
- Good design jig heads: these fishing jig heads are designed with big bright eyes and a leaf blade, the leaf blade spinning in the water and providing a lot of bright flash, which can attract more...
As the same suggests, squid jigs are design to catch squid. They don’t have a regular fishing hook, but a series of upwards facing prongs. These get caught in the squids tentacles when it grabs on – which means you have to retrieve your lure in a constant motion so the squid can’t let go and swim away.
Squid jigs often resemble prawn or shrimp in size, shape, and color. But select a design that mimics the bait of your local squids.
Pick a number of different colors and sizes before you head out after squid.
Target Species – Squid
How to Use – Retrieve your lure in a slow and constant motion
- Needle Sharp Stainless Steel Squid Hooks
- Luminous Tail, Bright Color to Attact Big Fishes
- Ideal for Squid Fishing.
Also known as surface lures, topwater lures do exactly as you expect – they stay on the surface.
This is particularly useful for fish that eat insects or bugs like bass as it can mimic the local insect population.
Topwater lures are also great to use where there is thick underwater vegetation like a weed bed or sea grass. You can often get surface lures where the hook is pressed upwards against the body of the lure which prevents it from getting covered in weed.
Target Species – Predatory fish like bass, redfish, and tarpon.
How to Use – Retrieve in a fast constant motion or with a stop/go motion to give time for the fish to strike.
- HOOK DESIGN: 3 super-sharp hooks, especially important for scholing striper and other hard-charging species; Fish don't simply hit the Super Spook. They attack it
- VERSITILE LURE: Super-stout hardware system, from line ties to hooks, all designed to stand up to the most voracious species
- STRONG AND DURABLE MATERIAL: Features tough construction and good looks for explosive results
Skirted Trolling Lures
Skirted Trolling Lures are design to be pulled behind your boat at fairly high speeds when chasing big gamefish like sailfish, tuna or marlin. A lot of modern skirts where developed in Hawaii chasing blue marlin and yellowfin tuna.
The wriggle of the skirts around the bullet shaped head gives off a lot of motion that attracts predator fish from a distance.
My one recommendation when chasing big gamefish – don’t go for the cheapest option. When you are spending all day trying to catch one fish then that last thing you want to do is lose it due to a poor quality hook.
Pick quality every time.
Target Species – Saltwater fish like tuna, sailfish, and marlin
How to Use – Troll behind your boat at a constant speed – often used with teasers.
- lure Size: 6.5 inch ( about 17cm) . 6 popular colors.
- Package: 6 pcs Mixed colour lure/bag. Six colors on the picture.
- Hook: 7/0 high carbon steel hook
That brings us to the end of our overview on fishing lures. I have personally had succesful with all of these types listed above. For the most success you really need to understand what fish species you are targeting, the depth you want to place your lure, and the size you need – both big and small fish can strike a small lure, but only a big fish can strike a big lure.
There are plenty of other resources online if you want some more information about types of fishing lures.
If you have any other types of lures or particular lures that you recommend then please leave a comment below. We love to hear from our readers and learn from their wisdom and experience.
Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API