How to Buy Fishing Lures

Successful fishermen consistently choose lures that produce high strike rates. Depending on the fish they're targeting, anglers must consider a variety of factors before tying artificial bait on their lines. Size, color and action of the bait are important considerations, particularly when taken in conjunction with water temperature, time or year, and the depth and cover being fished. If you want to know how to buy fishing lures, follow these guidelines.


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    Select lures designed for the fish you most often pursue. Bass is perhaps the most popular freshwater game fish in North America. They're indiscriminate eaters, making them susceptible to a wide range of artificial baits. But certain lures, when presented properly at appropriate depths at specific times of the year, have demonstrated success with bass over generations. At least 1 of each type should be in your tackle box every time you fish.
    • Plastic worms: Bass fishermen generally agree that the plastic worm is the top soft bait in their tackle box. Plastic worms can be virtually any color, and range in size from 3 inches (7.6 cm) to 10 inches (25.4 cm). While their consistency in landing fish is undeniable, their effectiveness is limited to certain circumstances. They shouldn't be used in deep water or in water colder than 60 degrees (16 degrees Celsius), or when bass are most active.
    • Jigs: Jigs are difficult lures to use because they are fished along lake and river bottoms, making them susceptible to getting caught up on underwater obstacles. They also require a slow, flipping retrieve that replicates the movement of crawfish. Buy a light-colored jig for use on sunny days and a dark one for stained water. Prefer jigs slightly less than a half-ounce.
    • Crankbaits: These lures are perhaps the most versatile when pursuing largemouth bass. Crankbaits can be fished at any depth, but because their effectiveness depends largely on their action, they're best when used by advanced anglers. Cranks are cast-and-retrieve lures, enabling the angler to fish large areas quickly. A crankbait is a good choice for the first few casts of the day.
    • Spinnerbaits: The safety-pin design of spinnerbaits keeps them from getting hung up on the heavy ´┐Żover areas where bass lurk. "Silent" lures, spinnerbaits are effective in catching large fish that aren't easily stirred. Be sure to have a spinnerbait that resembles baitfish for shallow water. Brightly colored lures do better in deep, cloudy water.
    • Poppers: Lures that run or pop on the surface of the water can be effective when targeting bass. Color is important when choosing poppers and chuggers. Use colors that will stand out against the sky, making it easier for the surfacing fish to attack the bait.
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    Build a comprehensive array of lures. A variety of factors can affect the behavior of fish, so anglers must be able to adapt to increase their strike rate. Many times, a subtle change in bait can turn an unsuccessful day of fishing into one with a lot of strikes. For example,replacing a fluorescent spinnerbait with a subdued tone can sometimes improve results, particularly in clear, shallow water. When choosing a lure, consider the following qualities:
    • Color: Brighter colors (e.g., fluorescent spinnerbaits and purple, watermelon and red flake soft worms) are preferred in stained water. Select natural, translucent complements for shallower water.
    • Cover: Perhaps the most crucial factor in bass fishing is selecting lures that perform best around cover. Bass linger in grasses, submerged cover like stumps, and natural drop-offs along lake and river bottoms. When deciding to fish dense cover, be sure to choose a lure that is natural prey in that area. Crankbaits are best avoided in these situations.
    • Size and weight: Generally, larger lures are better in murky water. Heavier lures are ideal for deeper water and along firm structures. Crankbaits, in particular, can land big bass when they're fished properly. These heavy lures are often hit soon after they bump off obstacles.
    • Action: Bass are sight feeders. In clear water, tailed plastic worms are attention-getters. This type will complement your more lifelike plastic worms. Surface lures that produce a wake attract the attention of bass, too. In general, work spinnerbaits and crankbaits slowly when fish are lethargic; faster and more naturally when bass seem aggressive.
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    Talk to local fishermen.
    • Make a visit to your local bait shop part of your routine on days you fish. They'll be able to tell you which fish have been actively recently and what type of lures are producing the best results.
    • Bring some cash in case you don't have the lure that's hitting already in your tackle box. Top fishermen adapt to the habits of the fish they're trying to catch; they don't force their will on their quarry.


  • If you plan on pursuing widely different varieties of fish, you may need entirely separate sets of tackle. Obviously, freshwater tackle shouldn't be used for saltwater fish, and vice versa. But the size of the fish you're pursuing also must be taken into consideration.
  • Most of the basic concepts in buying lures for bass can be applied to other game fish. But certain other varieties require specialized artificial baits. Trout, for example, is best fished using fly rigging. Large, fast-moving lures are best for deep-sea trophy fishing. But as with bass fishing, an array of lures is vital to account for changing conditions.

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Categories: Fishing