7 Essential Saltwater Fishing Lures That Catch Fish Pretty Much Anywhere

By: Joseph Simonds on October 6, 2015
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7 essential fishing lures

It’s fishing lure time!

Would you like to know the only 7 saltwater fishing lures you would need to take with you to catch fish pretty much anywhere in the world?

The great news is they do exist…

And the even greater news is you probably have a couple of them in your tackle box already…

So if you are traveling and want a simplified tackle box that is almost guaranteed to get you some strikes almost anywhere you can go saltwater fishing in the world (without having to haul along your entire garage full of tackle), here are the 7 fishing lures that you need to bring along.

Note: learn about the best day to go fishing here.

Where Will These 7 Saltwater Fishing Lures Work?

7 essential saltwater fishing lures

Anywhere there is saltwater!

I have personally been saltwater fishing in over 10 countries, and I have seen many of these same lures below catch all kinds of species of saltwater fish.

And believe me, at least one of these seven saltwater fishing lures below will work on any and all of the 7 continents:

  • North America
  • South America
  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Australia / New Zealand
  • Even Antartica!

Freshwater Bonus:

Most of these 7 saltwater lures could also help you catch fish in most freshwater lakes and large freshwater bodies in the world, especially for fish such as largemouth bass or pike.

7 Essential Saltwater Fishing Lures

(that will work pretty much anywhere in the world)

1. Paddletail Soft Plastic

soft plastic paddletail

The paddletail soft plastic is undoubtedly the most versatile of all lures saltwater fishing. These lures can draw strikes from pretty much all predator fish that eat smaller baitfish.

And their soft tail that generates great motion when retrieved through the water enables this lure to get strikes even with a straight retrieve.

But the reason why it ranks in the top spot is because these lures can effectively cover so many different depth levels…

When rigged on a jig head as shown in the picture above, this lure can cover water in as shallow as just 10 inches with a tip-up fast retrieve, but the next cast can target depths of 5+ feet by putting the rod tip down and slowing down the retrieve.

Our favorite paddletail is the new Slam Shady we recently created.

It’s got gold and silver flecks for extra flash, plus has great fish-attracting action.

Click here to try out a pack of Slam Shady paddletails for free.

2. Gold Spoon

gold spoon fishing lure for saltwater fishing

The gold spoon is a staple in more inshore saltwater fisherman’s tackle boxes across the globe than any other fishing lure.

As you probably know, the “spoon” now comes in all sorts of shapes, colors (like the second most popular spoon, the Silver Spoon), weedless spoons, single hook spoons, treble hook spoons, etc.

And although there is no one spoon that will always work better than all spoons, it’s tough to wrong with the traditional gold spoon that has been known to attract hits from countless types of saltwater species.

The type of gold spoon that we have used the most is this Johnson Spoon, and you can find them at some of their lowest prices here online.

3. Berkley Gulp Shrimp

essential saltwater fishing lures

There aren’t many saltwater game fish that won’t eat a shrimp…

And the best overall artificial shrimp that we have ever used is the Berkley Gulp Alive Shrimp.

You can use these shrimp in just about any situation from fishing the grass flats to jigging in deeper water.

Now these “Gulp! Alive!” shrimp come in a bunch of different colors, but the best two that we have found for consistent bites among most saltwater fish are the white shrimp and the “New Penny” color (above).

Get these Gulp shrimp from our online tackle store here.

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4. White Bucktail

essential saltwater fishing lures

These days, bucktail jigs come in all kinds of crazy colors and crazy flairs!

But I recall the days of fishing down in Marco Island as a kid where all we needed for a fun afternoon of fishing was a Millies White Bucktail…

We would catch snook, redfish, speckled trout, and even tarpon all using the exact same white bucktail…

The great news is that these white bucktails still work like magic today.

Another option with these white bucktails is to add some flair (like the “Silver Flashabou” found in this bucktail video), or you can add a plastic tail that trails off the hook.

In regards to getting your hands on the best bucktail deal, you have two options:

  1. Buy them. Here are some prices for some of the best white bucktails online.
  2. Make them yourself at home. Here is the step-by-step tutorial video on how to make bucktails like a pro.

5.  Topwater Lure / Popper

essential saltwater fishing lures

It doesn’t get much better than a fish attacking a topwater lure…

And although there is what now seems like an endless amount of topwater lures to choose from, you can’t go wrong with the original Zara Spook topwater plug by Heddon.

We recommend either their 4.5 – 5 inch Spook topwater lure, and if you had to only pick one color, the Bone (white) is always a safe bet.

The other topwater lure that is tough to ignore (but pretty expensive) is the Yo-Zuri Sashimi Metallic Sardine Popper that can catch big game fish pretty much anywhere in the world.

These poppers are always a blast to fish with.

essential saltwater fishing lures

Here is the 5-inch bone Zara Spook at one of it’s lowest prices online.

And here is the Yo-Zuri Sashimi Popper online.

6. Soft Plastic Fluke (Jerkbait)

essential saltwater fishing lures

Freshwater, Saltwater, Brackishwater… the Fluke can attract a fish strike almost anywhere!

In fact, the fluke is probably one of the best overall artificial lures for both freshwater and saltwater fishing (and the company Zoom Bait does make them for both freshwater and saltwater anglers).

You can fish these flukes weedless, you can fish them close to the top, or even put a weighted hook on and fish them a bit lower. They are incredibly versatile lures.

Just a warning, Zoom has these Super Flukes is just about every color imaginable (over 25 of them), but you can’t go wrong with any of the “Watermelon” colors or the “White Pearl”.

Click here to see how to rig a Super Fluke

Here is a 5-pack of the White Pearl Zoom Salty Super Flukes online for under $4.

7. MirrOLure Suspending Twitchbait

essential saltwater fishing lures

If I were only able to bring one twitchbait with me, it would be this MirrOLure suspending twitchbait.

These twitchbaits are ideal to have because they are designed to mimic a glass minnow which is one of the most favorite natural baitfish for cruising coastal predator game fish.

These twitchbaits are very versatile as you can fish them many different ways and in a variety of water depths.

And just like all of the essential saltwater fishing lures on this list, these MirrOLures come in a vast variety of shapes and colors.

Here is the exact same black top with silver bottom MirrOlure twitchbait online.

Conclusion

essential saltwater fishing lures

You don’t need a tackle box full of hundreds of lures to catch saltwater fish around the globe…

And if you are ever going to be saltwater fishing in an area that you aren’t familiar with (anywhere in the world), these are the 7 saltwater fishing lures that you want to have in your tackle box.

Will all seven of them work all the time… everywhere in the world?

Of course not.

But more often than not, at least one of these essential saltwater fishing lures will be able to create strikes for you pretty much anywhere.

So what do you think?

Did I leave any essential lures off?

Let me know in the comment section.

And if you want to get 20% off of these lures in our online tackle store for LIFE, click here to join us in the Insider Club!

In addition to 20% off forever, you’ll also get our best fishing tips and spots.

P.S. – If you think your angler friends would like this, please Tag them or Share this with them. It would mean a lot to me.

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fisherman
fisherman
2 months ago

gold works great, gold hammered works best

Dixon Allen (DJ)
Dixon Allen (DJ)
5 months ago

Check out Slayer Inc. Paddle tails. They make an xxl size now too. And they are made in Jacksonville Florida.

Ty Steinebach
Ty Steinebach
4 months ago

How about ty gys flexible lures…in line spinners…plus a Montana Sasquatch…..go to ty steinebach FB and get on ty gys fishing adventures…..please check out these baits and get back to me so we know what to bring to the Fred Hall Show in Del Mar…..thank you…..

Francis Castillo
1 year ago

I’ve found Berkley Gulp shrimp and curly tails have been working on a VMC 1/8 and 1/4 oz jig in Homosassa and Crystal River the best.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

I have caught more fish on MirrOlures both hard and soft plastic than any other artificial baits. Of course live bait is the best way to fish.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Acme kastmaster and, perhaps, black long A Bomber.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Wade fish and use suspension 95% of the time

Charles Roberds
1 year ago

I own them all and have caught fish on everything listed. Not the same manufacturer of hard baits but the same none the less

Mark
Mark
1 year ago

Seems you covered most types of lures but we all use some different manufacturers depending on where you live and fish for. We fish the Mississippi and Louisiana marsh and barrier islands for speckled trout, flounder and catch plenty reds getting in the middle of the action along with many other types of fish we don’t eat. Early morning topwater then switch to plastics and twitch type baits. One plastic that has been taking over around here is the Matrix Shad. The Green Hornet is always a favorite.

Eric Luvaas
Eric Luvaas
1 year ago

It was nice to see Millie’s Bucktails mentioned in the article ! Been around since the ’50s. I bought the company back in 2002 and re-named it Angler’s Ammo shortly after. I still have all of Millie’s molds. A white bucktail is a lure that can catch just about any fish anywhere.

Doug
Doug
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Luvaas

That’s really cool, those old Millies are my favorite!

Dan Friberg
1 year ago

So what do you guys do when you get tired of casting ,kick back and live or dead bait ? And what kind of cast nets do you all like ?

Drew Smith
Drew Smith
1 year ago

Yo-Zuri 3D Prism Type F Silver/Black or Readhead catches bass, all day, as well as snook and other salt water fish.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago
Reply to  Drew Smith

I also use that same model and catch 5 pound bass in freshwater too.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

What a bout the gatcha lure

Adrian
Adrian
2 years ago

Do flukes work?

Stolarski
Stolarski
2 years ago

I think you pretty much covered what I have been using and catching fish with for many years. For whatever reason, when fish are not hitting these baits I will switch to blood worms or cut bait. Up here in the northeast, those baits will usually outfish artificials but require little if any presentation and are not as much fun…fishing vs. bait soaking.

STU
STU
2 years ago

Hmmm Daiwa SP minnow must be a secret

Ed. Clark
Ed. Clark
2 years ago

Has Anyone ever heard of a bait bomb ? It opens up when it hits the water to expose the bait.

dennis Aust
2 years ago

You left out the deceiver and clouser minnow.

Keith Donald
2 years ago

I’ve found the Paddle Tail to be an essential staple in my tackle box, especially for moving water/current in daytime conditions. I also find it effective when jigging or dead sticking on the bottom. I’ve tried DOA, Slayer, and Matrix Shad brands, and prefer Matrix for the action even if they may not be the most durable (they’re also pretty affordable, you can order them in bulk from their website for something like 30 cents a bait).

My favorite bait for sight fishing is the MirroLure Lil John soft plastic stick bait, because its aerodynamic shape lends itself to exceptional casting distance and accuracy. I’ll use ProCure to add scent for added confidence, and prefer this method over Gulp, but as you say it’s mostly all in the presentation!

When I’m having difficulty finding wind protection, and/or there’s good tidal flow, I also like to tie on a scented Vudu Shrimp on a Popping Cork. I’ve found Mid Coast Product’s Outcast 4″ and 3″ corks provide exceptional casting distance for casting up current and working it back down, suspending the shrimp anywhere from 18″ to 36″ inches below.

Luke Atkins
3 years ago

I kill the redfish with a black bucktail jig at late evening and at night

Luke Atkins
3 years ago

where do you find yellow bucktail jigs for sale, I can only find white in 1/4 oz.

Jeremy Wolfe
2 years ago
Reply to  Luke Atkins

Tackle Direct sells yellow Magic Tail Bucktails online. Usually about $4 each and tons of different size/color options.
http://www.tackledirect.com/shop-magictail.html

Allan Horton
3 years ago

Great list – my only addition would be a yellow bucktail to go along with the white. Don’t know why, but I’ve found that sometimes when the white seems ineffective, the yellow just flat-out kills ’em – spotted weakfish (trout), snook, reds, etc. Used to tie my own, but they aren’t any better than store-bought and probably no cheaper!

Luke Atkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Allan Horton

where do you buy yellow bucktail jigs

Fisherman
Fisherman
3 years ago

Have used yo-zuri lures all around Florida and NC coast. They are deadly

Susan conner
Susan conner
3 years ago

Another must have is a GOTCHA PLUG…..rock fish tear em up!!!

IanK
IanK
3 years ago

White bucktail with a prok rind tail will usually get you something to eat.

Gregg P
3 years ago

Yes sir, you missed one for sure, never leave without at least one Bill Lewis RAT-L-TRAP. I find the gold chrome with a black back or silver chrome with a blue back catches a ton of fish. 1/2 or 5/8 ounce size is about right..

The Dude
The Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  Gregg P

No doubt rattle traps catch all species fresh and saltwater.

Stephanie
Stephanie
4 years ago

The Monkalur is one of the best keep secrets here along the NC coast over the past decade. It just works! I have been fishing with it for 5 years and love it.

Gregory Willard
Gregory Willard
4 years ago

It’s crazy that different types of lures work on many of the same fish. I really like the look of the white bucktail. I will have to ask my dad if he has ever been saltwater fishing, and what lures he used.

Jason
4 years ago

I have used the australian army ration pack spoon as a lure and have caught barramundi, saratoga, spanish mackeral, mangrove jack, G.T. , queenfish, cobia and school mackeral with it. Not many of each species, and this has been over the last 25 years. Always when the bite is on, it has a golden shine at first, but after a while it becomes a dull silver. Thats when it gets replaced with a new one

Jason
4 years ago

Have you tried the mighty bite bait yet? Are they any good?

Marc
Marc
4 years ago

Great list I would include the
Lure Jensen crocadile spoon on this list it has the best flutter action of any spoon I have used it and have caught fish with in the surf , trolling , cast and retrieve , as well as vertical
Jigging

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago
Reply to  Marc

I Agree

Chad
4 years ago

Great list, I think you just left one off the list… For me it is the H&H Cocahoe Minnow with a weighted jig head.

Phil Swan
1 year ago
Reply to  Chad

Cocahoes in white with chartreuse tail slays reds on the Texas Gulf Coast.

William
William
4 years ago

5 of the 7 lures are with me at all times, they are my go to lures when the fishing is slow. Truly an awesome list.

nate
nate
4 years ago

i dont travel far without. Ratltrap handy. Not only are they a blast to catch fish on the dual trebles really seem to hold up well against jack crevalle on the texas coast which break off my spook trebles everytime unless i refit them with some heavy stuff used for offshire jigs at the rigs.

Jude Hunt
4 years ago

I would love to see some info about how you rig and fish some of these.

jay
jay
4 years ago

great list. these are true essentials.

Gary
4 years ago

I swear by my Shimano waxwing lures. They have worked for me in South Africa, Australia ,NZ and Croatia.