Swimbait, Crankbait, Jerkbait, & Twitchbait (What’s The Difference?)


Have you ever wondered what the best lure is for catching inshore fish in each season?

There are so many different options to choose from, such as swimbait, paddletail, crankbait, jerkbait, stickbait, twitchbait, or slashbait.

All of these different names for fishing lures can get confusing, so in this episode, we’re breaking down what the difference is between each lure, when to use them, and how to retrieve them.

You can watch the video version of this podcast below (which I highly recommend for this one), listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

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Best Artificial Lures [VIDEO]

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Best Artificial Lures [PODCAST]

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Here’s a timestamped table of contents:

  • 1:08 – What is a swimbait?
  • 1:56 – What is a paddletail?
  • 2:27 – What is a crankbait?
  • 7:14 – What is a jerkbait?
  • 7:43 – The difference between a slashbait and a jerkbait
  • 8:42 – Design of a jerkbait (dart vs. split tail)
  • 10:40 – Split tail action under the water
  • 13:10 – Pay attention to this when rigging jerkbaits
  • 14:35 – Depths of water to use a jerkbait
  • 15:37 – Interchangeable names for artificial lures
  • 16:03 – Jerkbait = stickbait
  • 17:10 – What is a twitchbait?
  • 19:18 – Scenarios to use a twitchbait
  • 22:48 – Time of year to use a twitchbait
  • 24:01 – What is a plug?
  • 24:37 – Suspending vs. not suspending
  • 26:16 – How and when to use the twitchbait
  • 29:58 – Twitch, twitch, pause recipe
  • 32:52 – When and how to use a stickbait
  • 35:04 – Ways to adjust a jerkbait for all scenarios
  • 36:52 – Let the species determine the retrieve
  • 38:17 – When and how to use a crankbait
  • 43:16 – When and how to use a swimbait
  • 46:18 – The one lure that will allow you to cover tons of water
  • 48:32 – Most universal lure to throw
  • 50:23 – Breaking news!

Here are some examples of the lures we discussed:







artificial lures vs live bait

With so many options for artificial fishing lures, it can be quite confusing on what to use in various situations.

Knowing what lure to use, when to use it, how to use it, and when to change it up are all factors that play a role in your success on the water.

What is your favorite type of artificial lure to use?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who wants to learn more about the differences in artificial lures, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Xavier Muniz
2 years ago

Awesome content! Did I miss the Heddon Super Spook Jr in the conversation? It seemed like top water was mentioned when describing types of lures and nomenclature, however the how/when wasn’t fully explained (or I missed it).

P.S. The original Mortal Kombat blood code was A-B-A-C-A-B-B (Sega Genesis version), and I was waiting for one of ya to throw that out LOL.

Art Heiter
2 years ago

You five are pure GOLD!

Rick Farinella
2 years ago

Great discussion on all the types of lures” and how to use them. BUT, I still feel there should be a discussion about the habits of the fish you are after. I’ve heard each of you talk about going after redfish or trout or whatever, but you have to know what the fish habits are and where they are to be found. Many times I go to the surf to do some fishing, during the correct part of the tide change, finding some type of structure, using shrimp or lures or come home with nothing but some more sunburn. How do we find out where the fish are supposed to be and where ????

2 years ago
Reply to  Rick Farinella

It’s a BIG ocean out there. And fish are under more pressure than ever. It’s around 14x more pressure now, compared to 2018. Finding the fish is always the hardest part. Where I live at in Texas, all the water is stained/muddy. Depending on where you live and your method of fishing, you will potentially have several “strike out” days. And surf fishing is arguably the least productive method, unless you’ve found a hotspot. You have got to keep moving, but you can walk down the surf for miles and never find any fish. It’s so easy to find dead spot after dead spot while surf fishing. I have always done best by fishing places (or piers) with oyster beds near by. Marsh flats are my second choice. Once I’ve found the fish… the lure doesn’t even really matter. Trout/redfish will eat just about anything moving near them. Soft plastics, hard baits, spinner baits, live baits.. it really doesn’t matter. And color really doesn’t seem to matter either. This last weekend I was catching big reds using a chartreuse chatter bait out of my freshwater gear. I can’t think of anything in the ocean that looks, or vibrates like that lol… so much for matching the hatch. Catching Black drum with artificial lures is much much harder, but can be done. Overall.. a gulp swimming mullet/shrimp.. or fresh dead shrimp with fish bites… is hard to beat. If nothing is biting those two baits… there are no fish there, at that moment. And it’s possible they might not come to that particular location at all. Don’t give up, finding the fish is always the challenge. Ask around.. if you can find oyster beds, your chances of catching something just went up exponentially! Good luck

Elizabeth Baker
2 years ago

I wish there was a fishing site as good as yours for river and lake fishing in the north! I love watching your videos and get a few things from them.

Steve Miller
2 years ago

As an inexperienced fisherman this was one pod cast that I really needed. Before watching I knew very little and was confused a lot. After watching I have learned a lot, but am still confused a little. LOL All in all it was a big help and has pointed me in the right direction. Thanks!

Willie Dickerson
2 years ago

Great conversation team. To me, some of the names of these baits is left up to colloquialism and wither your are talking fresh water or salt water. To me me a stick bait is a hard plastic that is jerk on top of the water and a jerk bait is subsurface. It is confusing and funny at the same time. A video of each of these baits in action may help.

Jim Kern
2 years ago

I would call a straight thin Rapala style lure a stickbait…

2 years ago
Reply to  Jim Kern

I’ve always thought a stickbait… was a soft plastic worm. A Senko looks exactly like a stick to me lol. But there are differences in terminology from fresh to saltwater.

Jim Kern
2 years ago

Jerkbait is a soft plastic… Right??

Laurence Levenburg
2 years ago

Enjoyed topic and discussion of best artificial lures. My fly fishing friend does not like fishing shallow flats during the day with clear water and bright light. So he says the fish( trout ) prefer darker lower light conditions. As a result he likes to fish 6-8 feet of water.Do you have a recommendation for type of lure I can use? I have used paddle tails, jerkshads with various weight jig heads? Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks, Larry L

2 years ago

These podcasts are the best. I learn so much from them. It might be nice to have a glossary of terms or maybe the Salt Strong Inshore Vocabulary. Just a thought.

FYI: the twitch code is up up down down left right left right b a. Unlimited lives for the simplified specialist.


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