Why Many Of The Most Realistic Saltwater Lures Don’t Work…


Let’s face it, fish are NOT attracted to the same things that attract us fishermen in store…

We get a lot of anglers asking us about many of these “super realistic” looking inshore saltwater fishing lures.

And we try them all…

But truth is, most (but not all) of them don’t work very well.

In fact, some of these crazy realistic lures flat-out don’t work at all!

And yet, they are some of the most expensive.

So I brought the fishing coaches to talk about this phenomenon.

We covered:

  • Some of the best (and worst) realistic lures out there
  • What attracts fish vs. what attracts fishermen
  • What some of the best lures in the world are — and how laughably unrealistic they look
  • And much more

You can watch the video version of this podcast below (which I definitely recommend), 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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The Truth About Realistic Fishing Lures [VIDEO]

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The Truth About Realistic Fishing Lures [PODCAST]

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Here’s a timestamped table of contents from our conversation about realistic-looking lures:

0:06 – The problem with realistic lures

1:19 – The biggest realistic lure disappointments we’ve all had

7:54 – The problem with realistic vs. boring-looking lures

9:07 – What matters more than looks

16:16 – How water clarity affects the performance of realistic-looking lures

17:34 – Justin’s story about catching big beach snook off Sanibel

20:50 – Luke’s experiment on gold spoons vs. white spoons

23:04 – The trend for tried and true hard baits

24:49 – Gotcha plugs for mackerel

26:08 – Tony and Luke’s m0st unrealistic lure the catch fish with

34:17 – An easy tool we’re working on to help you decide which lures and equipment to use

39:10 – Luke shares some awesome underwater trout footage

43:32 – Wyatt and his black eye make a late entrance!


set hook with big paddletails

Here’s what really matters when it comes to lures catching fish: action!

The twitch of a jerk shad or wobble of a gold spoon are so much effective at catching fish than the look of an ultra realistic lure.

So stick with basic, proven lures and don’t buy lures that are designed to catch fishermen, not fish!

Here are some of our favorites:

What’s your best realistic lure story?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who loves buying lures that don’t work, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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TOM Hooker
2 years ago

Could you please recommend a two piece medium heavy spin casting rod?

Robert Phillips
2 years ago

Is there any way that you could include a summary, so that there would be an option to spending 48 minutes on this ?

Paul DiLucchio
2 years ago

Really liked the underwater video of the trout striking at trolled lure, and this info on how overall appearance does not seem to matter as much as tail action.
Considering those two facts, why do most pros object to using a snap swivel to connect the hook to the leader? Since the fish strike from below and behind, they would never even see the snap swivel. And the snap makes it a lot faster and easier for us old guys to change lures.

Nick Nemeth
2 years ago

Thanks for the cameo Wyatt.

Andy H
2 years ago

I will say some lures I spend money on glide baits I have had days with hybrid strippers in fresh water where s wavers and similar glide baits so $15-30 lures were outperforming anything else.

Jim Scott
2 years ago

It seems to me that predators go for the weak and/or injured (easier targets).

Joe tunstall
2 years ago

In NC, fishing bourbon colored clear water. The mullet skin mirro series performs consistently. It will at times out perform many other patterns. The logic I believe that I sought was in matching the hatch the shine from the broken glass or other finishes is too excessive. I think the mullet skin aspect is potentially irrelevant, instead the matte finish is the defining factor.

Al Wade
2 years ago

Excellent discussion. I am GUILTY as charged of buying baits that don’t work. Consistently my best overall producer are the Zman paddletails. I wish I could have the success you guys have had with the Crusty Crabs for Sheepies. I have not had any success with them. No live bait, no sheepies for me anyway.

A Rollins
2 years ago
Reply to  Al Wade

I had good success with the savage gear 1 inch blue or mud crab for sheepshead even when they wouldn’t hit live shrimp.

Michael Lehr
2 years ago

Fantastic tips guys! My all time favorite lure before joining Salt Strong, in Florida, in many different locations and conditions is the Johnson Sprite gold spoon. I still keep a rod rigged up with one and use it when all others fail to get strikes. Thanks for all of your knowledge!!

Tim Wysocki
2 years ago

I used to slam the Walleyes up in WI with the McDonald’s straw – always have one in the tackle box! Great show guys – thank you!


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