The Top 5 Fishing Lures Of All Time (Inshore Edition)

By: Joseph Simonds on July 25, 2018
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redfish inshore fishing lures

Want to know what the absolute best inshore fishing lures are?

We’re constantly getting questions from the Salt Strong community about what the best lures for inshore fishing are, what our favorite lures are and how to fish each lure for different inshore species.

We decided to answer your questions once and for all and show you the top five inshore fishing lures of all time!

To do that, we came together to talk about our favorite lures. We narrowed it down to five that we think every inshore angler should have in their tackle box.

In this podcast episode, we go over the top inshore fishing lures of all time and how to best use them.

Do you have a favorite inshore fishing lure? Have any questions about our top inshore fishing lures?

Let us know in the comments below!

To learn more about the best fishing lures for every kind of fishing and get access to exclusive fishing gear, don’t forget to check out the Salt Strong Insider Fishing Club.

The Top Five Inshore Fishing Lures

We’ve narrowed down the best five fishing lures for inshore fishing after extensive research and testing.

These lures have helped us catch literally thousands of fish. Being confident in how to use them can do the same for you.

In no particular order, the top five inshore fishing lures of all time are:

1. The Paddletail Jig

soft plastic paddletail

One of the best lures to find fish in new areas is the soft plastic paddletail on a jig head.

This is an inexpensive and easy-to-use lure that catches just about any inshore fish there is. It is especially effective for catching trout and redfish on the flats or near structure.

The paddletail jig can be worked with a straight retrieve or with a twitch-twitch motion bouncing it off the bottom. Both retrievals will catch fish.

There are many manufacturers of paddletail lures, so you have a ton to choose from.

Our personal favorite is the Slam Shady paddletail that we recently developed.

It’s white with gold and silver flecks to attract fish, and the tail has incredible action that elicits tons of reaction strikes.

Click here to get a free pack to try out! (While supplies last.)

2. The Weedless Spoon

Gold Spoon Fishing Lure

This lure is a timeless classic that catches just about any kind of fish there is.

While these lures do not look spectacular compared to other fishing lures, they are extremely effective.

Spoons create a lot of vibrations and flash in the water. They are designed not to look like any prey in particular, but rather create a lot of commotion and flash that inshore fish cannot resist.

Gold spoons seem to be the most popular of all for inshore anglers, but almost any color can work just fine. Our personal favorite is the Johnson Minnow Spoon, which is a weedless spoon we can work through grass and mud flats.

3. Topwater Plugs

Inshore Topwater Lures

Possibly the most exciting way to catch fish, topwater lures are an effective way to entice inshore fish and produce explosive visual strikes.

The “walk-the-dog” types of topwater lures are deadly just about anywhere there are inshore feeding fish. They are especially great over shallow water where fish do not have to rise up off the bottom too far to eat the lure.

Some of our favorite topwater plugs are the Heddon Super Spook and the Rapala Skitterwalk. We like to replace the treble hooks with single inline hooks to help keep ourselves safe and for protecting fish that are to be released. Single inline hooks dig into fish with hard mouths better than treble hooks – which is an important advantage when fishing for species such as tarpon.

Tip: fish topwater lures in the early morning and evening/night time for the best results. We particularly like the early morning because there is usually less floating debris (such as dead grass) than at night.

4. The Bucktail Jig

Bucktail Jig

Bucktail jigs are the original gangsters of inshore fishing and are still just as effective today as they were 100 years ago.

This lure is cheap to buy and even easier to make at home if you have the materials (click here for a jig making tutorial). All it takes is a jig head, some bucktail (which you can buy online or at any fly fishing shop) and thread to hold it all together.

These are one of our go-to lures for big snook and are great for other inshore species such as pompano, redfish, trout and even bass.

You can use heavier bucktails to catch massive snook and tarpon in deep water with heavy current or use tiny bucktail jigs to catch trout on the flats. Both tactics are effective.

5. Jerk Baits and Twitch Baits  

jerk bait

Suspending jerk baits and twitch baits are lures that every inshore angler should have and know how to use.

For soft plastic jerk baits, we love the 5-inch tails rigged weedless on a weighted hook. This is our go-to rig for fishing on grass flats and is deadly for redfish, trout, snook, and pretty much any other predator fish that feeds on the flats.

Tip: These soft plastic jerk baits have to be rigged correctly in order to work. If they’re rigged incorrectly, they’ll spin or have terrible action in the water and won’t catch fish.

Note: The lure shown above is actually the exact lure that helped land a catch of a lifetime when sight fishing from our 3rd-floor balcony (see the balcony catch video here).

Conversely, hardbody twitch baits that work in a similar way to their soft plastic cousins are another lure type you need to know how to use. You can work these just like your jerk baits.

Rapala Twitch Bait

Most twitch baits are not weedless, so keeping these off the bottom is a more effective way to fish these lures.

We especially like the MirrOlure MirrOdine. It is one of our favorite twitch baits and has a great profile in the water.

Learn more about the Insider Fishing Club

Bonus Inshore Lures: Shrimp Lures

One thing we didn’t mention in our top five inshore fishing lures list was lures that imitate shrimp.

We all know that just about any inshore fish absolutely loves to eat shrimp. Having some lures that look like shrimp is always a good idea as they will likely catch a ton of fish when you use them.

The Berkley Gulp Shrimp on a jig head is one of our absolute favorite lures when the conditions are turned up and choppy. The scent from the Gulp Shrimp adds another element to entice the fish to eat your lure.

So far, the Gulp products are the only ones we’ve been able to find that smell so good to fish that the used ones can be cut into small pieces for catching tons of pinfish and other small baitfish.

The D.O.A. Shrimp is another staple every inshore fisherman should have. These lures are extremely versatile and can be rigged on an unweighted hook, jig head and even a popping cork. Each method will catch fish.

Savage Gear shrimp is another one that we’ve had success with, and there of course are many more options.

Learn more about the Insider Fishing Club

Salt Strong Podcast: Top Five Inshore Fishing Lures 

Click the play button to listen right here on our site or click either button below to go directly to iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify to download the episode.

salt strong podcast itunes
salt strong podcast stitcher

salt strong podcast spotify

Note: Don’t forget to subscribe to the Salt Strong podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.


Jupiter Snooker with big snook on topwater

Having a couple lures you can use confidently and often will up your fishing game and help you catch more fish.

The lures above are proven to catch fish. Knowing how to use all of them will allow you to effectively fish the entire water column, which is critical when you are trying to locate where the fish are.

Remember, the most important thing is to find the feeding zone. Most of the time when you find the feeding zone, it won’t matter what lure you’re using — the fish will eat it.

However, these lures will have you prepared for every fishing situation when you do find the feeding zone.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, let us know in the comments section.

To learn more about the Insider Fishing Club, click here now.

P.S. – To see all of the past podcast episodes, click here now.

Tight lines!

Related Posts:

1. 7 Essential Saltwater Fishing Lures That Catch Fish Pretty Much Anywhere

2. Johnson Silver Minnow Weedless Spoon Review & Rigging Tips

3. How To Catch More Redfish, Snook, & Grouper With Just ONE Lure

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9 months ago

Do you use a popping cork when fishing shrimp

11 months ago

disagree on weedless spoon being top lure did not catch any fish on ones i own

Luke Simonds
11 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

We’ll have a lesson on how/when to use weedless spoons very soon.

David White
10 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Mogan spoon works great

David K
1 year ago

no one mentioned the Rapala X-Rap SXR-12. I have caught more blue fish, jacks, lady fish among others. The smaller R-Rap SXR-10 is a great lure for catching mackerels

11 months ago
Reply to  David K

falls in jerk bait/twitch bait category

1 year ago

Great summary and tips to keep us Salt Strong

1 year ago

Does changing to single hook change the dynamics of how the lure is designed to work?

David K
1 year ago
Reply to  TIM REED

while using single hook is good and will not affect the dynamic of the lure, its great for catch and release. However, using treble hooks greatly increases your hook up ratio.

1 year ago

Great list guys! I pleased to report that I have at least one of all of them in my tackle box.