The Top 5 Fishing Lures Of All Time (Inshore Edition)
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 Lure
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 2.0 paddletail.
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
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 mudflats.
3. Topwater Plugs
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.
Our favorite is our very own Moonwalker Topwater Lure.
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 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
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 Alabama Leprechaun jerk shad 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 jerk shad is a 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.
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.
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 ultimate artificial shrimp imitation is the Power Prawn shrimp lure rigged on Power Prawn jigheads.
This shrimp lure is hands down the best we’ve come across and catches all species of fish!
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
Top Five Inshore Fishing Lures [PODCAST]
You can watch the video version of this podcast below (which I highly recommend), listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
Note: Don’t forget to subscribe to the Salt Strong podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.
- IS THERE A SECRET WAY TO WORK YOUR LURE?
- SWIMBAIT, CRANKBAIT, JERKBAIT, & TWITCHBAIT (WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?)
Having a couple of 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.
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Very well written article. I can attest to it’s accuracy I have all of the above mentioned lures and they are my go to lures, especially in a new area.
Those Gulps are like crack to flounder down around the Kemah Clear Lake area of Texas.
Got them all! Lock and load! Let’s GO! If only work wouldn’t get in the way of fishing. Some day…..
Yea, work is a 4 letter word. I’m locked and loaded also but I’m about 900 mile north of FL. Can’t wait to get down there. Tight lines!
I was mentioning to Tony that the costs of hard body twitch baits are outrageous and I would like Salt Strong to do a segment on cheap but effective hard body lures. I fish from shore and am actually afraid to use mine because it might get caught in the mangroves and I would have no way of getting to it to pull it out.
Everyone most likely knows this already, but I discovered it recently: Paul Brown lures are an extremely popular twitch bait, especially here in Texas (and Louisiana) It’s just like a hard twitch bait, but it’s encased in soft plastic. They have several styles, but the fat boy and devil are great choices. But they are $12 a pop. And like anything with trebles, get snagged and lost often. Well… I just realized that the same company sells a 6 pack of soft plastic lures, that look exactly like the devil. It’s just a regular soft plastic body, no eyelets or hook mounts or anything. You can rig it several ways, but if you rig it in the line-thru style and add a treble hook, it’s almost the same exact look as the devil, but only $5 for 6 lures! If fishing in snaggy areas, you could rig the same lure on a weedless EWG swimbait hook too. You could add nail weights (or weighted hooks) to get to the desired depth, or to suspend. The trapper XX hooks are some of the best trebles I’ve ever used, and it’s almost impossible for the fish to shake the hook. So now we are much cheaper, AND greatly increasing our hook up percentage, all with just one treble. I might be on to something here, but then again.. maybe everyone already knew this.
Do you use a popping cork when fishing shrimp
Popping corks can be awesome for shrimp (or even paddletails) in murky water
disagree on weedless spoon being top lure did not catch any fish on ones i own
We’ll have a lesson on how/when to use weedless spoons very soon.
Mogan spoon works great
Yeah thats awesome! I hope you include your dad’s style…I remember that retrieve trick he had from a video longtime ago and he outfished you like crazy!
Love the spoon! So does my 11 yr old. It’s his favorite. I think he believes it’s made of gold!
I had numerous Johnson weedless spoons over the years that I tried to use to catch largemouth bass and never got a single hit EVER. However, I have had good luck on Johnson Sprites both in fresh water and salt.
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
falls in jerk bait/twitch bait category
Great summary and tips to keep us Salt Strong
Does changing to single hook change the dynamics of how the lure is designed to work?
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.
Great list guys! I pleased to report that I have at least one of all of them in my tackle box.