Saltwater Lures Buying Guide

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Saltwater lures are used to attract fish in salt water, and can be used instead of, or with, bait. Fishing with lures is also known as jigging or plugging. The angler is more active when fishing with lures than he or she would be when fishing with bait. It is up to the angler to use the lure effectively by making it move and look alive to engage the fish’s senses. Fish use sight, sound, and the detection of movement to find food. Lures imitate bait fish or marine animals, the prey of the target fish.

Lures are made of metal, rubber, plastic, or wood. Since saltwater lures are used in the ocean and in saltwater estuaries, their metal components must be made of non-corrosive materials. The size of a lure is measured by its weight rather than its hook size. However, the hook used with it must be proportional to the size of the target fish. The hook can be baited to engage a fish’s sense of smell and taste. Lures of all shapes, sizes, and colors are available from stores that sell fishing tackle, and online as well.

Types of Lures

An enormous variety of lures are available on the market today. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be combined with others for unique designs. Some lures, like flukerigs, are ready made to catch fluke and need no further additions to be effective. 


Jigs, or lead-headjigs, are lures that are used with live or dead bait, or as an addition to other types of lures. They are used to catch, among others, striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, mackerel, tuna, and cod. Such a wide variety of jigs exist that naming them all is nearly impossible. 

Lead-head jigs consist of weighted hooks with lead heads just behind the hook’s eye. They imitate saltwater bait fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates. Some are designed to dance like minnows, but creating this illusion depends on the angler’s skill. Lead-head jigs cover the entire water column, with some more streamlined to sink faster. Those with a wider head flutter downward slowly and work best higher in the water column. Understanding the hunting and feeding habits of the target fish will help one to choose the right jig. Some fish are bottom feeders, while others feed midway between the bottom and the surface, or near the surface of the water.

Swimbaits are lead-head jigs molded inside soft plastic bodies. The size of the plastic body should match the size of the bait it is imitating. A jig with deer hair attached to its head is known as a bucktailjig. Some jigs have squid-shaped heads, with living-rubber skirts. Living-rubber is a very elastic, soft rubber that behaves in a life-like way. When using a jig, the size of the hook should match the trailer. A metaljig is used by casting it out and letting it bounce across the bottom, or casting it out and reeling it back in. A leader and swivel should be added to the jigs to stop the line from twisting. Verticaljigs are designed to move quickly, with the angler pulling the rod up and down to simulate life in the jig. Eel skin jigs are designed to imitate eels. Eels are often used as live bait.


Spinners are complex lures, designed to attract fish through movement and color. A wire shaft forms the backbone. A body of colored beads, metal rings, or cylinders is fixed along the spine. Additionally, some spinners have a skirt added for extra motion and color. The lure has an eye at each end, one for the hook and one for the line. The spinner blade, a flat metal spoon-like oval, is attached to the lure near the top eye. The blade spins around the body to create movement.


Spinnerbaits are lead-head jigs dressed with a soft plastic jig or rubber skirt, attached to a spinner. Wire spines are bent to form a ‘v’ shape. The jig is attached to one end of the ‘v’ and the spinner to the other. This gives these lures two points of action. Spinnerbaits are also known as hairpin lures. They do not imitate any kind of fish or marine animal, but engage fish with sound and movement. The arm and blade should be made of noncorrosive material. Buzzbaits are similar to spinnerbaits, but one arm is dressed with a small propeller arm instead of a spinner. They create attraction through vibration and movement rather than light and color.

Plug Fishing Lures

Plugfishinglures are designed to copy the motions of a swimming fish. These lures were originally made of wood or cork shaped like a minnow. Today they are made of molded plastic or carvedwood, and some have a plastic or metallip to enable the lure to dive deeper. They are designed to look like minnows, bait fish, and crayfish. However, some rattle, have lights, or use electronic vibrations to attract target fish. Plug lures come in sizes ranging from 1 inch to 8 inches long. Castingswimmers are subsurface plugs that work best in rough and windy conditions, while needlefishplugs are used to cast over long distances. They come with a variety of sink rates. Plugs can be used to catch fish like striped bass, bluefish, and bonito.

Poppers or popping plugs are pulled across the water’s surface to create splashing and noise like that made by surface-splashing bait fish. They are usually used at dusk and at dawn, when the low lighting conditions encourage fish to feed at the water’s surface. Variants include the pencilpopper and the surfacespook. Crankbait is a type of plug that imitates the wriggling of bait fish. Jerkbaits and stickbaits float, but do not create movement on their own. Their effectiveness is entirely up to the angler.

Spoon Fishing Lures

Spoonfishinglures are made of shiny metal. They are wider on one end than the other and, as indicated by their name, concave in shape. They are designed to flash and shimmy like bait fish or small prey. Spoons come in two varieties, namely casting and trolling spoons. Castingspoons are heavier as they have to travel further when they are cast. Trollingspoons also come in two varieties: high and slow speed. High speed lures are heavier and narrower than slow speed spoons. Their heavier and narrower design means that high speed spoons offer less resistance in the water. These lures are used when fishing for striped bass, bluefish, mackerel, and bonito.

Soft Plastic Lures

Softplasticlures come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Plastic lures with twister tails and shad bodies can be added to jigs and bucktails, or used with bait or on their own. These lures are versatile and can be used when fishing for a wide range of fish.

Choosing the Right Saltwater Lure

The type of saltwater lure one needs depends on a variety of factors. Experienced anglers recommend having a variety of lures on hand to take into account changing fishing conditions. For example, brightcolors work better on sunny days, while dark colors give good silhouettes on overcast days. The type of lure needed further depends on the time of year, time of day, and weather. Water conditions, like clarity, roughness, currents, and temperature further dictate which lures are best, as does personal preference. Doresearch about the type of fish you want to catch, including their habits and prey. This will give the clearest guidelines on the type of lure to use.

Where to Find Saltwater Lures on eBay

Thousands of lures are listed under Saltwater Lures in the Saltwater Fishing section on eBay. This section can be found in the Fishing portion of the Outdoor Sports section, under Sporting Goods. Do not forget to check the fishing tackle and equipment shops listed in eBaystores. If you cannot find the item you are looking for, why not saveasearch in My eBay? This way, you will be notified via email if the item becomes available. Alternatively, creating a post in the WantitNow section lets sellers know what you want.

eBay offers a secure and convenient way to shop. You should familiarize yourself with the policies in place to keep you safe. eBay also works with PayPal to keep the details of your purchase private. Never complete a transaction off eBay, and do not pay with an instant transfer method. In the unlikely event that your item fails to arrive, or arrives in a condition other than described, eBayBuyerProtection will refund your purchase price and shipping fees.

Take some time to check out the seller’s number of completed sales and feedback score. These have been put in place to let you know what other buyers think of the seller’s products and service. Remember to check the terms and conditions of each sale. Some sellers offer a money-back guarantee or free shipping, while others have a returns policy. When working out the total cost of the item, add the shipping fees to the purchase price to calculate the total.

Carefully check the item’s description and the seller’s posted photos before making a purchase. If you want to ask the seller a question, use the ‘Ask a Question’ link. Doing research about the item you would like to order will give you an indication of the fair asking price.


Fishing with lures is more interactive and, according to some, takes more skill than bait fishing. In order to be successful, the angler must dupe the target fish into believing the lure is real food. This takes skill and practice. Luckily, eBay offers novices and experts the equipment they need at the click of a button.

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