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If you’re like me, you’ve spent a decent amount of time in quarantine on youtube watching fishermen with boats catch big fish. And as someone who doesn’t have access to a boat during quarantine, it has been frustrating.
Why can’t I have access to large fish when I go fishing? Turns out, you can. You just need to get the proper shore fishing setup. This means getting a surf fishing rod, a surf fishing reel, maybe some waders, and lures built for shore fishing. So what the best lures for shore fishing?
Glad you asked! In this article, we’ll go over the best lures for shore fishing depending on the type of action and species you’re fishing for. We’ll also review how to pick a shore fishing lure, and additional tips to consider when shore fishing.
No more sitting around at home wishing you could catch bigger fish without a boat!
Best Lures for Shore Fishing
The Yo-Zuri 3DB Popper is our favorite topwater lure for many different species of coastal saltwater fish. Striped bass, redfish, tarpon, mackerel, bluefish – they all love going after its frantic action and quick retrieval. The double treble hooks are hidden by a bucktail streamer and provide strong hookups with few misses. The Yo-Zuri 3DB Popper works well in all colors we’ve tried and is one of our go-to shore fishing lures.
A time tested classic, your tackle box isn’t complete without an ACME Kastmaster Spoon. The Kastmaster gets its name from its ability to cast farther than many other types of lures, which is crucial when you’re fishing from shore. Use the Kastmaster when you’re looking to cast far out into the surf or when you want extra range while sight fishing. It’s a great option for striped bass, perch, snook, mackerel, jack crevalle, and many more.
Bucktail jigs also work really when fishing from the shore – especially when fishing for fish near the bottom or close to a dock. They’re a favorite of snook fishermen, as well as redfish, bluefish, and black drum fishermen as well. We’ve seen the most success in the chartreuse and green color SPRO bucktail jigs, but most colors will elicit a good response from saltwater gamefish.
Another saltwater fishing favorite is the JOHNCOO 3D Shad Swimbait. The JOHNCOO 3D Shad Swimbait is one of the best lures for shore fishing, especially when there is heavy cover where you plan on fishing. Saltwater fish that like to hang out near seagrass, dock pilings, or underwater wreckage are perfect for the JOHNCOO 3D Shad Swimbait. Chicken sized halibut, nocturnal snook, jack crevalle, and more love these swimbaits. Go with the silver or white colors that replicate a real shad, and try jigging them like a wounded baitfish. You won’t be sorry.
When it comes to using bait for shore fishing, your best option is to use a fish finder rig. We’ve written up a whole article on how to make and fish the fish finder rig, so check it out if you want a more detailed description. The fish finder rig works well for pretty much all kinds of predatory fish, from tarpon to hammerhead sharks. Just adjust the size of the hook, fishing line strength, and the type of bait you use to whatever fish you’re going for.
Types of Shore Fishing Lures
When it comes to the best lures for shore fishing, there are many different categories of lures that work well.
As you saw from our favorites above, they all vary in the type of action and bait they aim to imitate. Let’s go over some of the different types in more detail.
These lures are favorites of aggressive saltwater fish like tuna or tarpon. Topwater poppers act like a small fish swimming away from danger frantically on the surface.
Large predatory fish find them irresistible and an easy snack to snag with little effort. They should be retrieved quickly and sporadically to imitate a scared baitfish.
Rotating tail or “plopper” styles of topwater also work well for shore fishing. They can be worked at any speed as long as the prop is spinning, displace a ton of water, and are great for triggering aggressively feeding fish.
Metal spoons are great shore fishing lures because of their ability to be cast very long distances. Their shape allows them to fly through the air smoothly and go loner distances than other more bulky lures.
Once in the water, their shiny exteriors catch the eye of hungry fish that are on the lookout for an easy meal.
Along with the ability to cast incredibly long distances, spoons can be worked by either straight retrieving them, giving the impression of a swimming baitfish, or jigged off of the bottom, giving the impression of a wounded or dying baitfish.
Author Note: We recommend retrieving metal spoons like you would a topwater lure: quickly and aggressively. Metal spoons are a great choice when fishing for king salmon, coho salmon, or pink salmon from shore.
Bucktail jigs are great lure when fishing from a dock or an elevated surface. They also work particularly well when the water gets deep close to shore. Bucktail jigs are a favorite for snook as well as redfish and black drum.
Let them sink for a few seconds after casting, then jig them back to shore, Or hook on a soft plastic grub tail or paddle tail and swim them back to shore.
Bucktail jigs are very versatile lures and can be worked in many different ways.
Another really popular saltwater shore lure is a rubber swimbait. Swimbaits aim to imitate a swimming baitfish and are typically made out of flexible rubber.
Swimbaits are effective as search baits, they can be worked fast, slow, and even jigged. They are very versatile and this makes them one of the best lures for shore fishing.
How to Choose a Shore Fishing Lure
Now that you know what the best lures for shore fishing are, how do you choose the right one for you?
Follow our recommendations on fish species, but also consider the following tips if you’re not sure.
- Make sure it’s saltwater rated. Saltwater is extremely corrosive; you should only use lures that were designed to be used in saltwater when fishing from shore. After you’re done fishing, rinse your lures and other fishing tackle down with freshwater to limit corrosion and oxidation.
- Aggressive action. Focus on lures that have more aggressive action for shore fishing. Since you’ll be targeting predatory surf fish, you want to imitate a wounded baitfish that is trying to escape getting eaten. This means the best lures for shore fishing should have aggressive action and can be retrieved quickly.
- Lure Color. Focus on trying to match your lure’s color with the fish you’re targeting’s natural prey. On clear days use more muted colored lures, and on dark overcast days use brighter colored lures. This will ensure any hungry fish near where you cast will see your lure and be tempted to bite it.
Be sure to switch lures often if you aren’t catching anything to try to determine the best presentation on any given day, this can also include using the same lure but in different sizes or colors. Once you find what works, simply fish it until it doesn’t work.
Picking out the best lure for shore fishing can prove difficult. There are many different options when you factor in color, size, and type. We hope after reading this article you now know which shore fishing lure is best for you and the kind of fish you’re fishing for.
Want to share a great shore fishing lure that we didn’t list? Let us know about it in the comments below.