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8 Best Surf Fishing Lures You Should Try

8 Best Surf Fishing Lures You Should Try
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Surf fishing is a spectacular sport that is popular all over the world. However, it is challenging and requires very specific gear for a successful outcome. It is a lot of fun, but with the right equipment, it can also be extremely rewarding. 

The best lures for surf fishing have features that aid effective action, are built for saltwater resistance, and can resist rough settings. These are things to look for no matter what gear you buy, but you must also be mindful of ideal fishing conditions and your target fish species.

This article will provide a detailed overview of 8 of the best lures for surf fishing on the market and give you some insight into what to consider in general when looking for this type of fishing gear.

It will also discuss some other factors that could impact your selection of tackle, such as the fish species you are targeting and water conditions.

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned angler, this article can provide you with useful information for your next fishing trip.

How to Shop for Surf Fishing Lures: Key Features to Look For

There is an infinite number of lures out there, and unfortunately, this means that finding the right one can be an overwhelming task.

The good news is you can narrow things down by focusing on some essential features that need to be present regardless of which lure you end up going for.

Here are some of the most important features you need to consider.

Durability & Saltwater Resistance 

Your lure should be made of strong materials that can withstand harsh conditions.

These include passing through strong water currents and powerful winds, getting snagged against rough surfaces like coral, and confronting wild, thrashing strikes.

Lures made from steel, brass, and hard plastics are sure to hold out against the test of time. Furthermore, since surf fishing is primarily a saltwater activity, your lure needs to be resistant to this environment.

Also, your lure’s hooks need to be sturdy enough to resist the weight of heavier fish. However, strong hooks can be difficult to find, so you may need to settle for replacing them every once in a while. 

Action

The tricky thing about surf fishing is that you will not have the momentum provided by a boat. It’s mainly up to you to work the lure effectively and create the right action.

Therefore, you need to try and match your lure’s action as close to the species of fish you are going for as possible.

You should make sure to understand whether your target fish species are attracted to lazy, docile motions, quick darting gestures, or other maneuvers. 

Color 

There is a lot of expert informationOpens in a new tab. available about the best colors to use for certain fish. However, it can still be difficult to predict any specific color that will attract your target catch. 

A general rule of thumb is to use vibrant colors in murky waters, and subtle colors in clear waters. The idea here is that a fish’s view is often obstructed in cloudy water, so the lure needs to be noticeable.

On the other hand, it is easier for fish to closely observe a lure in crystal clear water, which means they might not fall for the bait. In that case, use a lure that blends into that environment.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the most highly recommended lures on the market. These are all available on Amazon, but in some cases, it may be best to purchase them directly at a tackle shop for two reasons:

  • To avoid accidentally buying second-hand lures
  • To avoid cheap, flimsy recreations of the original product

1. Acme Kastmaster Spoon Fishing LureOpens in a new tab.

The Acme Tackle CompanyOpens in a new tab. has been around since the early 1950s and is widely acclaimed as one of the best producers of fishing tackle in North America.

One of their most popular products is the Kastmaster, and it is a favorite among beginners, amateur, and expert anglers alike.

Its well-balanced features make it absolutely deadly for surf fishing, and perfect for catching a wide range of medium to heavy water species including salmon, bass, and trout. 

The Acme Kastmaster LureOpens in a new tab. is fashioned from solid brass and other high-quality materials, which makes it extremely durable.

Whereas lures made from other materials might corrode easily from frequent use, this lure retains its luster and shine even after constant exposure to saltwater.

If you notice any rust or corrosion, it can be easily cleaned using a wire sponge and some WD-40Opens in a new tab.

The Smooth and aerodynamic features of the Kastmaster lure cause it to cut through the wind like a bullet, allowing you to achieve both distance and accuracy when casting.

If you want to diversify the action, you can always tweak it with swivels, hooks, rings, etc.

It works effectively regardless of what casting technique you prefer to use, and it can cover just about any water level, from top to bottom. 

The Acme Kastmaster LureOpens in a new tab. comes in many sizes that range from 1/32 ounces (0.9 grams) to 3 ounces (85.1 grams) and comes in more than 20 colors, so you will be spoiled for choice.

These lures can be expensive; however, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. 

If you want something reliable and easy to use, whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting, the Kastmaster is a great go-to lure.

Pros

  • Built from solid brass, a highly durable material
  • Swift, bullet-like action
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Tends to be on the pricier side of fishing lures
Click Here For More Information And Current Price On AmazonOpens in a new tab.

2. Heddon Zara Spook Topwater Walk the Dog Fishing Lure 

The Heddon CompanyOpens in a new tab. was founded in 1902, and although the company has changed hands multiple times since then, there is a reason why their products are still around today. 

One of its most enticing lures still on the market is the Heddon Super SpookOpens in a new tab..

This unique and quirky bit of engineering is famous for its legendary walk-the-dogOpens in a new tab. topwater action, a technique which it pioneered over a century ago.

Today, this lure ranks high, especially among bass fishermen, and is considered one of the most effective bait lures for surface angling. 

Surface anglers will tell you that this lure allows for easy, controllable action thanks to its slack-line twitch design.

The witty, playful topwater action of the Heddon Zara SpookOpens in a new tab. is too hard for most fish to resist; if you handle it right, you can be sure to tease your target out of hiding. The rattling noise they produce can attract fish even from long distances.

Like the Kastmaster, this lure comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes. The double-hooks fastened to the lure’s underside is another great feature designed to secure a catch and prevent it from wriggling free.

Note: when it comes to color selection, rather than focusing on the body, you should pay close attention to the color of the lure’s underbelly, since this is most of what a fish looking up at a topwater lure will be able to see. 

The walk the dog action is a bit of an advanced technique. Therefore this lure may not be the best for a total beginner.

However, the packaging comes with instructions on this technique, and there are plenty of online tutorials available. With a bit of practice, the Zara Hook could quickly become one of your favorites.

Pros

  • Famous for its “walk the tog” action, a side-to-side darting maneuver that fish find appealing
  • Double hooks designed to get a firm hold of the catch
  • Highly effective for luring fish out from long distances

Cons

  • Hooks may not be sharp enough out of the package; you might need to sharpen them or replace them frequently
  • Tends to be on the pricier side of fishing lures
Click Here For More Information And Current Price On AmazonOpens in a new tab.

3. Bomber Lures Badonk-a-Donk High Pitch Saltwater GradeOpens in a new tab.

Similar to the Heddon Zara Spook, the Bomber Lures Badonk-A-DonkOpens in a new tab. is a go-to saltwater for many anglers who enjoy explosive topwater action.

Like most lures, it comes in a range of styles and colors and features internal rattles designed to grab a fish’s attention from a distance.

It’s built with heavy-duty hardware that can withstand violent strikes. 

On top of all these features, these lures are also offered in two pitches (vibration frequencies). The high pitch (Hp) version is perfect for casting on windy days, whereas the low pitch (Lp) version is designed for those calm, light-breeze days. 

The Badonk-A-DonkOpens in a new tab. has an unusual, jerky rhythm when cutting through the water that drives fish wild. Like with the previous lure mentioned on this list, this may not be the best choice for a beginner.

The workability is not as straightforward as some lures, so it takes a bit of practice to get the action just right. But if you can do it, you won’t be disappointed.

Pros

  • High and low pitch design makes it ideal for casting in all types of weather
  • All materials (including hooks) are sturdy and highly durable
  • Highly saltwater resistant 

Cons

  • Not a beginner-friendly lure; action is quite tricky
  • Movements are not as natural as some lures, so may be suitable for fewer fish species
Click Here For More Information And Current Price On AmazonOpens in a new tab.

4. Lucky Craft Fishing Lure CIF Flash MinnowOpens in a new tab.

The California In-shore Fishing (CIF) lure series was initially designed for exclusive use in areas of California where inshore fishing is a popular activity.

However, these days, it is well-loved among many West Coast anglers, and it will work well pretty much anywhere with shallow beach waters.

Note: the pictures on Amazon make it look like it has no hooks, but it actually comes with three #6 silver treble hooks. 

The Lucky Craft Flash MinnowOpens in a new tab. is 4.5 inches (110.0 millimeters) and weighs 5/8 ounces (16.5 grams). It comes in many colors that mimic sardine, anchovy, mackerel, and other live bait.

Choose the right combination, and this lure will attract halibut, surfperch, bass, mackerel, barracuda- you name it. It also has built-in ball bearings that produce gentle, rattling sounds to entice fish to swim closer.

The lure creates a smooth action, with a tight wobbling movement that fish of all temperaments and sizes love. It may take some experimentation to determine the right retrieve, but once you figure that out, it looks like real swimming bait. 

Anglers have a lot of great things to say about it; however, some people complain that this lure is so small and light that it cannot be cast very far, especially if the wind is against you. 

Of all the products on this list, this lure might be one of the most expensive. However, many West coast anglers swear that it works like a dream and that it is well worth it. 

Pros

  • Specifically designed for inshore fishing
  • Particularly effective for catching halibutOpens in a new tab., surfperch, and stripers

Cons

  • One of the most expensive brands available
  • Small, lightweight features make it difficult to cast over far distances
Click Here For More Information And Current Price On AmazonOpens in a new tab.

5. Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow Floating LureOpens in a new tab.

Yo-ZuriOpens in a new tab. is another company famous for its sport-fishing lures. The Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Floating LureOpens in a new tab. boasts ultravioletOpens in a new tab. colors (which fish have been scientifically proven to have the ability to see) and an internationally patented 3D prism finish.

This cutting-edge technology is designed to attract fish from long distances with its holographic, realistic look. The shimmering colors and fluid, wriggling patterns it creates as it glides through water make it look like real live bait. 

The Yo-Zuri has double hooks to secure a catch and creates an alluring rattling noise. This lure measures 5.3 inches (130.0 millimeters) and weighs 7/8 ounces (24.8 grams).

Its natural, minnow shape and weight allow it to be easily cast across distances and dart beautifully across the water. 

A major pet-peeve reported by many anglers is having to sharpen or change the hooks of a lure straight out of the package.

This is a less prevalent complaint with the Yo-Zuri 3D CrystalOpens in a new tab.; it has stronger, sharper hooks than many of its counterparts. 

Lastly, the ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)Opens in a new tab. material used for its body is highly saltwater resistant and resilient against harsh, explosive strikes from fish. 

Much like the earlier entries on this list, a brand new Yo-Zuri 3D Crystal is not cheap, but its unique and clever design promises to bring in your target fish.

Furthermore, you will not have to replace the hooks frequently, which is a cost that can add up very quickly.

Pros

  • 3D prism and ultraviolet features scientifically designed to be visually appealing to fish
  • Built from solid, durable materials
  • Perfect for casting across far distances

Cons

  • Can be tricky to operate
  • Tends to be on the pricier side of fishing lures
Click Here For More Information And Current Price On AmazonOpens in a new tab.

6. Berkley Gulp! Shrimp Saltwater Fishing Soft BaitOpens in a new tab.

Many other lures only go as far as looking and sounding like real bait, which certainly gets the job done. However, this lure takes it a step further.

It smells like and imitates the movements of a real shrimp, features that provide additional trickery dimensions.

Scented baits are especially useful if you are fishing in murky waters where a fish’s vision might be obstructed by silt, and you do not want to scare it off with the rattling noises that some other lures make.

The Gulp! ShrimpOpens in a new tab.! comes in a set of four, six, and eight, in sizes varying from 2 inches (50.8 millimeters) to 4.0 inches (101.6 millimeters). This imitation shrimp lure is more expensive than live baitOpens in a new tab., but it is fairly reusable to some extent.

The number of uses you can get out of one piece depends on your target fish’s size and aggressiveness. One tip to extend its useful life is to save any shreds leftover by larger fish for smaller catches.

Another important feature is that soft and pliable texture allows for easy transportation and storage. However, just make sure that you do not allow them to dry out, or they will lose their effectiveness.

Keep in mind that these lures do not come with hooks, so you will need to provide your own. 

This lure is very easy to use, and they are not species-specific since it’s hard to find a saltwater game fish with an aversion to shrimp. These characteristics combined make this lure great for beginners.

Pros

  • Easy to use; very beginner-friendly
  • Smells and moves like real live bait; appeals to many types of fish
  • Salt-water resistant, durable and long-lasting

Cons

  • Can only be used a few times; will need frequent replacement
  • More expensive than live bait in many cases
  • Hooks are not included in the purchase
Click Here For More Information And Current Price On AmazonOpens in a new tab.

7. KIKITOY Saltwater Fishing Lures Inshore Large Hard Bait Minnow LuresOpens in a new tab.

All of the lures discussed so far are amazing, but not everyone is willing to pay such steep prices.

If you want something a lot more affordable, KIKITOY Saltwater Fishing LuresOpens in a new tab. offer decent quality at a bargain price. Despite being inexpensive, they look great and work well. 

This brand gives a lot of bang for your buck as one pack gets you five different lures.

Each lure comes in a color that closely mimics baitfish, is designed for varying water conditions and creates unique action for catching many different types of fish.

Each lure is 5.5 inches (139.7 millimeters) and 0.8 ounces (28.4 grams), making them adaptable to catching middle size to big size school fish. The treble hooks are made from high carbon steel, which is fairly durable. 

Because they are very budget-friendly, be prepared for some tradeoffs in quality. They are not as durable or saltwater resistant as many other lures, but they work well and can be easily replaced.

They are also a great option if you are just starting, are still figuring things out, and don’t want to invest a lot in a single lure.

Pros

  • One of the most economical choices; comes in a pack of five
  • Size and colors appeal to a wide range of fish

Cons

  • Average quality materials; not as durable or saltwater resistant as other brands
Click Here For More Information And Current Price On AmazonOpens in a new tab.

8. JOHNCOO Soft Bait Shad Fishing LureOpens in a new tab.

Similar to the Berkley Gulp!, this sJOHNCOO Soft Bait Shad Fishing LureOpens in a new tab.; you can use it to catch pike, trout, bass, catfish, etc.

Your money will get you up to fifty pieces per one bag in assorted colors, so this is a slightly more economical option. 

Soft plastic paddle tail lures are known for generating impressive motions to attract your prey.

Using just a basic straight retrieve, the paddle tail will create natural, fluid movements in the water that some other lures find difficult to produce even with more advanced retrieves. 

They are also popular because they can cover a splendid range of depths.

For example, depending on your rigging and the technique of your retrieval, this lure can cover water as shallow as 10 inches (25.4 centimeters), or deeper than 5 feet (1.5 meters). 

Pros

  • Easy to use; very beginner-friendly
  • Economical; one pack yields several lures
  • Appeals to many types of fish
  • Covers large range of depths

Cons

  • Can only be used a few times; will need frequent replacement
  • Hooks are not included in the purchase
Click Here For More Information And Current Price On AmazonOpens in a new tab.

Other Factors to Consider

The product information that has been detailed throughout this article is certainly important to consider before purchasing your fishing tackle.

However, be aware that the best surf fishing lures for your circumstance will depend upon several factors. For example:

Type of Fish Native to an Area

Experienced anglers will tell you that lures that work best for striped bass fish differ from those that are most effective for catching big speckled sea troutOpens in a new tab..

The bottom line is that not all fish will be attracted to the same type of lure. A fish’s temperament, speed, and hunting habits will determine what kind of fishing gearOpens in a new tab. you should have in your arsenal.

For instance, the size of your lure will depend on the species you are targeting, mostly for the simple reason that the lure needs to be able to fit inside the fish’s mouth.

For example, striped bass and larger catfish typically need larger hooks, and therefore, larger lures. 

The shape of the lure is also critical. It needs to imitate the type of prey that a fish would normally hunt. Make sure to research whether your fish goes after insects, minnow, shrimp, or other bait.

You also need to know if your lure must mimic a fish’s prey down to the last detail, or if a vague representation is sufficient. 

Water Conditions 

Will you be fishing in clear or murky water? Low tide or high tideOpens in a new tab.? Rough waters or calm? Cold or warm?

These water conditions will affect your target fish’s likeliness to feed, speed and agility, and other key other behaviors.

For example, fish tend to be more sluggish in cold water, so they might not be easily motivated to go after bait.

In that case, rather than choosing a tackle that zips swiftly across the water, your best chance of tempting your prey might be to use lures that have vibrant colors or enticing noises.

Time of Day

Light levels and water temperature can affect a fish’s behavior and activity. The referenced study found that the swimming speed of fish varied depending upon the phase of the day (daytime, dusk, nighttime, and dawn).

Specifically, it was noted that on average, the fish swam twice as fast during the day as they did at night, due to variables such as fish size, water temperatures, and light intensity. 

Light levels and water temperatures are certainly a function of water conditions, but they are also impacted by the time of day. 

Key Takeaway

Before purchasing your equipment, make sure that you do your homework and find out as much about them and other pertinent factors.

You might get the most raved-about tackle, but if you toss it in the water at the wrong time of day, or among the wrong fish, the results will be disappointing. 

One obvious way to gather information is to research online by reading blogs and reviews of fishing locations.

If you want to gain even better insight, see if you can contact some local fishermen and anglers in the area, you plan on surf fishing.

Many of them will have significant experience that can spare you from rookie making mistakes.

Conclusion

When selecting lures and any type of fishing gear, quality is king. Make sure to choose products that are known for their durability and saltwater resistance. 

However, before you purchase a lure, you need to do enough homework about the kinds of fish in the area that you intend to go fishing in.

You should also understand the weather conditions and what to expect when fishing during certain times of the day, as these factors will affect the type of equipment needed. 

The easiest way to obtain all the information you need is by researching online. If possible, you should also talk to some of the local fishermen in your target fishing area.

If you incorporate this advice, you will exponentially increase your chances of catching your target species.

Zaldy

I love feeling the cool ocean spray every time I hit the beach with a rod and a bucket of bait. I love the thrill of feeling bites on my line whenever I hook a big one. And I especially love the pride that comes with cooking a fresh catch and sharing it with my friends and family. Thank you for stopping by. Let's go catch some fish!

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