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Can You Use Freshwater Lures In Saltwater? Explained!

freshwater lures
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You’ve spent too much time fishing in ponds, lakes, and rivers, and now you’ve decided to take a trip to the seashore to catch saltwater fish. However, you only have freshwater lures in your tackle box. Or, you may not have the time or money to purchase fresh saltwater lures. But can you use freshwater lures in saltwater?

It is possible to use some freshwater lures as saltwater lures. Many large-sized jigs, poppers, soft plastic lures, and spoons are suitable for catching saltwater fish. Similarly, small and soft saltwater lures can be used for freshwater fishing. 

This article will talk about using freshwater lures for saltwater fishing. Before that, let us understand their differences. 

Difference Between Freshwater And Saltwater Lures

If you do not know much about fishing, you may ask why surf fishers use different lures for fishing in freshwater and saltwater. What is the difference between saltwater and freshwater lures? 

Freshwater lures and saltwater lures are different because of the water type and fish variations. The fishing lures should match the species of fish you plan to catch. 

You will find a vast collection of freshwater lures. Freshwater sources are easily accessible with a wide range of fish. Hence, you can see freshwater lures of different colors, shapes, and sizes. These lures are often made of soft plastics or materials. 

When you fish in saltwater, you should use durable lures as the saltwater can affect them. Some fish may even have sharp teeth. Besides, the size of fish in saltwater can be bigger compared to freshwater fish. So, the shape and size also vary from freshwater lures. 

Though the lures are similar, they still have differences in size, shape, color, and material. However, you can still use some fishing lures as they are suitable for saltwater and freshwater. You may even have to make some adjustments to the lures based on the water type and fish. 

What Kind Of Lures Should You Use On Freshwater?

As mentioned before, freshwater lures have different types, sizes, shapes, and colors. Most lures on the market are for catching freshwater bass. But there are also many lures for other species, such as perch, crappie, walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, channel catfish, rainbow trout, etc.

Some of the most popular freshwater baits are: 

  • Soft plastic lures (artificial insects, small fish, crawfish, etc.)
  • Crankbaits or poppers
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Jigs 
  • Spoons
  • Plugs
  • flies

What Kind Of Lures Should You Use On Saltwater?

Saltwater lures also come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. However, they do not have a variety of subcategories. So, while choosing lures for saltwater, you need to be extra careful. Take note of the fishing lures’ sound, smell, and movement. They are essential for attracting saltwater fish.

The saltwater lures are made sturdy because of the salinity of the saltwater. But soft plastic lures are equally popular for saltwater fishing.

The most common saltwater fish lures are:

  • Soft plastic 
  • Spoon 
  • jigs
  • Poppers
  • Plug fishing lures
  • Spinnerbaits
  • White bucktail

6 Freshwater Lures You Can Use On Saltwater

As you can see, there are many similar lures for saltwater and freshwater. These lures have different types, and not all are interchangeable. Saltwater lures should be strong, durable, and attractive to saltwater fish. Surf fishers also choose large freshwater lures to bait saltwater fish.

I will talk about some freshwater lures that are also appropriate for saltwater fish. So, check your tackle box to see if you have the following freshwater lures. 

Fishing Jigs

Fishing jigs are available in any tackle box. They are popular freshwater lures, as they are used to catch almost every kind of freshwater fish. Saltwater jigs are great for catching some saltwater spices as well. 

They have metal heads and a hook covered by artificial hair, soft plastic, feathers, or rubber. The head sinks the lure fast. When you fish with a jig in saltwater, drop a jig in the water and crank it up. Then, throw the jig back into the water again after a while. Do the same at intervals. The fish may think it is alive and come to taste it. 

Soft Plastic Lure

Soft plastic lures are one of the most popular freshwater lures. They come in different sizes, colors, and shapes. You can use them in many ways to lure saltwater fish. You can even attach a soft plastic insect or minnow to a jig in saltwater. 

On sunny days, use bright-colored soft plastic, and in dark weather, use darker-colored plastic lures. You may also use a soft crawfish lure in saltwater. They resemble shrimp quite a lot, a favorite food for saltwater fish like snook, ladyfish, and redfish. 

Gold and Silver Spoon

Gold or silver spoons are curved pieces of metal in the shape of a spoon, with a little hook welded to it and a weed guard. These lures are for catching large freshwater fish like largemouth bass, northern pike, muskies, and walleye. Fortunately, they are also great lures for salmon, redfish, and trout in saltwater.

Many anglers use gold spoons for redfish and silver spoons for trout. The color, shape, and vibration the spoons create in the water are irresistible to the fish. 


If you plan to fish near the seashore, check your tackle box for poppers. These lures can manage aggressive bites from saltwater fish. The ideal time to lure fish with a popper is at dawn or dusk. 

During this time, fish swim to the surface in search of food. Like jigs, you have to make animated movements and rest the popper to attract curious fish. 


Freshwater lures certainly have spinnerbaits for fishing in rivers, lakes, and ponds. You can use them to catch inshore saltwater fish. The spinner has a lead head that sinks into the water swiftly, wire arms, and a metal blade to hold on to the fish. 

Use a fishing rod to cast the spinnerbait across the water surface and jiggle it from time to time. The spinnerbaits’ soft sound, vibration, and movement are quite alluring to freshwater and saltwater fish. 


Finally, consider using plugs for saltwater. Plugs can be used both on the water and below the surface water. Floating plugs are for luring fish at the surface level. The diving plugs have metal or plastic lips that pull them deep underwater. 

This fishing lure rattles, vibrate, and even reflects light. Hence, you do not have to do much to animate it to lure fish.

So, this is how you can use freshwater lures for saltwater fishing. However, regular use of freshwater lures in saltwater will cause them to wear off soon. They are not made to tolerate the high salinity of saltwater sources. Therefore, you have to clean and dry the freshwater lures every time after using saltwater. 

Can Freshwater Lures Be Used in Saltwater Fishing with a Shock Leader?

Yes, freshwater lures can be used in saltwater fishing with a shock leader. The main difference between shock leaderOpens in a new tab. for saltwater fishing is that it needs to be more abrasion-resistant and have a higher breaking strength to withstand the harsher environment of saltwater and the larger, stronger fish that inhabit it.

Saltwater Lures You Can Use On Freshwater

Like freshwater lures for saltwater, fishermen also use saltwater lures for fishing in freshwater. Saltwater lures are made with stronger materials, so they are more durable than freshwater lures. Hence, there is no issue of getting damaged in freshwater. 

You have to choose saltwater lures, depending on the type and size of the freshwater fish you want to catch. For example, for large and big-mouth fish, you can use large saltwater lures. For smaller fish, the size of the bait should also be smaller. 

Here are some saltwater lures you may use as freshwater lures: 

  • Soft plastic lure
  • Artificial shrimp 
  • Gold and silver spoon
  • Topwater jerkbait
  • Saltwater spinnerbait 
  • Crankbait 


Many anglers keep interchangeable fish lures to minimize their cost. So, can you use freshwater lures in saltwater? Yes, you can, but only when the freshwater lure has the appropriate size and durability for saltwater. 

You must have the freshwater lures mentioned in the article or some of them. Take them on your next saltwater fishing trip and see what happens. All the best!

Zaldy G.

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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