How to Pick the Right Lure

How to Pick the Right Lure

“What bait do I choose?” 

Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned veteran, this question is the one constant that never goes away but yet it’s a huge variable.

No matter what age you are you may be new to fishing and that's great! No matter what state you live in or what gender or race you were born of, fishing as a whole has almost zero boundaries to the the people that participate in it, and yet there is still one common goal amongst the entire fishing community. CATCH FISH!!  What we will discuss today applies to most fresh water species, bass, crappie, bluegill, walleye, white bass, stripers, trout, and the list goes on and on.

Start with the body of water your fishing and think of it in sections; from the surface of the water to the lake floor. Now let’s mentally break that up into thirds or even quarters.  Starting at the surface and going down 5-10 feet would be what I would refer to as your “surface/sub-surface column” as well as the “1st column”.   The “2nd column” or “mid-range column” would be say, 10-20ft deep, and the “3rd column” or “deep column” would be 30ft and beyond.


Lures that match the lakes your fishing

  • Surface and sub-surface lures
  • Mid-range or Mid Depth Lures
  • Deep diving or bottom bouncing lures

OK, now let’s break down each of these categories and the lures that fit into those categories and even multiple categories. Keep in mind that lures are STRICTLY TOOLS. Now then, we’ll discuss how to choose the right tool for the job, and maybe even break this up into a multi-part series and talk about the lures individually in later articles. Keep in mind that there may be many more lures for each category than what are listed here, but we’re simply trying to paint the picture.


Surface and sub-surface lures

  • Frog style lures
  • Walk the dog type baits
  • Buzz baits
  • Prop baits
  • Popping baits
  • Wake baits
  • Spinner baits
  • Square bill crank baits
  • Swim Jigs


Mid-range baits

  • Medium bill crank baits
  • Spinnerbiats
  • Bladed swim jigs<
  • Jerk baits
  • Swim Baits
  • Swimming Grub
  • Drop shot


Deep diving or bottom bouncing baits

  • Deep billed crank baits
  • Spinner baits
  • Jigs
  • Texas rigged soft plastics
  • Carolina rigged soft plastics
  • Drop shot


Like I said, these are some lure ideas for those water columns, but not all. Always remember that lures are tools and your job is to pick the right tools for the job. If you’re fishing a place you have confidence in and not getting the bites you think you should be, pick a different tool and then continue to change tools until you get bit.

When trying to select the right lure, be it in the store or from your tackle box, don’t get so caught up in trying to determine what that one lures is that will just “make them bite”. So much of today’s tackle selections and tactics are meant to catch fisherman rather than fish.

Now I’m certainly not saying that there aren’t some awesome tackle manufactures out there with some awesome lures than are very effective. What I am saying is that knowing which lure to apply and when to apply it makes all the difference. If the fish are 2ft under the surface and you’re digging a ditch with that $25 dollar custom crank bait you bought, you’re likely about to have a rally long and unproductive day. But knowing when to pick that crankbait up and stick with it will have you plastering pictures on your favorite social media account of all those nice fish you’re catching!

Good Fishing!
~ Jon