Artificial Lures

There are a great many different artificial lures that can be found down here on the Texas coast.

I thought I’d go into some detail about the appearance of each so that it is easier to distinguish one from the others. I’ll go into more detail about how they each fish in their own blogs later on. 

Soft Plastics

Made to imitate just about anything that a coastal gamefish would want to eat, these are usually considered the most versatile and universally effective artificial bait. Their soft bodies are made to be rigged to a hook or jig head. Coming in hundreds of different shapes, sizes, and colors, they are usually broken down into four categories:

Baitfish Imitations are the biggest category. Their tails are tapered and straight with an enlarged body.

Shad/Paddle Tail Baitfish Imitations are next in line. These are technically baitfish imitations, but their tails are shaped to make them wiggle back and forth through the water.

Shrimp imitations come next. Bet you can’t guess what these look like.

Crab imitations are last, and the smallest category as crabs are on the menu for most of the coastal species but not the go to meal.

Topwater

These are some of the most exciting lures. This is because they tap into the aggressive nature of gamefish. They do this by mimicking wounded or fleeing baitfish or shrimp near the surface. This in turn can entice strikes from underneath causing the fish to leap into the air.

There may not be as many varieties and choices compared to soft plastics but there are still quite a lot of options. The biggest differences between one topwater and the next are size, color, and the sound they make. There are almost as many color combinations available as soft plastics. They can be anywhere from 3 ½ to 5 inches long. They typically come equipped with two treble hooks.

Plugs

Also known as Suspending lure, these have a hard plastic body. They are fished under the surface, suspended anywhere from a few inches to a foot. These are another lure that comes outfitted with treble hooks. Some come with three, I recommend removing the middle hook. This will make landing fish easier and safer. Also, if you have to release anything you catch for any reason, removing the third hook will reduce stress to the fish.

Most are baitfish imitations, coming in a wide range of colors. Some come with a line tie at the nose. These will dart around when you reel them in and stay relatively shallow. Others tie in on top and will wobble on the retrieve. They generally go deeper. Almost all plugs have some kind of rattle and they tend to be between two and four inches.

Spoons

This will come as a shock but these slightly resemble a soup spoon. They are almost always made out of metal and usually come with a hook embedded in the bend or a treble hook hanging off the end. This design makes them wobble as you reel them in creates a flashy show that resembles a baitfish.

Most of the time they come with a gold or silver finish but you can find different color combinations. Some come with a scaly finish to better resemble a baitfish. A lot of them are made with built-in weed guards. Some come with a bit of bucktail, feathers, or a plastic trailer off the back.

Spinner

There are actually two kinds of spinners. The first are made up of a weighted jig head, an interchangeable soft plastic lure, and a bent wire arm with a gold or silver spinner. The second are inline spinners. These are usually made with a straight shaft that the spinner rotates around at the front with a soft plastic weighted or unweighted trailer hook.

Creating a similar buzz and vibration as a spoon. Spinners are best used when fishing in muddy or murky water where their extra vibration will help attract fish. They can be effective fished along the bottom all the way up to the top of the water column.

Crankbaits

These are another of the hard plastic lures that come equipped with treble hooks. Normally short and stubby, they usually have a clear, hard plastic lip at the nose that helps them wobble. Shorter and wider lips keep them at more shallow depths, while thinner and longer lips help get them deeper. Manufacturers list the depths they can go on the package. Most come equipped with rattles to increase their appeal.

They come in numerous colors and a lot of them have silver or gold sides that flash while reeling them in. With the wobbling action and their enticing coloring it’s easy to see why a gamefish would strike crankbait. 

Corky

They get their name from having a cork cylinder that surrounds a stainless steel wire, the whole thing is encased in soft plastic. This cork cylinder gives the lure buoyancy and allows you to fish the lure slowly. They come in several sizes, colors, range from 3 inches to over 5 inches, and typically have built in rattles.

Paul Brown was the original producer of these and sold them out of his southeast Houston garage for decades before turning over the operation to MirrOlure in January of 2010. Although MirrOlure is marketing them as “Paul Brown’s Original Series”, they will always be known to the fishing community as Corkies.

Bucktail Jigs

Normally made up of one or more colors of bucktail tied to a weighted jig hook along with some flashy material. If more than one color is used, typically the darker color is tied on top to mimic the coloration of baitfish. Finally some flash, like you find on most hard baits and soft plastics, can be added.

If you’ve never jumped into the world of tied jigs or fly fishing, bucktail is exactly what is sounds like. The hair from the tail of a deer. Bucktail is used for numerous reasons: durability, it’s relatively inexpensive, moves pretty well in the water, and can be dyed to any color you can think of.

I’d recommend checking out MirrOlure (https://www.shopmirrolure.com/product_overview.php), Bass Assassin (https://bassassassin.com/product-category/saltwater/), Rapala (https://www.rapala.com/), and Johnson (http://www.johnsonfishing.com/). They all have excellent variety and great performance.

Have fun out there and remember, make every trip a guided trip with MyFinFinder.

-Woody