10 Of The Best Surf Fishing Lures To Catch Fish Anywhere!

best surf fishing lures

When it comes to fishing along the beach or in the surf, having the correct tackle and lures can make a huge difference. In this article, I’m going to review 10 of the best surf fishing lures of all time.

Let’s jump right in!

Panfish Nation is a reader-supported website. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Top 10 Best Surf Fishing Lures

Number 10

Pro Tips

Very effective on schooling predators such as Bluefish and Mackeral. Use with steel leader to prevent breakoffs.

Sea Striker Surf Spoon

This heavy-duty casting spoon is perfect for reaching long distances well beyond the breakers.

Available in 1/2 oz or 3/4 oz sizes its durable construction does very well in rough water or around rocks.

Number 9

Pro Tips

Try a slow and steady retrieve along rocks, seawalls, and sandbars. Cast very close to the structure and along edges!

Soft-Body Style Swimbaits

Soft-body style swimbaits give off the most realistic action. The paddle tail is great at mimicking an injured baitfish.

These style lures work well in light to moderate conditions and are best in areas without seaweed or vegetation.

Number 8

Pro Tips

Try fishing this lure with a twitch-twitch-pause cadence. Let the lure sit naturally for 5-7 seconds before starting again.

Mirrolure Mirrodine Suspending Twitchbait

The Mirrodine Suspending Twitchbait by Mirrolure is a classic hard-body lure that is very versatile and easy to fish.

The darting side-to-side action of this bait triggers strikes from redfish, tarpon, mackerel, bluefish, and more. I always have this lure in my tacklebox!

Number 7

Pro Tips

This is a great lure to target any predator fish that eats eels; Striped Bass, Cobia, Bluefish etc.

Bomber Jig-N-EEL

This heavy-duty jig and bucktail hybrid is most effective in Striper Country! Weighing in at 3 ounces, it’s capable of reaching very long distances and can also be trolled.

The heavy-coated jighead is meant to be durable and fished around rocks or sand. Big lure = Big Fish!

Number 6

Pro Tips

Gulp shrimp can be cut into small pieces and used to catch bigger baitfish such as herring & croakers.

Gulp! Saltwater Shrimp

When you can’t get your hands on live bait, Gulp is the next best thing. These shrimp are infused with realistic shrimp and baitfish scents and oils that all fish love.

Fish them on the bottom, on a jig, or under a popping cork. Extremely versatile and affordable.

Number 5

Pro Tips

Use a fast-action rod to get the most out of this lure. Cast it far, and reel it in quick!

Gotcha Plug

The Gotcha Plug is a must-have for any serious surf angler. These unique lures are meant to be reeled in very quickly and erratically, making them a lot of fun. to fish with!

Excellent for Spanish Mackeral, Bluefish, Kingfish and Striped Bass.

Number 4

Pro Tips

Try changing out the hooks to smaller or larger sizes depending on what species of fish your targeting.

Diamond Jig

The Diamon Jig is like a casting spoon on steroids. Its heavy-duty size and slim profile means it casts far and goes deep, even in heavy waves.

Fish this lure vertically, or cast and retrieve. The rougher the water, the better this lure performs!

Number 3

Pro Tips

After casting, swing your rod tip to the side and back in a swift motion to create a turbulent ‘popping’ sound.

Heavy Duty Topwater Popper

Leave the small topwater baits at home when fishing in the surf. You need to create BIG splashes with a heavy-duty popper to catch big fish lurking below.

This style of lure is an absolute blast to fish with! An excellent choice for Roostertails, Tuna, Tarpon, Mackeral, and even Sharks!

Number 2

Pro Tips

Adjust your retrieve or trolling speed to control how deep the lure will dive. Faster = deeper.

Rapala X-Rap Magnum

The Rapala X-rap Lure is a premium quality diving plug. Available in numerous sizes and colors, it can catch fish literally anywhere in the world.

Cast and retrieve or trolling are the best ways to fish this lure. Very effective at covering water and extremely durable even against sharp-toothed predators like wahoo.

Number 1

Pro Tips

Try tipping your bucktail jig with a piece of shrimp, clam or eel. Best fished with the current, slowly along the bottom.

Bucktail Jig

Number one on the list is a simple Bucktail Jig. You simply cannot beat the action, durability, and versatility of this classic surf fishing lure.

Bounce it off the bottom, cast and retrieve, troll or vertical jig it. This lure has been catching fish for 100+ years…no tackle box should be without!

Surf Fishing Lures By Fish Type

Fish SpeciesSurf Lure Recommendation
CobiaBucktail Jig
PompanoGoofy Jigs
FlounderSoft Body Swimbaits
MackeralGotcha Plug
SnookRapala X-Rap
RedfishMirrolure Mirrodine
TarponTopwater Popper
WhitingFish Bites Clam Strips
HalibutBomber-Jig N-EEL
Striped BassBomber-Jig N-EEL
LadyfishGotcha Plug
SalmonDiamond Jig
Sea TroutSoft Body Swimbaits
DrumGulp Shrimp
SharkTopwater Popper
Jack CrevalleSea Striker Surf Spoon
SheepsheadGulp Shrimp

Surf Fishing Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best color lure for surf fishing?

White, red, and chrome are the best lure colors for fishing in the surf. White and red look very realistic in the water and mimic natural baits and chrome has a bright flashy appearance that resembles common coastal baitfish.

Should I use a lure or bait when surf fishing?

This depends on what type of fish you are targeting. For example, if you are fishing for bottom feeders such as sheepshead, whiting or flounder, bait such as clams, sandfleas and shrimp are most effective. However, if you are fishing for predator fish such as tarpon, snook, or mackerel, artificial lures are a great choice.

Does line color matter for surf fishing?

Mainline color does not matter for surf fishing, however, you should always use a fluorocarbon leader which eliminates visibility. Many anglers prefer a bright-colored fishing mainline so it is more visible.

What is a good length for a surf rod?

The average length of a surf rod is 9 feet long. Longer rods up to 12 feet are great for very long casts and fishing heavy bait on the bottom. Shorter rods in the 8-9 foot range are great for walking the surf to cast and retrieve lures.

What’s the best time to go surf fishing?

Contrary to popular belief, the best time to go surf fishing is not dawn or dusk. The best time to go surf fishing is when the tidal and weather conditions are ideal for fishing. This is usually just after a tidal change, with moderate current, rising water, and small waves.

Why are surf fishing rods so long?

Surf fishing rods are very long for two reasons: First, the long length of the rod allows for maximum leverage so you can cast your bait or lure 60-100 yards beyond the shore break waves. The second reason is the longer rods stand up taller, which keeps your line above the water and free from snags or dragging waves.

Does Tide matter when surf fishing?

Tide is the most important factor when it comes to being successful at surf fishing. Baitfish and predatory fish migrate in and out as the tide changes. Understanding the tides in your area will greatly increase your chances of success.

How far can a surf rod cast?

Large surf rods up to 12 feet in length are capable of casting a 1-2 oz weight or lure up to 100 yards.

What should I look for when surf fishing?

Always check the tides to first determine if the water is rising or falling. Next, you should look for geographic features that may concentrate fish. These include things like sandbars, troughs, rocks, and reefs. Lastly, keep an eye out for diving birds and schooling baitfish, they are great indicators of predator fish nearby.

Final Thoughts

best surf fishing lures
Mangrove Snapper caught along the surf

Surf fishing can be extremely relaxing yet very exciting at the same time. Whether you want to walk the beach at a leisurely stroll or fish during the rough storms of winter, there is a lure for you.

Each of the lures I mentioned in this article are proven fishcatchers. Consider adding a few to your tackle box, and give them a try. They’ve worked very well for me over the years. Good luck!

Additional Reading