This is an exciting time for saltwater anglers. After a year off the water, tackle designers are back at trying to outthink the fish. The result is new lures made of better materials in irresistible shapes and colors. And, the next generation of high-tech reels produce the power to beat the biggest fish. With the latest saltwater fishing lures and tackle in your arsenal, the fish don’t stand a chance.
Top 7 New Lures For Saltwater Fishing
Butterfly Wing Fall
$14.99 | shimano.com
Before the Butterfly jig, anglers targeting tuna, wahoo and other pelagic predators had to use heavy gear and big trolling lures. The introduction of vertical jigs suddenly opened offshore fishing to everyone, including kayak anglers. Over the past 10 years, Shimano has expanded the high-speed jigging line to include new slow-pitch jigs, using the same concept only working the lure more slowly. This year, they’ve released the new Wing Fall jigs that can be used for fast or slow jigging. The Kyorin paint finish is lifelike and tougher to catch the strongest fish without losing its luster. Through wire construction connects the hook to the lure eye so if the lure breaks the fish cannot get off.
$6.99 | berkley-fishing.com
Berkley worked for years to develop a scented soft plastic unlike any other. Gulp! scented baits are water based to disperse attractants more powerfully and bring fish in from farther away. Then, they developed a special polymer to host the scent for long-lasting flavor. Gulp! comes in hundreds of shapes, sizes and colors to imitate every type of bait. This year, Berkley released several models in limited edition translucent colors. In the wild, many crustaceans and baitfish are nearly clear with just a hint of color. Somehow, Berkley managed to make their lures see through. To entice summer speckled trout and flounder, I chose Flamingo Flash in a pink that matches our local grass shrimp.
Bowed Up Lures
$10.49 | boweduplures.com
Sight fishing for cobia is one of the pinnacles of the sport. For the long, hard day of paddling in the sun to pay off, it takes the right lure to pique a cobia’s appetite. When pro cobia guide, Captain Aaron Kelley needed a better cobia lure, he invented it. The result is Bowed Up Lures Octo Skurt’z. The alien-looking jighead is combined with a tough plastic skirt and beefy 9/0 hook to handle the biggest brown suits. On the water, cobia cannot deny the green and yellow Octo Skurt’z and the brightly colored lure is easier for anglers to see.
Z-Man Eye Strike Chatterbait
$8.49 | eyestrikefishing.com
A bladed jig is a jighead with a quarter-sized metal blade. It doesn’t look like it would catch fish, but years of bass fishing tournament results prove otherwise. Before long, the bladed jig made its way to saltwater where it proved just as effective on speckled trout, striped bass, redfish and more. Now, Eye Strike Fishing has released a series of Eye Strike Z-Man ChatterBaits specially designed for saltwater with Mustad 4/0 and 5/0, corrosion-resistant hooks. The hook is paired with an EyeStrikez Redfish Eye jighead with a large 3D eye. The result is a bladed jig that can stand up to the abuse of saltwater fishing.
$4.49 | zmanfishing.com
The Z-Man Eye Strike ChatterBait is designed to be used with Z-Man’s DieZel MinnowZ. As the DieZel MinnowZ swims through the water, the lure rocks from side to side to move like a real fish. The thing that sets Z-Man soft plastics apart is the ElaZtech plastic. Naturally buoyant, stretchy and damn-near indestructible, ElaZtech is 10 times stronger than a traditional soft plastic. This year, Z-Man released new colors and patterns, my current favorite is Slam Shady, a glitter infused, light grey that matches local baitfish.
Get Wet Lures
Pulling a big tautog out of the heavy structure is one of the toughest challenges in saltwater fishing. To even the odds, tog masters developed a small, heavy jig with a short hook. The jig is connected directly to the line, to transmit the slightest vibration to the rod. When the tog takes the bait, the short shank hook finds its way into the fish’s rubbery jaw. Then, as the fish takes off to make an escape, the jig has less chance of snagging the structure. This season, I grabbed tog jigs from local Get Wet Lures. For smaller baits, like fiddler crabs and sand fleas, I use a 1 1/2-ounce jig. Bigger chunks of blue crab or whole green crab require a larger three-ounce jig.
$299.99 | pennfishing.com
The biggest news to come out of last year’s ICAST tradeshow was PENN’s new line of heavy-duty, saltwater-approved, low-profile reels. The PENN FathomLP is built behind a full-metal frame. Seven ball bearings keep the reel handle and spool moving smoothly and the carbon fiber drag produces up to 30 pounds of pressure to break the will of the biggest fish. This power is supported with brass main gears and a bronze pinion gear. In the 400 size, the level wind and drag are synchronized to provide more power under heavy pressure.
This article was first published in Kayak Angler Issue 45. Subscribe to Kayak Angler and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos.
Looking for new saltwater fishing lures? Better have these best bets in your tackle box. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley