The best fishing lures and flies you can buy
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- Fishing lures are fun-looking contraptions, but first and foremost they are tools.
- They're also expensive, so it's worth doing a bit of homework to understand what is needed and what isn't.
- Below are brands and retailers I use to fill my tackle (and fly) boxes, and the ones I'd recommend to anyone looking to do the same.
Superstitions abound around which colors and sizes are best when choosing a lure or fly. "Match the hatch," goes one old adage, which is to say, try to imitate the flies hatching in a body of water where fish (usually trout) are feeding on said flies hatching or laying eggs at the surface. The same goes elsewhere: If there are herring around, it's a good bet to assume that the larger predators (say, striped bass) are eating them and not menhaden, for example, which might be out of season or simply not around at that given point in time.Another theory, which is wholly contradictory, is to stand out. Simplistically, if there are lots of green fish swimming around, throw a pink lure and try to catch the eye of your target species off guard.
What about quality, or specifically, attention to detail? Does it really matter how lifelike a lure is? Yes and no. Some of my simplest lures have caught more fish than the meticulously detailed lures, especially along the bottom in murky conditions with poor visibility where fish can't see all that well anyhow. In others, such as dry fly fishing in gin-clear streams, a fly must be an immaculate imitation in order to even catch the attention of, let alone fool, a cunning trout.
Finally, your lure is only as good as your hooks. If you do buy inexpensive lures, I'd advise that you change out your hooks, particularly if you're fishing in saltwater. I also tend to get rid of treble-style hooks unless my full intention is to eat every fish I hook. They can do a lot of damage to fish (not to mention your hands), and it's rather cruel to toss them back in such rough shape. I try to change out all of my hooks to Gamakatsu single hooks, which are sharp, sure, but they also barely rust.
Taking all this into account, I'm leaving particular lure selection (i.e., size and color) to you, dear readers, lest I should be at the receiving end of whatever aspersions you cast on your next angling adventure.
Below are various brands I've found to provide the best and most reasonably priced equipment I've encountered over the course of more than two decades of sportfishing and working on fishing charters. These will, of course, also be highly subjective recommendations, but they're products and brands which I've relied on time and again, from the High Sierra of California to South Pacific streams and fjords, and the South Carolina Lowcountry to the Long Island Sound.
Here are the best fishing lures you can buy in 2019:
- Best hard plastics for saltwater and freshwater: Rapala
- Best soft plastics for freshwater: Yamamoto
- Best soft plastics for inshore saltwater: Storm
- Best surface lures: Yo-Zuri
- Best place to buy flies online: Big Y Fly Co.
- Best bucktail jigs: Sea Striker
- Best soft plastics for offshore and big game: RonZ
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