fishing lures, best lures 2017

Our fishing editor casts his vote for the most cutting edge baits of the year.

1. Strike King Mr. Crappie Scizzor Shad

If the crappies in your local lake have been bombarded with tube jigs, here’s a curveball to throw them. The wide body and thin, twin legs of the Scizzor Shad provide slabs with a big target that wiggles with the slightest twitch. $4 per pack | Buy It Now

2. Jackall Gavacho Frog

The body is contoured around double hooks to make it more stream­lined and snagproof than other ­hollow-​body frogs. Not only can the ­Gavacho play in the nastiest slop, but its popping mouth kicks up the splash factor back in the junk. $10 | Buy It Now

3. Storm 360GT Searchbait

A unique plastic jighead with internal rattles ramps up the Searchbait’s sound; a wide boot tail and a fully ribbed back increase vibration as the bait swims. Four available sizes let you mimic the preferred prey when hunting for ­everything from walleyes to stripers. $4–​$6 per pack | Buy It Now

4. River2Sea Mad Yabbie

This slim crawfish is double-​­ribbed to displace lots of water, increasing both the sound and the vibration as it falls. Whether it’s Texas-rigged or used as a jig trailer, the flapping claws won’t go unnoticed by bass. $5.24 per pack | river2​

5. Rapala Skitter V

The new V-shaped body combined with a weighted tail allows this topwater to make harder cuts across the surface compared with classic Spook-style baits, triggering more reaction bites from followers. $9.49 | Buy It Now

6. Rapala Twitchin’ Mullet

With two heavy-gauge, in-line single hooks, this bait is ready for action on trophy tarpon, stripers, and snook that hunt bite-size finger mullet. The translucent body produces a realistic baitfish flash, while the lazy side-to-side subsurface walk draws targets in from a distance. $10 | Buy It Now

7. River2Sea Double Plopper

Two shrunken versions of the com­pany’s proven Whopper Plopper topwater lures rotate on double arms flanking a skirted jig, making this one of the loudest buzzbaits ever. $18 | Buy It Now

8. Berkley Warpig

Tired of losing rattle baits in the wood? Your box will stay stocked longer with the Warpig. With its blunt nose, this rattler is designed to bang off hard cover to trigger more strikes without getting hung up. $7 | Buy It Now

9. Storm Arashi Spinbait

Perfect for targeting suspended bass, the Spinbait sinks slowly as its front and rear ­counter-rotating props gently spin to boost flash and vibration. Once you have the bait counted down, the slightest twitch will get those props spinning faster to draw blasts from hovering bass. $8 | Buy It Now

10. Shimano Coltsniper Jerkbait

An internal weight slides to the rear for maximum casting distance, then springs to the front once the lure hits the water. Couple the bait’s ability to cover lots of water quickly with its seductive, rolling wobble, and you’ve got a preda­tor killer. $13–$15 | Buy It Now

11. Z-Man EZ Shrimpz

Made of durable soft plastic, this crustacean imitation will withstand a day full of redfish, snook, and seatrout chomps without needing to be replaced. Let it fall on a slack line, and the segmented body flaps away like the real thing, as the thin appendages add to the illusion. EZ Shrimpz are available rigged and unrigged. $6–$7 per pack | Buy It Now

12. Panther Martin Bearded Banshee

Unlike traditional spinnerbaits, the Banshee matches Panther’s proven in-line spinner blade with a classic bucktail skirt. $6–$7.49 | Buy It Now

13. Savage Gear 3D Bluegill

It’s hard for trophy bass to pass up a live bluegill, and this soft bait is about as close as you can get to the real thing. Back and belly trebles increase your hookup rate, and the triple-segmented body makes the bait move like a natural. $15 | Buy It Now

14. Berkley ­Cutter 90+

A coffin-shaped bill allows this suspending jerkbait to dart side to side and flash wildly with minimal rod work. That comes in handy in clear water and cold weather when it takes finesse—and lots of zone time—to coax a bite. $8 | Buy It Now

15. Live Target ­Swimbaits

With seven fresh­water and three salt­water models, this new line of soft swimbaits will imitate just about any baitfish you choose. While the patterns vary widely, they all have lifelike swimming action thanks to a unique tail design unmatched by other swimbait makers. $9 and up | Buy It Now

16. Castaic BD Soft Popper

This popper has a soft, hollow body that Castaic says will up your topwater game. For starters, the bait makes a subtler sound than a hard-body model when it hits the water and pops. It also collapses in the fish’s mouth, increasing hookup rates. $8 | castaic​­

17. Bill Lewis Stutterstep

It may be one funky-looking topwater, but the company claims it will deliver what other topwaters cannot: the ability to walk in place. Quick twitches make the 5-inch lure’s tail kick and head sway without advancing the bait forward, so you can keep working it in the zone until a fish can’t help but hit. $14 | Buy It Now

18. Megabass Funky Flipper

The Funky Flipper measures only 21⁄3 inches, but it packs a wallop. Retrieved with the rod tip high, this wakebait pushes lots of water to draw in nearby bass. Drop the tip and the Flipper will dive up to 6 inches. $20 | Buy It Now

19. Savage Gear 3D Suicide Duck

A topwater duck may not be the first lure you tie on when hunting for bass or muskies, but everyone dreams of seeing a giant fish eat one. This duck has real fish-attracting features like buzzing feet, and back and belly trebles to increase connections. $17–$20 | Buy It Now

20. Kastmaster Rattle­master Glow

The Kastmaster’s basic form has remained unchanged for decades, but these tried-and-true jigs now feature internal rattles. And with fresh UV paint jobs, their low-light visibility has also been beefed up, big-time. $5.49 | Buy It Now

Photographs by Ralph Smith