The 25 Best Fishing Lures of 2021

What are the year’s coolest new fishing baits? We found the most innovative fishing lures for bass, trout, walleyes, panfish, and saltwater fish

We’re not telling you to put your favorite fishing lures on the back burner. But sometimes you’ve just got to show those fish something different. The question is, what? To save you some wandering-around time at the tackle shop, here are our picks for the hottest, most innovative, best fishing lures for bass, trout, panfish, walleye, and saltwater fish for the 2021 season.

5 Best Bass Lures for 2021

1. Zoom Magnum Ultra Vibe Speed Craw

Zoom Ultra-Vibe Speed Craw
Zoom Ultra-Vibe Speed Craw Zoom

Zoom’s Speed Craw, with its compact body and hard-thumping claws, has been a staple for years, whether flipped into a heavy mat, put on the back of a jig, or used as a trailer on a Chatterbait. This new version is nearly 30 percent larger, answering the prayers of anglers who wanted a meatier package with the same action. $4.40 for 10; zoombait.com

2. Rapala OG 6 Slim

Rapala OG 6 Slim
Rapala OG 6 Slim Rapala

Tennessee fishing pro Ott DeFoe, winner of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, took one of Rapala’s legendary flat-sided balsa crankbaits and melded it to a rounded circuit-board lip to create a tight-wobbling lure that’s still castable and will trigger pressured early-season bass to bite. $11; rapala.com

3. Stanley Vibrashaft Dirty Water Spinnerbaits

Stanley Vibrashaft Dirty Water Spinnerbaits
Stanley Vibrashaft Dirty Water Spinnerbaits Stanley

Stanley Lures took one of their pulsating Vibrashaft spinnerbaits, featuring a tapered wire frame, and added double-painted blades in a variety of highly visible colors—everything from red to pink to chartreuse to white—to allow bass living in heavily-stained water to locate and bite. $7-$9; www.fishstanley.com

4. SPRO Essential Series Zero Minnow

SPRO Essential Series Zero Minnow
SPRO Essential Series Zero Minnow SPRO Essential Series Zero Minnow

A wakebait, sashaying seductively across the surface of a clear-water fishery, causes bass to rocket up from the depths and attack, and SPRO’s newest wake not only moves naturally, but has a loud rattle that calls fish from a distance. Three Gamakatsu trebles ensure that even slashing fish get hooked. $9; www.spro.com

5. Strike King Hybrid Hunter

Strike King Hybrid Hunter
Strike King Hybrid Hunter Strike King

Unlike most other crankbaits, Strike King’s Hybrid Hunter does not feature a straight diving lip, but rather an angled one that allows it to come through cover and deflect erratically. Combined with a loud rattle, the erratic action “hunts” and forces bass to react. $9; www.strikeking.com

Read Next: How to Catch a 10-Pound Bass

5 Best Panfish Lures for 2021

1. Stanley Ribbit Runt

Stanley Ribbit Runt Stanley

BUY NOW

If you think that only bass and other larger predators eat frogs, think again. Panfish love them and the 1/8-ounce Stanley Ribbit Runt—less than 2 inches long and rigged on a matching safety-pin spinner—will lure the biggest bluegills and crappie around. $12; amazon.com

2. Blakemore Slab Dragger

Blakemore Slab Dragger
Blakemore Slab Dragger Blakemore

Blakemore is a name that has long been associated with crappie fishing, but they continue to innovate, as with this multi-ribbed soft plastic with a pulsating tail. The lure comes with a chin-mounted blade, either 1/16 ounce with a No. 2 hook, or 1/8 ounce with a No. 1 hook. $4; www.ttiblakemore.com

3. VMC Tungsten Mustache Jig

VMC Tungsten Mustache Jig
VMC Tungsten Mustache Jig VMC

If you’re chasing big panfish through a hole in the ice, this jig may be your new best friend, combining the fast fall of tungsten with the wacky worm action of a perpendicular soft plastic. It comes with a razor-sharp VMC hook and a 90-degree hook eye to maximize landing percentages on soft-biting fish. $6; rapala.com

4. Yo-Zuri Vibe Mini Ice

Yo-Zuri Vibe Mini Ice
Yo-Zuri Vibe Mini Ice Yo-Zuri

This little rattling bait may be less than 2 inches long and weigh just 3/16 ounce, but it packs a loud voice. Internal rattles call fish from a distance, and the 15 distinct colors represent a wide variety of natural forage fish, whether you’re using it in open water or through the ice. $6; www.yo-zuri.com

5. Strike King Mr. Crappie Snap Jack

Strike King Mr. Crappie Snap Jack Strike King

BUY NOW

Some twin tails have subtle little waving appendages, but the Snap Jack combines a small body with two paddles that quiver independently and create a ruckus, attracting attention. It can be fished vertically or employed in a horizontal swimming motion, and the legs kick regardless of how much weight you put in front of them. $6.79; amazon.com

Read Next: Three Tactics for Catching Stubborn Panfish

5 Best Trout Lures for 2021

1. Panther Martin Dual Flash

Panther Martin Dual Flash
Panther Martin Dual Flash Panther Martin

If one blade is good, then two can be better—and legendary Panther Martin’s Dual Flash provides twice as much bang for the buck, giving the impression of a larger baitfish or a pair of baitfish. It comes in five sizes and lots of trout-producing colors, including both proven patterns and new holographic versions that show wary trout a distinct and unique look. $11; amazon.com

2. Lunkerhunt Larvae Bait Jar

Lunkerhunt Larvae Bait
Lunkerhunt Larvae Bait Lunkerhunt

These 1.5-inch plastic trout treats are ultra-natural larvae reproductions that are marketed as being as good as live bait. They’re available in pink, white, and glow, and they’re perfect for putting on the back of Lunkerhunt’s spade jig. They come packed in Lunkerhunt’s proprietary Lunker Attractant to make sure that tentative trout won’t let go. $6; www.lunkerhunt.com

3. Berkley Fat Floating Trout Worm

Berkley Fat Floating Trout Worm Berkley

BUY NOW

Berkley’s Gulp! scent is proven to attract fish, and now they’ve brought it to the world of wacky rigging for trout. This 2-inch worm features a bulbous egg sack in the middle, which lets this stubby natural crawler drift through likely trout holds and hang on. It’s the perfect snack-size bait, available in four colors from gaudy to natural. $10; amazon.com

4. Blakemore Trout Runner

Blakemore Trout Runner
Blakemore Trout Runner Blakemore

Blakemore’s prime trout offering utilizes a small willowleaf to imitate thin baitfish and has a hinged swimbait trailer that comes in great colors like Electric Chicken and Cajun Cricket and features a button tail for a unique vibration. It’s a light tackle only option, with choices of 1/32 or 1/16 ounce. $3.25; www.ttiblakemore.com

5. Acme Rattlin’ Spinmaster

Acme Rattlin’ Spinmaster
Acme Rattlin’ Spinmaster Acme

Acme built this spinner with a “unidirectional,” uniquely-shaped blade to start rotating as soon as you turn the reel handle, along with a rattle chamber for extra attraction. All of that controlled chaos causes the tail to “whip” and attract trout from a distance. It’s available in 15 colors and three sizes. $8.30; www.acmetackle.com

Read Next: How to Fish for Trout in High, Dirty Water

5 Best Walleye Lures for 2021

1. Berkley Hit Stick

Berkley Hit Stick
Berkley Hit Stick Berkley

Berkley continues to innovate in the hard bait category, giving you the action and castability of balsa in a polycarbonate package. The Hit Stick has a FlashDisc belly apparatus that exaggerates its roll and flash. But unlike balsa, every one will run true and consistently, whether cast or trolled. The Hit Stick comes in seven different sizes and 20 color patterns. $6-$8; www.berkley-fishing.com

2. Northland Rattlin’ Puppet Minnow

Northland Rattlin’ Puppet Minnow Northland

BUY NOW

Northland’s Puppet Minnow can be fished through the ice or cast into open water – in either case it darts around like a dying minnow. Now, with the addition of a glass rattle, it has even more walleye-attracting appeal. Additional, they’ve changed the hook setup, adding wide gap back hooks and removing the front hook, thereby enhancing the lure’s already exceptional gliding action. $8; amazon.com

3. Bandit B-Rotan

Bandit B-Rotan Bandit

BUY NOW

Fish can’t ignore a jerkbait with dual rattle chambers holding four nickel steel balls, and that’s what the B-Rotan offers. Combined with an exaggerated wobble—whether cast down to 8 feet or trolled to 16—this is a lure that’ll call walleyes from a distance and trigger them to strike. It’s available in both natural forage patterns as well as gaudy paint jobs and builds upon the proven body shape of Bandit’s other walleye crankbaits. $12; amazon.com

4. Salmo Floating Free Diver 7SD

Salmo Floating Free Diver 7SD
Salmo Floating Free Diver 7SD Salmo USA

The Free Diver gets down quick and stays there when cast or trolled and it’s super-tough, so when big pike and muskies get in your walleye spread your lure can take a beating and keep running straight. They’re crafted in Europe and individually tank-tested to ensure uniformity and quality. With a selection of both natural and gaudy colors, you can “match the hatch” on any fishery. $10-$11; www.salmousa.com

5. Berkley Flicker Shad HD

Berkley Flicker Shad HD
Berkley Flicker Shad HD Berkley

The Flicker Shad has been a walleye mainstay for many years, with a true-running action and sticky-sharp Fusion19 hooks, but know they’ve added new paint jobs to represent some of a walleye’s most favored forage—five different photograph-quality finishes representing Blacknose Dace, Emerald Shiner, Smelt, Spottail Shiner, and Yellow Perch. $4-$6; www.berkley-fishing.com

Read Next: 10 Pro Secrets on How to Fish for Walleye in the Spring

5 Best Saltwater Lures of 2021

1. Nomad Vertrex

Nomad Vertrex
Nomad Vertrex Nomad

Australian manufacturer Nomad created this soft-bodied vibrating bait to swim both vertically and horizontally, with a random action after each lift of the rod. It includes a full wire internal construction for extra strength, and is fitted with the ultimate BKK trebles to tame even the nastiest saltwater beasts on the planet. $19-$20; www.nomaddesigntackle.com

2. Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil

Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil Yo-Zuri

BUY NOW

While most walk-the-dog topwaters sit tail down, this Yo-Zuri pencil lies flat on the surface—but still walks the dog remarkably easily. It comes with high grade trebles and stainless steel split rings for resilience and has a distinct “one knock” rattle that calls fish from a distance and enrages them, whether you fish it fast or slow. It’s available in 14 different colors. $12; amazon.com

3. LiveTarget Flutter Sardine

LiveTarget Flutter Sardine LiveTarget

BUY NOW

Like LiveTarget’s other lures, the Flutter Sardine has a photo-quality surface to replicate a wide range of forage, but what really makes this spoon different are the two “wings” close to the line tie. Whether you let it fall on a slack line or snap it vigorously toward the surface, it’ll flash and dart erratically drawing predatory gamefish from a distance. $8; amazon.com

4. Shimano SP-Orca FB

Shimano SP-Orca FB Shimano

BUY NOW

This oversized sub-surface darter contains spring-loaded foil inserts that flash even when the lure is dead still for extra fish-attraction. Depending on how you retrieve it, it can swim erratically or make exaggerated glides, and will appeal to a wide variety of the absolute toughest inshore and offshore predators you target. It comes with through-wired construction and top-quality trebles and split rings for extra durability. $23; amazon.com

5. Rapala X-Rap Magnum Xplode

Rapala X-Rap Magnum Xplode Rapala

BUY NOW

Rapala describes this saltwater popper as “over-engineered,” and the thick-walled ABS body and heavy-duty hardware are meant to stand up to the most vicious strikes of the strongest saltwater villains. It rests tail-down to position the VMC 6X trebles for easy hookups, yet it remains relatively simple for even novices to generate massive amounts of surface disturbance when pulled. $26; amazon.com