Fishing Basics 101: How to Choose a Lure

Casual fishing basics discussion between me, a fishing novice, and Tyler, our Fish and Swim Guide Specialist. He also happens to fish on the Montevallo Bass Fishing Team and runs an awesome jig company! Check out his site Wicked Jigs. If you missed our first interview, go check out Tyler’s fishing basics advice.

Today’s interview will cover a quite complex topic: lure selection!

All I now is that there are hundreds of different types and colors of lures to choose from. But, what should I use and when? Does color of the lure matter? Tyler explains it all below… 

Top Water

Spooks, buzzbaits, poppers, and whopper ploppers are typically used in the summer and fall to imitate shad. Usually, it works best in low light conditions and it is one of the most fun ways to catch a fish. They are best to use on shallower rocky points and shallow flats.



Crankbaits are best used in depth from 2-25 feet. They are one of the most popular baits to use and are good year-round. They are probably the easiest bait to use for a novice because you can throw them pretty much anywhere and probably catch a fish. 


Swimbaits are often used as a more subtle variation of a crankbait. They are used mostly in the winter and the summer, and they work best in clearer water. They are mostly used in deep water but can be fished at any water depth.



Worms, like crankbaits, are good to use year-round, and can be fished in any depth range. They vary greatly in size and color, but a 7 inch purple or green pumpkin worm will catch fish no matter what the conditions are. Worms are also a great bait to use if you are just starting off. 


There are many different types of jigs that all have different uses, but typically they can be used interchangeably with worms. They normally will catch bigger fish than worms, but they normally don’t catch as many fish as worms do.



Frogs are typically used in emergent vegetation. They are good to throw in sparse grass that is not thick enough to flip. Frogs are typically used during the summer and the fall, and it is a very fun way to catch fish.

How does color factor into lure selection?

Color is one of the most important factors in lure selection. A good rule of thumb is when the water is dirty you want to throw darker colors, and when the water is clear you want to throw more neutral colors. 

Typically, for worms and jigs, black and blue, green pumpkin, or redbug will cover just about any situation. If the water is dirty, black and blue is a better color to throw, and when the water is clearer, green pumpkin or redbug are better options. For crankbaits, dirty water options are red or chartreuse. When the water is clearer, more natural colors, such as silver, white with a little bit of blue, or white with a little bit of grey is best. 

Check out this Field Guide for Fishing Lures…

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