Best 8 Search Bait Fishing Lures

Best 8 Search Bait Fishing Lures

search bait fishing lures

This article with list the best 8 search bait fishing lures. Search baits are used to cover a lot of water fairly quickly in search of fish. These lures will often trigger bites from game fish that are not in a feeding mood.

Search baits will be defines as lures that have the following attributes. They cast a long way easily. Search baits will cover the entire water column. For the most part, search bait fishing lures have a built in action where a steady retrieve is effective.

top 6 fishing lures

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland fishing the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. He has fished all over North America and the Caribbean for a wide variety of species. This is his personal list of best 8 search bait fishing lures.

The best 8 search bait fishing lures are;

  • Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
  • Bass Assassin 4” Sea Shad swimbait
  • Z-Man Chatterbait
  • Worden’s Original Rooster tail spinner
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Rapala Shad Rap crankbait
  • Acme Kastmaster spoon
  • Johnson Silver Minnow spoon

These 8 search baits will cover just about every situation an angler will encounter. They produce for both freshwater and saltwater anglers.

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

The Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap is a terrific search bait fishing lure. It is in the family of baits called “lipless crankbaits”. This lure puts out tremendous flash and vibration while rattling. It casts a long way and works best with a moderate, steady retrieve. It is very productive on bass and other species in freshwater as well as snook and striped bass in saltwater.

Read this article by Capt Jim on fishing lipless crankbaits

The anglers controls the depth of the Rat-L-Trap by simply letting it sink to a determined depth on the cast. This lure will elicit reaction strikes for fish that are not necessarily feeding. It very realistically mimics shad, herring, and other bait fish. The ½ ounce model in chrome with a blue back is Capt Jim’s favorite.

Click link to shop Amazon for Rat-L-Trap lures

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Bass Assassin 4″ Sea Shad swimbait

The Bass Assassin 4” Sea Shad is Capt Jim’s favorite soft plastic fishing lure! It is an excellent search bait that will catch just about every species of fish in both fresh and saltwater. It comes in a wide variety of colors. The tail puts out a steady vibration. The lure is most often fished on a jig head, but can be used on a swimbait hook as well.

This is a very easy lure to fish. It works well on a steady retrieve and can also be used on the classic “jig and fall” retrieve. The Sea Shad has good built in action, though the anglers can add to that. Light colors work well in clear water while darker colors produce better in dark or stained water.

bluefish fishing

The Bass Assassin Sea Shad can be used in any depth. Anglers can control this by the weight of the jig head. It works well in deep water, but really is best in water ten feet deep or less.

Click link to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin lures

Z-Man Chatterbait

search baits

Z-Man pretty much invented the chatterbait, also known as a bladed jig. It is a bit of a combination of a swimbait and a spinnerbait. In fact, for many bass anglers it is replacing the traditional spinnerbait. These lures are a bit for streamlined, yet have plenty of bulk and action. The blade puts out flash and vibration.

The Z-Man DieZel chatterbait is the model designed for saltwater fishing. It has sturdy components and a swimbait instead of a rubber skirt. It catches snook, reds, trout, jacks, stripers, and other species. The Z-Man Chatterbait Elite is a premium bait that works very well on bass and other freshwater species.

Click to shop Amazon for Z-Man DieZel and Elite chatterbait lures

Worden’s Rooster tail spinner

fishing with lures

Some anglers might question whether an inline spinner is a search bait, but it meets the criteria. However, it is number four on Capt Jim’s list of search bait fishing lures. Unlike some of the other lures, it is primarily used by freshwater anglers. The Worden’s Rooster tail spinner is a terrific lure in streams and rivers, fooling trout, bass, and panfish.

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

The Rooster tail spinner works very well in ponds and lakes as well. In most cases, a very slow, steady retrieve works best. It is a very productive lure for panfish, but will fool bass, walleye, pike, and other species. It can be cast or trolled for trout in lakes as well. Capt Jim’s favorite Rooster tail is the 1/8 ounce model with a bright body and a gold blade.

Click to shop Amazon for Rooster Tail lures


spinnerbait fishing tips and techniques

Spinnerbaits are classic search bait fishing lures. They cast well, put out a ton of flash and vibration, have great built in action, and can be fished in any depth. Spinnerbaits are easy for novice anglers to use and they catch a variety of game fish. Tiny versions are very effective on panfish while pike and musky will hit the largest models. Some anglers in saltwater use them on redfish, but spinnerbaits are primarily freshwater lures.

Sarasota trolling techniques

There is no one spinnerbait that covers all species and situations. Capt Jim has had great success with the Johnson Beetlespin on panfish and smaller game fish. The 1/8 ounce bait with a black body and silver blade is very effective.

spinnerbait fishing for pike

The Strike King line of spinnerbaits will cover every fishing application for bass, walleye, and other species. The Premier is a great bait, with white/chartreuse skirts working well. The Booyah Pikee spinnerbait is a great choice for anglers chasing pike and musky.

Click to shop Amazon for Beetle Spin, Strike King, and Pikee lures

Rapala Shad Rap crankbait

walleye fishing in Michigan

Crankbaits are fantastic search bait fishing lures! They cast a mile and have tremendous built-in action. Crankbaits are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Capt Jim likes the Rapala Shad Rap line of crankbaits.

This is one lure where the design does limit the depth that the lure can be worked. Fortunately, the baits are available in models that will work at a determined depth. The lip and size of the bait dictates the depth that the lure will run. Anglers should choose lures that mimic the local forage.

Click to shop Amazon for Shad Rap lures

Acme Kastmaster spoon

lues for surf fishing

Spoons are excellent search baits that produce equally for both saltwater and freshwater anglers. They are heavy and dense and cast well. Spoons can also be trolled. The shape of the spoon with dictate the action. Slender spoons have a tight wiggle while wider spoons put out more wobble and vibration.

Florida Spanish mackerel fishing

Capt Jim likes the Kastmaster spoon. It is slender which mimics a lot of bait fish. These are aerodynamic baits which cast well, even into the wind. This makes it a favorite of anglers surf fishing. Spanish mackerel, bluefish, striped bass, and other species will hit them. An aggressive retrieve with hard twitches usually produces best. Silver with the prism finish is a popular finish.

trout lures

The smaller Kastmaster spoons are excellent freshwater lures as well. Trout, panfish, bass, walleye, and pike will be caught on them. Gold seems to be an excellent all round finish. They are also excellent when trolled for trout. A moderate steady retrieve works well in freshwater.

Click to shop Amazon for Kastmaster lures

Johnson Silver Minnow spoon

redfish and trout fishing

The Johnson Silver Minnow spoon is originally a freshwater bass lure that still produces today. However, it has been adopted by saltwater angler and is the most popular search bait used by shallow water anglers chasing redfish. Gold is by far the preferred finish and the ½ ounce size is the most popular size.

Click to shop Amazon for Silver Minnow lures

In conclusion, this list of the best 8 search bait fishing lures will help anglers use these efficient baits to locate fish more quickly.

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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