3 Best Surf Fishing Lures: Best of the Baits

surf fishing lures
Top to bottom: LC FM 110 | Z-Man Diezel MinnowZ | Keitech Fat Impact Swing

Looking for some good surf fishing lures? Shore fishing is one of those styles that challenges even the most sophisticated of anglers. The surf isn’t the friendliest of waters for lure fishing. With waves and currents, winds and weeds, fishing with lures in the surf can be highly intimidating. Confidence is the biggest factor in being successful with lures, and knowing you’re using a good lure is the first step there. So what are the best lures for surf fishing?

For a serious angler who knows what he’s doing, the best surf fishing lure changes per the conditions and per the structure. This is where we get into another debate: “Jerk Baits vs. Swim Baits”. I won’t dive into that topic much in this article, but if you’ve got a specific spot in mind or a specific goal in mind, it’s a debate worth having. I’ll speak on that more next week.

For now, let’s talk about the best surf fishing lures out there.

Lucky Craft CIF FM 110

Lucky Craft CIF FM 110 surf fishing lure
Lucky Craft CIF FM 110

No lure is more trusted and well-known than the LC FM 110 jerkbait. It’s a 4.5-inch (110mm), slow-suspending jerkbait that weighs 5/8 of an ounce. Like many jerkbaits, it dives upon your retrieve. Usually, the faster you retrieve, the faster it dives. The Lucky Craft FM 110 dives approximately 1-2 ft and of all the lures out there, this may just be the best surf fishing lure.

Where should you fish the LC lure? Technically anywhere is good. Structure like troughs and holes is awesome. What’s better? Throwing it where you think you might lose it. Around rocks, reef and other hard structure.

Retrieve

In my experience, a slow steady retrieve has worked best. The thing about these jerk baits is that you don’t need to do much to make these lures look sporadic, injured, and attractive. I find that often times you’ll even get bites when you slow to a pause.

I’ve yet to find a jerkbait that holds its wobble (action) as well and as tight as the LC does. The ability to work a slow retrieve while still maintaining attractive action is one thing that sets the LC apart from the rest.

Action

It holds a good, tight wobble and responds well to angler direction. The LC FM 110 has the best action of any jerkbait I’ve used. I’ve compared it to the calissa look-a-like, the caivo, some rapalas and even some lesser-known jerkbaits. None hold the tight wobble like the LC does.

Casting

Not better by much, but it does beat the calissa, caivo, rapala and others when compared in equal weights. When compared to swimbaits, it falls short.

Specs:
  • Length: 4-1/2″(110mm)
  • Weight: 5/8oz(16.5g)
  • Depth: 1-2ft(0.5m)
  • Type: Slow Suspending
  • Hook Size: VMC #6, #6, #6

Keitech Fat Impact Swing

Keitech Fat Impact Swing Lure for Surf Fishing
Keitech Fat Impact Swing

I’ve been waiting quite sometime to write about swimbaits as it’s taken a long time to understand them and have regular success on them. I’ve fallen in love with swim baits in the surf and specifically with the Keitech Fat Swing Impact. Why? I’ll be telling you more on that in next week’s article when we compare jerkbaits vs swimbaits.

The Keitech Fat Swing Impact swimbait has been a well-known lure. But in the surf, it’s just starting to make a name for itself as one of the best surf fishing lures. What situations would you use this over the LC? If there’s too much kelp or weeds in the water, or if you’d like to really work inside of rock and reef crevasses, that’s where swimbaits shine. They allow you to dramatically slow down your retrieve and drop your bait to the bottom.

Retrieve

My best advice for this one is to make it your own, use your imagination, and envision what your lure looks like while it’s swimming. Spend some time in shallow water, watching how the lure reacts to certain twitches and speeds and go from there. I always like a slow retrieve and I don’t use many twitches and jerks, but many other successful anglers do.

Action

The name of this lure says it all. Fat, Impact Swing. It’s a fatter lure and it’s got a really strong swing to it. More dramatic than most other swimbaits, the Keitech’s action is one of this lure’s best features. Given it’s nature, it will hold it’s desired action at even slower retrieves than the LC.

Casting

Casting depends on the angler of course, but it also depends on what size jig-head you use. I like the half-ounce jighead from Warbaits, but sled heads are another option worth explopring. Typically though, you’ll cast these further than jerkbaits. Some jerkbaits, however, when you get over an ounce, (like for example the Daiwa SP) can absolutely crush swimbaits of equal weight.

Specs:
  • Length: 3.8-inch to 4.8-inch
  • Weight: Usually paired with 3/8 to 1/2 ounce jighead of sorts.
  • Depth: Top to Bottom… Sinking
  • Type: Swimbait/Sinking
  • Hook Size: 2/0 – 4/0

Z-Man Diezel MinnowZ

Fishing swimbaits in general has convinced me to trust my eyes more and trust my judgement more. If a surf fishing lure looks like it has good action, it’s going to catch fish. It’s just a matter of having enough confidence to put in the time to get that first bite. The Z-man DieZel MinnowZ have solid action, but it’s not as dramatic as the fat impact swing. The reason this lure is on the list is because of its combination of quality action and durability.

Z-Man Lure for Surf Fishing
Z-Man Diezel MinnowZ
Retrieve

The retrieve for the Z-Man will likely be the same as the Keitech. It all comes down to what you like. Again, I recommend a slow retrieve.

Action

The action for this one is less pronounced than the Keitech, but it’s good. It looks like a fish in the water and I’ve realized that’s all it takes. It’s durability is fantastic which is one of the most valued aspects to many anglers while in the midst of a hot bite.

Casting

Again, with swimbaits, the casting comes down largely to the angler and to the weight/jighead used so this isn’t highly important. I notice no difference between the actual baits.

Specs:
  • Length: 4-inch to 5-inch
  • Weight: Usually paired with 3/8 to 1/2 ounce jighead of sorts.
  • Depth: Top to Bottom… Sinking
  • Type: Swimbait/Sinking
  • Hook Size: 2/0 – 4/0
  • Allows for hook-hiding with built-in dorsal.

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