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Best Topwater Lures for Saltwater Fishing

Here are some of the most popular and productive surface lures for saltwater fishing.

Updated:

August 31, 2021
topwater splashing
Some of the best lures for inshore saltwater fishing are topwater lures, able to draw fish to the surface with their action and sound. Jason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com

Catching fish on topwater lures represents the most exciting form of fishing, hands down. No arguments. Period.

Nothing—absolutely nothing—triggers that wide-eyed rush of adrenaline as when a super-size snook, bull redfish or marauding striped bass blows up on a topwater lure. It’s a savage attack that can startle both newcomers and veterans alike. Once you come tight after that wild, explosive surface strike, you quickly become a believer in topwater fishing. It’s an addiction that lasts a lifetime.

Fishing with the best saltwater lures for topwater—be it a popper, surface walker, sub-surface walker or prop-bait—can also serve as one of the most effective inshore techniques, often producing fish when other methods draw blanks.

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Here are 12 of today’s best topwater lures for saltwater anglers.

Berkley Choppo Saltwater

Berkley Choppo mullet lure
The unique prop-tail on the Berkley Choppo generates sound and splash to attract fish from afar. Courtesy Berkley

Berkley’s new Choppo Saltwater topwater lure features a uniquely engineered and durable cupped propeller-like single-blade tail to create maximum surface disturbance, generating sound and spray that attracts fish, even in murky water and from a distance. Corrosion-resistant heavy-duty split-rings and Fusion19 3X treble hooks resist bending, straightening or breaking under pressure.

This prop bait is available in two sizes: 105 and 120 mm, weighing 3/4 and 1 ounce. Both are designed to swim straight at any retrieve speed. The Choppo Saltwater comes in 10 colors, including black chrome, blue bullet, bone, red head, mullet, pilchard, pinfish, and pinky.

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Specifications

  • Length: 105 and 120 mm
  • Weight: ¾ and 1 ounce
  • Colors: 10 options
  • Hooks: No. 2 and No. 1 treble hooks
  • Action: Straight-swimming prop bait

Bomber Wake Minnow

Bomber Wake Minnow
The Bomber Wake Minnow is a floating plug that swims subsurface during the retrieve. Bomber Lures

The Bomber Jointed Wake Minnow is a lipped, jointed floating hard bait designed to be easily retrieved. The swimming movement, just below the surface, creates an enticing V-wake. A 3D body and HD decoration give the lure an appealing finish.

Specifications

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  • Length: 4 1/2 or 5 3/8 inches
  • Weight: 3/4 or 1/2 ounces
  • Colors: 10 options
  • Hooks: No. 2 or 4 treble hooks
  • Action: Subsurface swimming

Egret Zombie Ghost Walker

topwater egret zombie ghost walker topwater fishing lures
The Egret Zombie Ghost Walker is a walk-the-dog style topwater lure built on tradition. Jon Whittle / Sport Fishing

A legendary Texas-coast topwater bait was brought back to life by Egret baits. The Ghost, originally built by Producers Bait Company 25 years ago, is now manufactured as the Zombie Ghost Walker. Egret updated the strength of the hardware and cosmetics, but no changes were made to the dual sound chambers.

Specifications

  • Length: 4 1/4 inches
  • Weight: 1/2 ounces
  • Color: 12 options
  • Hook: VMC treble hooks
  • Action: Walk the dog (walking)
catching a tarpon on topwater
Tarpon will happily take down a topwater if presented in the right conditions. Courtesy Adrian E. Gray

Halco Slidog 125

Halco Slidog 125
The Halco Slidog 125 is a sturdy plug with strong hardware to handle aggressive beefy fish. Halco Tackle

The Halco Slidog 125 joins is a stickbait with compact body profile used in shallow and midwater situations. This far-casting lure can be twitched around bait schools to draw strikes.

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Specifications

  • Length: 125 mm (or 4.92 inches)
  • Weight: 1.83 ounces
  • Colors: 11 options
  • Hook: Number 1/0 Mustad treble hooks
  • Action: Twitchbait

Heddon Super Spook Jr.

Heddon Super Spook Jr.
The Heddon Super Spook Jr. is a classic walk-the-dog style topwater bait measuring under 4 inches. Heddon Lures

Heddon’s Saltwater Super Spook, Jr. is the smaller version of Heddon’s classic Super Spook, built with a saltwater twist. Heavy-duty components and saltwater-grade hooks allow this plug to stand up to gamefish like striped bass, gator seatrout, and bull redfish.

Specifications

  • Length: 3 1/2 inches
  • Weight: 1/2 ounces
  • Color: 21 options
  • Hook: No. 4 Saltwater treble hooks
  • Action: Walk the dog (walking)

MirrOlure MirrOmullet (CS16MR)

MirrOlure MirrOmullet (CS16MR)
This MirrOlure MirrOmullet plug has a lifelike mullet “skin” to help attract predators. MirrOlure

The MirrOlure MirrOmullet (CS16MR) now incorporates MirrOlure’s unique mullet skin design. This bait really looks like a mullet, with its lifelike finish on the lure. The lure also includes oversize eyes, low frequency rattle, and premium black-nickel hooks. With a twitch retrieve, the surface walker darts from side to side to attract strikes.

Specifications

  • Length: 3 inches
  • Weight: 3/8 ounces
  • Hook: Black nickel treble hooks
  • Action: Surface walker

Ocean Born Flying Popper

Ocean Born Flying Popper
Luremaker Patrick Sebile designed the new Ocean Born Flying Popper in four unique styles. Ocean Born Lures

The Ocean Born Flying Popper is a narrow-neck popper built for casting and surface action. The plug can pop, spit, walk the dog or create a bubble trail. Ocean Born Flying Poppers come in 4 types, including Floating (FL), Sinking (SK), Super Long Distance (SLD) and Tuna Rocket. Patrick Sebile’s favorite model is the Super Long Distance because it casts in nasty weather, works in turbulent surface conditions, and can even be jigged to reach fish at various depths.

Specifications

  • Length: 5 1/2 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Color: 8 options
  • Hook: 6X Treble Hooks
  • Action: Pop, spit or walking

Rapala Skitter Walk Saltwater

Rapala Skitter Walk Saltwater lure
Rapala’s popular Skitter Walk Saltwater is now available in three new saltwater patterns, including mullet, pinfish and pilchard (shown here). Courtesy Rapala

The saltwater version of the most popular topwater bait of all time—the Rapala Skitter Walk—is available in four new color patterns. Three of the colors mimic saltwater baitfish, including the mullet, pilchard and pinfish patterns. Holographic bone is the fourth new color.

Each Skitter Walk Saltwater surface-walker features 3D holographic eyes and weighted tails to keep the lure in a natural position, even when resting or stopped in mid-retrieve. A large internal rattle helps create a rhythmic side-to-side motion and a sound that imitates wounded or panicked baitfish. Skitter Walks are designed to swim perfectly out of the box, and are well suited to walk-the-dog retrieves that trigger explosive surface strikes.

The size 8 Skitter Walk is armed with VMC black-nickel treble hooks; the size 11 comes with PermaSteel hooks.

Specifications

  • Length: 3 1/8 inches (size 8); 4 3/8 inches (size 11)
  • Weight: 7/16 ounce and 5/8 ounce
  • Colors: 22 and 17, respectively
  • Hooks: No. 3 and No. 2 treble hooks
  • Action: Surface walker

River2Sea Rover

River2Sea Rover
The River2Sea Rover topwater has a choppy, side-to-side action when retrieved in a quick cadence. River2Sea

The River2Sea Rover walking bait has a cupped face that produces a choppy, side–to–side slashing action instead of traditional smooth-walking motion. The lure company says its action is unique to topwaters and is sure to draw strikes from hungry predators.

Specifications

  • Length: 3 7/8 or 5 inches
  • Weight: 3/8 or 11/16 ounces
  • Color: 5 options
  • Hook: Daiichi No. 4 or 6 treble hooks
  • Action: Walk the dog (walking)
snook hooked with topwater fishing lure
Some species, such as snook, prefer to feed at the surface during low-light conditions. Courtesy Adrian E. Gray

Shimano Pop Orca Slim

Shimano Pop Orca Slim
The Pop Orca Slim topwater plug can be fished with steady reeling, small sweeps for chugging, or large sweeps for subsurface action. Shimano

The Pop Orca Slim is the newest popper lure addition to the ORCA series, with its unique bubble chamber designed to maximize commotion, coupled with diving and erratic swimming action. The bait also features Shimano’s propulsion weight transfer system technology to help anglers make longer casts.

Specifications

  • Length: 6 3/8 inches
  • Weight: 2 6/8 ounces
  • Color: 6 options
  • Action: Surface and subsurface

Read Next: Topwater-Lure Tricks of the Inshore Experts

livetarget mullet topwater topwater fishing lures
Picking the right topwater plug often comes down to personal preference. Courtesy LiveTarget

Storm Rattlin’ Saltwater Chug Bug

Storm Rattlin’ Saltwater Chug Bug
The Storm Rattlin’ Saltwater Chug Bug is a popper-style topwater plug with cupped face that pushes water airborne when retrieved aggressively. Storm

Specifications

  • Length: 3 1/4 or 4 3/8 inches
  • Weight: 3/8 or 15/16 ounces
  • Color: 10 options
  • Hook: VMC Perma steel treble hooks
  • Action: Popper (popping)

Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Popper

Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Poppers for topwater fishing
The new 3D Inshore Poppers from Yo-Zuri feature a prism finish that reflects in all directions, as seen in this pattern called peanut bunker. Courtesy Yo-Zuri

The new 3D Inshore Popper from Yo-Zuri attracts strikes with a patented three-dimensional exterior prism finish and internal painted pattern that reflects in all directions to attract fish from a distance. The tough and durable ABS resin finish will not chip or wear off, according to Yo-Zuri.

The wide, red-painted mouth of this popper pushes an extra amount of water to generate commotion and noise, even in choppy water, and results in a sharp, darting action. The 3D Inshore Popper comes in two sizes, each featuring a pair of saltwater-grade 3X-strength treble hooks and split rings. The sizes are designed for nearshore and offshore game fish such as striped bass, trevally and tuna.

This popper is available in 14 color patterns, including green mackerel, sardine, ghost shad, mullet, peanut bunker, and real pilchard.

Specifications

  • Length: 3 ½ inches (R1411); 4 ¾ inches (R1412)
  • Weight: 7/8 ounce and 1 5/8 ounces
  • Colors: 14 options
  • Hooks: No. 2 and No. 1 treble hooks
  • Action: Popping
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