Most Popular Topwater Saltwater Fishing Lures

Check out 12 of the best topwater lures available today for saltwater fishing.

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 /

We spent daybreak live-­chumming scaled sardines along a mangrove shoreline tinseled with pelican poop. The baits, purposely squished and half-broken, circled on top trying to swim away from unseen danger. Drawn from their ­hideouts by the breakfast bell, snook and snapper arrived with a vengeance.

Our chum baits soon started to disappear behind the boat. One angler pierced a light-wire circle hook to a ­crippled whitebait and made a cast. I grabbed the rod with the topwater plug and chucked the lure toward the mangrove edge. We both hooked up straightaway, though I had expected the live bait to out-fish my surface swimmer.

underwater shot of topwater fishing lure
Topwater plugs come in all shapes and sizes. A piscatorial view of a topwater lure in actionCourtesy Adrian E. Gray

Which morning of fishing is better: five blowups on topwater plugs or 10 bites on live baits? The answer to this question likely determines if you’re a topwater fishing addict or not, thus whether you would’ve grabbed the rod with the pilchard or the saltwater popper.

Neither technique is wrong, but one scenario gets your heart racing faster and blood pumping harder. Any fisherman who experiences success sight-fishing with topwater saltwater fishing lures will fall in love with surface plugging.

For all those topwater enthusiasts, we compiled a list of more than 10 of the best topwater lures for saltwater, organizing the baits in alphabetical order. Most of the saltwater fishing lures below can also be used in freshwater for species like bass and pike, exemplifying the versatility of topwater plugs.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Rapala X-Rap Magnum Xplode

Rapala X-Rap Magnum Xplode
The Rapala X-Rap Magnum Xplode is a big-body topwater popper with low-position line tie that pulls the lure down when retrieved.Rapala

The Rapala X-RapMagnum Xplode has a thick-walled ABS body, through-wire construction and strong hooks to handle vicious strikes. This topwater lure features a unique low-position line tie that pulls the lure downward when retrieved to create water explosions from its deep-cupped face.

Length: 6 3/4 inches
Weight: 5 ounces
Color: 10 options
Hook: Number 5/0 VMC 75 Series 6X Tropic Spark Point treble hooks
Action: Popper

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.

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

Savage Gear 3D Suicide Duck

savage gear 3d suicide duck topwater fishing lures
The Savage Gear 3D Suicide Duck might be the oddest looking topwater lure you've ever seen, but its action draws strikes from hungry predators.Jon Whittle / Sport Fishing

The 3D Suicide Duck topwater was meant for musky and pike fishermen, but then Gulf Coast redfish anglers got their hands on it. Savage Gear's 3D-scanned details and hard ABS body, with semisoft and durable feet, create a lifelike bird presentation. The spinning feet create splashing action, leaving a bubble trail similar to a buzz bait.

Length: 4 1/4 or 6 inches
Weight: 1 and 2 1/2 ounces
Color: 3 options
Hook: Feather-covered treble hooks
Action: Propeller (Prop)

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.

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

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

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 TopKnock Pencil

Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil
The Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil topwater is a walk-the-dop style plug with a one-knock cadence.Yo-Zuri

The innovative Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil sits flat on top of the water (instead of the tail pointing down), making it very easy to walk the lure across the surface. The TopKnock uses a single one-knock cadence rattle, with the single rattle located in the tail. The lure’s finish is Yo-Zuri’s patented 3D Internal Prism that reflects light in all directions.

Length: 4 inches
Weight: 5/8 ounces
Color: 14 options
Hook: Number 2 saltwater-grade treble hooks
Action: Walk the dog (walking)