Among inshore angers, redfish are undeniably one of the most popular game fish in the world. Most U.S. saltwater-lure manufacturers can’t afford not to offer crankbaits designed to entice redfish. I asked nine a simple question: What would you consider your top hard-bodied redfish lure or lures? (I allowed up to two models.) This gallery is all about the best lures for redfish, and why you need to add them to your tackle box if you want to catch red drum.
For pricing I used large online tackle retailers such as Tackle Direct, Bass Pro, Melton and Cabela’s.
Rapala Saltwater Skitter Walk (Topwater)
A classic walk-the-dog surface lure with large internal rattles and weighted tail, the Rapala Saltwater Skitter Walk is 4 3/8 inches long and weighs 5/8 ounce.
Shimano Suspending Waxwing (Subsurface Wobbler)
Shimano’s Suspending Waxwing was introduced in 2014. The slow-sinking lure offers a zigzag, walk-the-dog action below the surface with a twitch-and-pause retrieve. Sizes run from 2.7 to inches to just over 4 ½ inches, and it’s one of the best artificial baits for redfish.
Sebile Splasher (Topwater)
Another one of the best lures for redfish is the The Sebile Splasher, a deep-cup-faced popper designed to spit a large volume of water with each pull. Alternatively, the belly keel will allow a slower walking retrieve. Redfish anglers can choose from lengths of 3 ½ to 6 inches.
MirrOlure 17MR-18 (Suspending Jerkbait)
The MirrOlure 17MR-18 is a suspending twitchbait with a “wide flash,” popular with anglers pursuing reds as well as other game fish of inshore shallows (trout, snook, tarpon). The 2 5/8-inch-long lure weighs 3/8 ounce. Its price makes it a bargain.
Halco Hamma 105 (Topwater)
The venerable Australian lure manufacturer, Halco, call its Hamma “the new frontier of lure technology.” The clear-bodied lure is designed so anglers can quickly switch out lips (“bibs” Down Under) to accommodate different sizes. The 105 mm lure — just over 4 inches — weighs just more than 6 ounces.
Yo-Zuri Crystal 3-D Minnow Jointed (Floating Jerkbait)
Yo-Zuri describes its popular 3-D Minnow as having a “responsive darting action” and its trademark prism flash. The joint pin connecting the two pieces is extra strong. The floating model has a triangular lip so the bait can be fished slowly, even in shallow water. Length is 4 inches; weight ½ ounce.
LiveTarget Mullet Twitchbait (Floating Jerkbait)
The LiveTarget Mullet Twitchbait relies on its it’s detailed, lifelike appearance and a subsurface darting motion to attract redfish (and other inshore species). The floating plug comes in 3½- and 4 ½-inch lengths, weighing ½ and 5/8 ounce.
Bomber Saltwater Grade Mullet (Suspending Jerkbait)
Bomber Saltwater Grade makes the bargain-priced Mullet slow sinker in nine finishes popular with inshore anglers. The 3 ½-inch crankbait’s 5/8-ounce weigh and compact shape make for long casts. It offers an erratic walk-the-dog or dying-baitfish action.
Egret Bait Kick A Mullet (Subsurface Wobbler)
Designed by Ken Chaumont (responsible for the famed Rat-L-Trap among other lures), Egret Bait’s Kick A Mullet sinks at about a foot per three to four seconds. Available in 4- or 5-inch lengths, the tail rattler is equipped with 4x VMC hooks to preclude the need for changeouts. A slow, constant retrieve is recommended to create a wake.
Storm Rattlin’ Saltwater Chug Bug (Topwater)
Storm’s venerable Rattlin’ Saltwater Chug Bug has long been one of the most popular inshore poppers. Weighted tails help casting and rattles add sound. The 3¼- and 4⅜-inch Bugs come with VMC Perma Steel hooks.
Sebile Stick Shadd (Suspending Jerkbait)
Reputedly the favorite plug of lure designer Patrick Sebile, the Sebile Stick Shadd’s power keel gives this 3½-inch crankbait a particularly erratic swimming action. This one is meant for the angler to impart that action, with a twitched retrieve. Also comes in a floating model.
MirrOlure 26MR (Topwater)
Yet another mullet imitator, MirrOlure’s popular 26MR series is a surface walker that offers a wounded-bait action. It’s subtle action is best in calm water where it’s less likely to spook wary fish than poppers. The 3½-inch plug weighs ½ ounce, and the BKGCH pattern (combines gold, black and chartreuse) is particularly popular.
LiveTarget Hybrid Shrimp (Suspending Jerkbait)
The LiveTarget Hybrid Shrimp earned its name from its hard-bodied lure with soft, wiggly parts; it’s soft legs wiggle and vibrate upon retrieve. The manufacturer suggests a “super-slow retrieve” with a horizontal-drop pattern. The shrimp is available in two sizes, 3½ and 4 inches and eight finishes.
Halco Roosta Popper 105 (Topwater)
A classic popper, the Halco Roosta Popper has been one of Australia’s most popular topwater lures for decades, and redfish anglers are finding it effective over here. Equipped with Mustad 3X trebles, the 4½-inch lure comes in a dozen brilliant patterns.