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Best Kayak Fishing Lures: Pro Picks

Best Kayak Fishing Lures: Pro Picks

Despite what you may see on a fishing pro’s social media post, there isn’t a perfect lure that will catch fish every time you go out. According to Vibe Pro Jeff Jones, there are however, shortcuts to catching fish, and that is what this article will cover. Instead of dropping three lures and sending you off to the tackle store, the goal here is to teach you how to utilize proven methods for narrowing down a pattern, and start catching fish fast from your fishing kayak.

First off, I am a firm believer that lure color is not a priority. (More on this later.) If a lure is presented naturally in front of an actively feeding fish, it will eat. But, where exactly will the fish be eating? That’s the money question.

Fish feed in three different areas of the water-column: on top, on bottom, and somewhere in-between. During the course of a day, a fish's preferred feeding area can change from one water-column area of preference to the other, or even all three. It’s best to be prepared for all three situations by having lures that will work well in each of the three different feeding areas of the water.

The first step to take is learn your target species in the geographic location you are targeting them. Find out what the primary food source is for the different water-columns. For instance, Largemouth Bass may be feeding on shad at the surface, crayfish on the bottom, and any number of baitfish in the intermediate column. Once you’ve narrowed that down, it’s time to start selecting your three kayak fishing lures.

Bottom Area

Let's start with the bottom of the water-column. Once you’ve researched what your target species eats near the bottom, find a lure that mimics it. For most black bass it’s going to be crayfish, so a skirted jig with a crawfish trailer is perfect.

For a lot of saltwater species, crabs and shrimp are a major prey of bottom feeding. A heavy jighead with a shrimp or paddle tail soft plastic is hard to beat in this situation. Choose a lure size that resembles the size of the natural counterpart you’re imitating.

Intermediate Area

For the intermediate water-column, the median depth of water you intend to fish will factor into your lure choice. A good alternative that lets you fish multiple depths from your fishing kayak is a slow sinking twitch bait.

Another excellent lure is a lightly weighted swimbait. A couple of my favorite lures for this presentation is a MirroLure MR series twitch bait and a paddle tail plastic on a light jighead. Again match the size with the likely natural equivalent.

Topwater Area

For the topwater presentation, there's a couple of factors to consider before choosing a topwater lure. First, if there is vegetation you’ll need a weedless offering, such as a hollow body frog. However, if your planned area is open water, then a hard plastic lure with trebles would probably be best.

The condition of the water should also be considered when choosing topwater lures. Louder lures should be used in rough water, and smaller, more subtle lures in calm, flat water. Again, choose a size based on the natural forage available.

Just 3 Lures Can Be Effective

Choosing just three lures to fish with is somewhat minimalistic, but if it’s done with a little though behind it, it can be very effective while kayak fishing. Always remember that you may be in an area with fish, but you could be fishing the wrong water column. Change it up and see what happens.


Oh, color, (betcha thought I forgot...) stay with basic light/dark patterns. If the sky is bright, then light colored patterns are the way to go. On dark or overcast days, dark lures look more natural in the water.

My Top 3 Lures

Since this is titled “3 lures for any situation”, here is my obligatory list of my top 3 lures for any situation:

  • Bottom: Zman Paddlerz on an Eye Strike Texas Eye Jighead
  • Intermediate: MirroLure MR17
  • Topwater: Rapala Skitter V

Good Vibes. Tight Lines