The Best Lures of 2018

The Bluegill is set apart from your average swimbait by its soft fiber tail, which produces a unique and incredibly realistic movement; all patterns are custom airbrushed with molded gill plates, holographic eyes, and 3D fins. Like a knuckleball flying from a pitcher’s hand, the ball on this lure creates an erratic, unpredictable wobble. Retrieved steadily, it wobbles like a crankbait. Bass, muskies, and pike will eagerly blow up on any surface commotion, and this bat has a truly unique walking action complemented by a high-pitched, built-in rattle. It runs between 3 and 4 feet deep. Optimum follows up its successful Boom Boom Swimbait with a smaller, more versatile model. It’s a jointed hard bait with a soft tail in floating, suspending, and sinking models. Molix is known for its lifelike and innovative lures, and this year’s Sandeel continues that tradition. Topwater frog fishing produces some of the most heart-stopping hits you’ll ever witness. The 21⁄2-inch topwater comes ready with a VMC frog-gap hook, and in 16 color patterns.

Every angler has old standby lures that will always have a home in their tackle bag, because some baits never stop catching. But for the fisherman who’s striving to up his game and perhaps discover a new lure that will become a lifelong favorite, we’re here to take the guesswork out of which of 2018’s new baits deserve a spot in your arsenal. We tested a lot of lures in order to narrow the list down to the 25 most innovative, unusual, and productive lures hitting shelves this year. From topwaters to soft plastics, hard baits to hollow bodies, here are the must-haves, whether you’re fishing the pond, river, or deep blue sea.

Castaic Boyd Duckett Bluegill
Castaic Boyd Duckett Bluegill

The Bluegill is set apart from your average swimbait by its soft fiber tail, which produces a unique and incredibly realistic movement; all patterns are custom airbrushed with molded gill plates, holographic eyes, and 3D fins. —Mark Modoski

Booyah Prank
BOOYAH Prank

When you want to make noise, this hybrid pops, but it also dives and wobbles during a steady retrieve. The dual action is perfect for mimicking a dying baitfish, as it lets you decide how much gas you want your wounded shad to have left in the tank. —Joe Cermele

Z Man TRD Hogz

This soft-plastic creature bait for finesse fishing offers bass a bite-size meal with its compact profile. Just 3 inches long, the Hogz has small legs and appendages that come alive with the slightest move of the rod tip. —M.M.

Live Target Baitball Spinner
Live Target BaitBall Spinner Rig

Live Target continues to build and innovate on the bait-ball concept with its new Spinner Rig. A combination of an Alabama Rig and a spinnerbait in a manageable, easily castable package, the BaitBall is available in three sizes, each with two weight options. —M.M.

Booyah Flex II
Booyah Flex II

This squarebill moves just like the balsawood baits you love, but it’s tougher. Thanks to a foam-injection molding process and a strong plastic exterior, you can bang this crank off rocks and stumps and it’ll keep on ticking. —J.C.

Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Knuckle Bait
Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Knuckle Bait

Like a knuckleball flying from a pitcher’s hand, the ball on this lure creates an erratic, unpredictable wobble. And because the ball is heavier than a spinner blade, the bait soars much farther. —J.C.

13 Fishing Coconut Crab
13 Fishing Coconut Crab

The Coconut Crab brings high-end engineering to panfishing. For use with specialized jigheads that can handle this ultra-finesse bait, it measures a mere 11⁄4 inches and is available in 10 colors. —M.M.

Berkley Juke
Berkley Juke

The running theme of the Juke is versatility. A coffin-shaped bill ramps up darting while minimizing forward…

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