There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of deep sea lures in the market. Some are new to the scene and others have stood the test of time. With so many types of blue water lures in a variety of colors, materials, shapes and movements, it’s almost impossible to choose the best. Trial and error, recommendations and using the expertise of professional fishermen are all options. But those who want to discover for themselves would do worse than to start with these five lures.
For more clarity, we looked to some ‘fishing greats’ to see what they carry in their tackle box.
Forget the fancy bells and whistles. These are recommended over and over (and for good reason).
The Green Machine has become the stuff of legends. Ed Martin of Huntington Beach created the original. Folklore says the Green Machine was inspired by the narrow shape of his wife’s flower vase. Once made by Sevenstrand (and bought out by Pure Fishing), the Green Machine is possibly one of the most imitated deep sea lures in the market.Use the Green Machine on its own or rig a daisy chain or spreader bar, for maximum effect.
Characteristics: slim profile, bullet shape, single skirt (less chance of catching in the hook).
Best for: tuna (yellowfin, big eyes, albacore) and occasionally marlin will bite
This lure gets its name from the “wide range” of speeds and conditions in which it can perform.
Captain Peter Wright and Captain Jeff Fay created this lure back in the ‘70’s. They showed their idea to Frank Johnson (of Moldcraft) during a charter and the rest is pretty much history.
We say one for the “history” books because the Wide Range lure is renowned for catching world record breaking blue marlin (1,742 lbs). It has smashed achievements in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Africa, as well as being a fave lure in Hawaii.
For inspiration, take a look at some of the fish caught with the Wide Range on the Moldcraft bragging page. And we don’t blame them for bragging – seriously, a 600 lbs marlin sounds good to us.
Characteristics: squared-off nose and center hole; available in four sizes and a variety of colors
Conditions: stability at high speeds and rough water (4-14 knots)
Best for: blue marlin
It’s easy to look at the super simple shape of the cedar plug and wonder what all the fuss is about. There’re no fancy colors or extra skirt. It’s really just a long plain piece of wood. At least, at first glance it is.
However, once in the water see how this plug suddenly comes alive when trolling behind in the wake. It’s an easy lure to use and super effective for catching tuna. Use it on its own or in a daisy chain. Either way, this plug slips through the water and attracts tuna like no other.
TIP: Best used with a slower rod.
Word of note: there are some subtle variations between cedar plugs so if you’ve ever had any issues with this deep sea lure snagging and then losing a fish, check out this video. Captain Paul Volland explains how to modify a cedar plug so that you can land more tuna.
Characteristics: Short, plump, torpedo shape made from lead and cedar. Most often left in its natural wood hue but colorful versions are also available.
The unpainted lures have an added advantage. When soaked in fish oils they will keep the scent and become more alluring to smell sensitive pelagics as you troll. If you prefer color, try the red and white cedar plugs on bright, sunny days. The blue and white combo make for a solid all-weather presentation.
The lure may include a skirt, which adds additional dimension and movement.
Conditions: If using a cedar plug with skirt, slow your trolling speed (maybe around less than 7 knots). Troll too fast and the cedar plug’s attractive movement disappears and so do the fish.
Best for: tuna and king mackerel
The lip or bill on the front of a crankbait is designed to glide through the water and get the lure down in the water column. The bigger and longer the bill; the deeper the crankbait will dive.
Simple and effective, it is best used with a slower rod. A slower rod allows you to cast out further and gives the fish more time, which in turn, gives you a better chance to not lose the fish before the hook is set.
Characteristics: small beads inside these hard baits rattle to attract fish
Conditions: best in off-color water
Best for: bass
These are USA-made performance deep water lures. Raised gill plates, light reflective bodies and 3D eyes make textured stretch baits look even more realistic. They are easy to use, right out of the box and, if you are dragging, they are best with a medium heavy / heavy rod.
Characteristics: long, minnow-shaped plastic plugs use diving lips and careful weighting to achieve consistently accurate trolling depths. Big and bold colors with super sharp hooks.
Conditions: effective in a range of trolling speeds (best under 6 knots)
Best for: bass, grouper, wahoo, and tuna