The 6 Types of Baits You Need to Catch Almost Any Fish

Last Updated: 13.07.20


Swimbaits, hair jigs, or floating minnows can be successfully used to catch a wide range of fish, while the curly grub tail can be added to chatterbaits or spinnerbaits to enhance their effectiveness. If you’ve got the best fishing canoe, the Little Cleo should not be missing from your tackle box. 

Fishing is a popular activity around the world that has been here since what seems to be forever. For this reason, it’s only natural that everything related to it has been constantly improved and upgraded, including baits. In fact, these are one of the essential items that can make a fishing trip a very enjoyable and successful one. 

Moreover, people can fish either for the fun of it or professionally but, no matter the case, the bait used matters a lot. For this reason, in this article, we are going to see what baits are known for their effectiveness. After reading all the details below, you might want to try out each type, especially if you are just starting to fish and see which ones work best for your particular needs. 

Instead of filling your tackle box with all types of lures that might not work, if you try out the ones featured below, your life might get a lot easier and the entire fishing experience could be significantly improved. 

Heddon Zara Spook

This type of bait is a topwater one and it has been developed as early as 1939. It’s true that there was an even earlier version made of wood, called the Zarragossa, but this alternative is one that has been constantly improved throughout the years. 

Thanks to its side-to-side movement, the phrase “walk the dog” (that describes the technique of twitching it across the water) was invented. Today, there are thousands of baits and lures designed to imitate this particular action, which goes to say a lot about its effectiveness. 

In terms of construction, this bait features a body made of hard plastic that allows accuracy and consistency when in action. On the other hand, you may want to check its buoyancy after each muskie or tuna that you catch, given that large fish can crack it. 

The line-tie part of this bait is a small but very important part of the design. It’s positioned right beneath the nose, and a twitch on the slackline allows it to dart to the side, which is something that fish that eat bait on the surface (such as bass or tarpon) cannot resist. 


Acme Little Cleo

With some fishermen thinking that it was invented as early as the 1800s, the spoon is one of the oldest and simplest types of lure used for fishing. Of course, today you can find this type of bait in a wide range of shapes and designs, but this is one of the most popular choices. 

It’s true that the paint might become chipped throughout time and that the hook may need to be replaced after a while, but other than these two aspects, the bait is pretty much indestructible. This also makes it a cost-effective alternative since you are going to be able to use it as much as you need. 

In case you want to know what makes it so appealing to fish, it is the fact that the shallow-cupped spoon does have a slight wobble, while a deep one will wobble a lot more, thus catching the eye of the right types of fish. 

Those of you who are planning to use it to catch trout should opt for the ⅛-ounce alternative on super-light line. You can cast it upstream and then slowly wind it back for excellent results. 

Curly Tail Grub

Grubs have been part of fishing equipment history for a very long time, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that they gained a lot of popularity. It was then when Mr. Twister added an animated tail and took this bait design to the next level. Manufacturers quickly embraced the new design, and soon millions of such baits were sold to passionate fishermen. 

What makes this bait highly effective is actually its simplicity. Thanks to the versatile baitfish profile, you can choose between different sizes and each one can mimic various forage ranging motions. If you match it to the right jig head, it can be used for pretty much any fish species and in a wide range of water conditions, from small ponds to fast-moving rivers. 

Even though it might seem a bit dull at first, once the bait is in water and the tail is pulled, it seems that it propels the lure forward. For panfish, you should use the 1-inch version, while for cobia an 8-inch one matched with an 8-inch head should do the trick. 

Another aspect that makes this bait a great and versatile choice that has become so popular is that it can enhance other lures as well. If you add it to chatterbaits or spinnerbaits, you will probably see an improvement in their effectiveness. 


Floating Minnow

This bait has an interesting history, as in 1936, a Finnish commercial fisherman called Lauri Rapala was tired of simply baiting hooks, so he decided to try a different approach. He carved cork in a shape that looked like a minnow and then covered it with foil from a candy bar. Once this was done, he simply melted photographic negatives over it, to effectively coat the bait. 

Legend has it that he would catch as much as 600 pounds of fish each day using this innovative bait. The design was, in fact, an early prototype of what is now known as a balsa bait, and this model is responsible for more world records than other lures. 

The fact that the bait is made of balsa makes it more erratic than those made out of other materials, which is a good thing. Moreover, the material is very buoyant, which allows anglers to work the bait both on the surface, but also beneath if necessary. This design works by imitating injured baitfish, and the lip is the one responsible for creating this action. 

Hair Jig

While there is no exact date for the origin of this design, some think that it goes way back into our history, which means that its effectiveness has been proven for sure. Also, jigs come in a great color assortment, so you can choose the one that works for the types of fish in your area. 

Although most of the jigs might seem similar, in fact, the shape of their head is very important, given that a bullet-shaped one can punch through grass, while a football-shaped one works in rocky areas. Jigs with line-ties on the top of their head work great for swimming. 

There are many hair options to choose from, but deer hair is known as the most durable alternative and it’s also widely available. 



Although there are many baits to choose from, going for an original swimbait alternative can help you in a lot of situations. This lure comes in many different sizes so you will be able to catch fish such as bream, as well as magnum marlin. Originating in the 1980s, this design is responsible for many successful fishing adventures. 

What makes an original swimbait effective is the boot-shaped section of the tail that creates a highly accurate life-like swimming action. If you are angling for bass, then a 4-inch model matched with a ½-ounce jighead is the right combination. 

If the fish are feeding, then you can buzz it near the surface, but if they are inactive, then you should slowly roll it over submerged rock piles and treetops. Slightly bigger models work better for inshore needs, so this is a neat trick you should be aware of. 



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