The 8 Basic Types of Trolling Lures

Fishing is a popular pastime for many people around the world. In saltwater fishing, trolling is a standard method used to catch fish. This method involves one or more fishing lines with lures or baited hooks drawn through the water, dragged behind a boat. It is one of the most effective ways to fish and produces some monster catches.

But what are the best trolling lures to use that will guarantee you have the fishing trip of a lifetime?

We break down the eight basic trolling lures that every offshore angler should have in their tackle box. Keep in mind, different regions call these trolling lures different names.

1.) Plunger

With a tapered head and a long, slender body, the plunger is an excellent trolling lure for fish that inhabit the water column of open oceans, such as tuna, marlin, and sailfish. The plunger imitates the look and movement of a wounded baitfish, making it irresistible to predators. The lure’s design allows it to swim erratic and violent.

2.) Doorknob

Doorknob-style lures are one of the most popular trolling lures among saltwater anglers. The same with plunger lures; doorknobs also have a tapered head, and a long body. The difference is that doorknobs are more rounded, resembling a doorknob (hence the name).  The extra-long skirts on doorknob lures are provided to aid in the overall stability of the lure's movement by providing additional stability.

3.) Chugger

This trolling lure features a unique design that allows it to produce a loud "chugging" noise as it moves through the water. The chugger is one of the most versatile trolling lures as it can be used in both saltwater and freshwater fishing and is often referred to as the best all-around trolling lure. Chuggers are available in various sizes, colors, and styles to match any fishing situation.

4.) Scoop Face/Slant Head

Only a few lures work well in both calm and rough water. The classic scooped face slant has a keel weight system that keeps the lure upright, so it swims true and with the eyes orientated adequately. This lure is usually around 4 to 7 ounces and has a small cut face. It runs quickly and smoothly in calm and rough water, swimming from side to side. Thanks to its traditional Hawaiian styling, many big game fishermen worldwide consider it a necessary trolling lure for almost all conditions.

5.) Dive Plug

A dive plug is a lure that’s designed to dive below the water’s surface when trolled. It has a big lip that forces water above it, pushing this trolling lure down to depths. These lures are great for attracting fish like Wahoo and Kingfish that often feed below the surface.

6.) Soft Heads

Soft head lures are well-known for producing bites all around the world. Injection-molded soft lures have remained virtually unchanged since the 1980s because they continue to catch fish.

Soft heads, which come in many shapes and sizes, have several advantages over other types of lures. The most significant advantage is that when an attacker bites down, it comes up against a genuine squishiness making the lure “feel” like a real baitfish. If the fish misses the hook on the initial pass, this “feel” may entice them to come back for a second try. However, because they’re soft, they are more prone to damage than other types of trolling lures.

7.) Bullet Head

From its extended casting capability to its aerodynamic design, the bullet head has proven an effective trolling lure for many saltwater anglers. The bullet's shape gives it a unique swimming action that is irresistible to predators. It moves incredibly smoothly through the water, like a fleeing baitfish and triggers predatory instincts in almost all pelagic fishes.

8.) Jet Head or Bubbler

Jet head trolling lures create a lot of bubbles, which makes them very attractive to fish. This is done using holes that go through the lure head or out the sides to capture air and funnel it behind the lure, making a jet. When viewed from the front, jet head trolling lures look like a Gatling gun. They are increasingly popular for trolling because of their effectiveness, and the catch rates can be awesome.

There are a ton of different types of trolling lures, but these are the eight basic types. In fact, most other lures out there are either a variation or combination of these eight.

Interested in fishing with the best trolling lures on planet earth? Lures that have proven to catch a lot of fish… a lot of big fish?

Head on over to and they’ll hook you up.

Rite Angler is the internet’s premier retailer of high-quality, long lasting saltwater fishing tackle.

    [time] minutes ago, from [location]
    You have successfully subscribed!
    This email has been registered