The 9 Best Striper Lures of 2021

From spoons to poppers to topwater bait, the top striped bass fishing lures

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TRIPSAVVY-best-striper-lures

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: Offshore Angler Parachute Jig at basspro.com

"It's body is made from durable nylon hair that delivers a life-like swimming action."

Best Topwater Lure: SZJP Multi Jointed Swimbaits at Amazon

"It uses its multi-jointed body to replicate the natural movement of striper bait."

Best for Saltwater: Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow (Floating) at Amazon

"This pick won’t rust or weaken even after repeated exposure to seawater."

Best Popper: Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper Lure at Amazon

"It features an erratic walk-the-dog action exaggerated by its weighted tail."

Best Soft Plastic Lure: Storm Wildeye Swim Shad at Amazon

"The lure feels so lifelike that the striper will hold onto it once you start reeling in."

Best Swimbait: Sebile Magic Swimmer at Amazon

"It features a tapered nose and humpbacked head, which work together with the triple-jointed body to give lifelike swimming action."

Best Bucktail Jig: SPRO Bucktail Jig at Amazon

"The head shape and eyelet placement of this pick give it a natural gliding action that sets it apart from other bucktail jigs."

Best Spoon: Bass Pro Shops XPS Jigging Spoon at basspro.com

"The spoon is perfectly balanced to provide big action without twisting your line."

Best Crankbait: Bomber Saltwater Grade Magnum Long A at Amazon

"It’s purpose-built for targeting trophy stripers in saltwater but has the same true-running death wiggle of smaller crankbaits."

One of the most coveted game fish in the United States, striped bass are prized for their distinctive black stripes, impressive size, and their reputation to put up a serious fight. They thrive in a range of habitats and follow migratory and spawning patterns that also help you target the optimal times to cast your bait. But in order to get an upper hand, it’s all about using the right lure at the right time, and we’ve got that covered for any angling scenario.

Here are the best striper lures you can buy.

Best Overall: Offshore Angler Parachute Jig

Offshore Angler Parachute Jig

Courtesy of Bass Pro

What We Like
  • Flexible

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note hooks could be better

If you dream of landing the kind of monster stripers associated with striped bass, head into the deep and use the Offshore Angler Parachute Jig, an offshoot product from Bass Pro Sports. Constructed of flexible and durable nylon hair, this lure is configured to be reverse-tied to create a full profile underwater akin to squid and other striper prey, generating fish-attraction movement. The durable Mustad hooks are outfitted with a swinging hook design to work with the lure’s shad body. It comes in four colors—black, white, a neon green, and a harlequin-inspired mix of bright blue and neon pin and includes sizing at two, four, six, and eight ounces.

Colors: 4 | Weight: 2 or 8 ounces

Best Topwater Lure: SZJP Multi Jointed Swimbaits

What We Like
  • Realistic features

  • Made from environmentally friendly materials

  • Can be used in fresh and saltwater

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note back wraps around the tail

It’s difficult to imagine a more exciting way to fish for striper than with a topwater lure that encourages aggressive surface strikes. This lure is a great option for experienced and novice fishermen alike. It uses its multi-jointed body to replicate the natural movement of striper bait, which is achieved when you cast out and then leave a little slack in the line. Then, jerk your wrist to reel back in so that the bait moves back and forth on the surface.

This unique action generates more catches and draws in bigger fish. The lifelike 3D eyes also help attract stripers, and its stable hooks help reel the fish in. The lure is made from environmentally friendly durable hard plastic and can be used in fresh or saltwater. It measures 3.9 inches and weighs 0.5 ounces. Colors range from red and maroon to realistic patterns that replicate natural striper prey including black and blue.

Colors: 7 | Weight: 0.5 ounces

Best for Saltwater: Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow (Floating)

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Long casting distance

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note hooks could be better

If you plan on fishing for stripers in the coastal phase of their migration, the best lures are those expressly designed for use in saltwater. The Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow is an excellent choice, equipped with heavy-duty saltwater hooks that won’t rust or weaken even after repeated exposure to seawater. This is a 6-inch, lightweight lure with a clever weight transfer system that allows for longer casts—enabling you to cast beyond the surf zone with ease. Use a fast, ripping retrieve to attract a schooling striper with an erratic side-to-side action that mimics a wounded baitfish.

A shallow-diving lip allows it to be reeled just under the surface at depths of up to three feet. It weighs 1.11 ounces and boasts a realistic scale pattern complemented by 3D eyes. There are colors to suit all water conditions and feeding habits, from sober bone or yellow black to eye-catching chartreuse rainbow and translucent blue mack.

Colors: 31 | Weight: 0.81, 1.11, or 1.62 ounces

Best Popper: Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper Lure

What We Like
  • Great erratic, walk-the-dog action

  • Long casting distance

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as other options

The popular Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper Lure is ideal for targeting trophy stripers during springtime feeding frenzies. It features an erratic walk-the-dog action exaggerated by its weighted tail, which also helps you to cast longer and with better accuracy. Its concave mouth catches and throws plenty of water, creating as much surface disturbance as possible to act as a siren call to hungry stripers. This attention-grabbing lure also works well for coaxing strikes from pressured bass. Two deadly treble hooks help to translate strikes into confirmed catches.

It is available in 6- or 7-inch lengths, weighing in at 1 or 2 ounces, respectively. Both models are ideally sized for big game fish, from record stripers to speckled trout and muskies. A textured body reflects the light and mimics baitfish scales, while color options include pearl/red head, chrome blue/black, and chrome black/black. High-vis and ultra-realistic patterns are also sold elsewhere on Amazon.

Colors: 19 | Weight: 0.75, 1, or 2 ounces

Best Soft Plastic Lure: Storm Wildeye Swim Shad

What We Like
  • Great erratic darting action

  • Realistic features

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as other options

Slow-moving soft plastic baits are ideal for when stripers are in shallow, clear water and are likely to be choosy about which lures they’ll take. The Storm Wildeye Swim Shad offers a slender, precision-balanced profile and often works when no other lures will. The secret to its success is its erratic darting action, which accurately imitates the invertebrates that stripers like to feed on. Rig it in any number of different ways to suit the fishing conditions on the day. The lure feels so lifelike that the striper will hold onto it once you start reeling in.

It comes in six sizes, each one tailored to different species. Choose from a rainbow of colors, ranging from neutral shades that closely echo baitfish patterns like pearl and shad; to brighter options such as firetiger or blue steel shad. Some colors are impregnated with flecks of glitter that give off an additional shine.

Colors: 14 | Weight: 0.12, 0.25, 0.43, 0.62, 0.87, or 2.75 ounces

Best Swimbait: Sebile Magic Swimmer

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it tangles easily

The Sebile Magic Swimmer swimbait is a versatile lure that can be cast or trolled and is suitable for use in both fresh and saltwater. It features a tapered nose and humpbacked head, which provide maximum forward buoyancy and work in conjunction with the triple-jointed body to give an irresistibly lifelike swimming action. The lure’s undulating movement also helps to create turbulence, which is picked up by the stripers’ lateral line, alerting them to its presence and inviting them to strike.

A reinforced body and premium hooks and hardware give the swimbait a high pull strength and enable it to withstand even the most aggressive bites. There are several sizes available, and you can choose from floating, fast-sinking, or slow-sinking models. The one linked here is a slow-sinking model perfect for suspended stripers, measuring 6.5 inches and weighing 1.5 ounces. A range of metallic and/or iridescent color patterns (including bunker, holo greenie, and ghostescent) catch the light and add to the bait’s allure. Ghostescent is particularly popular with striper fishermen. 

Colors: 13 | Weight: 1.5, 1.62, 1, 2, 3, 0.75, 0.37, or 5 ounces

Best Bucktail Jig: SPRO Bucktail Jig

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Realistic features

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as other options

Bucktail jigs use a deer-hair streamer that undulates temptingly in the water, creating movement and vibrations that can be picked up both visually and via the fish’s lateral line. The unique head shape and eyelet placement of the SPRO Fishing Bucktail Jig give it a natural gliding action that sets it apart from other bucktail jigs. When jigged, the body stays parallel instead of hanging vertically, allowing for an incredibly realistic presentation. This versatile lure can also be used for cast and retrieve fishing, or when trolling for reservoir stripers.

Bulging eyes, a holographic finish, and rich colors ranging from sand eel green to crazy chartreuse or blue shad add to the lure’s lifelike appearance. For the best results, choose the color that most closely replicates the primary striper prey in your area. SPRO bucktail jigs come in several sizes, all with super sharp Gamakatsu hooks. Experts recommend 0.5-ounce jigs or larger for targeting stripers. 

Colors: 21 | Weight: 0.25 to 8 ounces

Best Spoon: Bass Pro Shops XPS Jigging Spoon

Bass Pro Shops XPS Tungsten Jigging Spoon

 Courtesy of Bass Pro Shops

What We Like
  • Well balanced

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Not as many colors as other options

The Bass Pro Shops XPS Spoon's aerodynamic shape makes it the ideal spoon for long-distance casting. Let it sink then reel in slowly, stopping to pause every few seconds for a vulnerable presentation that stripers find impossible to ignore. The spoon is perfectly balanced to provide big action without twisting your line, while its precision-machined tungsten construction means that it won’t break or bend, no matter how many big bites you get.

The XPS Spoon comes in various sizes, with the larger 0.75-ounce and 1-ounce weights being the best choices for striper fishing. Choose from nickel or gold for a long-lasting luster that catches the light and doesn’t fade over time.

Colors: 2 | Weight: 0.75 or 1 ounces

Best Crankbait: Bomber Saltwater Grade Magnum Long A

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Realistic features

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note casting distance could be better

Those that are used to fishing for freshwater stripers will be surprised by the large size of the Bomber Saltwater Grade Magnum Long A crankbait. At 7 inches in length and 1.87 ounces, it’s purpose-built for targeting trophy stripers in saltwater but features the same true-running death wiggle of smaller Bomber crankbaits. Its super-high tensile strength polycarbonate body is built to withstand repeated attacks from toothy saltwater predators and is strong enough to lift your catch from the water onto the shore or into the boat.

The hooks and hardware are all saltwater grade, so you don’t have to worry about corrosion or weakness. The lure has a shallow cranking depth of 2 to 3 feet and pairs its realistic minnow profile with a range of proven fish-catching color patterns, including mother of pearl, baby striper, and bonita. The patterns that are intended to replicate baitfish come complete with flawlessly painted scales, pectoral fins, and gill plates, while all colors boast a high-contrast eye.

Colors: 10 | Weight: 1.87 ounces

Final Verdict

With a bold design that generates lots of movement to mimic the most tempting of live bait, the Offshore Angler Parachute Jig (view at Bass Pro) makes it easy to land a prize striper. Available in various colors and weights, it boasts a strong, big shad body, and a swinging Mustad hook that’ll stand up to the most aggressive strike. But if you’re looking for something that can perform in variable circumstances—including in fresh and saltwater or for cast or trolling fishing, consider Sebile’s Magic Swimmer (view at Amazon), which has a reinforced body that delivers a lifelike swimming action and premium hooks and hardware to provide a high pull strength.

What to Look for in Striper Lures

Type

Striped bass are opportunistic feeders and will respond to a wide variety of lures, so the best strategy is to consider lures that resemble the forage base of where you fish—sometimes local fish shops or guides can help you get that info. Topwater, popper, soft plastic, jig, crankbait, and spoon lures all work. But if you plan on mostly fishing in saltwater, consider ones that’ll stand up to rust, while other lures are ideal for fishing in a mixture of salt and fresh water to account for the fact that these stripers also swim in brackish water.

Size and Strength

Stripers can be some of the biggest, most impressive fish to land, with weights that can exceed 40 or more pounds (if you’re lucky). As such, you want a bigger lure, as long as 6.5 to 10 inches, depending on the lure type. Striped bass also strike hard, so you want a lure with a strong hook, one that’ll stand up to an aggressive bite, rather than fish species that lean into more subtle strikes.

Color

Start with the basics—white, black, chartreuse, and yellow. The first two mirror the typical color patterns of live bait, while the latter two stand out in the water and should help catch the striper’s attention, especially if you’re shore casting. For larger fish swimming in deeper waters, pink, wine red, and lures with patterns of red, blue, and yellow dots (inspired by largemouth bass fishing) have also generated trophy-worthy results.

Price

Given the variables associated with how the fish act based on the time of day, season, and water depth, it’s probably best to invest in a variety of lower-cost striper lures like bucktails and spoons, a few inexpensive soft plastic jerk baits, and a few reliable big guys like a parachute jig. Then as you dial your skills and gain insight into how the fish strike in your local waterways, you can invest in a few more expensive lures to dial your tackle.

FAQs

Besides finding a lure that mirrors the forage base of where I fish, what else should I consider?

As migratory fish, stripers can be more—or less—active at various times of the day or the season. If you’re trying to use natural feeding patterns in the evening and dawn, go with topwater prop lures (which also perform well if it’s stormy) and surface minnow lures, which also work well in bright sunlight. Angling in shallow water calls for floaters or popper lures, while soft jerk bait lures can be used reliably any time of the day. In depths of 15 feet or more, go with a spooner. But if you’re angling for big fish that typically stay below 20 to 30 feet, consider a deep-diver lure, which can also be used for troll fishing.

What about a lure’s movement?

Considering striped bass don’t have the best eyesight, look for lures that create a sense of movement with the introduction of feathers and other appendages or other features that will get the lure to spin and move, potentially firing out high-vis reflections off the sun like spoons. Lure movement also generates vibrations, which can also grab a striper’s attention.

What about using teasers?

Adding a “teaser”—little wisps of feather, bucktail, flash, or plastic—a short distance ahead of your main lure will help more finicky stripers go for your lure. They move to bite the tiny bit of bait rather than the main lure but still end up getting hooked.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

The contributors to this piece have been writing about and researching outdoor and travel gear for decades. In evaluating products for striped bass lures, they consulted both pro and amateur anglers to gain insight into the different types of bait lures and then honed in on the best in each category to cover the gamut of fishing types and skill levels.

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