An Introduction to the Best Lures for Catching Fish in BC
If you’re thinking about finally doing some fishing aboard your boat for the first time, check out our guide to the different types of lures there are to choose from, and how they work. The lures on this list are suitable for many different types of fish in BC, including salmon, trout, and groundfish.
Below is the Van Isle Marina team’s introduction of the top fishing lures we recommend trying out the next time you take your sport yacht or fishing boat out on the ocean or lake. All of the items described below are available in several different sizes, colours, and brands, so you’ll need to:
- Choose your size based on the size of your target species.
- Choose your colour based on the water’s depth and clarity; and
- Choose your brand based on your budget and personal preference.
Using the lures listed below to your advantage will require some practice and experimentation, which we believe is all part of the fun of learning a new hobby.
Type of Lure: Spinners
A spinner, or spinnerbait as it is sometimes called, is essentially a shiny and reflective metal blade that spins freely when it is reeled or trolled through the water. Spinners come in different sizes and styles and sometimes feature more than one metal blade.
How Spinners Work: The motion of a spinner moving in the water resembles a small swimming fish, which your target species hopefully mistakes as its next meal, thereby biting your line. Salmon and trout can sense spinners partly via their reflective appearance, and partly by their vibrations, which are especially effective in murky waters, where salmon tend to hang out often.
Type of Lure: Spoons
Fishing lures known as spoons are metal lures that are a little less round and a little longer than an average teaspoon. Spoons come in a wide range of sizes and colours, and usually come with a hook already, making them relatively straightforward to use.
How Spoons Work: Spoons work like spinners – they resemble small baitfish when wobbling in the water. Your spoon size should match or come close to the size of the fish your target fish species would be on the hunt for, based on the season or time of year.
Type of Lure: Plugs
A plug is a solid piece of rigid plastic that is painted to look like a fish, usually a herring. They are sometimes reflective as well. Some plugs, called wobbling plugs, are made of two pieces hinged together. Such plugs are designed to wobble in the water, adding a bit of movement to an otherwise static lure.
How Plugs Work: Plugs are painted and designed to look like fish, a.k.a. a food source that lures larger fish in. Wobbling plugs, with their two pieces instead of one, cause a flutter in the water as they’re being reeled in, creating a much-needed vibration to lure in salmon in murky water.
Type of Lure: Hoochies
Meant to resemble small squid, hoochies are those brightly coloured, squishy plastic lures with strands of plastic tassels and painted on eyes. They come in a wide variety of colours, sizes, and styles – usually without any hooks or flashers, allowing you to customize your rig by supplementing your own additional lures and live bait.
How Hoochies Work: Hoochies are bright, which attract fish to the end of your line, but their lack of reflective properties and the fact that they are motionless make them not as effective when they are used alone.
Type of Lure: Flashers
A flasher is a long, thin, shiny rectangular piece of metal, or piece of plastic with an added metallic adhesive tape or sticker on it. Flashers range in size and colour, with the largest ones being about a foot long. They are usually recommended at depths below 50 feet.
How Flashers Work: In the right weather conditions, to your target species, a flasher looks like another larger fish who is ferociously attacking its prey. This signifies to nearby salmon or trout that there is food present, causing them to swim closer to the flasher to check out what’s going on. Ideally this leads to your target species biting your bait!
Flashers are only required when you are using lures that don’t move on their own in the water, such as hoochies. They aren’t required if you are already using spinners, wobbling plugs, or spoons.
Type of Lure: Jigs
Jigs are a multi-part lure consisting of a lead weight sinker and a hook covered with a soft rubber or silicone material. A third component is sometimes added on that resembles a fish head with tassels or flies. With all these parts to consider, there is an endless number of jigs out there to try.
How Jigs Work: Because of the lead weight, jigs are designed to move vertically in the water, rather than horizontally like other lures on this list. The lead sinker allows your line to get to the fish at the bottom of the seabed – making them perfect for catching groundfish.
Using Scents & Dyes
Adding scents and dyes to artificial lures is becoming more common practice. You can buy both items at the tack shop. They come in either gels, oils, or pastes, and in scents like anchovy and herring.
How Scents and Dyes Work: In the absence of live bait, scents are added to live lures to stimulate a fish’s appetite. More importantly, they mask any human smells left behind by an angler’s hardworking hands as they load up their lines.
Also available at the tack shop are dyes. Adding dyes to your live bait gives your line the aromas and flavours of the live bait, and an added boost of colour, helping fish see as well as smell your line.
Fishing with Live Bait
Live bait includes everything from insects, worms, anchovies, herring, fish row, minnows, leeches, shrimp, and more. Larger fish like lingcod and halibut also love octopus and mackerel. Live bait is most effective when it looks as life-like as possible in the water.
How Live Bait Works: Live bait puts off a scent that naturally draws fish to your line. They can be used alone or with a larger rig set-up that includes more than one artificial lure. With all your bases covered like this, you’re bound to catch something!
Learning your fishing lures takes some practice due to the overwhelming amount of selection and combinations out there. It might take some trial and error before you find a rig you’re successful with and comfortable using. The staff at tack shops are a good place to start for more information on fishing lures, in addition to talking to other anglers you know about what works for them, subscribing to magazines, reading blogs, and watching tips on TV.
At Van Isle Marina, we love talking about fishing, including what lures work best, and about all the fishing hotspots near here. Come see our team with all your fishing and boating related questions. We are located in Sidney, BC, near Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Find out how to get here.
And now that you know all about fishing lures, have you considered picking a new boat to fish from? Learn more about buying a boat through our brokers. We can recommend several that are perfect for your new hobby!