​The 6 Best Summer Fishing Lures

By: Nolan Pyle

October 18, 2022

Table of Contents


  1. Walleye
    1. Trolling plugs
    2. Worm Harnesses
  2. Smallmouth Bass
    1. Dropshot Baits
    2. Tube Jigs
  3. Largemouth Bass
    1. Frogs
    2. Skirted Jigs

It’s tough to beat a beautiful summer day of fishing. Warm weather and a calm lake more often than not (depending on where you are in the world) can make for an enjoyable and relaxing time on the water. However, summer fishing certainly has its ups and downs. Fish can become lethargic and finicky in the relentless heat of the dog days of the summer. In this article, we’re going to highlight some of the best summer fishing lures for a variety of species to help increase your odds of landing a summertime giant this year.

1. Walleye

  1. Trolling plugs - As vague as this may sound, there is such a vast array of trolling plugs out there and each and every one of them excels at a certain time, place or condition. Walleyes typically spend their summers in deep water, so a trolling plugs effectiveness to be fished deep and cover a ton of water makes it one of the best summer lures out there. Different depths can be achieved from this excellent summer lure by changing line diameter, trolling speed, adding weight or adjusting the distance the bait is behind the boat. Bandits, BayRats, Storm Thundersticks, and Berkley Flicker Minnows are among a few tried and true options.

For summertime walleyes, a trolled Deep Diving Bandit is hard to beat

  1. Worm Harnesses - There aren’t many walleyes out there that won’t eat a worm harness. They can be trolled, drifted or even casted and retrieved. As simple as it gets, a worm harness consists of at least one blade on a clevice, beads, and a hook or two with either a live nightcrawler or soft plastic attached. Some harnesses, such as the Erie Dearie, are weighted while others need weight added to them to be fished effectively. Dutch Fork, Northland, and Dreamweaver are just a few companies that make awesome worm harnesses.

The Northland Crawler Hauler is a great example of a simple yet effective crawler harness

2. Smallmouth Bass

  1. Dropshot baits - For those that may not be familiar, a dropshot is a rigging technique that involves a weight beneath an upward facing hook with some distance between the two so that the bait is raised off the bottom. This is arguably the most effective technique for catching smallmouth bass ever created. While still very effective shallow, it’s typically a deep water technique. Similar to walleyes, smallies love to be deep in the summertime making a drop shot a go-to summer fishing lure. There are a plethora of baits that can be thrown on a dropshot, but typically smaller profiles dominate. Anything made by Roboworm, the Berkley Maxscent Flatworm, Z-Man Trickshotz and Strike King Dreamshot are all excellent options.

The Roboworm Straight Tail Worm is one of the most popular dropshot baits for smallies avaiable

  1. Tube Jigs - Possibly the oldest trick in the book for smallmouth bass, the tube jig has been tried and true for decades now. Don’t let its old school or simple look fool you though, the tube jig is still a smallie slayer! Similar to a dropshot, it can be fished deep effectively making it a great option for targeting smallmouth in their deep summertime haunts. Drug slow across the bottom or snapped aggressively, a tube does an excellent job of representing some of a smallmouth’s favorite prey like a goby or crayfish. Out of all the options out there, a green pumpkin Strike King Coffee Tube is pretty tough to beat!

The classic Strike King Coffee Tube in green pumpkin purple

3. Largemouth Bass

  1. Frogs - Topwater baits are possibly the most fun way to catch a bass of all time, now add in heavy line, a heavy rod and thick cover and things can get really interesting. For being incredibly enjoyable to fish with, frogs are still among the most effective largemouth fishing baits and lures out there. Their ability to be fished around thick vegetation and other heavy cover that largemouth love to lurk around in the summer makes them an extremely useful tool for boating warm-water bass. The Spro Bronzeye Frog, Booyah Pad Crasher, and Megabass Big Gabot frog.

This largemouth crushed a Spro Bronzeye Frog worked over a grass mat

  1. Skirted Jigs - Extremely versatile and a staple in just about every bass angler’s arsenal, the jig is something you shouldn’t leave home without. Jigs catch fish 12 months out of the year, but it especially excels in the summertime when you can catch a largemouth under a dock in 2fow (feet of water) or 30fow on a ledge. There aren’t many baits that can fish every type of structure or water depth as effectively as a jig can. Strike King, Keitech, Berkley, Booyah, and Dirty Jigs all make great jigs. Pair one up with a soft plastic trailer of your choice and get to catchin ‘em!

A Berkley Finesse Jig in BR Green Pumpkin

Summer can be a very enjoyable yet tough time of year to fish. Now that you’ve read a little bit about some of the best fishing lures for the summer months, we hope you’re able to land a giant this year!