Classic Metal Lures for Stripers in the Surf

Tin squids, spoons, or metals... whatever you call them, this style of lure has been helping generations of surfcasters put striped bass on the beach.

Metal lures have earned a season-long home in the plug bags of surfcasters for their durability, versatility and casting distance.
Metal lures have earned a season-long home in the plug bags of surfcasters for their durability, versatility and casting distance.

Metal lures have many advantages. They’re durable, cast far, come in a variety of profiles to match any number of baitfish, and their reflective surfaces catch the eyes of striped bass from a distance.

Metals are versatile striper lures that surfcasters can bounce along the bottom, swim through the middle of the water column, and even skip across the surface. Depending on the shape, metal lures make a convincing imitation of peanut bunker, herring, butterfish, mullet, and, most famously, sand eels.

There are a vast number of metals available to anglers, but these are some of the most effective ones for striped bass.

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Slender Metal Lures

The Ava Diamond Jig with Tube Tail

When sand eels are in the surf, it’s not uncommon for every angler on the beach to be fishing one of these classics. The slender metal cast well and can is easily bounced and jigged along the bottom. Meanwhile, the tube trailer spins and flutters like a sand eel seeking refuge from pursuing stripers.

Tsunami A17 Diamond Jig
Tsunami A27 Diamond Jig

Fishermen debate the best color for the tube, but green and red are good starting points. And while the original Ava Tackle diamond jigs are no longer in production, tackle manufacturers like Sportfish Products and Tsunami Tackle are keeping this long-standing classic available to surfcasters.

Point Jude Lures PoJee

Thanks to its flared design, this slender metal has a bit more versatility than the diamond jig. While it scuttles across the bottom quite nicely, it also has an enticing kick when retrieved through the middle of the water column at a moderate speed.

Point Jude Lures PoJee

While the PoJee works well with a simple bucktail trailer hook, it is also available with a tube tail or spinner tail, which adds flash and keeps the lure higher in the water column on a slower retrieve.

Deadly Dick

The rounded edges of the slim, aerodynamic Deadly Dick allow it to cut through onshore winds and swim effectively in choppy, turbid surf. With a steady retrieve, a heavy-duty split ring and barrel swivel impart a tight, frantic swimming action that resembles a disoriented sand eel or silverside.

Deadly Dick
Deadly Dick

The lure’s flat prism-printed sides and nickel-plated finish catch and reflect light with ease. The Deadly Dick can be fished effectively in different portions of the water column, whether sub-surface with a steady to rapid retrieve, or by dragging it over bottom to stir up the sand like a burrowing sand eel.


Deep-Bodied Metal Lures

Hopkins No=Eql

The Hopkins No=Eql is a flat-sided metal designed to cast long distances and ride slightly higher in the water column. When peanut bunker are thick in the surf, the textured metal reflects light and gives the lure a perceived scaliness as it kicks side to side.

Hopkins No=Eql

On a faster retrieve, the lure planes on the surface, which is ideal during peanut bunker blitzes. With a slow and steady retrieve, it generates a tantalizing flutter action beneath the surface like a lone, fleeing peanut bunker.

Acme Kastmaster

The Kastmaster is another wide-bodied metal that is designed to be fished higher in the water column. It is most effective when fish are actively feeding near the surface. The wide, flat build allows it to flitter along the surface like a peanut bunker in escape mode, but it can just as easily be worked subsurface.

Acme Kastmaster
Acme Kastmaster

Along with giving it a realistic swimming pattern, the flat sides catch and reflect light like a mirror, making it an effective choice under relatively calm and bright conditions. Like other metals that feature tube or bucktail trailers, Kastmasters are also available with a bucktail flag over the rear single hook, which generates its own subtle action.

Luhr Jensen Krocodile Spoon

The Krocodile Spoon provides a large profile without being too heavy to fish in the surf. It swims with a pronounced side-to-side kicking action on a slow to moderate retrieve; however, on fast retrieves, the Krocodile tends to spin unnaturally.

Luhr Jensen Krocodile Spoon

Because of their deep-bodied profiles, Krocodile Spoons are a great choice for imitating larger peanut bunker, mullet, herring, and other baitfish that swim in the upper part of the water column.

Luhr Jensen Crippled Herring

The narrow, flat-sided Crippled Herring accurately mimics a wide variety of other baitfish in the surf like herring and peanut bunker. It has some action on a straight retrieve but is very effective with a lift-and-drop jigging motion because the bait flutters on the fall like a dying herring or peanut bunker.

Crippled Herring
Luhr Jensen Crippled Herring

The Crippled Herring casts extremely well and is an excellent choice for reaching distant fish. It also sinks fairly quickly, which has made it one of the mainstay metal lures among Cape Cod Canal fishermen for decades. 

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4 on “Classic Metal Lures for Stripers in the Surf

  1. TonyF

    Don’t forget to use a black tin at night as well. My favorite is the Black Knight by Pt. Jude.

  2. Nicholas TeBrake

    I believe the article has a picture and description of the action of Hopkins Shorty, while labeling it the Hopkins No=Eql. The first picture of all the metals hanging from the plug bag includes picture of the Hopkins No=Eql… but that has a different action and doesn’t swim the same way up through the water column. For what it’s worth, the “Shorty” is my go to metal and and I much prefer it for surfcasting/shore based angling relative to the No=Eql

    1. Jimmy Fee

      Looks like you’re right! The text should read Shorty, as that’s the better peanut imitation, and, for me too, the more productive in the surf. Thanks for letting us know – we adjusted the copy.

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