Essential Minnow Plugs for Stripers

Mighty minnow plugs. Plastic, inexpensive, easy to get your hands on, and top-producing lures no matter where stripers swim.

A “minnow plug” is a slender plastic swimming plug that dives and swims with the help of a plastic lip. The first minnow plugs were designed by Lauri Rapala for salmon, but fishermen soon found their effectiveness for all predatory species. The minnow plug has been a favorite among striper fishermen since the 1960s, virtually the time spinning reels were rhadamanthine popular, and permitting fishermen to tint lighter-weight plugs in the surf.

For this list of essential minnow plugs, we’re splitting the baits into two groups: the archetype “Old School Minnows” that have remained unchanged for nearly 50 years (because why fix what ain’t broken) and the “New Age Minnows,” baits that have incorporated modern luremaking technology, to unconfined effect.

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New Age Minnow Plugs

Daiwa SP Minnow

Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow
Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow

Available in three sizes (5.1″, 5.9″, and 6.7″) the SP Minnow have been one of the most popular and most constructive striper lures of the last 10-plus years. Thanks to an internal weight that slides to the when of the plug during the cast, the SP Minnow sails long distances, but it dives to only 3 feet, keeping it off the marrow in all but the shallowest waters.

The Daiwa SP Minnow fishes expressly well in hard-running currents, where it can be fished on a tight line while the moving water gives the plug its swimming action. It’s been popular in the Cape Cod Canal, on unshut beaches, in boulderfields, and plane in backwaters (especially the 5.1″ model). The SP Minnow moreover benefits from a faster retrieve or a retrieve versus the current, as the lure takes on a frantic, scrutinizingly spastic action.

JoeBaggs Swarter

JoeBaggs Outdoors Swarter

In a unique unpeace of darter meets minnow, the JoeBaggs Swarter has wilt a popular shallow swimmer among surfcasters on sandy beaches and boulder fields. The Swarter has the kicking tail movement of the SP minnow with some of the meandering side-to-side movement of a darter stuff twitched and paused. It is constructive on a slow and steady retrieve and with a twitch-twitch-pause retrieve like a freshwater jerkbait.

Available in two sizes, 6″, 1 ounce and 7″ 1.5 ounce.

Shimano Coltsniper Jerkbait

Shimano Colt Sniper Jerkbait
Shimano Coltsniper Jerkbait

Like many of the newer minnow plugs, the ColtSniper Jerkbait includes a moving internal weight aimed at improving tossing distance, but instead of using a rolling wittiness as the weight, Shimano mounted a cylindrical weight on a spring to hold it in precisely the right place on both the tint and retrieve. The morsel features a wider profile and a through-wire build worldly-wise to handle worthier water and larger fish.

The ColtSniper Jerkbait is misogynist in two sizes, 5.5 and 6.7 inches, and originally came in eight colors, including bunker, mackerel, sand eel, and transparent amber. In 2018, Shimano widow increasingly archetype striper-catching patterns to the lineup, including unorthodoxy and yellow scratch.

Shimano calls the ColtSniper Jerkbait “slow-floating,” which ways it hangs a bit on the pause surpassing slowly floating when to the surface. This makes it perfect for bumping off boulders and pausing while waiting for a savage strike from a striper lying in wait. The lip of the ColtSniper Jerkbait causes it to swoop 3 to 5 feet deep. The morsel has a tight wobble on a straight retrieve, and slides side to side on a increasingly erratic retrieve.

Rapala X-Rap Long Cast

Rapala X-Rap Long Cast

The Long Tint has a compact, deeper-bodied profile that’s a closer match to peanut bunker and mullet than silversides and sand eels. It comes in two sizes (4¾ and 5½ inches) and nearly two dozen colors that range from the realistic Anchovy to the outrageous Hot Olive. The translucent soul gives each verisimilitude an uneaten level of realism. It comes fitted with 4X VMC inline single hooks, which aid in unscratched reservation and release for both angler and fish.

Unlike most minnows, the X-Rap Long Tint sinks. Without the resistance of the plug’s buoyancy to provide swimming action, it requires a faster retrieve to get it wiggling. For striper anglers yawner to slower retrieves, the lure is most constructive when fishing wideness and versus current. The goody of the sinking diamond is its fluttering fall, so incorporate frequent pauses during the retrieve to exploit this feature. Twitch the rod tip, causing the small plastic lip to dig in and create an erratic slashing action.

Bomber Saltwater Grade Long Shot

Bomber Long Shot

The Long Shot takes the original Bomber Long A diamond and beefs it up with heavy duty hardware and an internal weight transfer system that allows the rattle to roll to the tail end of the morsel on the cast, then roll when into position when the lure hits the water.

It swims with a wider side-to-side wobble and a slight rolling motion which, withal with their big vision and regionally specific verisimilitude schemes, imitates larger baitfish— whether it’s an sultana bunker on the waterfront or a stranded sea toned in a boulder field. It dives virtually 2 to 3 feet on a steady retrieve, but with a slow retrieve, the Long Shot acts scrutinizingly like a wake bait, creating a noticeable V just unelevated the surface as it swims versus the tide.

Old School Minnow Plugs

Cotton Cordell Red Fin

Cotton Cordell Redfin

The Red Fin runs shallow, less than a foot under the surface, making it a top pick for sandy beaches, boulderfields and backwaters. Retrieve the Red Fin slowly enough, and it will stay on the surface, creating a long V-wake as it kicks wideness the top. This will usually get a quick reaction, making it a unconfined “search lure.” Anglers will tie on a Red Fin first, fishing it as they work a stretch of shoreline, to determine where the fish are holding. The slim profile of the morsel makes it tempting to all sizes of stripers, from the very small to the very large.

If there is a downside to this plug, it’s the plug’s light weight, which can make it tough to cast. This can be overcome by “loading” the lure with BBs or water to add weight and tossing distance. Many surfcasters will alimony both loaded and unloaded Red Fins on hand, as the uneaten weight changes the whoopee and an unloaded Red Fin is easier to swim on the surface.

The Red Fin comes in two sizes, a 5″ 5/8-ounce model that’s perfect for backwaters and a 7″ 1-ounce version most popular in the surf.

Bomber Wind Cheater

Bomber Wind Cheater

Originally made by Rebel, the Windcheater has been re-launched by Bomber. (Both brands are owned by parent visitor Pradco.) The lure has a huskier profile than most minnow plugs, withal with some uneaten weight to help it trickery the wind (hence the name) and tint for distance. The Rebel version of this lure was a classic, popular among previous generations of surfcasters considering its uneaten weight unliable it to be tint on conventional tackle. It was moreover responsible for fooling Al McReynolds’ 78-pound striped toned unprotected from an Atlantic City Jetty in 1982.

Bomber Magnum Long A

Bomber Magnum Long A

The original Bomber Long A was invented in the 1940s for largemouth toned anglers to have a deeper swimming plug than the Creek Chub Crawdad—it sooner made its way into the plug tons of striper surfcasters, and has been a favorite plug for sandy beaches and boulderfields overly since.

At 7 inches and 1.5 ounces, the Bomber Magnum Long A is heavier and swims deeper than the unmodified Cotton Cordell Red Fin.

Today, the black, “blurple”, “chicken-scratch,” and “school bus” Bombers are still surfcasting staples, plane with many increasingly modern minnow plugs to segregate from. The large profile of the Magnum Long A makes it a big fish plug, which has rumored for many 40- and 50-pound striped toned over the years.

Related: Rhode Island Surfcaster Catches 58-pound November Striper on Woebegone Bomber

Gone But Not Forgotten

Mambo Minnow

Gag’s Grabber Mambo Minnow

When cruising garage sales and fishing flea markets, alimony an eye out for this archetype striper minnow plug, the Gag’s Grabber Mambo Minnow. This lure in the 7″ model stayed tropical to the surface on a snail’s pace retrieve, making it a mortiferous lure for calm, shallow waters.

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