It’s easy to walk into a bait shop and get sucked right in by duckling lures that look so real, they do everything but quack. And, sure, I own trout lures that swim more naturally than a wild rainbow, flies with more plastic components than a jointed crankbait, and crawfish so lifelike, you might accidentally sprinkle them with Old Bay. Technology in the lure and fly arena is all well and good, but there are countless patterns and baits that haven’t changed in decades—and for good reason: They’ve never stopped pounding fish. If I had a buck for every time I clipped off a new-school streamer in favor of a white Clouser Minnow on a smallie stream, or switched from a modern propbait to a Hula Popper on a largemouth pond when I needed to get it done, I’d be rich. Those are just a few examples of classic killers on our list of iconic lures and flies you shouldn’t be without. Our picks may not be fancy, but they’ll crank up the heat on the water every time.



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