Why Are Fishing Lures So Expensive?

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Fishing lures have been commercially available since 1902James Heddon invented the modern lure and started a company producing fishing lures.  Now there are multiple fishing companies producing lures in a highly competitive market. 

My Father in Law’s tackle box, a treasure trove for me, contained over a hundred older lures.  If you think older lures are worthless, think again.  The Giant Copper Haskell Minnow (1859) sold at auction for more than $100,000.

If you are new to fishing or upgrading your tackle box, you will spend some money on lures.  But why exactly do fishing lures have such a hefty price tag?  

Why Have Fishing Lures Become So Expensive?

Fishing lures are made from raw materials.  These can include wood, metals, resin, plastics, and various paints.  Since the Covid 19 pandemic,  these raw materials have increased in price. Technological advances in the way fishing lures are made also increased the end price. Inflation varies from country to country, this also plays a part.  Import and export taxes add up. Take all of these factors into account and it becomes evident, why fishing lures have increased in price.

Do I Need To Buy An Expensive Fishing Lure?

Everyone wants to have a fun, productive day fishing.  To achieve this, buy the best equipment that you can afford.  What is your target fish?  Walleyes, for example, can be caught using lures.  The multitude of different lures, for walleye, can be overwhelming.  Do your research.  Check online reviews for fishing lures.  Speak to local fishermen.  If several people have caught walleye using a particular lure, then that’s the lure you want.  What if that lure is too expensive for me?  Rather than buy several cheaper lures that don’t work, save for that one lure that is catching walleye. 

What On Average Will I Spend On Lures?

Typically, I spend around $3-$25 on a lure.  This is a comfortable price range for me.  Can you buy a lure for less than $3?  Yes, you can.  Buying in bulk can reduce the single price of a lure.  Sets of ten lures or more can be found at discounted rates.  Shop around.  Visit online fishing sites and look for discounts.  Remember, you know the lure you want, now let’s find the bargain.

Is It Worth Spending $100 On A Fishing Lure

In short, yes, it can be.  Hand-made fishing lures have a quality far beyond factory-made lures.  Some take up to twelve hours to make.  When fishing with a handmade lure the agility of the lure is evident.  These lures are smooth and have the potential to attract the most reluctant fish.   

Are Lures Better Than Bait?

When I go fishing I always have a good balance of lures and live bait.  Why?  Minnows can die, and worms can dry out.  These things have happened to me.  A careless mistake can ruin a day of fishing.  Always,  have a backup.  What is your backup?  Lures!  If the bait has gone stale, having some lures will ensure you continue to fish.  Fish that are reluctant to take live bait can be enticed to bite using lures. Everyone has their own opinion on live bait vs lures.

Does success vary by weather, location, or season? Check out one of the many YouTube videos trying to answer this debate.

What Lures Do I Need?

We know that lures can be expensive. With only limited funds, it is important to find a compromise. Have a budget and stick to it.  Are you fishing in a river, lake, or saltwater?  Do not buy lures that are not compatible with your target species.  Have a small but effective assortment of lures.  I keep the following lures in my tackle box:

  • 2-  Plugs or Crankbaits
  • 6- Jigs
  • 2- Spinnerbaits
  • 2-Spoons

Assorted plastic baits/worms

The total cost for the above items is around $50.  These items are what I use, for a typical day when boat fishing on a lake.  Think about your fishing grounds and adjust accordingly.   

Do Fish Remember Lures?

Before you spend a lot of money on a favorite lure, consider this.  Fish can get conditioned to certain lures.  This can be particularly prevalent in catch-and-release fisheries.  Fish take risks.  When they are young they feed hard in an eat-or-be-eaten situation.  Having been caught and released,  fish need to recover.  They can become shy of a certain lure.  If a lake or river is subject to sustained fishing then the fish are under pressure.  That is why we need to have an assortment of lures.  

Which Lures Catch The Most Record Fish

A recent survey, conducted by a well-known fish association concluded that jigs caught the most record fish.  This association maintains records for all species of game fish.  They found that jigs caught more than five times more record fish than the next best, spoons.  Jigs can be used in conjunction with live bait or plastic bait imitators. 

Thankfully jigs are one of the cheaper lures on the market.  Have a selection of bright and darker colors.  Use dark colors for shallow water and bright ones for deeper water.  If you snag and lose a jig it’s not the end of the world.  Jigs are about $2-3 each but can be less if bought as a package,

What Are The Most Expensive Lures?

The Manifold Deniro Yugo Frame 550 Glide Bait retails at a whopping $1,147.99.  It is 21.65 inches in length.  It is made by, Manifold Detail Works a master company in Japan.  The detail and craft that goes into making this lure are without compromise.  It is more art than a functioning fishing lure, but it is an actual fishing lure.  Will I own one in this lifetime? Not if I want to remain married! Is it effective? 

In the following video, Manifold Deniro is put to the test.

At the bottom end of expensive lures, the Original MS Slammer retails for $71.49.  This price is for the 7” lure.  A 9” model will cost $100.  The slammer has been around since 1993 and is an excellent choice for trolling and casting.  It is made to catch a wide variety of fish, such as bass, trout, pike, and walleye.  This is certainly a more affordable lure but there will still be tears if you lose it!

Cheap Versus Expensive

We have examined various lures, their purpose, and how much they cost.  Buying an expensive lure does not always equate to catching more or larger fish.  Buying a cheaper lure will still catch fish but is it the fish that you want?  I like a well-balanced lure that is the correct weight for my line and rod.  A lure that is not casting well, means you have not checked your line and rod weight. 

There are some poor products on the market.  Try to stay somewhere in the middle. I  buy some expensive lures in the $20-30 range, specifically for muskies.  Most of my bass and walleye lures cost less than $20.  I find these lures, effective and reliable.  In the past, I  have bought some cheap lures that were useless.  I wasted money by not doing research.  I now know what I need and keep my lures within a comfortable price range. 

I enjoy watching “Cheap vs Expensive” videos on YouTube. The video link below takes this challenge to a lake and compares a $100 lure to a $1 lure. Spoiler alert: As I mentioned above- some cheap lures are useless.


Final Thoughts

Although fishing lures can be expensive there is a compromise.  Don’t buy the largest, and most expensive lure you see.  Stay focused on your target species.  If I lose a $20 lure it’s not going to ruin my day.  Adjust to the water conditions.  It’s fun to try, to work out which lures are best for specific fish and conditions.  Your knowledge will continue to increase with the more fishing you do.  Happy Fishing!  


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