Understanding Lures Action & How It’s Work

Anglers who excel with lures will usually do two things well:

  • First of all, they understand the action of each lure that gives them results.
  • Second, they cleverly adapt the lure swimming action to the needs and situation of the fishing field.

But you may be wondering:

How can I know and understand every difference of lure swimming action that suits my needs?

Today I will make this matter easy for you.

All you have to do is take a few minutes to understand each type of lure swimming action in the article below:

Why Are Fish Attacking Your Lures?

What causes a fish to attack your lure even though it looks like a clown?

When pulled in water, most lures are created to vaguely mimic small fish, shrimp, crabs, squid, and other foods.

Yet, there are also lures that directly do not resemble any living thing but remain effective. For example spinnerbait

Why does this phenomenon occur?

There are three reasons fish attack lures:

  • Because fish is hungry.
  • Because of the reaction of fish who want to defend the territory
  • Because of curiosity (suspicious).

In most cases, I am more convinced that reasons #2 and #3 are the main factors fish attack hard-bodied lures.

(Factor #1 I think applies more to fly fishing and soft plastics)

For that reason, the lure doesn’t have to look too realistic (like life), but as long as it’s ‘tempting’ enough to make the fish feel suspicious.

Ever heard of ‘wet paint syndrome?’

Suspicious Wet Paint Syndrome

Try hanging a ‘wet paint’ marker on an object and placing the object in place of passers-by.

Then notice how many people passing through the area will try to touch the surface of the object. Will they snap their fingers to confirm that the paint is wet?

I bet most people would do, including you.

These psychological effects apply not only to humans but also to animals. (in this case, fish)

Suppose a fish has been suspicious of an object and is interested in examining it further. In that case, it will take the object by the mouth to taste it.[1]

Remember, fish have no hands. So the fish will explore its world with its mouth.

Try watching the video below on how a fish behaves when it encounters an object that attracts its attention:

But we should always be aware that not everything that is bitten with his mouth will be swallowed.

Maybe 9 out of 10 times, he will spit back after discovering it is not food.

Maybe those objects are just fallen leaves, paper, cigarette butts.

Now, try to imagine the object is our hooked lure? Confirm she could not escape. :-)

Since the nature of fish tastes foreign objects with the mouth, we can take advantage of this by increasing the temptation level of our lures by mimicking the size, color, and action of their actual food.

Types of Lure Swimming Action You Need to Know

The swimming action of the lure plays a more important role than the color of the lure.

In today’s market, there are various types of lures produced.

Aside from the thousands of attractive color options, the lure’s swim action also varies according to the function the lure was created for.

However, my article focuses on the swimming action of hard body diving lures (diving plugs).*

Even without paint, the lure is still got attacked. This shows that the swimming action of the lure is more important than the color.

As far as I know, there are six types of dive lure swimming actions:

  1. Wide Wobble
  2. Tight Wiggle
  3. Rolling
  4. Slalom (S-shaped movement like a snake)
  5. Darting (Side-to-Side)
  6. Vibrating

I will try to give as much detail as possible by including examples of movements in videos to understand clearly:

The “Wide Wobble” and “Tight Wiggle” Actions

Ever seen the two words above?

Typically, these two actions are the majority of the most lures we can find in the market.

But more importantly, do you understand how these two actions works?

Let me explain:

Mechanical Differences of Wide Wobble and Tight Wiggle

What creates a significant difference between these two swimming actions?

— It’s about the position of the pivot point on the lure.[2]

On wide wobble lures, the pivot of the lure is located in the middle of the lure body.

This causes the head and tail parts of the lure to be able to sway freely at wide angles but in slower action.

The best examples you can see are the Abu Garcia Tormentor, and Zerek Barra-X lures.

On the other hand, the pivot point on the tight wiggle lure is in front of the lure, which is on the head.

Therefore, tight wiggle lures only sway on the tail side. (His head serves as an axis.)

Although the swimming angle of this lure is smaller, this lure can provide faster swimming action. It can move in stable even in strong currents.

That’s why its swimming action looks tight.

The best examples you can see are the Rapala Shad Rap

Below I include my sketch to explain the position of the pivot point on the lure:

Note the difference in pivot position between ‘wide wobble’ and ‘tight wiggle’ lures and their effect on bait swim action

Simply put:

  • Wide wobble – The wobble angle is wider, messy, and slower
  • Tight wiggle – Small wiggle angle, more stable but tight

Rolling Actions

How does a lure have a rolling action work?

The rolling action regularly works with the lure’s sides rolling to the left and the right (and vice versa). These lures usually rely on luster on their bodies to attract fish.

It can also function as a jerkbait if jerking and produces a darting action.

Rapala Flat Rap, Megabass Flap Slap, and Duo Tide Minnow Slim are examples of such action lures.

The Slalom Action

If you’ve ever watched a game of skiing or longboarding, you get an idea of how this slalom moves.

It is a bending movement from left to right (and vice versa) in an ‘S’ shape.[3]

This movement is commonly found on swimbait lures.

In contrast to the jerkbait movement, it produces broader movement bends and a more natural look.


No doubt I am a big fan of Jerkbait.

Jerkbait will result in an exciting action passing from side to side. It will usually make the fish go crazy.

Among the species that are unable to withstand such action is the sea bass.

In contrast to swimbait, jerkbait (darting actions) changes direction suddenly with sharper and smaller angles that look slightly aggressive.

Usually, the profile of this lure is suspending (suspending). When combined with a stop-and-go technique, it will mimic a sick fish.

It usually won’t take long to be hit by the fish.

Jerkbait action like the Megabass Vision 110 usually will drive sea bass crazy

My favorite jerkbait lures are the 100sp Jerkbait Duo, Megabass Vision 110, Rapala Shadow Rap, and Evergreen Side Step.


This vibration action is often found on lipless type lures.

For example, Rapala Rattlin’.

This vibration occurs due to the unstable equilibrium effect that results during retrieves and the response of the lure to re-reach equilibrium.

That is why it produces strong vibrations and noisy sounds.

The faster we retrieve, the stronger the vibration and noise that can be produced.

This type of bait is not new. It was invented in the 1960s.

But its effectiveness can make the fish turn on when other baits are ignored.

Factors That Affecting Lures Swimming Action

Many factors affect the action of a lure swim.

The lure’s pivot position, shape, size, bib length, angle, and floating/sinking ability. All of this will indirectly affect the lure’s swimming action.

Three factors generally influence lures:

  • The body shape of the lure
  • Ability to float/sink
  • The shape of the lure’s bib

The three things above are the primary factors that will affect the lure’s swimming action and the depth level of the lure.

Let’s find out more about how these things affect your lure:

How does the lure’s body shape affect the action?

The shape of the lure’s body will determine its swimming action.[4]

Lures that have a round body shape will exhibit a broader wobbling action. For example, Rapala Fat Rap.

Meanwhile, lures with flatter sides will show a tighter action (tight wiggle).

Floating Lures vs. Sinking Lures

Balsa wood (Rapala Tail Dancer Deep) is a good lure material because of its good buoyancy properties.

The thing that is rarely mentioned when discussing the action of a diving lure is the importance of its buoyancy nature.

In general, floating lures have a more robust and more apparent action than sinking lures.

This happens due to the resistance force between the lure’s buoyancy and the diving impulse on its bib, which forms a controlled instability.

That’s why the lure rolls so fast.

Another aspect is that floating-type lures usually maintain their action at a slower speed compared to sinking-type lures.

The importance of the lure’s bib shapes

The bibs of the lure play a crucial role in determining the depth of the dive and the lure’s swimming action.

  • The length of the bib will determine the level of depth
  • The width of the bib will determine the degree of lure wobbling

There are many different types of designs and lengths of lure bibs. It determines the identity of the lure.

Among the forms of lure lips

Understanding each type of lure’s bib-style will save you money from buying lures that don’t suit your fields.

In general, there are four basic types of lure bib shapes[5]

  • Rounded Bib — Easy to get stuck. Suitable to be played on a flat base area free from large obstacles. It provides stable action. Great for open waters and trolling.
  • Semi-rounded Bib — The action is more or less the same as around bib lure
  • Square Bib – The action is more erratic than a rounded bib because a square bib produces a larger water barrier. These lures are more likely to move ‘darting’ during the retrevies.
  • Coffin-shaped Bib – It is a hybrid form of rounded bib and square bib. It is very versatile and good for avoiding hangs. Usually used on crankbait.
Example of coffin-shaped tongue – Megabass Flap Slap (photo credit to Tackle Tour)

There are other forms of lure bibs, such as Willow Leaf and Clover.

Aside from determining the diving level and action produced, the shape of the bib is also crucial for lure deflection, especially when we work the lure in rocky and woody areas.

The shape of the lips plays a role in determining the direction of deflection when colliding with a structure

The keys you should know:

The longer the bibs of the lure, the deeper the lure will swim.

The wider the bibs of the lure, the greater the wobbling action. The narrower the surface of the lure bibs, the tighter the wiggling action.

The width and length of the bibs will affect the action and level of the lure dive

It would help if you also kept in mind that the larger the bibs, the water-resistance would be greater.

So it will be harder to retrieve.

Therefore various factors must be taken into account by the lure creator to produce the perfect lure.

What About The Angle Of The Lure’s Bib?

The bibs angle does affect how the lure dives, but not as important as the length of the bibs.

The length of the lure tongue will create a force for deeper dives.

.. but it is the angle of the lure’s bib that will control the direction of the force and balance the lure’s swimming action so that it acts stable and perfect.[7]

What can be concluded here is:

  • Lures with a diving bib that is not too wide and has a thin/slim body, will have a tighter action (tight wiggle)
  • Fat/round lures and wide bibs will have a wider wobble action.

As a comparison example, we can use two lures from the Rapala family, Shad Rap (thinnest) VS Fat Rap (fattest/rounder).

While the action of Rapala DT is between the two lures above.

The Success Of A Lure Depends On How You Understand It

The success of a fishing session does not depend on lures alone.

What is most important is that we clearly understand each lure we use.

For example, wide wobble lures are often effective in murky water, targeted for fish that are being aggressive or lazy fish.

It is very suitable for slow roaming and can persuade ambush attackers such as red sea bass.

While tight wiggle lures will be a vicious weapon when temperature changes, fish in very clear water, and when fish are less aggressive.

It is a remedy to fish that dodge fat lures and swim wide.

The intelligent angler always tries to adapt each lure to the needs of his fishing field situation and improves the yield over time.

This writing was also published in the Sirip Malaysia Magazine portal

If there are any errors in this article, please correct me in the comments section below.

I hope this writing help. See you next time.


  1. Merangsang Gewang (Efectif Lure Fishing) oleh Steve Starling (Sections of lubuk ilmiah, Sirip Magazine)
  2.  Acción Wide Wobbling y Tight Wobbling, by Baracudo Guia Pesca
  3. Slalom lure action – Seijilures.com
  4. Guide to bass fishing Crankbaits, laman Wired2Fish
  5. Referring to the article: crankbaits lures – Bass Fishing and Catching
  6. The truth about crankbaits diving lips -The crankbait masterclass
  7. Referring to the thread from the forum Anglerworld.com

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