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How To Fish Metal Lip Lures For Striped Bass

The metal lip might just be the quintessential New England surfcasting plug.

Unlike needlefish plugs it’s near impossible to break metal lips down into any kind of nice and neat categories. 

There are simply too many different builders, each with their own styles, designs, unique action, capabilities and purpose. To really begin to understand the metal lip, the surfcaster honestly needs to put time on the water experimenting with, and fishing these plugs. 


Different Types Of Metal Lips

Metal lips generally fall into three rough categories.

  • The surface metal lip (ex. Danny, Surfster)
  • The shallow diver (ex. Pikie, Atom Junior, Atom 40)
  • The deep diver (ex. Cowboy, Conrad)

To further complicate the matter, and depending on the plug and the style, some metal lips can also be “tuned” to run at different depths.

The Pikie for instance can be tuned to run on the surface by gently bending the line tie and the lip down. It can be made to dive deeper by bending them slightly upwards.

Generally metal lips shine in the open surf, in white water, and especially when big baits like adult bunker, herring and mackerel are the primary forage.

Metal lip lures work well when large prey items such as bunker (also called pogies and menhaden) are present. 

Popular Metal Lip Brands

Today the world of metal lips is dominated by flashy builders, an obsessive sub-hobby of plug collectors and enough different styles and paint jobs to make the average anglers head spin.

The list of companies and builders producing a quality product is extensive to say the least but RM Smith, Beachmaster (BM), Afterhours, Gary Hull, Leftys, Lordship, Tattoo and Gibbs (to name just a few) are all proven names in the game.

The yellow Gibbs Danny is a metal lip swimmer which has caught countless numbers of huge bass over the years.

Every builder has their individual style and because they are made of wood and not mass produced, each individual plug will have its own character and swagger on the retrieve.

As with many other wooden plugs, metal lips tend to run on the pricier side. Expect to see most builders charging somewhere in the twenty to forty dollar range for each unique plug. That said in my opinion the fish catching ability and the unique experience of fishing a metal lip is well worth the cost of entry.

  1. Yet another clear and concise description of an all time great Striper lure. I know you’re only still 17 years old but your knowledge indicates the commitment you’ve made to this hobby. Before my time on this earth has passed I certainly expect an NYT best seller from you. Again, well done and thank you.

    1. Haha maybe not 17 but close….heck if I was still in school I’d be on the water every single day. Appreciate the positive feedback.

  2. Thanks for sharing that fishing encyclopedia inside ur head!

    Enjoy the articles almost as much as I enjoy the posts!


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