A fishing lure is a type of artificial fishing bait which is designed to attract a fish's attention. The lure uses movement, vibration, flash and color to bait fish. Many lures are equipped with one or more hooks that are used to catch fish when they strike the lure. Some lures are placed to attract fish so a spear can be impaled into the fish or so the fish can be captured by hand. Most lures are attached to the end of a fishing line and have various styles of hooks attached to the body and are designed to elicit a strike resulting in a hookset. Many lures are commercially made but some are hand made such as fishing flies. Hand tying fly lures to match the hatch is considered a challenge by many amateur entomologists.

Modern commercial lures usually are often used with a fishing rod and fishing reel but there are some who use a technique where they hold the line in their hands. Handlining is a technique in which the line is held directly in the hands versus being fed through the guides of a fishing rod. Longlining also can employ lures to catch fish. When a lure is used for casting, it is continually cast out and retrieved, the retrieve making the lure swim or produce a popping action. A skilled angler can explore many possible hiding places for fish through lure casting such as under logs and on flats.

In early time, fishing lures were made from bone or bronze. The Chinese and Egyptians used fishing rods, hooks, and lines as early as 2,000 B.C., though most of the first fishermen used handlines.

The first hooks were made out of bronze, which was strong but still very thin and less visible to the fish. The Chinese were the first to make fishing line, spun from fine silk.

Nordic people have been making spoon lures from the 8th-13th century AD. Most of the lures are made from iron, bronze, copper, and in one case an iron hook soldered to a copper spoon. Many lures had varying shapes and sizes fitting different scenarios like ice fishing and summer fishing.

English tackle shops are recorded as selling tin minnows in the middle of the 18th century, and realistic imitations of bugs and grubs made from painted rubber appeared as early as 1800. Spoons appear to have originated in Scandinavia in the late 1700s. Early English minnow baits were largely designed to spin as their attracting action, as exemplified by the “Devon” style lure first produced in quantity by F. Angel of Exeter. The number and variety of artificial baits increased dramatically in the mid to late 19th century.

The first production lures made in the United States, mostly metal spoons and spinners, came on the market in the last half of the 19th century. The makers included Julio T. Buel, Riley Haskell, W. D. Chapman and Enterprise Manufacturing Company. Modern fishing plugs were first made commercially in the United States in the early 1900s by firms including Heddon in Michigan and Enterprise Mfg. (Pflueger) in Ohio. Before this time most fishing lures were made by individual craftsman. Commercial-made lures were based on the same ideas that the individual craftsmen were making but on a larger scale.