To bait and wait or cast and catch? It’s kind of like that old saying “Fish or Cut Bait” — it’s all about knowing when to use bait and when to throw artificial lures.
Each approach to catching fish has its particular strengths and weaknesses, and each one is better suited to different conditions, environments, target species, and levels of angler competence.
Most anglers would agree that live bait is incredibly effective. The vast majority of game fish are carnivores. They eat other fish. Fishing with live bait works so well because you’re giving the fish something they already eat naturally. You don’t have to work as hard trying to convince a fish to eat your live minnow as you do when fishing artificial lures.
Natural baits are effective because of their familiar texture, odor, and color, and require a relatively simple presentation. They are generally most effective when acquired locally, outweighing any hassles involved in obtaining them.
Freshwater baits consist of shiners, fathead minnows, nightcrawlers, mealworms and salmon eggs. Saltwater type baits can be anything from fresh clams to ballyhoo, even small tuna. About the only issue is keeping live bait alive and fresh bait fresh as it may require some effort for upkeep in a live well, bait bucket with a bubbler, or stored in the cold climate of a fridge.
Bait fishing requires more patience, thus the saying “bait and wait,” but it’s an extremely effective endeavor and is the best way to get someone introduced to the sport as your odds of success are greater with a minimal amount of true effort or skill, which is usually needed when working a lure.
Some anglers prefer to use artificial baits or lures, made to imitate prey or prey characteristics such as color, flash, or shape, that fish find attractive. A quick look down the aisle at your local tackle shop will tell you that artificial baits come in a bewildering array of styles, shapes, strategies, and colors, ranging from massive, shiny silver spoon-like devices trolled for big lake fish to wispy dry flies, tiny bundles of feathers and fur delicately cast to flighty trout.
The key in choosing the right lure is to “match the hatch” and pick the right offering that has the same flash, vibration, profile of the baitfish the target species is feeding upon.
Fishing with artificial lures can be quite a challenge. But, for many anglers, the challenge is half the fun. It turns fishing from a relatively passive pursuit to a very active sport that’s physical, mentally stimulating, and immensely rewarding when cast after cast eventually results in a fish caught.
Overall, it may seem ridiculous that human beings can get so riled up about fooling a fish, but tricking a fish on a lure is a challenge with serious rewards
It’s difficult to conclude the debate of live bait fishing vs. fishing with artificial lures and which is best, but often times a successful angler is a versatile angler. If you really want to get into some fish, bring along both live bait and artificial lures. Then, you’ll be ready for anything conditions dictate.
Bait fishing or lure fishing, you can’t go wrong with either method. Get an understanding of your goals when heading out to fish and pick your approach accordingly.