Bait or lure? That's the age-old question every fisherman faces. It's probable that you'll carry both live bait and artificial lures on your excursion, but knowing when to use each will help you actually catch a bite and haul in a trophy fish.
There are many variables that go into choosing a bait or lure and, as any fisherman knows, there are no guarantees in fishing. The best we can do is evaluate the pros and cons of each type so you can make an educated decision when you're out in the boat.
One thing to keep in mind is: think about how the fish you're after feed. Are they attracted by sound, movement, or scent? If scent, you're better off using live bait. If sound, it could go either way depending on the lures you've got at your disposal. For fish attracted by movement, you have the widest range of choices as both live bait and artificial lures can work. If you're using lures, though, you'll need to help the bait move on the line to draw attention.
Artificial lures have the advantage of being reusable and not dying before you can use them. They're more cost-effective in that way. Another advantage is the sheer variety of lures available. You can find a lure to recreate practically any physical action that a fish or small prey animal can make. They can even be used to draw fish that aren't necessarily hungry and looking for a meal, but are simply curious. Lures are a great option if you like to play with your line after it's been cast. In many ways, artificial lures provide fishermen with more options.
While artificial lures can mimic live bait, they aren't the real thing. Live bait has a natural scent that simply cannot be replicated. Some fish will only react to live bait which can make the difference between success and failure when the fish just aren't biting. While live bait is usually fairly inexpensive and simple to use, it can only be used once. This might sound like a bad investment, but it makes them perfect for novices who might not have the skills needed to get artificial lures to move on the line. Live bait does most of the work for you. Live bait is also more fun to use with kids or if you enjoy searching for your own bait.
Use Your Resources To Make The Choice
When deciding whether to use bait or lure, use your resources. Local guides, other fishermen, fish knowledge, and past experience can all help you determine when it's better to use bait vs. lures. Take into account the fish you're after, your skill level with the line, and how you like to fish. If you want to cast the line and let it be, bait is a better choice. If you like to play around with the line and challenge yourself to attract different types of fish, a lure can give you plenty of opportunity to do just that.
You can catch fish with either bait or lures, you just need to find out which works best for you on a given day.