Live Bait Or Artificial Lure: Which Should You Use?

Live Bait Or Artificial Lure: Which Should You Use?

What is it? Why should you use it? Types of tshirt

Table of Contents

Should you choose live bait or artificial lure? This is a question that has split many fishermen, even the most experienced ones. There are anglers who swear by live bait, while others say artificial lures work better. In reality, the best choice is not as straightforward and clear as one might think.

Both artificial lures and natural bait have pros and cons. As an angler, it is up to you to make the choice that is right for you based on your current situation and preferences.

Live bait and artificial lure, of course, have the same purpose: to get fish to take a bite. But they each have their own way of attracting fish.


How do live bait and artificial lures work?

Live bait, also called natural bait, are small animals like worms, minnows, grasshoppers, leeches, crickets, beetles, snails, frogs, and maggots. These critters are effective in luring fish because they’re part of the natural diet. Their smell, color, and texture are familiar to the fish.


On the other hand, artificial lures are colorful and flashy objects made to look like animals like small fish and bugs that fish eat. Their sizes range from small to large. They are made of everything from feathers to fur to wood to metal and plastic.

Artificial lures 


Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Live Bait and Artificial Lures


Choosing between live bait or artificial lure comes down to things like:

  • cost

  • storage

  • your skill level as an angler

  • the kind, size, and number of fish you want to catch

  • and how much you care about conservation

The Cost Factor: Comparing Live Bait and Artificial Lures

Live bait is free if you gather it yourself. But if you go the DIY route, you would have to spend some time collecting bait before you can go fishing. So it may not be the best option if you’re pressed for time. Live bait can also get pricey if you buy it from a shop. Unlike artificial lure, it can’t be reused.


Artificial lures, on the other hand, can be reused for a short time. You may want to buy new ones when they get worn or rusty.


Storage Considerations: Storing Live Bait vs. Artificial Lures

Live bait is harder to store. Because they’re live animals, they can get smelly and messy in storage. Meanwhile, most lures can fit inside tackle boxes, unless you’re dealing with really huge ones. If you fancy yourself a collector, you can even build a collection of lures of all colors, shapes, and sizes.


Image by Alexandr Ivanov from Pixabay

Skill Level: Which Option is Best for Beginners?

As for skill level, beginners often have better luck with live bait than with artificial lures. It takes less skill and practice to drop a live bait in water and wait for fish to bite than to cast a lure and retrieve it properly. Live bait is harder to control because it will want and try to get away from the fish, while an artificial lure definitely won’t.


Fishing Goals

If you’re aiming to catch large, aggressive, fish, you should pick live bait, although it is certainly possible to catch both large (and small) fish with artificial lures. But if your priority is number of fish over size, artificial lures would be your best bet.


Conservation and Sustainability

If you’re concerned about sustainability, keep in mind that in using natural bait, you’re essentially using one live animal (the bait) to catch another live animal (the fish). If you brought too much live bait, and stored them properly, you can return the ones you didn’t use to their habitat.


On the other hand, artificial lures, especially those made of plastic, can pollute and harm the environment when they get lost or aren’t discarded properly. In fact, lures of the soft, plastic kind are major sources of water pollution, and can end up in the bellies of many fish.


Biodegradable Lures: An Alternative to Traditional Artificial Lures

The good news is that lures made of biodegradable materials are now available, if you’re looking for alternatives to traditional artificial lures. There are even instructions online for DIY biodegradable lures.


Fishing Regulations

There are also fishing spots where you are only allowed to use artificial lures, so make sure to check before you drop that bait in the water. In catch-and-release-only areas, artificial lures are better as fish can get hooked and injured when they eat live bait.


Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits all answer. Some situations call for live bait, while others call for an artificial lure. Some anglers also just feel more comfortable using artificial lures over live bait, and vice versa. What about you? Are you team live bait or team artificial lure?



Corn as Fishing Bait: Pros, Cons, Rules, and Alternatives

The use of corn as fishing bait has been a favorite among anglers, whether pro or beginner, for quite some time. The common golden grain is a go-to for catching a variety of fish, won't burn a hole in your pocket, and can be used in a bunch of creative ways. But it’s also caused a lot of confusion and controversy among fishing enthusiasts, because of two reasons: one, some states have specific regulations in place about the use of corn as bait or in chumming, and two, because of concerns surrounding its impact to the environment and on fish.

Why Fishermen Wear Neck Gaiters

Just like everybody else, we anglers have personal preferences. Live or artificial bait? Saltwater or freshwater? Catch and keep or catch and release? Despite these differences, though, some of us do still share some similarities as fishermen: one of them being the fact that we wear neck gaiters when going out on fishing trips.

Cast Far, Catch More: Why You Should Consider Using Braided Fishing Line

The angler's world is full of choices, and among these, the braided fishing line is a versatile tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. With its unique blend of strength, sensitivity, and versatility, it might just be the missing piece of fishing gear in your tackle bag. 

Minnow Traps Made Easy: Effortlessly Trap Live Bait for Fishing

After having been fishing for so many years, I've come to appreciate the many tools and techniques that enhance the fishing experience. Among them, the minnow trap holds a special place. Now, you might wonder what's so exciting about a device that catches tiny fish? And why do you need a minnow trap when you can just buy bait at the local tackle shop?

How To Catch Trout

Unlock the secrets to catching trout! Dive into trout biology, select the right gear, and fish where they love to hide. Apply proven trout strategies and watch your success soar.

How Can I Catch Bigger Fish?

Let's dive into the question we all have: How can I catch bigger fish? We'll explore everything from choosing the right gear and tackle, to finding the hotspots where the big fish hang out, and even what to do when you've got a real heavyweight on your line.