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Fishing: Live Bait vs. Artificial Lures

Updated on June 28, 2012

Which is better?

I have used both live bait and lures to catch many freshwater fish. A lot of fisherman ask the question: which is better? Well I don't know if anyone can give an absolute right answer to that question but there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of types of fishing. In this page I hope to explain about both strategies and you can go out and see which method you prefer.

Artificial Lures

Lures can create a variety of actions and make the fish bite out of reaction instead of actually being hungry. There are top water lures, lures like crankbaits that imitate a fleeing baitfish, Rat L Trap style lures give off vibration and rattles that fish can detect from a distance, and spoons created a flash that fish are attracted to.

Artificial lures can cover a lot of water too. This is helpful when trying to find fish. Instead of casting out your bait and letting it sit, you can cast and reel in in many areas around you until you find a spot where the fish are. This also makes fishing less boring because there is more variety and challenge.

Also, you can keep your lures in a tackle box and save them for another day. One lure can last many fishing trips instead of live bait that is only good one time.

Lures are less harmful to the fish. When fishing with live bait, the fish often swallow the hook and it is almost impossible to get out without killing the fish. Lures give a better percentage for the survival of caught fish so in turn is better for practicing catch and release. (If you are using live bait I would recommend using circle hooks).

It is less messy and easier to handle when using lures. You also don't have to stop at a baitshop before going fishing. It saves time and you can get on the water faster because of using lures in your tackle box.

When fishing with live bait it gets frustrating when casting out and the bait flying off. This usually doesn't happen with lures (although it does happen every once in a while and if you fish you know what I'm talking about when the line snaps and the lure goes rocketing out into the water ha). Also, when you miss a hit you don't have to re bait and you can quickly get the lure back to where the fish hit it.

Live Bait

The real thing is exactly what lures are trying to imitate so you know live bait works. Live bait also gives off a natural scent that the fish are instinctively attracted to.

Sometime fish will only bite live bait. Fish can sometimes be stubborn especially during cold fronts or when the fish just aren't biting. Live bait is sometimes the only solution when the fishing gets tough.

A lot of people with argue which is cheaper. I think that buying live bait is cheaper because some of these lures on the market today are very expensive and they add up. Also, you lose lures a lot when you get snagged on the bottom and this can be frustrating. When you lose lures you go out and buy more and this can be very expensive.

You can catch or trap your own bait and this can make it cheaper and it can be hobby in itself because it is fun.

Using live bait is pretty simple. You don't have to be too experienced to fish with live bait. This makes it good for people new to fishing and it's easier to use live bait when teaching kids to fish.


In conclusion, bring both with you on your next fishing trip. They both catch fish, you just need to find out what is working. Hope this helped. Thanks for reading!


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    • Inventurist profile image

      Inventurist 5 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I have a different take on this. If I'm fishing either for competition or in a catch & release situation, artificial is the only way to go. If I intend to eat what I catch, it is very likely I'm going to go for live bait, I call it "meat fishing." If I am fishing artificial bait, particularly soft plastics, I fish with Bruiser Baits new lines. They hold up better, have great action in the water and come as close as anything I've fished with to fishing with live bait. Good hub!