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The arguments for and against live baiting for northern pike

Updated on May 30, 2012

Live baiting is a method used to catch predatory fish, such as northern pike, that involves impaling a live fish on a fish hook and using it as bait to catch other, and much larger, fish. Live baiting for pike is a controversial subject that has divided pike anglers for many years. Some pike anglers see no problems associated with using live bait and are all for it, however there are just as many pike anglers that do have a problem with using live bait and are totally against the idea.

There are many arguments for using live bait and just as many arguments against using live bait, and it is a subject that will never be resolved. Below are the arguments for and against using live baits to catch northern pike.

Arguments for live baiting for northern pike

i)The bait fish is a species of fish that is naturally found in the pike’s habitat, and the eco system, therefore you aren’t “messing” around with Mother Nature.

ii)The bait fish is something the pike comes across on a day to day basis and it is a natural food source for them, therefore they are more inclined to take the bait fish.

iii)You only use as many bait fish as you need for the session, and not a single bait fish more, therefore there is minimum interference with nature.

iv)Keeping bait fish in a bucket is not cruel and the fish are not distressed. The bait bucket is kept in the shade so the water doesn’t get too hot, the water is regularly changed so it is fully oxygenated and, since pike anglers only take as many bait fish as is needed for the session, the bait bucket is never overfilled.

v)The live bait doesn’t feel pain when it is hooked through the lips and through the anal fin. The live bait can move about in the water and it is pain free. The live bait is totally unaware of what is happening to it.

Arguments against live baiting for northern pike

i)Impaling a live creature on a hook to catch another creature is cruel and inhumane. Tethering a live fish on a fishing line for hours on end is also cruel and inhumane.

ii)Anglers catch and take more live bait than they will ever use in the session, which means the unused bait returned to the water at the end of the day is dead.

iii)Keeping bait fish in a bucket all day is stressful for the fish and this stress could kill them. The problem is made worse when anglers put too many bait fish in the bucket and on hot days when the sun will heat the bait fish to temperatures they don’t usually experience.

iv)When anglers introduce live bait from another river there is a large chance of cross contamination and diseases. The disease could wipe out fish stocks and also affect a lot of other marine life and bid life that eats the fish. This cross contamination could really mess up the eco system.

So is live baiting good or bad?

So, now you have seen the arguments for and against live baiting for monster pike, what do you think? Do you think live baiting should be allowed or not, or are you sat firmly on the fence?


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