The Best Time to Use Baits & Lures
When Using Bait is Best:
- At night
- When instructing new chums or kids
- When the water is muddy or discolored
- When it’s very cold (especially while ice fishing!)
- When targeting vegetarian and omnivorous species
- When catching a meal is absolutely paramount!
The Best Features of Bait
- Bait is extremely effective at fooling most fish.
- Bait is usually cheap (free if you catch your own!).
- You can cast out a bait, set your rod down, and wait for the fish to come to you!
- Leftover bait can be returned to its natural environment or taken home and frozen for future use.
- Many fish hook themselves when they eat bait; thus, knowing exactly when to strike is less critical.
- Bait appeals to an extraordinary range of fish species in most aquatic environments, and you will nearly always catch something on bait!
The Downfalls of Using Bait
- Most bait needs refrigeration or a water-circulating live well to maintain freshness.
- Finding and catching bait can be a dirty, difficult, and even potentially hazardous task.
- Most bait smells! Your hands, clothes, and gear will also become smelly when you go bait fishing.
- Bait is non-discriminatory; it often attracts under-sized fish and non-target species.
- Bait fishing is less spontaneous, and it usually requires at least some planning.
- Using bait often results in deeply hooked fish that can’t be easily released with a high chance of survival.
When Using Lures is Best
- In most catch-and-release fisheries
- Where undersized and non-target “nuisance fish” are abundant
- In clearer water
- In warmer weather
- For aggressive, predatory fish
- On waters designated “artificial only” or “fly and lure only”
The Best Features of Lures
- Lures are simply fun to use! Catching a fish on a lure always seems especially satisfying.
- Lure fishing is an active, engaging pursuit, and you can cover a lot more water with a lure.
- Lures tend to catch slightly larger fish on average and attract less unwanted by-catch.
- Lures nearly always hook fish in the jaws, lips, or mouth, facilitating easier, safer catch and release.
- Lure collecting can become at least as addictive (and pleasurable) as lure fishing!
The Downfalls of Using Lures
- Most good lures are expensive, and some are very expensive!
- Many lures are easily snagged on obstacles such as rocks, trees, or strands of water weed.
- Lure fishing demands constant motion, such casting and retrieving or trolling from a moving boat.
- Many species of fish are much less responsive to lures than they are to bait.
- Lure fishing generally demands better-quality tackle and a higher degree of skill than bait fishing.
- Lure collecting can become at least as addictive (and expensive) as lure fishing.