How to Choose Bait

Learn to fish more effectively by knowing the merits of natural and artificial bait.

Which is better, live bait or artificial bait?

Live bait catches fish but only if you take steps to keep it alive and cast gently so it remains on the hook. With artificial bait, you have complete control. There are advantages and disadvantages when using artificial baits and live baits. Use the bait that is more appropriate to the kind of fishing you are planning to do. The good news is that fish like both artificial lures and live bait. Watch our video for more information.

Live Bait

Live (or natural) baits are anything alive or previously alive that you use to catch fish. Some of the best live baits for freshwater fishing include worms, leeches, minnows, crayfish, crickets and grasshoppers. Good saltwater baits include sea worms, eels, crabs, shrimp, strips of squid, and cut-up pieces of fish. Live bait can be purchased, or better yet, you can go and find your own. Compare the cost of losing one worm to losing a lure, and you'll see that fishing with live bait can be less expensive than fishing with a lure. Always check your fishing regulations to make sure the bait you choose is legal for the lake you are fishing.

Artificial Bait

Artificial or imitation lures are the name given to spinners, jigs, poppers, flies, and spoons. When used, these are seen by fish as a natural food such as a minnow or mayfly. While bait fishing can be less expensive, lures can be more fun because the lure needs the angler to provide the motion. Fishing lure companies make lures in many sizes, styles, colors, and patterns. You will need to read the instructions on a lure package to learn how to use each lure.

Watch Capt. Diego Toiran and learn the differences between natural and artificial bait. Whatever you choose, just make sure you have the right type of bait for the type of fishing you want to do.

To learn more about other specific types of baits visit our sections saltwater bait and lures and freshwater bait and lures.