Each month I field a question from a reader and answer it as best I can, focusing on those inquiries and responses that I believe will be of general benefit or interest. I recently received this email from Tom in Georgia, who asks: “Is live bait always a better choice than artificials?”
I just finished reading an article in a prominent fishing publication that read (and I paraphrase a bit): “Nothing will out-produce a flipping live bait..you’ll catch more and achieve the kind of gratification that only comes with enticing quality fish on live bait…” My reaction: “Huh?” While live bait can be super productive and a ball to use, it is not the best answer all or even most of the time, as the article implied. Used correctly, in certain situations artificial lures can easily account for more fish than live bait. I recall a summer evening in which a buddy and I caught three snook on jigs for every one caught by a crowd of live baiters. And in shallow backwaters, covering water with a plug is far more efficient than constantly changing “livies”. As for the “gratification” thing, does anyone really believe that it’s more fulfilling to catch a fish on a baitfish than it is to fool them with a chunk of plastic or a tuft of fur and feathers? I think not. So…while both have their place, in many situations artificial lures can be just as effective – and far more rewarding – than the real deal. Bonus: they smell better, too.