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Kevin Zheng

Live vs Artificial

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I know some people think that using live bait is "cheating". Opinions on this? What are advantages of live? Of artificial? Which ones do you use & why? Which one do you think catches more fish?

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I don't think live bait is cheating, but I much prefer the challenge of catching bass on artificial baits. I haven't used live bait in years, except when pan-fish fishing. Live bait almost always out fishes artificials. 

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Chucking out a worm/minnow etc on a bobber is what most people think of when they are throwing live bait.  This is true for many but the nuances of fishing live bait are actually pretty complicated.  To be a great live bait fisherman you still need to find the fish and then present your bait in a way that will let it get eaten.  In the saltwater world live bait is the norm and not frowned upon but for some reason in freshwater it is, which i don't understand.

All that being said, I will occasionally throw live bait out or live line a sunny that i caught just to see what happens.  I will also use it in the winter time to give me a few more things to look at while i let my jerkbait/jig shakey head sit for a minute between twitches.  Funny thing is that this winter my artificials outperformed the live bait.

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15 minutes ago, Kevin Zheng said:

I know some people think that using live bait is "cheating". Opinions on this? What are advantages of live? Of artificial? Which ones do you use & why? Which one do you think catches more fish?

I think live catches more fish, but I fish
artificial more.

Though when fishing is tough, live is the
way to go, and for me that is normally
nightcrawlers.

There's nothing cheating about using live
unless it is not allowed in a particular water
or tournament.

I used to live in western NY, and lived near
the Oatka river which banned live bait
fishing - at least in the sections I lived near.

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I've been fishing for a couple of years now and I can say that not once have I used live bait. I don't have a problem with it, I just prefer the challenge of using artificial. To each their own I suppose.

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I grew up fishing live bait, and have no problem with it. I do fish with artificials almost exclusively now, except when I'm targeting species other than bass. This is for a few reasons -- artificials are less messy, you don't have to keep them as fresh, fish don't swallow the hook quite as often, and it's a little easier to target a specific species like bass (almost anything will try to eat a minnow or nightcrawler, almost all the time). I think these advantages are all minor, but they add up, and the question is, are they worth the much greater cost. Live bait is also usually more effective at getting fish to bite. On the other hand, artificials can be a lot more fun, especially topwater lures.

Bass angler's negative opinions on live bait are largely a result of influences from tournament angling, where live bait is not permitted, and the heavily-bloated tackle industry, which has a financial interest in making sure you buy 20 of their lures for your next trip instead of one pack of hooks, a bobber, some split shots, and a tub of nightcrawlers.

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Artificial to me is more "sportsmanlike" in that the angler is fishing with something that isn't food, and is responsible for imparting any movement/action on the lure to trigger a strike.  With live bait, the bait is moving/swimming on it's own, where the angler doesn't need to do anything except hold the rod, or in some cases just let the rod sit in a holder until a fish bites.  Put on a plastic hardbait or softbait, cast it out in the water, stick the rod in a rod holder and see how many bites you get.  It will probably be zero, which is why I see live bait as an easier method than artificial bait.

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Just now, blckshirt98 said:

Artificial to me is more "sportsmanlike" in that the angler is fishing with something that isn't food, and is responsible for imparting any movement/action on the lure to trigger a strike.  With live bait, the bait is moving/swimming on it's own, where the angler doesn't need to do anything except hold the rod, or in some cases just let the rod sit in a holder until a fish bites.  Put on a plastic hardbait or softbait, cast it out in the water, stick the rod in a rod holder and see how many bites you get.  It will probably be zero, which is why I see live bait as an easier method than artificial bait.

Interesting theory.

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2 minutes ago, blckshirt98 said:

Artificial to me is more "sportsmanlike" in that the angler is fishing with something that isn't food, and is responsible for imparting any movement/action on the lure to trigger a strike.  With live bait, the bait is moving/swimming on it's own, where the angler doesn't need to do anything except hold the rod, or in some cases just let the rod sit in a holder until a fish bites.  Put on a plastic hardbait or softbait, cast it out in the water, stick the rod in a rod holder and see how many bites you get.  It will probably be zero, which is why I see live bait as an easier method than artificial bait.

Ok, say next year Strike King or Berkley creates the "LiveMinnow" -- an artificial minnow bait that wiggles and swims around under a bobber just like a real live shiner. Looks just like a live one, smells just like one, acts just like one. Only not actually alive, and reusable. 

Unsportsmanlike, right?  

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If that lure did all of that, yeah, because that's basically a live shiner.  The main point of what i was saying is that the fisherman should be responsible for triggering the strike.  If you can toss out a bait or anything for that matter and stick it in a rod holder and trigger a strike, that's not fishing in the "sporting" sense.  Why not just hook a fish trap to a broomstick rod and cast that out and let it sit there for an hour then.

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11 minutes ago, blckshirt98 said:

If that lure did all of that, yeah, because that's basically a live shiner.  The main point of what i was saying is that the fisherman should be responsible for triggering the strike.  If you can toss out a bait or anything for that matter and stick it in a rod holder and trigger a strike, that's not fishing in the "sporting" sense.  Why not just hook a fish trap to a broomstick rod and cast that out and let it sit there for an hour then.

Gotcha. LiveMinnow is out. Good to know. How about:

1. deadsticking a worm:  Cast, let fall, let sit. The fish strikes while it's sitting there after a moment.

2. A jig that gets struck immediately on the fall. The fish attacks before the angler gets a chance to move it at all.

3. A popper or spook, the bass strikes after it hits the water, while the angler is waiting for the ripples to die, again, before moving it.

Were these three fish caught in a sportsmanlike way?

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With all 3 of your examples you're relying on the fish to bite immediately on a pause by the fisherman between imparting action on the lure.  With the senko if it doesn't get hit on the fall the fisherman needs to manipulate the bait again to trigger a strike.  With the jig if it doesn't get hit on the fall and it hits the bottom the fisherman needs to manipulate the bait to trigger a strike.  With the popper or spook if it doesn't get hit on the pause the fisherman needs to manipulate the bait again to trigger a strike.  With live bait if it doesn't get hit on the initial fall or pause the fisherman doesn't have to do anything to trigger another strike.  He can take a nap for an hour and it can still trigger a strike.

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There are times when Live bait catches more fish and there are times it does not . I prefer not to fool with keeping bait alive . If live bait is put where a bass isnt then bass wont be caught . Artificial s are faster and cover unproductive  water quicker . How would one cover an expansive flat for example , if one is waiting ona fish to bite minnow . 

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Have you ever tried dead sticking a lure? No action it just sits there drifting on top, suspended or laying on the bottom and bass will eat it. Lures look alive to a fish if they appear alive. The odd truth is bass rarely eat dead bait, crawdads, minnows, frogs etc that were alive and died unless they are rigged to have some movement by the angler.

This debate rages on over several decades on how sporting live bait fishing is. Bass tournaments are about the only venue that prohibits live bait use, however there are a few that do allow live bait.

I draw the line using live bait during any phase of the spawn because our small trophy bass lakes get too much fishing pressure during this time period, however it's a legal practice that is wide spread.  If it's legal live bait fishing for bass doesn't bother me one way or the other, there was a time when it did based on my own success using it.

Tom

 

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I don't use live bait typically for bass because I can't make it do what I want. However, in the winter on a local lake I LOVE freelining live blueback herring for largemouth and stripers from my kayak. A lot of effort goes into catching the herring and keeping them alive but it is worth it. 

I will throw a swimbait in the early morning and late evening but once the sun gets up and the bass can see pretty well, they won't touch it. Free line a herring anywhere near them and you'll crush them. It puts into perspective how many fish you are truly dealing with in one area and I have learned a lot about how they set up on structure and current breaks by doing it. I have seen largemouth schooling on the surface in 48 degree water in January. That tells you how much they like those darn herring.

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Catching fish is catching fish. The way you do it is up to you. There is no wrong or right. I prefer using artificials myself. When I started salt water fishing all I used was live or cut bait. Now I use only lures whether it's fishing for specks n reds, snapper and grouper or yellow fin tunas. I have always used lures for bass fishing though. I enjoy the challenge and I'll stick to it even if everyone is getting bit on live/cut bait. Now, white perch is a different story.......! 

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If people want to use live bait let them,as long as it's legal in their area.If using live bait was so easy everyone would have +10 pounders as their personal best(in areas where bass get this big).Live bait fishing is an art in itself and takes years to learn well and there are many times lures outfish livebait, at least in the spots I fish. I have caught more big bass and more numbers of bass on artificials than I have on livebait.

 

With that said, I have been strictly fishing artificial lures for largemouth bass for almost a year now.I do this because I find it easier to fish with lures. I don't have to worry about catching bait,keeping it alive,and playing the stationary waiting game that one has to do with live bait.I enjoy walking long distances when bass fishing, and it's easier to fish this way with lures. 

 

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9 hours ago, flyfisher said:

Chucking out a worm/minnow etc on a bobber is what most people think of when they are throwing live bait.  This is true for many but the nuances of fishing live bait are actually pretty complicated.  To be a great live bait fisherman you still need to find the fish and then present your bait in a way that will let it get eaten.  In the saltwater world live bait is the norm and not frowned upon but for some reason in freshwater it is, which i don't understand.

All that being said, I will occasionally throw live bait out or live line a sunny that i caught just to see what happens.  I will also use it in the winter time to give me a few more things to look at while i let my jerkbait/jig shakey head sit for a minute between twitches.  Funny thing is that this winter my artificials outperformed the live bait.

Catch anything with the sunfish you throw back out? Ever tried throwing bluegill out?

9 hours ago, Darren. said:

I think live catches more fish, but I fish
artificial more.

Though when fishing is tough, live is the
way to go, and for me that is normally
nightcrawlers.

There's nothing cheating about using live
unless it is not allowed in a particular water
or tournament.

I used to live in western NY, and lived near
the Oatka river which banned live bait
fishing - at least in the sections I lived near.

Nice, night crawlers keep getting me small fish though! ? Want to try crawfish or something of that sort.. 

9 hours ago, Nathan Burton said:

I've been fishing for a couple of years now and I can say that not once have I used live bait. I don't have a problem with it, I just prefer the challenge of using artificial. To each their own I suppose.

"Challenge" do you find it easier using live bait? 

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9 minutes ago, Kevin Zheng said:

Catch anything with the sunfish you throw back out? Ever tried throwing bluegill out?

Nice, night crawlers keep getting me small fish though! ? Want to try crawfish or something of that sort.. 

"Challenge" do you find it easier using live bait? 

Absolutely. I would have to say it is much easier to catch fish using live bait. People who fish near me using live bait usually catch more fish with  fraction of the effort. 

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7 hours ago, blckshirt98 said:

Artificial to me is more "sportsmanlike" in that the angler is fishing with something that isn't food, and is responsible for imparting any movement/action on the lure to trigger a strike.  With live bait, the bait is moving/swimming on it's own, where the angler doesn't need to do anything except hold the rod, or in some cases just let the rod sit in a holder until a fish bites.  Put on a plastic hardbait or softbait, cast it out in the water, stick the rod in a rod holder and see how many bites you get.  It will probably be zero, which is why I see live bait as an easier method than artificial bait.

What kind of live bait are you implying here? I typically hook my worms all the way through the hook, doubt they could move. ? I guess that's my mistake.

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I fish live bait, go ahead and judge. Personal favorite is free lining gizzard shad during the winter months. I'm mainly targeting hybrids, but I don't get disappointed when a nice largemouth latches on.

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I can catch more fish on lures most day because I can cover more water and fish places live bait can't go. Some days, they just aren't eating anything but the real thing though. Is it more sporting? I don't think so. Fish I catch on live bait are usually in an inactive to neutral mood. I've watched them instead a bait for 10 minutes or more in clear, cold water, and all that just to swim off without biting. 

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I find live bait always outperforms artificials, I go out in a Jon boat and troll love minnows in my lake and by the end of the day I will have a solid 30 fish caught (within a span of about 5 hours). After all, lures are meant to mimic real fish. 

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I fish for fun, and some of my fun comes from finding the right presentation and "tricking" the fish into biting a lure, instead of actual food. Ice fishing I use pretty much only live bait though. 

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I've always enjoyed using lures instead of live bait when fishing for bass for 2 reasons.  First, it is a more active approach (I get bored real quickly) and second, I enjoy making accurate casts to targets.  I don't have any fun lobbing live bait in the vicinity of a target, which is probably why I rarely fish a Carolina rig and only use a dropshot when other plastic presentations aren't working.  When I make an accurate cast, skip or pitch exactly to a tough to reach target and am rewarded with a strike, it is as if all is right in the world.

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Growing up we only used live bait.  Mostly shiners and nightcrawlers either on the bottom or under a bobber.  Artificial baits are a lot less hassle.  You don't need to keep them cool in the heat of the summer, and worry about them dying on you.

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