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Do you consider "live" bait cheating?

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I definitely wouldn't call it cheating. I jus prefer usin artificial cause it's more fun.

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I tend to look at things from a "Is it helping the sport or hurting it?" perspective. I've seen an awful lot of fish get hooked deep in their throats with live bait so I don't like to use it unless I plan to keep some fish. I realize there are circle hooks which, if used properly, minimize this risk but there are, evidently, a lot of "regular" hooks being sold so obviously not everyone is using them. So, while it's not "cheating", IMHO it can harm the fishery and one reason why I don't use live bait. Also, it's just not as much fun for me.

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the fish that get hooked deep are usually from the inexperienced anglers who don't know how to recognize a bite like someone who fishes more often would. It would be the same thing with plastics. When I'm fishing with my girlfriend, (which is rare lol) she doesn't know she has a fish, ever, till she starts reeling in and it's heavy. Results in a gut hook, because the hook was never set like it should have been.

I only use live bait for panfish, and with those lil suckers there's no mistaking a hit especially if you're using an ul rig.

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I don't prefer to use live bait. But I don't feel that it is cheating. I still have not caught a bigger bass on artificial bait than I did on live bait.

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consider the following list:

chemically sharpened hooks, attractants, electronics, high modulus graphite rods, high speed multi-bearing reels, weedless trolling motor props, super fast outboard motors, high strength minimal diameter superlines, invisible flourocarbons, polarized sunglasses.

do you consider any or all of these to be cheating?

if not, then live bait is definitely not cheating.

X2

x3.  Very well said.

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Is live bait cheating? Only if i got it and you don't.  :)

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I definitely wouldn't call it cheating. I jus prefer usin artificial cause it's more fun.

I think you meant that buying artificial bait is more fun?? The last time I bought minnows, it took all of two minutes and I didn't get to look at them first.  :'(

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I tend to look at things from a "Is it helping the sport or hurting it?" perspective. I've seen an awful lot of fish get hooked deep in their throats with live bait so I don't like to use it unless I plan to keep some fish. I realize there are circle hooks which, if used properly, minimize this risk but there are, evidently, a lot of "regular" hooks being sold so obviously not everyone is using them. So, while it's not "cheating", IMHO it can harm the fishery and one reason why I don't use live bait. Also, it's just not as much fun for me.

A decent (or better) angler will gut hook more fish with a senko than they will with live bait.

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Nope. WHat is the difference using live bait when KVD even admited he uses a underwater device that emulates largemouths attacking baitfish. Using all of those devices including fish finders, underwater cameras, lure attractants is no different than using live bait. I guess all of the pros are guilty of cheating then aren't they as well a most bass fisherman. As far as being more dangerous than artificial a lot of fisheries have reported problems with intestinal viruses and disease and deaths in fish that have engulfed plastics. Bassin did a couple articals on this.

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Cheating? No. Just one of the ways to catch fish.

I only use artificials for bass, but I use redworms and bee moths (wax worms to many of you non-Hoosiers) when I am panfishing with ultralight gear.

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consider the following list:

chemically sharpened hooks, attractants, electronics, high modulus graphite rods, high speed multi-bearing reels, weedless trolling motor props, super fast outboard motors, high strength minimal diameter superlines, invisible flourocarbons, polarized sunglasses.

do you consider any or all of these to be cheating?

if not, then live bait is definitely not cheating.

I 'get' what you're saying here but the fish are not eating anything on this list. The fish do not have to decide whether or not to bite a high speed outboard motor. The stuff on that list may help you locate fish and do it faster but once you settle in to try to catch 'em, live bait is a huge advantage. It's what they eat, day in, day out.

The debate isn't about equipment or gear. It's about live bait and how people view live bait catches.

In a controlled setting, a live minnow, shad, shiner, etc....will outfish any artificial bait by a long shot, thats no secret.

I guess the real question behind all this is whether the catch of 10 lb bass is diminished if it were caught using live bait, not an artificial bait.

All this being said, my PB largemouth was caught on a live bluegill. I fished for that bass 2 straight days with artificials. On the 3rd day I came back and hooked up a bluegill. Pretty much as soon as the bluegill hit the water, that bass was stripping line off my reel. Coincidence? I think not.

After 2 days of throwing artificial baits I quickly found out (in about 20 seconds) what the live bait advantage was.

Do I feel like I cheated? Yes, but I still recognize that fish as my personal best. Should I feel guilty about that? Maybe.

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i'll readlily admit that in some situations, live bait is by far your best option.  i'll also say that in other situations, if you're trying to fish live bait, you ain't even in the game.  the trick is knowing when to use what.  i've known plenty of situations where guys using live bait got outfished by guys using artificials.  i've also seen the opposite.  fishing as a sport has progressed so far that pretty much everything is "cheating" in the sense that we have a bigger advantage over these fish these days than we ever have in the history of the sport.  and yet sometimes the fish still win. ;D 

if folks want to fish artificial baits out of some twisted and misguided sense of "fairness", so be it.  i know better.  maybe if these folks really wanted to be fair, they should struggle with a bucket of live minnows when their buddy standing right beside them is slaying them on artificials.  but i guarantee that's a sight you will never see.  you will never hear a guy say to his buddy who's setting the hook on every other cast, "hey, you are catching way too many fish on those senkos.  that's cheating!   so i'm gonna use live minnows just to be fair to the fish." 

truth be told, the majority of the time i use artificials myself.  but whatever i'm fishing, i don't entertain any delusions that i am on a level playing field wth the fish.  perhaps i've missed something, but when i put a bait in the water, be it live or artificial, my goal is to catch a fish - preferably a big one.  that's it and that's all.  and i'll do what it takes within the limits of the law to produce if i'm serious about it.  i do not fish to be fair.  i do not fish to give the fish a break or cut them some slack.  i do not fish to even the odds.  i fish to catch fish.  but hey, that's just me. 

and i still get my butt kicked plenty of times. ;D

fish however you wanna within legal limits.  imo, regardless of how you fish, if it's for any other reason than personal satisfaction you've missed the boat anyway.

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It's not cheating, but it's also not for me. To me, part of the enjoyment of fishing is the challenge of getting the fish to bite an artificial lure. For those that want to use live bait I say knock yourself out and have a good time.

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To me live bait fishing is cheating, to others it is considered fishing. Technique and strategy is involved with artificial. My home lake of Dale Hollow I wish people would take a step forward and make live bait fishing illegal (lot of fisherman would agree with me too). The big problem some business owners think it would cause an dramatic effect on tourism. I've got news to them, it won't. The lake is nortorious for big Smallmouth and fisherman will stop using live bait and start using artificial. Downside, guides will have to start learning how to catch fish using artificial, insteat of relying on ol' realiable shiners which bring in the fish. 8-)

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This past weekend we were at a couple of ponds, my son who is 23 months old and his mom were fishing with me. They were not having any luck fishing with artificials so they were getting upset and bored. To keep them interested in fishing I tied on a bopper and some minnows and they caught some little bass, point is I used live bait to keep them entertained and to enjoy fishing. When he gets older and my wife get more knowledge on the tecniques on how to fish plastics and such I'll most likely continue using live bait. For me it'll always be artificial for the challenge and the sport.

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It's definitely nit cheating unless for some reason something you are doing is against the fish and game laws. That said, I am primarly a tournament fisherman trying to get better so most of my fishing is pre-fishing for a tournament or the actual tournament so I don't do it because it doesn't help me get better. If I have my wife or grand-kids on the boat (and I don't mean this sarcastically) I might pop for some shiners because I do think it can help the less experienced catch some fish when they might not otherwise do so. I know that there can be some pretty sophisticated shiner set-ups so there is no doubt some advanced techniques there in those set-ups and rigging

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Is it cheating to use the gutter-bumpers when you're bowling?

To me bass fishing with live bait is the same thing: you bowl a strike every time.

Technically not cheating, but its really for kids.  ;):D

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There are only two times when using live bait could be considered cheating. Either when your state's fishing regulation prohibit it, or when you are entered into a tournament that does not allow it.

Rhino says he'll do a little instigating? I'll push it a little further.

Instead of anyone worrying about be labeled a cheater, a worse title would be "Elitist".

When any angler looks down from their supposedly exalted throne upon another person, who is legally enjoying the sport, the word fits. When they think that their style of fishing, the price/speed of their boat, the price or type of their fishing rods, their selection of tackle or bait, or even whether they ever (gasp!) keep a few bass for the grill...... The word is Elitist.

As fisherman, we are better off accepting all of the various ways people enjoy our sport. For if we try to mold everyone to be exactly like us, we will only kill off this mutual obsession. You need only to look at Michigan's trout regulations to see what happens when a bunch of special interest groups all try to get "their way".

Now let's all talk about pushing for no wake times on all lakes!

This is the best post on this topic.

Well done, sir.

As far as I'm concerned, cheating would be using explosives.

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Is it cheating to use the gutter-bumpers when you're bowling?

To me bass fishing with live bait is the same thing: you bowl a strike every time.

Technically not cheating, but its really for kids.  ;)  :D   

haha I like the way you think

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There are only two times when using live bait could be considered cheating. Either when your state's fishing regulation prohibit it, or when you are entered into a tournament that does not allow it.

Rhino says he'll do a little instigating? I'll push it a little further.

Instead of anyone worrying about be labeled a cheater, a worse title would be "Elitist".

When any angler looks down from their supposedly exalted throne upon another person, who is legally enjoying the sport, the word fits. When they think that their style of fishing, the price/speed of their boat, the price or type of their fishing rods, their selection of tackle or bait, or even whether they ever (gasp!) keep a few bass for the grill...... The word is Elitist.

As fisherman, we are better off accepting all of the various ways people enjoy our sport. For if we try to mold everyone to be exactly like us, we will only kill off this mutual obsession. You need only to look at Michigan's trout regulations to see what happens when a bunch of special interest groups all try to get "their way".

Now let's all talk about pushing for no wake times on all lakes!

Elitist? Not so sure about that. More like sick of pulling rusty baitholders out of the gullets of the fish I catch and having to wade through piles of bait containers to get to the river. Hearing stories about invasive species and disease being spread, courtesy of some bait bucket, is pretty scary too.

Of course not all bait fisherman are like that, but around my neck of the woods, the vast majority of them are.

Wouldn't mind seeing live bait being  illegal, at least on my body of water. That way no one could call me an "elitist" when I "look down at it."

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The use of legal live bait for bass fishing isn't cheating.

The question is; does live bait give a skilled bass angler an unfair advantage? The answer is yes & no.

Bass are very easy to catch using specific live bait during some seasonal periods and little to no advantage during other times.

I stopped using live crawdads, mud suckers, large shiners and water dogs (tiger salamanders) during the pre-spawn and spawning periods about 35 years ago.

The reason was using live bait, in the small high pressured bass lakes, were over harvested as a direct result of live bait fishing during the pre-spawn and spawning time period. It's hard to over harvest larger bodies of water and once the bass get spread out into their summer locations, over harvesting is less of an issue.

Live bait fishing becomes a personal choice, it's not an issue of right, wrong or cheating, unless you are tournament fishing.

WRB

Thought I would bump my original response to this topic.

My personal choice not to continue using live bait for bass fishing has handicapped my efforts to catch a 20+ lb bass. There shouldn't be any debate over the fact that big bass are wary bass and have grown big because they have survived. The only time of the year these rare giants are caught consistently is during the spawn/pre-spwn period. A live, egg eating, bait cast onto a bass bed, will be killed without hesitation by a nearby big bass. The question is will the big girl get to the live bait before the smaller male.

Live bait fishing is legal, using legal bait. The question is; is bed fishing using live bait ethical? The answer to that question depends on the angler.

WRB

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I love the guys that say it's cheating... as they're reading their electronics, and are out with maps of the lake, using EVERY other available advantage there is, which in turn takes the skill out of it... but live bait is cheating lol... give me a break. 

you're throwing baits that companies spent top dollar perfecting to make it easier to catch fish.  Different colors, scents, expensive poles, etc.   I look at the bait as nothing more than another tool in the arsenal.    It's VERY possible for 2 people to be fishing side by side, and have someone with artificials outfish the person with live, just like it could go the other way around. 

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