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Use Bait Or Use A Lure: A Handy Guide To Know When To Use What!

Fishing is a centuries-old pastime that countless people enjoy! Throughout the years, it has become a great sport with many tried-and-true methods for snagging those trophy fish! You might be wondering whether it’s better to use bait or to use a lure, so here’s a handy guide to know when to use what, so you don’t have to tell the story about the one that got away!

Live Bait

Live bait is always a good option, especially when fishing for freshwater fish! It has its advantage in that using live bait is essentially tempting a fish with food that it normally eats, and has the appearance, smell, and movements of their natural food! It’s always best to obtain live bait in the local area where you plan to fish, so you don’t have to worry about keeping it alive and transporting it, making it more convenient!

You can use a variety of animals and insects for live bait, but the most popular are simple earthworms! They’re cheap, plentiful, and have proven to be effective for baiting hungry fish! Other successful bait options include grubs, crickets, maggots, frogs and tadpoles, crawfish, grasshoppers, and much more! Research ahead of time which kinds of fish are in the area and find out what they tend to eat so that you can find the most tempting bait! You can also get advice from local anglers about which methods and baits have worked best for them in the past!


Artificial lures are manufactured to bait fish by mimicking natural bait, ranging in a variety of colors, materials, and sizes! The ever-advancing technology of equipment makes lures very similar to live bait, with different advantages and disadvantages.

Lures take baiting a step further with additions such as spoons and other shiny objects used to attract attention, fur, feathers, and even pungent scents that bring fish in. There are different lures for every area of the water, from the surface, subsurface, all the way to the bottom, so you can appeal to fish no matter what! Lures are also great for the fact that they even make fishing simple for novice anglers, which is great if you’re new to the sport or trying to get kids interested in a new hobby!

Live Bait Vs. Lures

Now that you know more about the different types of bait, you are probably wondering how you know when to use live bait or lures? The answer lies in a variety of factors, but most of all it depends on what the fish decide to nibble on that day! It’s not uncommon to strike out with your tried-and-true bait method only to find that a nearby angler is snagging all the fish while you barely get a nibble! If you’re intent on catching some serious fish, perhaps bring a little of both live bait and lures and find which is best through trial and error! However, if you’re not as serious, there are some other factors to consider!


A big drawback of lures versus live bait is the cost. Lures can be pretty pricy, depending on the craftsmanship of it, and depending on what type of fish you’re trying to catch. There is also no guarantee that you won’t snag one on branches or debris and ruin it. Live bait can easily be replaced and usually isn’t too expensive, however it’s really only good for one trip. If your lures don’t sustain damage, they are reusable and can be well worth the money!


Depending on how you feel about impaling, tearing, and even touching live bait could be enough to help you decide to use a lure. Live bait can be smelly, messy, and you have to be sure to keep it alive for maximum efficiency! That’s not to say that lures can’t be smelly as well, as some attractants can be pretty unpleasant. Again, it’s a personal preference, and as long as the fish are biting, it’s the right way to go!


Generally speaking, lures make fishing a bit more challenging. With live bait, you can cast out your line and let the live bait do most of the work to attract fish, while lures need to be constantly reeled and recast for a higher-maintenance and more challenging experience. However, that is part of the thrill for a lot of anglers, so if you’d like more of an intensive experience, this could be the way to go!

Get Fishing!

We hope this handy guide to knowing when to use bait or a lure has helped you to have a successful fishing experience! There are plenty of techniques, products, and bait options available; it’s all about getting out there and finding out what works best for you, and, of course, what the fish like! Do you have any suggestions on the most effective bait and lures? Share them with us in the comments!

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