Deciding what to put on the end of your line in a never-ending challenge for anglers. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect lure for your body of water, someone else catches all the fish on an entirely different tackle.
When selecting tackle, one of the first decisions you have to make is whether to use artificial lures or live bait. Both have their advantages and drawbacks, so let’s take a closer look to see which ones you should be using.
Artificial lures are manufactured (or home-made) pieces designed to replicate a wide variety of prey. Take one trip to a bait shop and you’ll notice the seemingly endless variety of lures available, covering every portion of the water, from the deepest depth to the surface. You can find lures that replicate minnows, frogs, large fish, and more, but many have almost no resemblance to prey whatsoever. Spinner baits are a perfect example. They’re basically v-shaped wires with a spinning blade on one end and a skirt and hook on the other. They don’t look like a fish, but they are one of the most effective artificial lures available.
The biggest advantage to artificial lures is the increased action. In general, they produce more noise, more flash, and more vibrations. They are also very versatile and come in varieties that allow you to cover every cubic foot of water. While they can be expensive at first, they can be reused over and over again. You can easily spend $15 on a single lure, but if you manage to keep it from snags, you’ll get your money’s worth.
Live bait is anything that is (or recently was) alive. Nightcrawlers and other worms are the universal choice for many anglers, as you can catch just about any freshwater fish with these animals. Basically, if a fish eats it in the wild, you can put it on a hook and use it as live bait, including minnows, frogs, salamanders, flies, grasshoppers, crabs, shrimp, bluegills, and leeches. Many bait shops have a ready supply of nightcrawlers and wax worms, as well as fully-stocked minnow tanks.
Live bait is incredibly effective because you are presenting the fish with something they actually eat. It has the same smell, motion, and appearance as their natural food, so enticing a bite is usually as simple as dropping the bait and waiting. Unlike artificial lures, which have to be constantly casted and reeled, live bait is usually casted once and left alone. This makes it an especially easy way to take kids fishing. They can be messy, and it can be a hassle to purchase bait and keep it alive, but it’s a time-honored way to catch a pale full of fish.
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