The Basics: Natural Bait Versus Lures

When you’re new to fishing, it pays to choose the easiest method of catching fish. But after those first few trips out onto the water, once you’re ready to get serious about fishing, you may find that the range of bait options can be almost overwhelming. Choosing live bait or natural bait is hard enough. But start browsing lures and you’ll suddenly realize just how many bait options are out there. The good news is that the question of natural bait versus fishing lures is largely one of preference. Great anglers have caught multitudes of fish with both, and everyone has their favorites. For anyone on the fence, we’ve laid out the basics of natural bait and lures to help you choose.


No matter why you shy away from live bait, you’re in luck because lures often work better. Why? Because in addition to all-inclusive lures that are pretty good for catching almost anything, there is an almost infinite number of lures designed to mimic the exact foodstuffs of your target fish. There is also plenty of variation among lures, from different colors designed to be more attractive to certain species to rigged combo lures and two-part lures that give you more flexibility.

The big benefit of lures over live bait is you can always get what you’re looking for and you can, to some degree, experiment. A worm is a worm, but lures come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and types. Choose lures based on the conditions you’re fishing, the fish you want to hook, and the natural baitfish in the area if you’re just starting out. But if you’ve tried going natural and you aren’t getting the bites you think you ought to be getting, play around with different lure sizes, weights, colors, and configurations to see what works.

Natural Bait

Fish and foodstuffs, on the other hand, are the tried and true fishing baits that anglers have relied on for thousands of years. From the classic worm on a hook to live baitfish to chunks of whatever you have handy, natural bait is a big hit with fish for obvious reasons. It’s also a big hit with hobby anglers who like digging up worms, grubs, and nightcrawlers from their very own yards or just fishing with whatever they can find in the pantry.

When it comes to live bait that’s going to be swimming on the hook, choose active, lively bait that will move around enough to attract hungry predator fish and to inspire aggressive strikes. Remember to change your bait frequently because a tired killifish, for instance, isn’t going to look as tasty, and don’t forget that your bait should always be similar in type and size to the indigenous bait fish where you’re fishing.

Whatever bait you choose, have fun fishing!