Live Bait vs. Artificial Bait

Are fresh baits better than artificial baits when fishing in Saltwater?

There are many advantages to using both fresh baits and artificial baits when fishing in saltwater.  However, using fresh baits is considered preferable, particularly when fishing for larger game in saltwater.  The primary reason is that predatory fish (those who live in the ocean and depend on smaller fish as their source of food) can generally smell and see the difference between a fresh bait and an artificial bait.  As a result, it is best to use fresh bait whenever possible, which ultimately will yield a higher payoff.  Many fishermen firmly claim that using fresh bait greatly increases the number (and frequency) of fish they catch.  It is also more beneficial if you can fish with live bait versus dead bait.  While live bait may prove somewhat harder to come by, there are several ways you can obtain live bait, which virtually all of the expert saltwater fishermen say is preferable.  First, you can visit the bait shop near where you plan to fish.  Depending on what specifically you are looking for, these shops often employ folks who are dedicated to bringing in and selling the finest fish that will be most effective as live bait.  Second, you could try a trawling net, or simply doing some fishing off your local pier before you plan to head out to deeper waters. 

Though live bait is generally preferred, many saltwater fishermen choose to use artifical bait, which is not nearly as hard to come by or store.  In addition, there are many high quality lures available on the market that can prove almost as effective as using fresh bait. 

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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