Live Bait = Monster Fish


It never went away—a complete domination of artificial baits, lures, and an industry that has gone haywire, has reduced the success of fishermen. Live bait has always been and will be the best way to get action, and lots of monster fish.

In your limited time on the water, you will have to make fish take your bait, while you don’t work extra hard to fool them. It is much easier to use live bait to get inactive fish to change. Catching fish with live bait is so much easier when you can change the fish’s mood. Lures won’t change their mood as often as live bait. A fish that is inactive can be tempted by live food with scent, movement and shape that a lure can’t provide. Pulsing, throbbing, wiggling, shaking—no plastic lip can mimic what a live minnow can do, or fake how a live leech swims.

Another factor is that lures cannot provide texture and accurate mass. When a fish feeds on real live bait it grabs that bait a certain way. It closes its mouth on it. When the fish mashes the bait or compresses the live bait, juices come out when the fish feeds on it, naturally. Lures don’t do that, and rubber or plastics just don’t turn on fish like a live ‘crawler.

Taste is also a factor. And the taste of live bait cannot be copied. Fish don’t prefer the taste of most powered baits. I’ve fished with a hook and maggot and once caught seven trout.

In my tests, the one thing that is consistent with artificial jar bait is that the fish spit it out. They might grab it for some strange reason, but they then taste it and regret their decision. In my side-by-side tests in the water, missed hooklets resulted from the ejection of artificial jar baits when compared to a natural spike on a hook. I can only make the assumption that the fish are smashing and holding that yummy live grub. When they smash the artificial bait they are wondering what the heck is in their mouths.

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Live bait was huge in this country. And there was a lot of fishing tackle dedicated to catching and fishing live bait from the turn of the century through the ‘50s. The invention of plastics and moldings has created a tsunami of packaged, plastic imitations. People who believe that lures are the best way to catch fish are wrong—live bait, in my opinion, is the absolute best. If fish hold onto live bait longer, they’ll give you more time to set the hook. They usually spit out lures faster than they take them in. You don’t have to take my word for it; the fish will tell you.

Live bait tools are coming back onto the market now. And hook disgorgers are not being sold by companies as much as they used to. Now, there a few tools available through websites and in some shops for the live bait fisherman. I’ve seen a couple of tools, such as split shot pliers for cutting fine shot off the line, hook and leader tools for making your own snells and leader lengths are also available to make custom leaders for live bait fishing too.