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Fishing: Natural Bait vs. Artificial Lures

One of the most efficient and productive methods of sport angling is to use natural baits, or live bait.

Natural baits are effective because of their familiar texture, odor, and color, and require a relatively simple presentation.

The best way to figure out which bait to use for any game fish is to find out both what it eats and how it eats. 

The real thing is natural bait

Some fishermen prefer to use artificial baits or luresThere is no question that fooling fish with artificial lures is challenging and fun.

But when catching fish is the primary objective, there is no more dependable way than fishing with the real thing.   .

This may include shrimp, baitfish, crabs, oysters, or any number of things that fish might eat.

However, the best baits are usually those that are normally part of a game fish’s diet.

Matching Bait to Tackle First

Match the hook size to the size of the bait, the tackle that’s used (line weight, rod action, etc.), as well as the fish that are sought.

I prefer to undersize rather than oversize.

Keep It Simple

The less terminal tackle the better. Use only enough weight to get the job done.

That means use the shortest and thinnest leader possible and the smallest hooks and swivels necessary.

Let It Slide

Nothing should interfere with the angler feeling the fish take the bait.

In other words, terminal tackle should be rigged so that anytime a fish touches the bait, the angler feels it through the line.

There are times when just the opposite is true but more than not nothing should interfere what the fish feels too.

Crucial - Fishing Knots

All the important angling knot know-how you'll need to fish fresh water or salt water.

Shrimp

Shrimp – Almost all saltwater game fish feed on shrimp at one time or another, and shrimp are a staple in the diet of many of them. 


They can also be hooked underneath and just in front of the tail, which causes some baitfish to swim toward the bottom. Hooking through the nose or eyes is a better choice for areas where the bait is pulled through stronger current.

For short striking fish, such as kingfish, a second hook is attached to the first hook with a swivel and a short leader. This second hook is inserted near the anal vent. 

Baitfish

Baitfish – The many baitfish species comprise the second most popular bait for saltwater fishing.

Small baitfish are everywhere and, given the opportunity, almost every game fish will eat one. 

Given the sheer number of baitfish in salt water, the best choice will be those that are available and prevalent in the area being fished.

Hooking them through the lips or eye sockets. This allows the fish to face into any current and keeps them alive longer.

Two good ways to rig for fishing on the bottom are the same as for shrimp and other bait.

One involves a barrel or pyramid sinker that slides above a swivel to which a leader is tied with a hook at the end.

The other has the weight at the bottom and the hook and leader rides 12-to-18 inches above the weight.

This works well to keep the baitfish from getting tangled in grass, rocks or debris on the bottom.

Live bait is always preferable over dead, but sometimes chumming can make the difference if live bait isn’t available.

But as long as they are fresh, they can be cut or ground up into small pieces and tossed into the water.

The scent will often create a feeding frenzy where the game fish will readily take a whole dead baitfish.

Rigging Techniques

Rigging Techniques. The same basics apply to fishing with baitfish as shrimp or any other bait.

Most live minnows are fished in one of three ways.

They are fished under a float, freelined or fished on the bottom with a weight.

Cut bait, oysters, squid, and similar baits are offered up the same way. Their appeal is provided by scent not sight.

Other baits such as fiddler and blue crabs are hooked through one corner of their shells. Sometimes the claws are removed

Crabs can be effectively fished under floats or freelined through passes and inlets for tarpon and redfish.

In all cases, the hook size and weight is important to the natural appearance of the bait. 

When fishing them under a float, they can be hooked through the back just in front of or behind the dorsal fin.

They can also be hooked underneath and just in front of the tail, which causes some baitfish to swim toward the bottom.

Hooking through the nose or eyes is a better choice for areas where the bait is pulled through stronger current.

For short striking fish, such as kingfish, a second hook is attached to the first hook with a swivel and a short leader. This second hook is inserted near the anal vent.