While there are so many different fishing lures on the market, fish will take a live bait over artificial lure the majority of the time. Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of times when fishing with a lure allows you to have more success. Fishing lures do allow you to cover more water and work many different types of cover that is easier than trying to fish with live bait. However, you probably have heard companies market their product by saying that it their lure out fishes live bait. This certainly is not true the majority of the time. There are times that using a specific lure in a specific situation that will out fish live bait, but most of the time, live bait will out fish lures.
Companies use this saying in their marketing strategy because it gets fishermen's attention. The more accurate statement would be as follows: this lure will out fish live bait in certain situations. That does not exactly get you excited about a new fishing lure though, does it? Well, if live bait works so well and most fishing lure companies are trying to mimic live bait, let's talk about the different types of bait that you can use.
For fresh water fishing, some of the best baits are obviously worms and minnows. Nightcrawlers work well for bass, walleye, catfish and many types of panfish. Fathead minnows are smaller minnows and they are great baits for bass, crappie, perch and walleye. Leeches work well for bass, walleye, northern pike, rock bass and other panfish. Some baits that do not get used enough by many fishermen are chubs. A live chub will catch more big fish than nightcrawlers, leeches and fathead minnows. You may not get as many bites, but a 5 to 6 inch creek chub will catch big bass, walleye, northern pike and even big catfish.
For salt water fishing, shrimp, crabs, sand fleas, squid and a variety of cut baits will work. Shrimp is probably the most popular type of bait amongst saltwater fishermen. Some other good baits for catching larger fish are bait fish such as pinfish, ladyfish and sand perch.
You can find much more information on fishing with these baits and others on our fishing with live bait page.