Many comics have been made depicting a fisherman losing his sanity deciding whether to fish or cut bait. The real poser for most anglers, however is much more complicated and nuanced- do you go out after the big fish with live bait or artificial lures?

Live Bait or Artificial Lures?

Bait Charleston, SC Wahoo

The answer? It depends. The water conditions, the time of day, the species of fish, and the time of year will all come into play when choosing whether to use live or fake bait to get the most hits and catch the most fish. Live baits have the advantage of being the fish’s natural food. Nearly every fish will hit on live bait, under most conditions. However, in the same way humans get tired of eating a single type of food all the time, fish get tired of being offered the same old thing all the time, too. Artificial lures offer the angler both the challenge of knowing how to work the bait to entice the fish, and the opportunity to offer a curious fish something new to take a bite out of.

Artificial Lures

Artificial lures have three main characteristics: Color, action, and diving. Color and action are what catch the fishes’ eye in the first place. The more closely an artificial lure resembles natural food, the more likely the fish are to bite. If the lure doesn’t dive to the proper depth, however, it never gets in front of the hungry fish. Both color and action and diving are important.

Live Bait

When choosing live baits, look for freshness, pungency, and appropriateness to the fish you’re going out after. Classics like mullet or squid will usually produce good hits. Your captain and the crew aboard the Wahoo will be able to recommend the most effective baits and lures, and give you tips on working the bait for the best catches of your trip.