What Is The Difference Between Fishing Lure And Bait?

What Is The Difference Between Fishing Lure And Bait

Your main component for attracting your target fish are baits and fishing lures. These are the materials that you can store in your tackle box to attract your target fish. Apart from the looks, we’ll give you a comprehensive comparison of these two fishing elements.

Fishing lures are plastic or artificial baits for attracting fish. It comes in different sizes and colors to mimic the prey of your target. The best part about it is that you can reuse it. On the other hand, live baits can include worms and minnows that are cheaper to buy. If you don’t have the gut to hold live baits, there are some baits that you can use from your kitchen. 

It would be difficult for you to catch fish without using fishing lures, and baits unless you want to go fishing with a spear – just like in the ancient times. If you feel confused between fishing lures and bait, we’ll understand the difference between these two fishing components. What should you use? Let’s find out.

The Difference Between Fishing Lure And Bait

Which one is better to use between live bait or artificial lure? It’s a question that has been buzzing around, especially for most novice anglers. The answer is a bit more complicated, which is almost the same as choosing your option. 

Can you catch fish without baits? Some anglers prefer using fishing lures, while others are more confident that they will catch more fish species through baits. Below are several important considerations that you should take into account in deciding between fishing lures and baits.

Fishing Lure

Among the most significant advantages of fishing with artificial lures is fooling your target fish just using a piece of plastic. These artificial fishing lures such as poppers, jigs, metals, and soft baits can mimic various baitfish species that most predator fish love to eat. Like in utilizing live baits, the phrase “match the hatch” is the secret to choosing the right artificial lures. It is essential to select something with the same flash, vibration, and profile of a particular baitfish to be more effective in bringing your target fish.

Artificial baits are perfect if fish species are feeding aggressively. These fishing lures also offer better angler controls in presentations to elicit strikes while creating them look livelier and more attractive than baits. Furthermore, artificial lures will permit you to adjust the selection to accommodate to the color of their water, temperature, and presentation. Let’s have a deeper understanding of the differences between fishing lures and bait.

Cost Of Fishing Lure 

Most fishing lures have a greater up-front cost of a cast net. However, a good quality one can last for many decades. Thus, you can be certain that you won’t have to replace it any time soon. You will even have ripped soft plastic baits by junk fish and other reasons, which will cause you to change out your artificial lures. This situation will cost you twice when using live baits.

The Size of Target Fish

Artificial fishing baits are excellent for catching all kinds of fish, both large and small sizes. Most inshore anglers would agree that artificial lures will also be your other best choice in catching redfish. However, if your goal is to land on the largest fish of the day, the fishing lure may not be the best option.

Quantity of Target Fish

An angler who uses artificial lures can begin immediately without searching for live baits or even making sure the live bait is working nicely underneath the water. It means that you can start fishing right away.


Fishing lures are more suitable to use and not too messy to cast. However, you need to make sure there is sufficient space in your tackle box to store your artificial lures. You may simplify it by carrying out a tiny soft tackle box that could fit all, even in a small location. Some thin plastic lures can get messy once their juices spill but not as dirty as live baits.

Skill Level of this Angler

You need to have a little skill and expertise when using synthetic baits unless you are trolling. It’s because regaining an artificial bait is the most critical part when catching a fish. A sloppy retreat will help you strike a fish, or even have them spooked.


Between live baits and artificial lures, it is all about knowing when to use each and throw away material for bringing fish. These baits may bring whatever your target fish desire from the odor, color, flavor, and representation of their prey. The primary issue when using live baits is keeping them fresh and alive.

The key to using either live baits is knowing what you ought to throw to match your target fish’s hatch. For example, if you understand what bass like to eat, you’d know what you should and ought not to throw into the water. It’s imperative to comprehend what fish are feeding at any particular time, or perhaps during the year. It’s because it switches upward as the seasons change.

Utilizing baits may require more patience, so bring a lot of endurance to work in utilizing it. If you’re a beginner, it’s best, to begin with, live baits because you will get a higher success rate even with a minimal amount of work or skill.

Cost Of Baits

Even if you stick with using a handful of baits and become an expert in casting them, you would still purchase numerous packs of hooks and baits. Live baits are more vulnerable to shedding, but you may also encounter overlooking artificial lures. Most live bait anglers require more time because it could take time to capture some of it. If you plan to use live shrimp, pinfish, ballyhoo, frozen squid – you will probably have to go to a tackle store to purchase it. Thus, you’ll be prone to spend some buckets within the next few years using those live baits.

Size of Target Fish

Live baits are far better if you want to capture lunkers, monster fish, and other world record fish species. Even when catching redfish and sharks in saltwater, or walleye and bass — live baits will give you better results. 

Quantity of Target Fish

Most live bait anglers could say they can capture both more significant and numerous fish species using live baits than artificial lures. However, it might not always be the case if you’re getting your live baits. Some days finding live baits is tough, which means you will wind up spending more time searching for bait instead.


Irrespective of the type of live bait and the quantity you’re likely to use, more often, they’re messier to use than artificial lures. Additionally, they are harder to store because you have to make sure of their freshness.

Skill Level of the Angler

Anyone, regardless of the angler’s skill level, can use live baits. It means that even a complete beginner can easily learn how to drop a live bait, squid, or shrimp down the water. You can perform perfectly well with live baits if you can flip a bond, reel, and throw.

When to Use Fishing Lures?

Let us check out some situations that make fishing lures a better option over baits.

  • Artificial lures are often suitable for fishing for clear water under hot conditions.
  • Use artificial lures to target attacking and predatory species of fish.
  • It is suitable for advanced to professional anglers and those who are into big game fishing.

When to Use Baits?

If you are fishing with live baits, then here would be the following fishing conditions to use them to get the best outcomes.

  • Use live baits at nighttime.
  • You use live baits when you’re teaching kids or novice anglers.
  • It is also helpful to use live baits once the entire body of water is muddy and stained.
  • Live baits are best for ice fishing, or when fishing in arctic weather.
  • Live baits are appropriate if you’re targeting vegetarian and omnivorous fish species.

Frequently Asked Questions

Regardless of what you want to use between fishing lures and baits, always remember that it is a personal preference. Some anglers prefer a specific type because they believe that it is the best option for their target fish. Hence, you must understand the behavior of the species that you want to catch. What is it that they want to eat? Then, find bait or lure that is almost similar to its structure.

What is the best type of bait for fishing?

Live or natural baits are one of the best types to lure your target fish. You can use baits like leeches, crayfish, minnows, crickets, grasshoppers, and worms for freshwater fishing. On the other hand, sea worms, eels, shrimp, squid, and cut-up pieces of fish are suitable for saltwater fishing.

Do you need bait to fish?

If you don’t want to use live baits, you can catch fish without using it. You can opt for other alternatives from your kitchen and artificial lures. There are several ways to attract fish, even without the use of bait.

Is fishing with live bait cruel?

Live bait fishing may or may not be considered cruel, depending on one’s intentions and acceptable substitutes. Some say that using live bait can be cruel during catch and release fishing sport. On the other hand, some fishers believe that is is no that cruel to use live baits if you keep the fish for consumption.

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