Planning a fishing expedition? That's great, but you're going to need a lot more than a fishing license before you load up the truck and head for the water.
One of the most critical decisions you'll have to make is deciding whether or not you're going go bait fishing or lure fishing.
A few people have a preference that they never once waver from, but for others, deciding between a lure or bait depends on factors like what kind of fish they want to catch and what time of year they're going fishing.
Keep reading to find out more about the differences between lure fishing and bait fishing.
Types of Natural Bait
Worms are one of the most popular natural baits, used by novices and experts alike. They work well for most kinds of freshwater fresh.
They're also quite easy to procure, as all you need to do is grab a bucket, find some damp soil, and start digging. You should strike worm gold before too long.
It's a dirty business, but it's an effective one.
Minnows are another common bait. The handy thing about minnows is that they're a regular meal for the average freshwater fish. When freshwater fish see a minnow in the water, they have no reason to suspect anything is amiss.
Make sure to store your minnow bait in a container with abundant cool water. A floating bait bucket is the ideal mode of storage.
You should also remember that minnows are like riders on a New York City subway: They don't like to be crowded.
Insects, crayfish, and even eels are other types of natural bait. If you're looking to catch some striped bass in summer, then eels are a particularly effective way to do that.
Natural Bait Access
Without realizing it, the decision on what kind of bait to use may have already been made for you.
That's because access to natural bait is far from a guaranteed thing. It's simple enough to walk into a sporting goods store and check out their selection of fishing lure bait, but finding natural bait isn't always that simple.
Minnows are a common type of live bait, but bait shops can't sell them if the supply isn't there. The demand might be, but "whitebait" can be tricky to find during certain times of the year, especially in the summer.
Aquatic nuisance species laws can also be a hindrance. For instance, live minnows are forbidden on Colorado's western slope.
There are purists who would scarcely dream of buying live bait. No, they'll only fish with bait that they can go out and catch themselves.
That's a valid option, but it's not always a quick one. Digging for worms is probably the simplest method, but if worms won't work for you, then an artificial lure is going to be your best bet.
Lure Fishing Options
There are a fair amount of choices for natural fish bait, but the selection is nothing compared to artificial fishing lures.
The selection is so vast that walking into the bait aisle of a sporting goods store can feel disconcerting. And you won't just need one, either.
In fact, seeing a trained fisherman with one artificial lure is about as likely as seeing a professional golfer with just one club in his bag. You need a variety of lures in the tackle box to attract a variety of fish.
Artificial lures will typically be grouped into one of seven categories: crankbaits, plugs, poppers, spoons, jigs, spinners, and flies.
You can tell the people behind naming lures had fun doing so. There are names like whirlybirds, Dakota spinners, and walleye candy.
For as much fun as they are to say, they're even more fun to use.
Fake Bait That Looks Real
When you and I look at the artificial fishing bait, we might think something like "That looks awfully real."
Here's the thing, though: A quality lure does more than just look real. We've reached the point where the companies that manufacture artificial lures have gotten really good at making sure their products also smell and taste like the real thing.
Beginning fishers may wonder why that matters since it's not like fish are going to be taking a survey after the fact that asks them to rate a bait's flavor.
It matters because a fish that bites down on something that feels like authentic food, it's more likely to hang on. That can be critical to ensuring that a nibble turns into a catch.
While some fish are going to be pickier than others, it helps to cast a line with something that doesn't look like an obvious decoy.
What Kind of Experience You Want
It's easy to get bogged down poring through aisle after aisle of fishing lure. If that happens, ask yourself what you're hoping to get out of fishing.
For many spin fishers, the answer is "A lot of fish." That's a reasonable goal.
Fly fishing, however, provides a different experience. In fact, fly fishers often say that it's more about the journey than the end result. The sport of fly fishing requires a deft touch and plentiful practice.
In any case, you can pick the perfect set of lures and still end up coming home empty-handed. There are going to be some days when conditions aren't good and you have to try again tomorrow or next week.
Consult With the Experts
At Hennings Tackle, LLC, we offer a complete line of snells and spinners for all types of fishing. Come see us before your next fishing expedition.
We love lure fishing, and our team of experts would be happy to talk to you about your fishing goals, then help you meet those goals.
Send us a line today. Unlike the fish, we can promise that we'll bite.
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