Live bait or artificial lures?

By Don Ingram  
   Which is considered better, live bait or artificial lures?
   Both presentations have their place in an angler’s arsenal.
   I usually let the surface temperature of a body of water dictate whether I use live bait or artificial lures.
   When the water temperature is above 55 degrees, fish are relatively active and still willing to exert energy to catch their prey. Artificial lures will produce more bites during this period than live bait because an angler can cover more water and have the opportunity to come in contact with active fish.
   When the surface temperature drops below 50 degrees, some fish will start moving to the deep, vertical banks where they intend to spend the winter. Fish that hold on bluff banks simply suspend and move up or down to feed. They use the vertical bank and position where they can ambush prey with the least amount of energy. Others move out on main flats and position in 15 to 25 feet of water. Because of the colder water temperature, fish require less food and may only have to feed once every two or three days.
   The right presentation is critical in cold water because of the slower metabolism of the fish.
   When the surface temperature is below 50 degrees and fish are inactive, live bait generally works the best because the bait stays in the strike zone for a longer period of time. The best types of live bait to use in the winter are fan tail minnows, creek chubs and crawfish.
   I use a 6’0 Shimano, NRX, spinning rod and Shimano spinning reel rigged with 6 to 8 pound P-Line Floro Clear Line.
   When fish are inactive, anglers using artificial lures cannot slow the presentation enough to entice a strike and usually fish through a productive area without a bite.
   The most important factor to consider while fishing in the winter is water temperature. Water temperature will help dictate the nature of the fish, whether they are aggressive or inactive.

   Don Ingram publishes an outdoor article titled “Outdoors with Don Ingram” that is printed in various publications throughout Kentucky. He is a two-time All-American qualifier. Don has been very successful competing in tournaments in Kentucky and Tennessee. He has appeared on numerous outdoor television programs like, “Kentucky Afield,” Walmart’s “Great Outdoors,” and “Outdoors with Dave Shuffett,” aired on the Outdoor Life Network and the Outdoor Channel. Don is a Pro Staffer for the following companies: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Shimano G-Loomis Rods, Bandit Bait Company, Prowler Soft Plastics, Mustad, Optima Batteries, Lunker Lure, and P-Line.

Leave a Reply