Bait Selection

Do Smallmouth Bass prefer live bait or do artificial lures work better?

If your sole objective is catching the most fish then live bait is always the proper method to use.  When you use a lure you are imitating a fish or a crayfish or some other creature your target is feeding on.  Live bait allows you to offer your quarry exactly what they want, not an imitation. 


Artificial lures are for those who want to catch fish in a more sporting manner.  They certainly require more proficiency to use than does live bait.  Artificial lures also are a much more humane way to fish.  When using live bait the fish often swallows the hook which often results in its death.


An option you may want to consider is using both at the same time.  One of the most versatile lures invented is the simple jig.  Jigs come is a large variety of colors and sizes.  Tipping them with live bait is a great way to fish.  Smallmouth Bass are fish that feed close to the bottom; this makes the jig an excellent choice.


I have caught Smallmouth Bass on jigs tipped with minnows, crayfish and leeches.  All work equally well when used properly.  The key is to determine what the fish are feeding on and try to match this in your presentation.  Lakes in Northern Minnesota are filled with leeches, tipping your jig with a large lively black ribbon leech hooked once just under the nose makes for an excellent presentation. When fishing a river a minnow hooked through the lips or crayfish hooked once through the tail are more appropriate choices.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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