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Keith_MN

Artificial vs Live Bait

39 posts in this topic

In another post someone suggested that live bait should be banned. I didn't want to hijack that post so I decided to start another one.

Let me start by saying that I am a convert to artificial baits : buzzbaits, tubes, senkos, etc. I now do 95+% of my river fishing with artificail baits. With that said I ask this question, "What do people have against using a worm or a leech to catch a bass?"

I cut my teeth learning to fish the river with live bait. Half the fun of using live bait on the river is the fact that you never know what is going to bite your line. To catch 6 or more species of fish in a day is common.

When I use live bait I am using a small # 2 or # 4 hook. I almost always pinch the barbs on my hooks (if you don't beleive me ask anybody who has fished with me). I set the hook immediately when I feel a fish. And so the vast majority of the time the fish is hooked in the side of the mouth. And most importantly to me, rarely do I hurt the fish. You would be hard pressed to see evidence of the fish having been caught. All in all when using live bait I may deeply hook one fish every two or three times out, and maybe once a month deep enough that I cannot remove the hook without hurting the fish so I end up cutting the line.

Now I contrast that to using artificial baits : buzzbaits, tubes, senkos, etc. When fishing tubes and senkos I am using a 3/0 hook most often. As a rule I still pinch the barb on my hook, but due to the size of the hook (vs when I am using live bait) the likely hood of hurting the fish (eg poking out an eye) is definitely higher.

And when using a buzzbait or spinner bait, due to the visciousness of the strike by the fish, tearing up a smallies mouth is a regular occurance.

I realize that there is a long tradition to fishing for bass with artificial baits (probably a result of the popularity of bass tournaments). But with todays plastics, which are advertised to be BETTER than live bait, why is there such a bias against live bait?

Please don't let this question become an arguement? I just want to understand the logic against live bait by those who are opposed to using it.

Thanks.

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Let me git some pop corn....This 'ill be a good 'un... wink.gif

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I wouldn't worry about what anyone has said about using live bait...

I've been fishing tubes for a few years and I'm pretty sure 10 fish haven't made it through the night.

It's probably my fault, but I haven't lost any sleep over it. If it was too deep to get it, I cut it off and hope for the best. I've read that fish have an enzyme that will dissolve a fish hook, so if it's down too far you have an option.

I don't have a problem with it...

I watched a local legend on ESPN take a well-known fishing show host down the river toward Elk River/Otsego fishing redtails and said host wasn't protesting, although he's a smallmouth purist.

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I just started using artificials this year and I don't know that I will ever go back. It wasn't the gut hooking that got me to change but the price. I basically got tired of losing my minnow or leech every few casts and almost every time I got hung up. Then keeping them alive during the summer was another challenge. So for the price of a scoop of minnows I pick up some powerbait, which I will reuse until the smallies (or whatever it is that bites that day) tear it to shreads. I also still catch the same variety of fish on the artificials as I would with live bait, minus the carp, suckers, and bullheads. I have never done anything with my barbs though which brings up a good point that I should, i'm 99% C/R, so a fish getting off is not a big deal as it would swim away anyways. Plus I find it more fun to be reeling back a cast and feel the "tick", set the hook, and it's game on. Rather than throwing a leech or minnow behind big lead weight only to sit on the bottom and wait for the rod tip to bend. It's all in your style of fishing and choices you make as far as when to cut your line and cut your losses. Rather lose the 40 cent hook and bait than to kill a 5 year old fish to save the hook.

Im done rambling, basically just be smart about it.

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I am a 100% artificial bait bass fisherman, when chasing pannies or some other rough fish I might use live bait but never on bass. I just see more sport in it, using live bait isn't that difficult imho, if someone hung a tbone infront of me with a hook on it more than likely Im still gonna try and take it grin.gif.

I honestly feel like I can outfish live bait, with the proper presentation, its all part of the sport for me. As far as the mortality goes in the last 2 years Ive probably killed about 5-7 Bass with artificials in the last 2 years, I rarely pinch my barbs, and rarely have a problem getting a hook popped out on a fish, I always take the hook out gently without tearing a bighole in the fish (when possible). I think that live baiters should at least give circle hooks a try, Ive never used em but have thought about carrying them with me for the days there swallowing plastics real fast.

To each their own I guess, just take care of the resource thats all I say

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First of all if it is legal; we have no right to be critical of someone else when they make the choice to use live bait.

We can and should encourage and discuss conservation methods for the benefit of all; but every individual has the right to make their choice within the law.

As for cutting the line when a fish is gut hooked I am not a beliver at all. The fish has the best chance of survival if the hook can be removed with the least amount of damage. I also fish Walleyes and was taught a tecnique which I can best describe as follows:

Take a hemostat and go up thru the lower gill close to the body. This position allows you to grip the imbedded hook at an angle that will allow rotation, without upward pressure.

Grip the hook in the center of the hook curvature, then rotate with the curvature while pushing lightly away from the barb.Keeping slight tension on the line helps identify the best rotation angle and exposes the hook for gripping. This causes the hole to elongate slightly and gives the barb some room to pass. It is not unlike the string removal trick for taking a hook out of you skin.

You will be amzed at how well it works. Anyone I have taught this technique to is amazed how well it works.

I will look for the diagrams I had; I think from an In Fisherman magazine and post them when I do.

The "hook dissolving enzyme" theory has had much written about it, mostly negative. I personally caught a Smallie this summer that obviuosly swallowed a tube that was cut off and it hd literally managed to work its way thru his system and was lodged with only the lead head sticking out of his anus. BM was with me and we managed to work it out and release the fish. However, he had a significant sore and swollen area around his anus; hopefully he survived.

Again, if I find the diagrams I will post. Hope this helps.

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uranus? aint that a planet? I say we take all the live baiters and put em on there own "special" little island.... they seem a little funny to me blush.gif

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RR, why didn't you supply me with some more plastic worms on Saturday?

Guess I'm gonna have to go buy a dozen crawlers for this next weekend. J/K. grin.gif

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after reading some of these threads I thought I had better go try some of that smallie fishing so a friend and I went out this morning with out any live bait, armed with only tubes and powercraws and we killed 'em (no pun intendended) those smallies were a blast I havent had fun like that for a lomg time on the Missi we got them in shallow at first then they moved into deeper water 6-7ft. forgot what smallie was like,second cast 15incher. wow they were all like that some smaller but most in the 14-16inch range, you dont need live bait , caught 20+ fish in 5 hours.

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we gotta start talking about this topic .

All im gonna say is that everone has there own opinion and nobody has a right to criticize anyone else as long as the stay within the law

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We certainly do have the right to criticize behavior whether it's within the law or not. Just because it's legal doesn't make it right, best, or fairest. I'm all for a friendly forum, but where else are we going to talk about it? I guess the statements above are made as a way of being friendly and trying to avoid offense, and I can appreciate that, but I disagree.

Bait is very effective, sure; most of us who seldom or never use bait for smallies have made the odd decision of moving away from an effective technique that is legal. Most have done that for reasons that are larger than their own self-interest--that is, they aren't solely interested in catching more fish, or saving money, or whatever. Does that contain a bit of arrogance? I guess so. Call it that, I won't argue. I for one feel superior to people who use bait indiscriminately, because I think I'm killing fewer fish, and I think artificials and flies are more fun. And I don't mind saying so, and discussing why I think that, and quoting facts and figures. Built in to that is a willingness to be proved wrong.

I'm not an officer of the law or somebody else who has to be carefully neutral. (I am a teacher, so I have to be fair when I'm on the job. It's hard.) I'm a citizen. I think we don't argue enough. Not shout, or threaten, or sling mud, but argue. If at the start of your argument you say, well, nobody can argue with you...that's not going to get anywhere. Our legislatures seem to be afflicted with the same problem, and it's a destructive cycle in which we flame each other but never discuss the particulars.

Every bait guy who goes over to artificials is a net gain for the resource.

ice

I'm certainly not going to try to prevent people from using bait, except by reasoned argument. My friends use bait a lot; I try to gently change their minds (and sometimes outfish them, but not all the time!) It's all talk, and in a reasonable society talk should be valuable and not offend people who have some commitment to the community--in this case, the river and its fish. That's the common bond we should base our conversation on, not just what the law allows.

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ICE if you are addressing my post I think you missed the mark. We just look at the word criticize in different context is all. The second line in my post says the very same thing you brought up; having discusiions about conservation.

If you are on your soap box because of my post I do indeed think you missed the point.

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Ice9,

I to agree that lively debate is a good thing. I requested that this not turn into an "arguement" because I wanted to hear from those individuals who oppose the use of live bait. I was not as interested in hearing why others continue to use live bait.

I understand that there are a lot of reasons why some people choose to only use artificial baits : more challenging; less expensive; more alternatives, etc.; etc. But none of this explains to me the disdain and contempt that some individuals have for live bait to the point that they would suggest that it be banned.

I'm still listening...........

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As a fisherman who has seen Jet Man's (Bill S) hook removal technique, it is quite amazing. I think the point is if the way you fish is within the law AND you do your best to maintain a good release rate you are acting responsibly. IMHO I concur that the bigger problem is the waste left and junk thrown away in our rivers (and lakes) The bottom of my boat is also full of crap at the end of each trip mainly because it is better there than in the lake.

Billy see you at the lanes in a couple of weeks.

Dale

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If I am targeting Smallmouth, I choose artificials. You can cover more water and find them quicker usually, instead of throwing out some live bait and catching everything else that swims in the river or where ever.

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I use artifical bait 99 percent of the time... But in the fall time, Its a blast having a 10 inch creek cub and catching 20+ inch smallies.... I take my daughter out and she really looks forward to it...

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Hooking mortality is much higher than most anglers believe, especially with smallies, especially in rivers, especially in the summer. It's been a while since I've read the studies ("First International Smallmouth Bass Symposium", I think about 1989, a bound book of sixteen studies of smallmouth bass, for one) but they were pretty decisive. I'd yield to our participants here who are scientists, but the hopeful observations of anglers aren't enough for me. As a guide who floated the same stretch of river day after day, I can report seeing dead smallmouth that were the work of me and my clients after trips when all fish seemed to have been successfully released. I have often seen dead fish with distinct handprints on their sides. I think we fool ourselves about our impact on the resource, and an attitude of skeptical caution is the only sensible approach to take to decisions about techniques. I too have good skills to unhook and release smallies, but I have no illusions about it. A fish that you have to take a few extra moments to handle has its survival chances cut in half, no matter how deft or amazing your trick is. Accessing a hook through the gills is another scenario that is going to reduce a fish's survival chances drastically.

In fact, I'd argue that the most ethical and honest approach to such a scenario is to kill and eat a smallie once in a while, if only as a symbolic reminder that a substantial percentage of fairly caught fish do not survive the experience.

Sadly, the current state of political debate has badly damaged the idea that science can answer such questions; Americans now feel empowered to reject science in favor of opinion, especially when the opinion is self serving, which reduces our conversation to turn-taking "soapboxing" I suppose.

I don't want to ban bait; I went from bait to artificials (a while back, but I did it) and others are too. I give my five-year-old bait so he can enjoy his fishing experience, with the understanding that it will kill a fish or two; at the same time, I make it clear to him that fishing is killing, at least some of the time. IT goes with the territory, and the responsibility.

ice

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The simpleton in me is doing this:

crazy.gif

grin.gifgrin.gif

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Ice, my discussion about how to unhook was aimed at increasing survival chances; not in any way suggesting any fish hooked in the stomach area does not have a decreased survial chance. I only know that if I take it home and fillet it, the fish has 0 chance of survival. I too have no illusions and it is not a "trick", it is a technique used to improve the survival chance over cutting the line and leaving an impaled jig head or hook in the top of the stomach area.I offer a tecnique which I certainly did not dream up myself (published in In Fisherman) and you have to call it a "deft and amazing trick".

It seems Ice that you cannot have a discussion without coming off as a "know it all" or "smart alec".

Given your self professed arrogance and felling of superiority I guess that does not surprise me.

I am all for conservation and am primarily a catch and relleas fisherman, even with Walleyes. As most of my smallie fishing buddies will tell you I am not very PC and usually right in you face. However, when working to convince someone to change there approach to conserving the resource much more is accomplished with "honey than vinegar" and gentle persuasion than is ever accomplished by talking down to someone because you are "arrogant" and "superior" (to use you own words)

KT, my friend I hope you got a lot of popcorn and some Bud select. LOL!

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Jet Man, you are correct, and we agree. If I wasted the vinegar on you, I'm sorry, but I've honeyed this point for thirty years and I'm tired of being diplomatic.

I don't think I attacked the method, which is obviously a benefit to the fish population. What I attacked is the idea that the problem can be solved by such minor measures as a chat about dehooking method vs. letting it corrode, while in the same thread we admit that fishing bait is off limits because it's legal.

Long run you and I and most of the guys here probably bat pretty high in the catch/release statistics (though I'd argue not as high as we think). We're already careful. A new way to dehook a fish is certainly a reasonable thing to discuss, and to spread, but there are people in this very thread who use bait routinely and others who don't use it much but still defend it simply because it's legal, no other discussion, case closed. And we buy that out of politeness and a kind of enforced civility. {No doubt somebody will "moderate" this thread out of existence any minute now, or kick it over into the weird alternative universe of "keep it civil"}.

It's very polite, but I don't think it's the right thing to do. I try to be firmer with people who fish bait, that's all. I don't smile and nod and say OK, that's what your daddy taught you, so it's ok. I say to them, bait kills fish.

It's only fair then to be honest and responsible about my own impact on the river, which is what I was aiming to express last time. It's an opinion, of course, and you can lay down all the snide emoticons you like but I haven't heard any coherent argument to the contrary yet, which is the problem.

PUt it this way: One handful of drunken yutzes with a bucket of helgrammites can in one afternoon kill every fish you ever saved with the new dehooking technique, AND swear that the fish were all released just fine and happier for the experience. Doesn't seem fair, but it's legal.

If that's arrogant or superior to say, then it is.

ice

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I fish the same water alot, have never seen a dead smallie, that Ive been responsible for, I know I have killed 5, unless they can survive with a tube or senko hooked in there throat. There is no doubt that somefish die when hooked (%6.6) was the last figure I saw with artifials. My statement or ? or whatever it was, was not on over all mortality rate, it was the effect of a prolonged fight due to fly fishing KILLS fish PERIOD! I have seen flyfisherman take 3-5 minutes to land a 15" fish, that is an extended fight, think of what a 20" fish would take to land, although Ive never seen one close, caught by a limp wrister! blush.gif I want to hear something from one of you flyfisherman about how your extended fight times in warm water aren't killing fish, till then I say ban the fly and the bait tongue.gif

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ICE, your accusation of me using "snide emoticans" is by itself laughable given the tone of you previous response; that I already addressed. No where did I ever say I was defending or encouraging live bait fishing. Nowhere did I say do it because your Daddy did. I just said it was legal and their right to do so. In the very next sentence I send we need to discuss conservation methods. I have converted many a fisherman to catch and release (including my father) and selective harvest (on Walleyes) as well as artificials on Smallmouth. I never said the problem could be solved by a dehooking method, only offered that as a means of improving survival, articial or live bait (my example was of a fish that had a jig in its system). At least if someone chooses to use live bait the technique might save a few smallmouth. That certainly is not an endorsement for using live bait.

You seem to have a penchant for putting words in my mouth and changing context of what I say; do you by chance have any experience in Washington DC or at the State Capital. LOL.

I will leave it to the readers to accept my comments in the context they were written. I have enjoyed this lively debate which would be better served in a debate class at college.LOL

I too would like to hear you address the issue of stress from prolonged fights on fly rod equiment mentioned by the other poster.

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I keep my limit of bass every outing... smaller filets than 'eyes but just as good.

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I think I saw you and your family at the CR dam the other day. smirk.gif

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you bassturd tongue.gif

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