Bait or Lures: Is there a best approach?

Bait or Lures: Is there a best approach?

27 August 2020

Whether you are new to fishing or been angling yonks, you’ll have asked yourself, asked others, or weighed in on the ‘bait or lures’ debate. While some anglers may have a true favourite they stick to and preach, others may dabble in both, and newbies might welcome some guidance on the matter.

So, is there a clear winner? Here we take a look at both methods, and what our customers think.

What are they?


Fishing bait is a substance on the end of your hook, used to attract fish; this can be natural, like an insect or worms. It can also be manmade, like cheese paste or boilies. The type of bait used depends on the hook size, species, and personal preference.


Fishing lures are a form of artificial bait that attract fish using movement, vibrations, and colour. There are many types of lures, designed to attract different species of fish. From plugs to flies, they come in a variety of different styles and sizes, which you can read more into here.

Which works best when?


Pro: Easier to Use

Bait can be the best method when learning/teaching, as knowing when to strike is less necessary as a fish will nearly always hook itself with bait. Where lures demand a more attentive approach, bait allows you to set your rod up and wait. Dependant on the type of angler you are, it can be considered less exciting, but if you’re looking to relax on the bank, not put up a fight, then that might appeal to you.

Pro: Often Gets More Catches

Fish tend to be more receptive to bait over lures. This is especially true when fishing at night or in murky waters. Plus with the vast range of bait types and manmade flavours, you are more likely to find something to provoke a response.

Con: Quickly Goes Foul

When it comes to storage, with some bait types you are unable to just throw it in your tackle box ready for your next session. It can require refrigeration, problem being…most bait smells, bad!

Con: Less Humane

It can be considered less humane as it results in a more deeply hooked fish that won’t have as much chance of survival once released as that caught lure fishing.


Pro: Attracts Bigger Fish

Lures are fun to use, often brightly coloured and can be a more engaging way to fish. They can imitate creatures that are much bigger than anything useable as baitfish. So if you are looking to hit some personal bests, lures tend to attract larger fish than baits. They allow you to cover a much large area of water and work well in provoking attack from more predatory fish.

Pro: More Humane

Some fisheries have strict lure only rules due to their benefits to fish wellbeing, overfeeding worries, and other factors, so having a few lures in the tacklebox never hurts. Lures make catch-and-release practice much easier and safer because they’re more likely to hook fish in the jaws, lips or mouth.

Con: Less Accessible

Lures usually cost more than bait, and some are very expensive. They can require a higher standard of both skillset and tackle, especially as they’re more prone to snagging.

Con: Usually Gets Fewer Catches

If you set out looking for a sure catch, they can attract less of a response than baits, which could lead to hours, if not days of waiting…but that’s part of the fun isn’t it?

Also they can be an addictive buy, pro or con, we’re not sure.

What our customers think

We recently ran a competition asking, ‘Would you rather use live bait or artificial lures for the rest of your life’, and we got some good insight into our customers preferences.

Most who answered said lures, their reasons being:

  • Less cruel
  • Less messy
  • More enjoyable

Those of our customers who prefer live bait chose so due to:

  • Increased scent
  • Grew up on bait
  • Find it more likely to catch

Lures, in this instance, were the much more popular choice, with one customer stating that’s why they have thousands of them (again, pro or con, still not sure). If you want to have a read of all the answers, then check out the post on our Facebook page, don’t forget to like it to be first in line for any future competitions.

Is there a best approach?

Each method has its strengths and weaknesses, so there really is no ‘best approach’. It comes down to personal preference, water conditions and species. Some anglers swear by one or the other, some actively use both.

While it seems many of our customers favour lures, there is no right or wrong. Master both, and you’ll soon find what works best for you in which conditions.

Whatever your preference, we stock a wide range of artificial lures and bait, and we also offer frozen bait in our store in Norfolk. If you get stuck or want some advice on any of our products you can contact us via our Facebook page.