One of the most critical choices anglers make is whether to use lures or bait to attract fish. Both options have their benefits in certain conditions, mainly depending on water quality, types of fish, weather, time of year, and more. Make these four considerations when choosing between bait and lures.

Learn with Bait

Using lures takes a great deal of technique and knowledge. If you are new to fishing or looking to catch a new type of fish, start with bait. You can learn where fish like to hide, eat, and chase prey. Once you have some insights about fish behaviors, you can move on to lures that will challenge you on every level. You can also learn a lot about how bait and lures compare when you study what attracts fish. Test out different baits and lures at your local fishing spot to see which fish prefer which tackle.

Conditions for Lures and Bait

The conditions in which you fish affect what will work best when choosing between lures and bait. Bait is typically the best option for fishing in muddy water, at night, in cold weather, and when going after species with varied diets. Lures are usually best for clear water, aggressive species, and warm weather. You should also check the rules for where you are fishing, as some locations only allow the use of lures.

Budget and Availability

Budget and availability are two more considerations when choosing between lures and bait. Bait is relatively inexpensive, but you have to buy it each time you go fishing, usually the day-of. Lures cost slightly more, but you can use them for several years before they have to be replaced. A disadvantage of bait is that you are dependent on availability. If your local shop is low on supply or if it is the wrong time of year, you may not have bait for your fishing trip. You will need a way to keep the bait cool as you fish to make sure that it is live/fresh when you put it on the hook.


Casting with bait is easy, even for the amateur angler. Lures require more technique in casting, though, and take more skill to work effectively. If you plan on spending several hours fishing with lures, you may find that you need to build up some stamina and muscle memory the first few times. With bait, you can typically relax and have a more leisurely time fishing.