The Pros and Cons of Using Live Bait
The Pros and Cons of Using Live Bait

Discover the pros and cons of using live bait for fishing and spearfishing while sailing the open sea, and learn tips for maximizing your success with this method.

The Pros and Cons of Using Live Bait

Fishing and spearfishing are popular hobbies among sailing enthusiasts, as they provide a sustainable and enjoyable way to catch fresh seafood while exploring the open sea. One of the most important aspects of fishing is choosing the right bait, and live bait is a popular choice for many anglers. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of using live bait, as well as some tips and tricks for maximizing your success with this method.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Live Bait

Live bait refers to using live fish, crustaceans, or other aquatic creatures as bait to attract and catch larger predatory fish. This method has been used for centuries and is still popular among both recreational and professional anglers. Some common types of live bait include minnows, shrimps, crabs, and various types of worms.

Pros of Using Live Bait

Natural Appeal

One of the main advantages of using live bait is its natural appeal to predatory fish. Live bait mimics the natural prey of the target fish, making it more likely to attract and entice a bite. The movement, scent, and appearance of live bait can be difficult to replicate with artificial lures, giving live bait an edge in many fishing situations.


Live bait can be used in a variety of fishing environments and for targeting a wide range of fish species. Whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater, live bait can be an effective choice for catching everything from panfish to large game fish. By selecting the appropriate type and size of live bait, you can tailor your approach to the specific species and conditions you’re encountering.

Increased Hookup Rates

Using live bait often results in higher hookup rates compared to artificial lures. The natural movement and scent of live bait can entice fish to strike more aggressively, increasing the chances of a solid hookup. Additionally, fish are more likely to hold onto live bait longer, giving anglers more time to set the hook and secure their catch.

Cons of Using Live Bait

Ethical Considerations

Some anglers may have ethical concerns about using live bait, as it involves causing harm or stress to the baitfish or other creatures being used. This is a personal decision that each angler must make for themselves, but it’s important to consider the potential impact on the bait species and the overall ecosystem when choosing your fishing methods.

Availability and Cost

Depending on your location and the specific type of live bait you’re seeking, it may not always be readily available or affordable. In some cases, you may need to catch your own live bait, which can be time-consuming and require additional equipment. Purchasing live bait from a bait shop can also be more expensive than using artificial lures, especially if you’re fishing frequently or targeting large quantities of bait.

Handling and Storage

Live bait requires more care and attention than artificial lures, as it must be kept alive and healthy to be effective. This can involve using specialized equipment, such as aerated bait buckets or live wells, to maintain proper water conditions and oxygen levels. Additionally, handling live bait can be messy and may require more frequent bait changes, as injured or dead bait will be less effective at attracting fish.

Tips for Using Live Bait

Choosing the Right Bait

Selecting the appropriate type and size of live bait is crucial for success. Research the natural prey of the fish species you’re targeting and try to match your bait selection accordingly. Local bait shops and fellow anglers can be valuable resources for determining the best live bait options for your specific fishing location and target species.

Proper Rigging

Rigging your live bait correctly is essential for maximizing its effectiveness and ensuring a strong hookup. There are various rigging techniques and hook styles to choose from, depending on the type of live bait you’re using and the fishing conditions. Some popular live bait rigs include the Carolina rig, the Texas rig, and the float rig. Be sure to use the appropriate hook size and style for your bait and target species, and consider using circle hooks to minimize damage to the fish and increase the chances of a successful catch and release.

Keeping Bait Alive

Maintaining the health and vitality of your live bait is key to its effectiveness. Invest in a quality bait bucket or live well with an aerator to ensure proper oxygen levels and water circulation. Keep your bait out of direct sunlight and avoid overcrowding the container, as this can cause stress and reduce the lifespan of your bait. Change the water regularly to maintain optimal water quality and temperature, and handle your bait gently to minimize injury and stress.


Using live bait can be an effective and rewarding method for catching a variety of fish species while sailing and exploring the open sea. By understanding the pros and cons of this approach and following the tips provided, you can maximize your success and enjoyment of this timeless fishing technique. Ultimately, the choice to use live bait is a personal one, and each angler must weigh the benefits and drawbacks to determine the best approach for their individual preferences and fishing goals.