It really hurt my feelings the first time I ever got razzed for using live bait. I’d grown up fishing walleyes, perch, pike, crappies, trout and bullheads, mostly—but not exclusively—on some form of live or dead bait. Up until that day I didn’t know there were people out there who looked down on bait anglers.
A college buddy had invited me to fish trout on a creek that ran through his dad’s woods about 30 miles north of Grand Rapids, Michigan. As we waded in, I popped the top on a little coffee can full of leaf worms I’d dug out of my neighbor’s compost heap when he started giving me crap about being a “baiter.” He had a pocket-box crammed with in-line spinners and small spoons and vowed he never had, nor would, fish Tamarack Creek trout with anything but artificial lures.
Over the years the guy became my best friend, constant fishing companion, roommate and co-editor at Michigan Farmer magazine, but the bait vs. lure argument never died or even diminished. We fished every species Michigan waters offered, and the only times I saw him go natural is when we fished spawnbags for river steelhead or jigged leeches for walleyes.
I’ve heard “lure-only” anglers preach their gospel dozens of times since then, but could only silently wonder why they’d give up so many chances to catch a fish.
Heaven knows that I’ve got nothing against fishing artificials. I’ve spent way more money on lures than I’ll ever admit to my wife, and have witnessed plenty of times when artificials out produced naturals by a big margin. Other times, however, bait offers the best opportunity to catch fish, and I’m not willing to let them get away.
What side of the fence do you stand on?-- Kurt