Late to Bait

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I just finished up a short article for one of the few remaining major newsstand mags about shiner fishing in Florida. I’ve gotten paid to write about fishing for 15 years — and when you add up all of the articles and advertorial pieces I’m sure I’ve been published well over a thousand times, as far as I can recall this is the first piece I’ve written about using live bait for bass.

I suspect that is partly because my work is so tournament-driven. If you can’t use a big gob of nightcrawlers in the Elite Series, or a lip-hooked waterdog in a BFL, those circuits’ publications probably won’t need to devote that much space to the techniques.

But there’s also probably a subtle bigotry at work — the notion that using live bait is somehow requires less skill than using artificials and is therefore beneath me and my semi-devoted readers. Of course there are situations where it does connote lesser skills sets, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. You need only look at billfish captains and other offshore artists to see that there is a distinct skill in preparing and presenting non-artificial baits. As I’ve learned from writing this article, that extends to freshwater as well.

I don’t intend to move to writing exclusively about live bait (and if I did, announcing that on a website owned by a lure company might not be the best idea), but this has opened my eyes a bit. Just because I’ve historically avoided a topic or tactic doesn’t mean I was right in the first place.