It is easy to check off the major advantage of using live bait. It can produce bigger fish catches because it is easier to fool fish with the real thing. Of course, the bait has to be put where the fish are: The best bait in the world can’t catch fish where they aren’t.
The Ballays quickly admit that live bait catches fish. “I’m not trying to say that live bait is the devil,” Brandon grinned. “I’m saying that there is an alternative.”
Brent agreed, but nodded, “You don’t need live bait in Venice, Louisiana.”
Here is the brothers’ list of disadvantages to using live bait.
• Live bait fishermen tend to cluster, producing crowding. Brandon is convinced that they do it on purpose. “The more live shrimp in a spot, the better. If you don’t like being in the middle of a cluster of boats, you have to move. I like solitude.”
• Live bait produces lots of trash fish — pinfish, ladyfish, catfish and stingrays.
• Live bait fishing is slow fishing. It is difficult to cover much water to find fish when live bait it used. Finding fish takes longer.
• It is expensive. “Shrimp are 40 cents each in Venice,” growled Brent. “The average person buys 100. On 25 of those the reel’s bail is going to trip and you are going to sling it off.”
• It is not as challenging, reducing the skill factor of the hunt.