I agree with you completely regarding live baits for certain species of fish.
I prefer lures over live baits due to 2 reasons:
1. You cannot fish live baits as you would with lures. Lures are more versatile and can cover a whole lot more areas vs live bait.
2. Lures are less expensive in the long run given you do not lose a lure during every fishing trip.
I was in the Oneill Forbay a few years ago while fishing alongside with a fellow fisherman (stranger) who was using suckers as bait. There was a school of stripers going on a feeding frenzy in broad daylight. You can see them circling in the pool of water - approximately 5 feet below the surface. I first tried top water lures, then swim baits, and then flukes which finally worked. Overall, the fellow fisherman who used live bait did much better than I did for two reasons. He had live bait which was a natural part of stripers' diet and I was limited to where I can cast due to his bait/bottom fishing.
I caught my limit under one hour while he exceeded his limit by a whole lot. I was very tempted to call Department of Fish and Game to report him. But I simply left and told him the regulations regarding fishing and limits on stripers.
I understand there are no limits or very little restrictions on the east coast. I would love to live on that side of the country. There are far too many fishermen and poachers in my area. Limit for stripers went from 10 to 5 and now 2 - within a 25 year period.
Off topic- The water conservation group may decide to put zero restrictions on stripers for unknown reasons to me. If this happens, the sport of fishing will plummet to an all time low in California simply because many fishermen here in California do not understand the importance of preserving wild life – and will take whatever fish they catch- small or large.
Bass fishing in the nearby lakes and reservoirs have been very slow within the last 5 years. Hatcheries which plant trouts in the nearby rivers simply cannot meet the demands of the overwhelming growing number of fishermen in my area.
Only stripers, blue gills, and crappies are relatively plentiful.
Salmon has been banned in my area due to complaints from commercial fishermen.
It sucks to be a fisherman in my area.