I prefer lures any day over bait. But the fish pick what they want, and sometimes only want live baits, chunk baits, whatever they feel like!
But generally it feels better to catch on lures, and takes practice! Plus your hands wont be stinky and wont have to deal with constant bait changing 😁
Artificials all-the-way! Especially visual interaction fishing like fast retrieve in clear water or surface feather or plugs, so entertaining. Sometimes bait is a necessity and just a more productive option for most species.
I used to fish almost exclusively with bait for rockfish. Since coming to So. Cal. I find I use mostly artificials.
Primarily I think it depends on what I'm going to be targeting. From piers (which I haven't been fishing much
lately) I tend to use bait (or a sabiki) but from shore I have been using various lures (GULP, swimbait, luckycraft,
etc). Maybe half bait and half lures over the last year or two?
I predominantly use bait. My theory is that it is more of a hassle but it catches more fish with less skill. I also just like the idea of casting, waiting for a bite and trying to hook the fish.
Artificials are good when the bite is more wide open, or if you are looking for the elegance of have less things to deal with buying before you go fishing and taking care of after fishing is finished. I have had more success this season with artificials landing a decent amount of fish off slow pitch lures.
As I get busier, I can definitely see the appeal of artificials. Just less things to worry about, cleaner, and more active when you are fishing. I also like Ken's approach of fishing bait like artificials by cutting the bait to enticing shapes and moving it around the water to entice fish the you would with a lure. That is the best of both worlds.
That would depend on where I'm fishing at. From a pier, I almost always use bait, with the exceptions of sabiki rigs for sardines, smelt, and mackerel, and metal jigs for bonito. From shore, I use lures in harbors for Spotted Bay Bass and halibut (but this results in me never catching any Opaleye), while I use sand crabs from the surf and only use lures when I can't find any. On party boats, I use bucktail jigs with bait for deep-water fish, surface irons for pelagics and bass if the bite is wide-open, but fly-lined bait otherwise, and I exclusively use bait for Whitefish. In freshwater, I almost always stick to lures.
I use both lures and baits. Hard to simplify the way I go between them in a simple account but in general lures with a good choice of hooks are great for catch and release to me. As rod&reel is held by hands all the time when lure fishing, there is a less chance of gut hooking. I also like the sporting aspect of fooling fish letting them eat things that they don't eat usually. Targeting those from pier with size limits is another situation I think about this matter. In such a case, I like to hold the rod in my hands regardless of using lures or baits. If I dunk my bait, I like to use a circle hook.
 After a night of sleep and rereading what I wrote another thing came to my mind as to when I prefer using bait. When pier fishing I often seek to find a new species that I have never caught yet. I usually do some research to know my targets but not all the time. I prefer baits in that situation. You never know what end up biting from these kelp or from these rocks.
100% situational. I’m out to catch fish. There is a fine line between fishing and “just sitting around”. If all were equal,I would probably use lures. But it is never equal. If I get the glorious opportunity to fish. I’m going with what I think will put one on deck.